Words in Deep Blue, Cath Crowley

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I don’t know if this is a review or not. I’m just going to sit and announce my thoughts – I’ve just finished it, after waiting a year and a half for it to land inside the bookshop I work in, and it’s not what I expected.

In a mostly good way.

See, all I knew about this book when I heard of it was that it was by the author of Graffiti Moon (which I stumbled on in a library years ago), it was about a girl and a boy working in a bookshop together after having History, and it was possibly a romance.

I don’t often do romancy books – but once in a while, I like to sit down and just have something light to read, and I’ve always liked books set in bookshops – I like seeing how authors themselves view those shops. I like seeing a character have the same love as I do.

Books set in bookshops are a bit like love letters themselves.

I’m going to put this out here now – I relate to Henry, but my god he isn’t half a moron. And yes, I know hes a teenage boy, thinks that his First Love is his One True and all that, but really. The more he talked about Amy, the more I wanted to pull him out of the pages and throw the book at him.

Henry is our raised-in-a-bookshop, book-loving, idiot main. I relate to him because to him, the bookshop is everything. A bookshop is the beating heart of a community and to work in one… it’s an honour. There’s a lot of differences between an indie and a chain shop, but less so between a second hand and an indie. It’s hard. You don’t work in a bookshop for money, you do it for the love. You watch customers grow – in my own, I’ve had five years to see kids growing up, customers getting married (kudos to the couple that gave their bridesmaids Terry Pratchett books as their wedding favours). I’ve had customers phone us up and ask for books on grief – and tell us that it’s someone we’ve been serving since the shop opened that has died. There is a strange feeling to this – when you work in a bookshop, you learn things about your customers and them about you.

Most of my customers know that I write. Many of them ask after that writing when they come in. They all know I read Children’s books, YA and fantasy, know that I can get even the most reluctant reader to try something. They know I used to sail, that, much like Rachel from the book, the sea calls to me in a way that’s mildly ironic when I live in one of the furthest inland places in the UK.

The whole book (of which I thought was going to be mostly lighthearted and fun) follows Henry, not only with his lack of being able to see who is right in front of him, but as he and his family think about selling this shop that is their home.

It tugged on my heart almost as much as Rachel did, because I couldn’t imagine life without the shop I work in. Couldn’t imagine walking past it to see something else open in its place – or the building gone all together.

And then theres Rachel, who comes back home and hides from all her old friends that her brother is dead. Who comes back because she can’t bear to see something she once loved – the ocean – without thinking of him and the way he died. Whose every action is dictated by the grief weighing inside her.

At times, reading, I had to pause and remember to breathe for a minute, because the way I related to her is much harder to cope with than the simple idea of losing the place I work in.

I lost someone when I was 12, and I remember that kind of grief; when even ten months later, you barely remember how to smile, how to look at something without seeing their face. He taught me how to bake. How to play the bugle.

I hid the bugle away in my room and didn’t touch it til I was 16, where all I could do was stand there and cry because I hadn’t lost my love for music, but I had lost the ability to play the instrument I always remembered him playing. I still have the bugle – at 23 – and I have never relearning it. Ten months – a year – in the grand scheme of things is nothing. Eleven years, in someones entire life, is nothing. Sometimes, as one of the characters in the book says, it feels like it’s been that long. Sometimes, it feels like it was a day ago.

But the book showed the other side of grief. Of how you can’t hide it. How your friends will always be there to help, if you tell them you need it. How, sometimes, after ten months, with the right people, your heart does start beating again, sometimes, and you relearn how to smile. Oh, they are never far from your mind, and sometimes the guilt of being happy is all consuming. But life is a journey we all move forward on – and it does get better.

So yes.

This book does have problems. Firstly, that Henry is intelligent yet seems to be entirely unobservant – how the hell does he think Amy is nice. And Greg really should have had his comeuppance for what he did. Even the mother needs to be shouted at for listening but not seeing what her family is saying.

