Top 5 Wednesday – Classes Based On Books

  • The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

I chose this one because I feel like all of the gang in this book help to teach Vin the skills of a Mistborn, so that could be a pretty good class!

  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

I read this one a while ago, but I remember the main character (I’ve forgotten her name…) having very good skills in military tactics, which could be an interesting class. I still haven’t got around to reading the rest of this trilogy, by the way. Why am I so awful at persevering with series?!

  • Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia/Daughter Of Smoke And Bone by Laini Taylor

Both Eliza and Karou are brilliant at art, so they could team up and teach an art class! It could work really well, combining Karou’s kind of mythological creatures style with a comic book style like Eliza’s.

  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Catherine in this book had one dream- to open a cake shop. This book opens with a mouthwatering description of her baking, and we are also constantly reminded (and made hungry) during the rest of the book when she continues to pursue her passion. She would make a great cookery teacher, and I think she would love to pass on her love for baking to others!

  • How To Stop Time by Matt Haig

This might be cheating, because the main character in this book is already a history teacher. However, he isn’t just any history teacher, he has been alive for hundreds and hundreds of years. A history class with him would probably be very insightful and like no other!

This was quite a hard list to compile. I think this may be because a lot of books, mainly YA, don’t tend to showcase or give insight into what the characters like doing in their day to day lives, they instead completely revolve around something out of the ordinary. This of course makes for a fast paced plot, but a book can leave a lot more of a mark if it is easy to connect to the characters and stay rooting for them, which means they have to have more depth.

Leave any books with a character with a hobby or passion in the comments below!


September TBR

Wow, I cannot believe how fast the year is going. I’m off to Sixth Form this month, so I’m not sure how much time I will have to read or how much reading I’ll be set for school so this TBR is not set in stone by any means. I am aiming to try and get back into book blogging, so hopefully a lot more content will go up this month. Also, I want to read more of everyone else’s posts, as I feel like I haven’t been doing that at all recently, and I really want to try engage with the book blogging community a lot more.

  • They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

So something really exciting happened- I got approved for my first ARC!!!!! I can’t believe that actually happened. I will definitely be reading this as soon as possible, the premise sounds fantastic and I have heard great things about the author’s work.

  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This book is one of the reasons this TBR is going to be fairly short. Just reading the first couple of pages I was hooked, so I really want to try and make this one a priority this month, even though it is definitely intimidating.

  • The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

I really feel like I should have read this by now, which is a sign I need to get to it very soon. This is a book that everyone apart from me seems to have read, which definitely makes me want to read it even more- I feel like I’m missing out.

  • The Flame in the Mist by Renée Adieh

I have already started this and so far I am liking it, although at the moment it isn’t wowing me. Although I am so in love with the setting, I find Japanese culture fascinating, and something I want to read a lot more about.

I also have a couple of books to read for school:

  • The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carre
  • The Berlin Wall by Fredrick Taylor

Making this TBR has made me so excited for the month ahead, hopefully I will get through some, if not all, of these books, and review them!

Hope you all have a great reading month,




July Wrap Up

I am very disappointed with the number of books I read this month. I was expecting to read a lot more because my exams are over, it’s the summer holidays, and I didn’t even limit myself with a tbr. However, this has just proved to me my need for a tbr. I read a lot more with one, even if I don’t stick to it. I think I just like to have some kind of guide or aim, otherwise I don’t end up getting to the books I want to. I did read some quite long books though, and gained some new favourites, so it wasn’t all bad!

  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt

I loved this book. The characters were so flawed and very easy to hate, but that was kind of the point. I found the structure very interesting, as in the first chapter you know who is murdered, but this really added something interesting to the novel as a whole. However I think the second half got quite slow, and for me I think it could have been paced a bit better, however this might not be a problem for you. But still DEFINITELY recommended, well worth reading for sure!

4 stars

  • Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

This book was just so much fun. I needed something light and fast to read after reading The Secret History. Vengeance Road was the perfect one for me to pick up, I flew through it. Recommended if you are looking for a fun, action packed YA read that isn’t afraid to be a bit brutal at times.

