Top 10 Tuesday: Books Set Outside the US

Another week, another Top Ten Tuesday!

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Follow the link to find out more/how to take part.

This week’s topic is Books Set Outside The USA – which is a super easy topic for me, because that includes the majority of my bookshelf! I don’t know why, it’s not like I have an aversion to the US being a book setting – maybe it’s because I live in Britain? Or because my favourite genre is Fantasy?

So to narrow down my selection range I’m keeping this list within the known world – no fantasy lands, unless they are based in reality, e.g. Harry Potter is fantasy that happens in Britain whereas The Hobbit is fantasy that happens in Middle Earth (which is unfortunately absent from actual Earth). But I’m also excluding Harry Potter anyway because basically everyone’s read that/will pick it for list.

Anyways, here’s my list:

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  Set: Germany, WW2.

51a99tea6il-_sx317_bo1204203200_

 

  • The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. Set: Amsterdam, Holland, 1600s.

the-miniaturist-jessie-burton

 

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Set: France/Germany, WW2. Mostly St. Malo on the North coast of France – which is a beautiful place to visit.

18143977

  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Set: Lithuania, Soviet Union (WW2 Europe).

between-shades-of-gray

  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Set: London/London Below.14497

 

  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. Set: Britain (mostly – also spends time in France, Spain, Italy). 1800s.

tumblr_np4zw8hwnc1qlny4mo1_500

  • The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson. Set: South Africa, Sweden.

21094993

 

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Set: England, Victorian era.

11016-_uy200_

  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. Set: England, Victorian era.

9780141199948

 

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell. Set: Britain – although based on communist Russia.

animalfarm

 

  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Set: England, Victorian era.9780141199085

 

People who have counted might have noticed that this list contains not ten books, but eleven. *shocked gasp*. I know, I’m such a rebel.

Has anyone else read any of these? Liked them? Hated them? Please let me know!

lizard

Advertisement

Book Review: A God in Ruins

9780552776646

Author: Kate Atkinson

Read: July, 2016

Genre: Historical – WW2, Fiction

 

 

 

Review:

Summary from Goodreads:

WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA NOVEL AWARD
A God in Ruins relates the life of Teddy Todd – would-be poet, heroic World War II bomber pilot, husband, father, and grandfather – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.

This gripping, often deliriously funny yet emotionally devastating book looks at war – that great fall of Man from grace – and the effect it has, not only on those who live through it, but on the lives of the subsequent generations. It is also about the infinite magic of fiction.Those who loved the bestselling Life After Life will recognise Teddy as Ursula Todd’s adored younger brother – but for those who have not read it, A God in Ruins stands fully on its own.

This book grew on me. I feel that it started out a little slow; the second section “Alouette” about Teddy’s childhood was rather meandering and uneventful, but still interesting and effective at establishing most of the main characters in Teddy’s life. After this section, the others were a lot more engaging and flitted between various points in Teddy’s long life – his experiences in WW2, the immediate aftermath, his married life, his daughter Viola growing up, his grandchildren, his old age. The scale of the novel’s story is quite impressive, and I admire how Atkinson has managed to distil an entire life into the pages of her book.

The omnipresent narrative took me a while to get used to – it’s weird reading about a child and being given information about his future daughter, but ultimately this style of weaving different threads of time together it what makes A God in Ruins so brilliant. It connects the dots between time period and generations of a family. It highlights the repercussions of history, most specifically the impact of WW2 on both the individual (Teddy) and wider society. It’s compassionate but honest in its depiction of its characters and their flaws, about life in general.

Overall, A God in Ruins struck me as being a book about consequences – of history, of our actions, of our emotions. It’s a beautiful book that had me shedding a few tears, especially in the scenes about (SPOILER! SPOILER!) Teddy’s wife, Nancy, dealing with her illness and the eventual end of her life.

Honestly, I recommend it for everyone.

Best Quote/s:

“One’s own life seemed puny against the background of so much history.”