But over all, it’s a story that is understandable, believable, heartbreaking. But beautiful. Books touch us all, and the idea of this library – full of letters and notes in margins, love letters to people who may never see them – is something that I’d love to make real. And in it lies some truth – books connect us all, even when we don’t expect it.

four stars

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Undercover Princess, Connie Glynn

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When fairy tale obsessed Lottie Pumpkin starts at the infamous Rosewood Hall, she is not expecting to share a room with the Crown Princess of Maradova, Ellie Wolf. Due to a series of lies and coincidences, 14-year-old Lottie finds herself pretending to be the princess so that Ellie can live a more normal teenage life.

Lottie is thrust into the real world of royalty – a world filled with secrets, intrigue and betrayal. She must do everything she can to help Ellie keep her secret, but with school, the looming Maradovian ball and the mysterious new boy Jamie, she’ll soon discover that reality doesn’t always have the happily ever after you’d expect…

Warning: Spoiler alert.

So when I got the proof of this, I didn’t know it was written by a Youtuber. Which really, I shouldn’t judge a book on, but once again, this was another book by an online name that shouldn’t have really got a book deal. Or at least, should have been edited more than it was.

Honestly, thanks to the storm last night, I was up until 2am, so I thought I might as well read something. I read the whole book, then ended up writing bullet points on my phone of things I needed to remember for this – something I rarely do, thanks to having a brain that absorbs plots to the point I can recite passages of a lot of my favourite books. But for this, I wanted to make sure I remembered everything.

Heres the thing. I wanted to like this book. At points, there were sparks that showed this book had potential. It was good enough for me to actually read the whole thing – I’m ruthless when it comes to DNFing books. I have too many on my TBR to bother with books I hate. So there was enough to make it interesting. But then there was… the rest…

For starters, there were way too many unanswered questions at the end. Yeah, I know its start of a series, but every book in a series should have its own story arc within the main story. Yes, there should be questions that lead one story to the next but not as many that, when you finish the book, it doesn’t feel finished. You don’t think well maybe because I’ve got the proof I’m missing pages (yeah, the first thing I did upon going into work was checking a finished hardback on the shelf to see if the ending matched,)

So the girls get a riddle by one of their friends. Multiple riddles, really. One of which throws up the question of who the founder of their school really is. Theres like a whole damn chapter about them hunting down this picture to find this out, a conversation about ‘but who was he really’ and then its like… never mentioned again? Its only because I read the acknowledgements at the end I saw that apparently it’s going to be answered in the next book. But… maybe there should have been hints in this one and then the reveal in the next, because the way it was dealt with is just unsatisfying.

The same riddle friend also seems to know the truth about our two mains – who the real princess is. But again, its hinted at, she makes all this fun about it, and then its like its suddenly unimportant.

One of the characters was poisoned. He started telling the truth? Then fainted? Then didn’t remember anything about it? then…. IT WAS NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN. (are you getting the theme here) Like, Why did this happen? What was it for? I’m assuming the villain of the story was the one to poison him but WHY and WHAT WAS IT.

There were a few more things like this, but you get the hint.

There was no real worldbuilding to it. All I can tell you about the school is that its in Oxfordshire. I don’t even know where and I live in that shire. Like, there should be enough hints that someone living there her whole life should be able to point to which village it’s close to? Oh – and that the school has three houses (but again, why. What were they for, who were they named after SO MANY FREAKING QUESTIONS). There were a lot of buildings in the school but I couldn’t draw you a map of it if I tried.

Oh, and why was the school so important to get to as well?

Maradova – the place Ellie was princess of? Don’t even get me started like…. fuck knows.

Same with the characters. Like, not only did they all seem to only have one trait (the twins that ate sweets all the time. The main character who wanted to be a princess. The broody bodyguard. The rebel princess) they weren’t even described. Hell, it was only in the last quarter of the book when you got his backstory that we’re told that his mother was Pakistani. Like, there’s no descriptions of anything (except hair, like, once) anywhere. To build up a correct image in our heads of a character, we need to know things.