4 stars

  • The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

This book completely blew me away. I thought it might be a bit too much of a leap for me because I haven’t read a lot of adult fantasy in the past, but I was so wrong! It was an incredible reading experience, and the magic system was just fascinating to read about. This book totally opened up a whole genre to me and I will definitely be reading more Sanderson books and fantasy books in general. A new favourite, recommended!

5 stars, review here

  • Our Dark Duet by VE Schwab

I am sad to say that this was a huge disappointment, and it was probably my fault. I found this so hard to get into, which I think is partly if not mainly because I had no idea what was going on because I had completely forgotten what happened in the first book. However even when I got a grasp of what was happening, I found it boring and quite anticlimactic, despite the shocking ending. Please don’t rely on my review, I can’t really judge it on my experience and I don’t want you to either!

3 stars

Wow, this post is so late coming up, but I hope you enjoyed it anyway 🙂 TBR coming soon!


What makes a great fantasy book? – The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson Review

I finished this book yesterday and all I can say is…wow.

Well actually, that’s not true as I am now going to write a whole blog post about it 😛

I am going to start by just briefly summarising what this book is about, although it seems like most people know a lot about it already. This book follows a character called Vin who was brought up by her brother Reen, who has always taught her never to trust anyone and that everyone will betray you in the end. They live in the Final Empire, a world which is full of Mist and where it rains ash, and where the Dark Lord has already won. But one day Vin gets the oppurtunity to fight for freedom, and is led to discover who she really is.

When I first picked up this book, I was hugely intimidated. There are bigger books out there but in all fairness, this one is over 600 pages long and it looks terrifying. However, before long I was entirely absorbed and turning the pages as fast as possible, whilst wondering how on earth is this so compelling.

The conclusion I came to is that it is all to do with the characters. Well, not entirely, but I am going to start by discussing them, as it is one of the most integral factors. A while ago I read the Hobbit. That book took me over a month to read. I think it is fair to say that definitely scared me off attempting the Lord of the Rings, or epic fantasy in general. I am in no way belittling the importance and greatness of Tolkein’s work, although I would like to use it to discuss the characters. In the hobbit there are a large number of characters which are followed throughout the novel, but there is very little definition between each character. For me, its an impossible challenge to name all the dwarves, and I felt no connection or empathy towards Bilbo either. In the Final Empire, there is also a fairly large team of characters that we follow, but I would have no trouble naming all of the main group as well as a number of side characters. They feel individual and real and I really really cared about what happened to them, especially Vin, out main character, and Kelsier.

For me, the roundedness of characters is the thing that keeps me hooked to a book, and without it I won’t even begin to feel involved in the complex fantasy world that is being created, because I just won’t care enough. The world will mean nothing to me unless I can relate to it through a character. Which brings me to talk about Harry Potter. The world that is created here is so entirely relatable to anyone. It is complex in a different way to the Lord of the Rings or the Final Empire because the Harry Potter universe is completely connected to our world. This is what keeps people coming back to those books time and time again, because it is completely linked to our world but offers a fantasy version to escape to. Plus the characters are well rounded and relatable.

One of the things that stands out the most about the Final Empire is the magic system. It is so complex but somehow also believable. It is brought in very subtly rather than just dumped all at once in a few pages, which is the downfall of many books because it always turns a fascinating idea into something the reader has to trudge through and will probably end up forgetting. So this brings us to two vital points about what makes a good fantasy book: A complex world/magic system, but also one which is brought in slowly and revealed to the reader, without any info dumping. When we talk about world building, a book series which will always come to mind is the Lord of the Rings/the Tolkien world in general. Tolkein’s books are a masterclass in world building, which in my view is what made them timeless, along with them being the first fantasy books ever. In my opinion, the Final Empire completely ticked the box of world building without info dumping, because not once did I feel overwhelmed with information, but at the same time I felt awed by the huge world and magic system that had been created in my head without me even realising it.