“Moments left, Teddy thought. A handful of heartbeats. That was what life was. A heartbeat followed by a heartbeat. A breath followed by a breath. One moment followed by another moment and then there was a last moment.”

 

Has any else read this book? Thoughts? I’d love to hear them!

lizard

The Friday 56

Wooo! It’s Friday!

And therefore time for another Friday 56, which is a weekly book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Go check it out! I’ll leave the rules here in case anyone else want’s to take part:

Rules:Friday 56
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

 

So this week I chose… (*insert drum-roll*)

….The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson! This book is hilarious, I highly recommend it. Nombeko is an amazing protagonist.

21094993

 

 

The engineer glared at his cleaning woman. She was being impudent again. It was enough to make a person crazy. Especially since she was always right. 

That damned creature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Has any one else read this book? Please let me know!

lizard

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag!

Hey guys! So I was tagged by the delightful icebreaker694 to do the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag, which freaks me out itself because where is this year going? Icebreaker694’s blog exists here and you should go check it out, it’s really good. 🙂

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2016:

Just one? Well, I recently did a post about my Favourite Books of 2016 So Far, but I guess that if I absolutely had to pick one…. Nope. Still stuck. I’m just going to make this jointly between The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

ravenkingcoverjpg9780141199085

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2016:

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray. This was well worth the long wait and even better than it’s predecessor, The Diviners. Can’t wait to see where this series goes next. For those of you who are interested, it’s a paranormal/historical set in 1920s New York.

16060716

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To:

A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab. I loved the first book and I keep seeing really positive reviews about the sequel, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Can’t wait!

9780765376473_custom-beb32b59122501248f3146f1e29b7cf8608e94b4-s400-c85

Most Anticipated Release fro the Second Half of the Year:

CROOKED KINGDOM BY LEIGH BARDUGO. I NEED THIS MORE THAN OXYGEN.

22299763

Biggest Disappointment of 2016 So Far:

Emma by Jane Austen. Sorry Austen fans, but I shall hang my head in shame. I just wasn’t feeling it. It’s not put me off though – I’m going to leave it a while but I definitely want to get around to reading another of Austen’s works.

9780141199528

 

Biggest Surprise:

The Chimes by Anna Smaill. Honestly, this was an impulse buy based on an interesting synopsis and lovely cover. No regrets! Quirkiest dystopian I’ve ever read.

WP_20160509_10_09_57_Rich (2)

Favourite New Author:

Virginia Woolf. Who technically isn’t new – quite the opposite in fact – but who was new to me this year. I’m definitely going to read more of her work.

 

Newest Fictional Crush:

So I finally got around to reading Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo this year. I read Smoke and Bone a long time ago and whilst I didn’t dislike it I wasn’t exactly wowed either, so I thought I wouldn’t continue with the series. Then Six of Crows happened. One of my favourite premises for a book is: fantasy thieves. Honestly, write that on a book and I’ll buy it. Which is what happened with Six of Crows, which is now sitting on my favourites shelf because it is that brilliant.17415685-_uy200_

So after reading Six of Crows I thought I’d give the Grisha trilogy another go, picking up Siege and Storm. It’s still not amazing, but not bad either – I liked it more than book one. But you know what I loved about it? (*insert dreamy sigh*) Nikolai Lantsov. He gets all the best quotes in this book:

“When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable.”

“Anything worth doing starts as a bad idea.”

 

Newest Favourite Character:

Ling Chan from Lair of Dreams. Such a bad-ass. Such a genius. Such a lovable character.

 

Book That Made You Cry:

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. To be honest every time I read a book by this genius I end up sobbing at one point. Also, a perfect excuse to use my favourite gif!

giphy

 

Favourite Book to Film Adaptation:

Room. This film hit me with the feels, I was crying. Again.

giphy

 

Favourite Post I’ve Done This Year:

The Bookish Time Travel Tag. My first Tag! If you want to take part, feel free!