(also linked to that. None of the characters were seeming to act 14/15. Like… the girls were all relly affectionate. Cuddling and stroking each others hair and stuff and… it was not really in character for those ages?)

Like… This almost reads to me like a first draft. This is the ‘dump down on paper so you have an idea of story twists’ draft, but it should have been refined. The editor, or hell, friends that read it over for you, should have raised their hands and gone ‘ughhhhhh’ at so many points. If that had happened, if someone had gone through with a red pen and gone ‘what is this’ or ‘explain’ or something, it could have been so much better. Because it was meant to be a fairytale esque story, but it was clunky and painful at times.

despite all of this (and more, of which I can’t be bothered to write down, after 3 hours sleep and a day of work) it was a light fun read. And if you don’t mind being frustrated by unanswered questions, and you have a day where you’re bored and have nothing to do, or you have a 10 year old, princess obsessed kid you want to read to, it’s great.

… I mean, plus side, I honestly can’t tell who the love interest in the next book will end up being because all I got from the three mains is they all love each other so like, it could go either way…. as long as theres not an awkward love triangel, that is.

three stars

 

Tower of Dawn, Chaol, and a Mini Essay on What Characters are to Us

It’s that time of year again! No, I don’t mean the schools going back, (though, thank god, because I can go shopping without having children EVERYWHERE) I mean its september, which means  A NEW THRONE OF GLASS NOVEL.

I know, originally, by this point in time, we had all hoped to have the last book in the series and were all expecting to be lying down, quietly sobbing in denial because face it, Sarah isn’t going to let all our favourites survive, but I’m actually glad that Chaol got a full novel and a year to himself, rather than the novella and three months from June to now.

When it was announced he was getting a huge book for himself, I seemed to be one of the few that was overjoyed; many people hate hated Chaol since book two. Many more have hated him since book four. But Chaol… I just wanted to know that he would be alright, because out of every character in the series, he is the one I understand and love the most.

I first picked up Throne of Glass because of Celaena. She was the character I needed back then- at eighteen, I had only just ‘escaped’ from a place that had done me a lot of damage. I was, pretty much, the way they had hoped Celaena would be locked up in the camp; broken down and lost myself. I read her story and I vowed to myself that if she could make it, then I could (I mean, technically I failed, I unlike her, do not have a kingdom of my own and am not a missing loved princess, but hey, we can’t all have crowns, and a lot of beautiful guys and girls around us). But while Celaena was the one character that saved me, it was Chaol, that from the beginning, I understood and identified with most.

Chaol’s most important trait has always been his loyalty. From the very beginning, it was loyalty to the crown and his best friend, and that was always going to be his downfall. Because he was so blindly loyal that he didn’t want to see the bad in his kingdom – despite the fact that the king he worked for was evil, and he knew it. That loyalty was the thing that ripped him apart- the thing that many readers decided was ‘out of character’ for him in previous books (see: when he and Dorian fought. When he had Aelin fought). But loyalty isn’t this black and white concept that you can turn off when you realise someone was evil.

Chaol tried. He turned away from his king and threw his sword into the river and that was a massive turning point in his story arc. That was him realising that his entire time as a captain was wrong, but that didn’t stop him being loyal. That’s why he fought so much with Aelin. Some of it was because he did love Celaena and given her his loyalty – only to find out who she was. But the rest of it was because he had built his whole life on being captain to the king and thrown it away. That sword was symbolic – to Chaol, he was throwing his life away. Like no wonder he was so angry at everyone in QoS. He had lost all he knew and he assumed the girl he loved was his enemy (and to be fair, she did kinda act it).

(Sorry I have a lot of thoughts on Chaol)

Anyway, back onto the new book; I knew that I would love Tower of Dawn no matter the outcome. Of course, I wanted Chaol to be happy, but I knew he had a longggg way to go before that; because not only did he have the war raging inside himself for who he was, and an injury he hated, he had seen too much to even know he could be happy again.

I also knew it was going to be an emotional rollercoaster. Every Maas book is, but this one was meant to be Chaol’s own Heir of Fire, and that book destroyed me enough. And it proved to be just that. In HoF, Celaena went into it hurt and hating herself, refusing to accept who she was and what she had become. In ToD, it was an identical journey, minus the whole finding his own magic storyline. Chaol went into it unable to find who he was anymore, and came out with not only new friends, but new love and himself.

I may have cried like, at least five times. (If I could pluck Chaol from the book and protect him forever, I so would)

One of my favourite things about this book, though, has been the reactions from other people. Chaol has never been a favourite of the fandom, and when people heard about this book, many spent months saying they were not going to bother reading it as it would be a waste (which like, is totally wrong since MASSIVE PLOT POINT AND TWIST) or was planning to read it to take the piss out of it. However, many of the people who went into it hating Chaol have come out, maybe not loving him, but at least understanding him.

Many who went in shipping him with Aelin or Nesryn came out shipping him with someone else (I don’t really understand shipping, not in this fandom I honestly just want them all to be happy).

I think that shows how brilliant a writer Maas is; that she can make so many people care about a character they thought they would always hate, and make them fall in love with his journey.

Out of all of the books in the ToG series, ToD has been one of my favourites, because Chaol has always been nearest to who I am than anyone else, and to see him grow over the book was amazing.

And really, there are people out there that don’t understand how some people have coped through fiction or even survived through it – I think this is the book I would hand them to make them understand. Because fiction, and characters, are not just on the page. I’ve spent five years loving these characters, I’ve been on their journeys through pages, and they have seen me through many of mine.

… and I’m slightly terrified to see what will happen in the last book…

Friday Thoughts: On the Power of Words

I’m reading a book at the moment (*gasp*), called Letters to the Lost – which, in all honestly, will most likely have a review on here far sooner than this post does (since I write Friday posts weeks in advance) – all about a girl who has lost her mother and a boy who lost his sister years ago and has pretty much lost himself.

The book, to me, is pretty hard hitting. I didn’t think, when starting it, that it would be so bad. After all, I’ve read a lot of books about mental health and self harm and even the terrifying Only Ever Yours, which to this day, creeps me out. And compared to many of them, this book is easy. 

Except this; grief is not an easy thing. Its often pushed away, ignored and underestimated, as shown by the main characters friends, who six months after her mothers death, don’t understand why she still struggles.

And while you know the characters in the book are not real, when you’ve struggled through your own grief and the characters coping mechanism mirror your own… its extraordinarily hard to read. Only a few chapters in, I had to pause and put the book down, because it made me feel like I could barely breath.

And just like the power of grief, the power of words is also often underestimated. Every piece of writing ever read has the power to change us. Look at Harry Potter, for example. A series that shaped an entire generation, and changed the way people look at childrens books forever.

In 1996 – a year before the first Potter book came out – the average childrens book was around 140 pages long. Ten years later, it had increased to 170, and ten years after that (2016) it had gone up to an amazing 290 pages. (information from here)

The theory is that well before Harry Potter, people believed that children would never be able to sit down for that long and just read. So they never bothered publishing long childrens books – since they were apparently less likely to sell. Then along came Harry Potter (whose first few books were relatively  short, but still far longer than the average for the time. The first book was 223 pages- about 75000 words), and suddenly they were seeing that children were sitting down and reading it, and enjoying it! And of course, the series got longer and longer- the height of it being book 5 with a whopping 257,045 words (or 766 pages). And guess what? Children were still reading it. 

Publishers suddenly saw that if the story was good and engaging, then any child would read it, without being too intimidated by the size of it.

Of course, not every long childrens book is good. Its still about quality rather than quantity, but it gave longer stories a way to finally shine.