 

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year:

The Muse by Jessie Burton, literally three days ago. I got the hardcover. It’s stunning. The pages are red. I think this is what love feels like.

WP_20160712_15_08_12_Rich (2)

 

What Book Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year:

Besides all of them…? Probably Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. It’s been on my TBR shelf for ages and I know I’m probably going to really love it, but I keep putting it off. It’s on this month’s TBR though, so hopefully.

WP_20160703_13_07_34_Pro (2)

I Tag:

Readilyambitions

AJ @ Rather Quite Lovely

Av8tor1988 @ Inside My Minds

imyril @ x + 1

The Fourth Month

If you’ve already done this tag – sorry! If I haven’t tagged you and you want to take part just imagine that your blog appeared on the list above and go for it anyway. Thanks again to icebreaker694 for tagging me!

So what about you guys? Has anyone read any of these books? Anyone want to read any of these? Thoughts? Please let me know!

lizard

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Sequels Wanted!

Hello! This week’s T5W topic is: “Stand-alone’s that you wish had a sequel or the last118368 book in the series that you wish wasn’t the last.”  T5W is a weekly book meme and you can find the Goodreads group here, if you would like to find out more or join in.

Any self-respecting bookworm will have suffered from a condition sometimes referred to as “Book Hangover”. It is the experience of feeling bereft after finishing a really amazing book. It is best cured by the consumption of another great book, but, alas, when compared to the book that created the problem in the first place, it is often difficult to find a book up to the task.

This is where sequels come in handy. If you finish a book and begin to feel a book hangover coming on, you can grab the sequel and continue on with the same characters, story, author – it’s not always guaranteed to be as good as its predecessor, but it usually helps.

But a lot of great books are stand alone. And all series have to end at some point. So here are my top 5 books that I wish had sequels:

  • Seraphina/Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman. I want more! This fantasy duology about dragons is brilliant, engaging and very original. The second book wasn’t as great as the first, the plot wasn’t as focused, but I would love to know more about these characters.

 

  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I just loved this book and want to spend more time in London Below.

 

  • Faery Rebels series by R J Anderson. I mentioned this series on last week’s Top Ten Tuesday for underrated books and I seriously want a conclusion to it! The first trilogy ended very neatly, but the ones after it – Swift and Nomad – felt like part of a larger story that never appeared.

books-904x529

 

  • Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. One of my favourite books of all time. I would love a sequel!

 

  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. How cool would a book about a modern day Night Circus be? Just think about that for a second, if you will.

 

So what are your desperately wanted sequels? Or do prefer stand-alone’s? Please let me know!

lizard

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday: Facts About Me

Hello! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is facts about yourself. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish – for more details click here.

To be honest I find myself quite boring, but here are some things you probably don’t need to know about me anyway:

  • I’m a vegetarian. Gotta love them greens! When I was younger I was really fussy about what meat I ate and what animals it came from. If I though the animal was too cute I wouldn’t eat it. Eventually, when I was about twelve, I realised that attitude wasn’t fair and I started to be become a lot more aware about some of the animal cruelty that occurs in parts of the farming industry, so I decided to be vegetarian. First month or so was a bit tricky, but after that it’s been quite easy.

 

  • I’m left handed, which means a few hundred years ago I would have been accused of witch-craft and possibly burned at the stake. And my hand writing is pants.

 

  • My favourite colours are purple and turquoise. Aren’t they pretty?

 

  • Star Sign is Libra. I don’t really consider the whole star sign thing all that accurate, but it’s always annoyed me how it has such a boring symbol: the scales. I want to be a Leo, at least they get to be represented by a lion! RAWR!