Staying on Harry Potter for a bit longer (I mean, I am of the Potter generation, can you blame me), there was also research done that showed by reading books such as Harry Potter, it helped you become a ‘better person’ more open minded to things, less judgmental… (here) Because Potter is a story of friendship, love, good VS evil and a whole lot more. Sure, there are the the downright despicable characters (I’ve never seen a fandom like Potter, where you say Umbridge’s name and everyone hates her), but they teach you how not to be, and the lesson learnt is that if you act like Umbridge, you too could be carted off by magical creatures into a giant forest. There are the characters that bring out the arguments. Draco Malfoy, the bully of the story. We all know he was a terrible child, but, as seen in Cursed Child, forgiveness is always important. Snape – who I won’t stay on because I refuse to accept he was ever a good character, because really, a teacher should never ever bully a child. But then there are the characters we all adore. The Weasleys, who show that you should always help others and have your arms wide no matter who you are. Hermione, who for a while was seen as awful, who turned out to be loyal and smart. And Harry – a boy who had lost everything, grew up in an abusive home and still became a wonderful, lovely person.

And talking about characters – did you know that you pick up the traits of characters you identify with? (That explains so much about me, since the Weasley twins and Lila Bard are my bookish siblings…) So next time someone judges you for reading something, find them a book with a really lovely, non judgmental character and it might change their minds! (read stuff about it here)

The thing is… so many people assume that books and words are just that; pieces of dead tree inked with symbols we somehow perceive as letters.

But books well and truly shape us. Think back to your childhood favourites; to this day, I can name many of them, and I still have a whole bookshelf dedicated to most of them. And books more recent; I have another bookcase where I store all my favourites, ones I go back to time and time again, or just the ones I read that caught my heart so much I knew I would never let them go.

Sometimes we read books at the right time; Celaena, from Throne of Glass, came into my life at a time I needed her. I was tired and frightened and lost, and I remember thinking, as I read it, if she can survive then so can I. Books, and their characters and their meanings can make more of a difference to someone than most people will ever imagine.

And then there are the words that maybe the world do not see. Your own words. People say that every person has a book inside them. I disagree. I think people have their own universes inside them, ever expanding and creating and dreaming, and with every book read or written, that universe grows more and more.

But we are taught to push those worlds away. Our childhoods and teenage years are all about education. It’s reading for the sake of dissecting, rather than reading for the sake of enjoyment. Its writing for essays rather than writing for joy.

At school, many of my books would have real school work in the front, then plots and mini stories in the back. I remember having countless arguments with my English teachers, because according to them, I didn’t write correctly. Even at 14, I knew for a fact there wasn’t a correct way. Writing is personal, even fiction, and every one of us has our own style. School batters that out of you. They tell you that even creative writing has it’s own form. That your characters must be identical and your writing all the same, and they grade you on how near to their own you can write. How- how can you grade something like imagination and voice?!

My English teacher from year 10 actually told me never to bother being a writer because I couldnt write. I mean, I dont know if I can, but you can look for yourself if you want. But because I refused to conform to what school taught as ‘creative’ (eg, fitting into the box and not being creative) I was punished and put down.

Her words could have had power over me. If I wasn’t stubborn, I might have believed her and stopped writing. But while education tried to box my universe down to size, I wouldn’t let them, and I let it flourish.

It’s why you should always be careful with those words you wield; often, they have more power and punch than, well, a real punch does, because words – spoken or written – can burrow under the skin and stay there and shape people long long after they were said or the book was closed.

In Letters to the Lost, the main character writes letters to her mother even after she had died. By chance, someone else read a letter and was effected by the words. They resonated in them and he understood the pain the girl felt, even without knowing her.

Sometimes, that is why we write. Even a published author can write for themselves, not knowing who would read their words and who would understand them. Sometimes we don’t write to be heard or seen; we write because our own words can change us too. Everything we read, everything we write, it shapes all of us more than we will never know.

A Court of Wings and Ruin, Sarah J Maas

I warn you now, this is not a review. More of a thought on the series as a whole and the last book. Also, spoilers abound, so read at your own risk!

So. After many many years, we finally have a ‘series’ ending to a Maas series. I can’t remember ever reading a series in which people were so scared to read the last book – because we all know the glee Sarah has in inflicting pain and oh my god who will she kill.

And as I expected, it was just as full of pain and emotion as the rest of her books, and just like the name it has, very full of WAR. 

Not just battle-y war, but war with words and war waging inside people to find out who they are and to accept it.

It was amazing to read, because all the characters made mistakes, did things wrong, tried to put their friends before themselves (Rhys, you fool). Those characters we thought were good did bad things and the ones we thought were bad did good.

Which is awesome. I’ve lost count of the amount of books I’ve read where good stays good and bad stays bad no matter what. Where everything is black or white. Sarah has shown it in her previous books, but in this one it is really clear; every character is shades of grey. She shows how messy we all are, how messy living is, and is one of the few authors I’ve seen actually do that.

And wow, those characters. We get more of Feyres sisters, more Az (yay) more of the High Lords (who are mostly brilliant) and characters like the Bone Carver. We get more of their stories and hints of who they are and so many questions for later books.  (I still want a book about the Summer Court, so much)

And we get more of our lovely mains. Feyre, Tamlin and Rhys. And more Lucien (though still not enough!).

Don’t get me wrong – this is not my favourite of the series. That would be book two, because of the amount of growth in it and everything. This one has stepped up in the game of Smuttiest Section, with there seeming to be something in every few pages at some points and flirting at wildly inappropriate moments (aka in the library). It was still amazing though – I just felt there was less story in it than there was in the other two.

But it was still incredible.

Still as tear jerking. More so, since I think I cried twice and had tears in my eyes on at least three other occasions. The wonderful thing about Sarah’s writing is you really feel for the characters. You grow to love them and their relationships with each other, so you really feel for them when they are in danger… and thats pretty much the whole book.

All in all, it was a perfect end to the series, though I’m seriously thankful that it’s not the of the books from that world, because there are so many courts and characters to explore.

Friday Thoughts: Fangirling and Embarrassing Moments in front of Authors.

No matter who you are, there’s always that one (or two, or three…) author that you know you will completely panic about meeting. You try desperately to act ‘normal’ around them…. but you fail.

I’ve met a far few authors in the last couple of years. Thanks to working in a bookshop and events like YALC, it’s become a regular thing. So you would have thought that I would have been used to it- I mean, these people… they are just people, who happen to be really good with words (mostly).

But, yeah, my brain doesnt listen to logic like that (thankfully, authors themselves are just as bad, and fangirl over each other too) which means that I’ve embarrassed myself or been an idiot in my excitement more than once.

My most memorable one was actually the best day of my life as well, though I still internally cringe at myself for it, despite it actually being like, two years later.

I had won a competition to have afternoon tea with Sarah J Maas in London. The comp was as follows- all you had to do was be a bookseller, and email Bloomsbury with reasons why you and not someone else, should meet our Dear Queen of Fantasy.

My email read like this:

1) It’s because of Sarah and the utterly amazing character that is Celaena that I started doing archery and found something I loved
2) she had given me many sleepless nights because of the amount I read Throne of Glass, and has stolen enough of my tears to make another ocean, and she ought to have a chance to redeem herself (Or not, I mean, I am half dreading reading Queen of Shadows at the end of the year because of the TORTURE to my emotions.)
3) She is my favourite author and if it was acceptable to chase strangers down the road screaming ‘READ THESE BOOKS’ at them, I would, and I think she should know that.
4) I was on my hands and knees begging Bloomsbury for a proof copy of A Court of Thorns and Roses, and it became an instant favourite when I was on the first page (I then read it twice and almost cried when I had to give it to my colleague so she could read it)
5)I would trade anything for a chance to meet Sarah. My soul, my first born child (on pre-order) and maybe even my plans for world domination (reading. Taking over the world by reading.) Of course, what I won’t trade is Sarah’s books.