 

 

  • Clumsy. I fall over ALL THE TIME! Often in public. I drop things. I walk into things. I break things. Once, I whacked my head off of a Mind Your Head sign in a bookstore. And then tripped up the stairs because I was in that much of a hurry to flee the scene of my humiliation.

giphy

 

  • I want to travel when I’m older. Preferably everywhere, but especially around the rest of Europe – which might not be quite so easy by the time I get round to it, thanks Brexit! (*insert severe sarcasm*)

 

  • I wear glasses! My eyesight’s not that bad actually, I’m only a little short sighted. But I love wearing my glasses because I think they’re cute and they work with the nerdy librarian aesthetic I’m going for. As in, lots of woolly cardigans, floral prints, and brogues.

 

  • My favourite animals are owls, penguins, and otters. Weirdly not lizards, but I do have a soft spot for them.

 

  • Currently, there are 250 books on my bookshelves.

 

  • I’m a Ravenclaw, and was just recently sorted into Thunderbird for my Ilvermorny house on Pottermore. Which means I’m a nerdy adventurer basically, which is a 100% accurate description of me. Ironically though I hate heights and flying.  🙂

proud-ravenclawpm_ilvermorny_house_crest_thunderbird

What about you guys? Any cool facts?

lizard

Favourite Books of 2016 So Far

Hello fellow bookworms! Where is the year going? I want a do over!

I’ve not read that many books this year – 27 out of 55 on my Goodreads challenge, but I have read a lot of books this year that I’ve really loved. Quality over quantity I guess? Anyways, here are my favourite reads of 2016 so far:

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (review here – my first for this blog!).

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater.

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare.

The Chimes by Anna Smaill (review here).

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (review here).

9780141199085ravenkingcoverjpg160607169781444794502img_029925614492

 

Blue seems to be this year’s cover colour for me… 🙂

How is everyone else’s year in reading going? Has any else read any of these? Please let me know!

lizard

 

The Bookish Time Travel Tag!

Time is an illusion. – Albert Einstein
time_travel_quote

Hello! Anyone else love time travel? 🙂

Basically, I’ve come up with ten questions around the theme of time travel about books and I thought I’d try and turn it into a book tag. Here are the rules:

  • Answer as many of the questions as you can/want.
  • Tag other people – as many as you like. Share the love!
  • Please leave a link to this post/blog. 
  • Tag the post as “Bookish Time Travel”.
  • Feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments!
  • Explore! Try and visit other people’s Bookish Time Travel posts and leave a comment.

 

The Questions:

1. What is your favourite historical setting for a book?

The Victorian era – I find it fascinating! The weird culture and social rules, the rigid class system, the rapid expansion of industry, poverty, gender inequality, the clothes (I wish I could wear a top hat as part of my everyday wardrobe)… Plus, there’s lots of good historical fiction or even fantasy/paranormal set in this time period and quite a few of my favourite classics are from the Victorian era as well.

2.What writer/s would you like to travel back in time to meet?

The Bronte sisters. I’ve read some of their work and loved it, so I feel like they’d be really interesting people to meet and have a cup of tea with. 🙂

Also, Shakespeare. I’d thank him for his sonnets, ask him to write an autobiography so we could know some half decent facts about him that aren’t all vague conjecture, and steal an unpublished copy of one of his plays so I can magically “find” it in the future and become rich.

3.What book/s would you travel back in time and give to your younger self?

cone_of_shame*hides face in shame* The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I haven’t read it yet. Or, more accurately, I read the first twenty pages of the first book and gave up about two years ago.

I wish I’d been given it when I was about ten/eleven-ish – I feel that version of myself would have loved it a lot more than this version of myself. Not that I think books should be the-lord-of-the-rings-book-coverrestricted to certain age groups – I still read children’s books with 0% shame – but I feel like different versions of ourselves like/liked different things or appreciate them more. At that age I was just beginning to fall in love with books, especially fantasy, so I feel younger me would have loved The Lord of the Rings. When I tried reading it a few years ago, it just wasn’t clicking – I kept thinking about how I wished I’d read it sooner, so I think the regret/nostalgia kind of ruined the experience. However, I do want to give Lord of the Rings another go – as a lover of fantasy, it seems a bit bizarre that I haven’t.

4.What book/s would you travel forward in time and give to your older self?

alice_in_wonderlandWeird question, I know. But what I meant by it was more along the lines of – what book do you want to remind your older self of because it was really important to you? For me, it would be Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It’s been one of my favourites for years; I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve reread it. I think it’s important to never stop being curious or exploring – once that’s gone, you’ve lost your sense of wonder and that’s just too precious to lose and I feel that Alice really captures that.

5.What is your favourite futuristic setting from a book? E.g. Panem from The Hunger Games (said no one ever).

13541378

 

This one’s tricky, because most futuristic societies are corrupt/evil, but I’m picking the setting from Sarah Crossan’s Breathe/Resist Duology. I mean, sure there’s hardly any oxygen left, but it seems pretty cool otherwise?

 

 

 

6.What is your favourite book that is set in a different time period 51a99tea6il-_sx317_bo1204203200_(can be historical or futuristic)?

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It’s set in Nazi Germany. Narrated by Death. It’s amazing. I cried. Repeatedly. Go read it.

 

7.Spoiler Time: Do you ever skip ahead to the end of a book just to see what happens?

….Very occasionally. I used to do it a lot more when I was younger and impatient, but now I only ever do it with books that I’m not enjoying all that much and want to finish quickly to see if it’s worthwhile continuing with it. Last time I did this was with Emma by Jane Austen, which I unfortunately didn’t like because I clearly have no taste in good literature, and I reviewed here.

 

8.If you had a Time Turner, where would you go and what would you do?

For understandable reasons, everyone’s tempted to go kill Hitler. But I’d make a shit assassin, so I think I’ll leave that up to someone else.

Personally, I kind of stumped myself with this question. There’s obviously things I regret or wish never happened, but if I changed them would I not be changing a bunch of other stuff as well by accident? Like if I went back and stopped ten year old me from splitting her head after falling off her chair because she was swinging on it, would I have learned to stop swinging on my chair? What if because nothing bad happened I kept on doing it and ended up getting hurt worse later on? Problems!

So I guess I wouldn’t change anything, but I would use it like an interactive history lesson instead and go back to the Victorian era. Just take notes. Wear a top hat.

 

9.Favourite book (if you have one) that includes time travel or takes place in multiple time periods?

bone2bclocks2bhb-ps-u416

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. Such. A. Great. Book! This one is a favourite of mine and is actually six novellas that all sort of follow the main character, Holly Sykes, but from differing viewpoints (only the first and the last POVs are Holly’s). Each novella occurs in a different time period.

 

 

 

10. What book/series do you wish you could go back and read again for the first time?

harry_potter_and_the_half-blood_prince

I was trying to think of something to say other than Harry Potter, because it’s so popular and I think a lot of people would want to go back and read it again for the first time, but I can’t. So, my answer’s the Harry Potter series, for reasons that will be obvious for anyone who’s ever read it.

 

 

 

I’m Tagging:

If I’ve tagged you and you don’t want to take part – that’s totally okay! I just thought it would be fun to attempt to start a book tag of my own, especially because I love the theme of time travel. Also, if I haven’t tagged you and you want to take part – do it! Just make sure you leave a link to your post or blog in the comments so I can find it. 🙂

HAPPY TIME TRAVELLING,

lizard

The Friday 56

This is my first shot at doing Friday 56, which is a weekly book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. I’ve seen a few other posts about it and thought it looked cool, so here goes!

Firstly, the rules, for anyone else who wants to join in:


simples_fb_1567463

*Grab a book, any book                                                                                  *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.

 

ravenkingcoverjpg

So I picked Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven King, the conclusion to one of my favourite book series, and here’s the quote from page 56:

Gansey was still talking into his phone. “No, traffic is nonexistent unless it’s a bingo night.”

Any else love this series?

lizard