Now, what they failed to say to me before I met Sarah and her Bloomsbury Rep was that they found the email so entertaining (since most other people just wrote things like ‘I sell a lot of her books’) that the entire department of Bloomsbury had read it.

*cue embarrassment*

So when a comment came up about it (mainly, where was Sarah’s promised child)… well I’m never going to forget it.

On the actual day, though, I was so excited that when I saw Sarah walking into the place we were eating in, I stood up, held out my hand and just squeaked “You’re Sarah J Maas” as if, somehow, this bestselling author would really forget her name. I didn’t even introduce myself.

I think I was in a sheer state of bliss (mixed with lots of champagne since it was free) that day I kinda just constantly made a fool of  myself. Thankfully, at Sarah’s real event that evening, she walked into the room, spotted me and went ‘Look! These people are already my friends!’ so my idiotic didn’t seem to make that much of an impact.

Between then and july last year, there were many other author meetings, including Leigh Bardugo, but the other main one that sticks in my head is that of Non Pratt, at YALC last year.

Now, for those of you that don’t know, once a year in july, the YA book lovers of the world attempt to converge on London, to a floor above comic con that month. Along with them go many many authors, publishers, agents and anyone attempting to be bookish.

Last year, Non Pratt was among those authors. Each day she dressed as different characters (I think one of which was Kaz from Six of Crows and it was amazing). One day, she was dressed as Harry Potter, and I, dressed as Draco (from AVPM) was dared to go up to the first Potter I saw and reenact the ‘Moonshoes Potter’ scene from it.

Guess who the first Potter was I saw? Guess who also had never seen AVPM, and thus ended up looking like the most terrified author in the world? You’ve got it, the wonderful Non Pratt.

Yeah, well, I’m never showing my face around them again. Ever. Forget secondhand embarrassment, every time I remember it, it’s like I’m back there, just slowly drowning in a pool of humiliation.

It’s a good thing I gave up with dignity years ago, isn’t it?

So I may love authors and love meeting them, but it seems to go hand in hand with making a fool of yourself.

Have you ever met an author- have you ever said something to them you instantly regretted?

2016 in Books

According to Goodreads, I have read 83 books this year. But that doesn’t count rereads, and I’ve read all the Sarah J Maas books once (some of them twice. One of them maybe three times), the SoC books once, the entire Psy-Changeling series once (yes, all like, 15 of them.) and a few other of favourite series, so in total, I’ve probably read about 150 this year.

And then theres all the picture books I never put down that I’ve read (and I read a lot of the, thanks to working in a bookshop)…so lets make that more like….over 200 books? Who knows.

Maybe I ought to keep better track somehow.

The longest book I read this year was Empire of Storms- which I am still reeling from.

I also rated 16 books with 5 stars this year- EoS being one, along with ACoMaF (that’s the three times read one, if you were wondering), Blue Lily Lily Blue, Heartless, Crooked Kingdom, the V E Schwab books and The Princess Bride.

Only one book got one star from me- Low Red Moon- which was so bad I didn’t review, but did do a live blogging reading of which you can find here (along with some other entertaining reads).

Four books were marked two stars- two of which were in the same series, Snow Like Ashes. (I hoped it would getter better. It didn’t)

There have also been a few DNF this year (I should keep better track of these too) including The Book Thief, which I attemped twice, and gave up twice.

There are still a few books that I am reading- Nevernight (which is brilliant), A Monster Calls (which I am not enjoying as much as people said I would) and American Gods (which is very strange but I think I like- being only 50 pages in, I haven’t made up my mind yet)

But over all, this has been a better year for books than not- some brilliant new releases, a return to some older favourites (Even though I’m still going to pretend Cursed Child is nothing to do with Potter)  and some wonderful new authors appearing on the scene.

Here’s to next year- a year where at least three series I am reading finish (anyone else terrified for ACoWaR?) and some new beautiful editions come out (hello, nice looking Beauty and the Beast) and some interesting new books coming out.

Happy reading, everyone, and happy new year!