My last point I would like to make is about battles and action scenes. I find these extremely tedious a lot of the time for the simple reason that I don’t care enough about what is happening. I think in order to have a battle scene that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, they have to be really really invested in what is happening, the stakes have to be high, and the actual fighting has to be interesting for some reason. The Final Empire did all of these things. There were no unnecessary fighting scenes, each one was there for a reason. This means that on every one, the stakes were incredibly high and I just really wanted to know what was going to happen. Coming to the actual fighting, it was honestly fascinating to read. The magic was so clever that each time it was used, it seemed like an art in itself. Also, the plot was very unpredictable, and when I got to the end and thought back at what I had read, I realised that it was something that would have been impossible to foresee from the start. I think this is a very important factor to see in a fantasy book.

To give a mini review of the Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, I would simply say it checked all the boxes of a great fantasy book. The characters were realistic and flawed, which made them perfection and people you really want to root for. The world building and magic system were stunning and completely fascinating to read about. This is a book that I couldn’t put down, had a perfect balance of different elements including a dash of humour. I would definitely say this is one of my favourite books of all time. I can’t wait to read the rest of the trilogy!

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I’d love to hear your fantasy recommendations in the comments, as well as your thoughts on what makes a great fantasy novel!



Persuasion by Jane Austen – Why is it a classic?

So this is a new series of posts I will be doing for who knows how long. I struggle to review classics because they are classics for a reason, and therefore they usually seem impossible to criticise. Then I thought, hang on a minute, that could be a post! Instead of writing a review I could just summarise why the book is a classic…so that is what I am doing. After I read a classic I will read up on it in order to really understand it and then combine that with my own impressions. That way it will help you to see if this one might be your next favourite book!

One of the trademarks of a Jane Austen book is the humour. And Persuasion definitely has that, despite not being an entirely cheerful book. Jane Austen has a way of subtly sneaking humour into her dialogue in order to poke fun at a certain character. We see traits exaggerated in characters and see how they play off each other, which creates more humour and highlights the trait so that the reader can see how ridiculous it really is. For example, Sir Walter’s superficial views are exaggerated to be comical. Austen then puts this in contrast with Anne, who is a lot more able to see what is below the surface and values more than beauty and money. This means that the reader ends up mocking Sir Walter and his obsession with class-climbing and appearances, and therefore in extension making fun of the aristocracy of Regency England itself.

The novel is named Persuasion for a reason, even if Jane Austen herself didn’t actually give it that name. There is a running theme of persuasion throughout the book. From the beginning we learn that Anne had been persuaded not to marry Captain Wentworth by Lady Russell. As the novel goes on, there end up being more and more circumstances of characters being persuaded to do or to not do something, which causes the reader to consider whether it is bad to be led by other people’s advice or not. There are circumstances of both sides in the book, which ends up exploring the idea of persuasion but leaves it to the reader to decide where they stand.

An interesting structural point is that the novel is like a sequel would typically be. The event of Anne falling in love with Captain Wentworth and then being persuaded not to marry him happens before the book begins. This is an interesting point because it means that in the novel, this main event is thought of as being in the past, which allows Austen to explore the idea of whether we should always hang onto the past. Anne doesn’t forget the events that happen before this book and we see her anxiety on having to meet Captain Wentworth again after so long, which proves that she is still clinging to the past and hasn’t moved on. Therefore the rest of the book shows whether or not her past hopes are fulfilled, and if this book is an ending or a beginning.

Persuasion is definitely a classic worth reading. It has a great balance of humour mixed with angst and regret. Austen questions the superficial ideas of the class system and also allows the reader to consider the idea of persuasion and whether we should allow ourselves to be led by other people’s advice or not. It is a delight to follow Anne Elliot who has already had an experience that could be the focus of a book, but instead this novel shows what comes after and explores the idea of whether we should allow the past to stay with us, or instead move on. In my opinion this is one of Jane Austen’s greatest books (although Emma and P&P remain my favourites).


Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – Review

Lazlo Strange has always been fascinated by the lost city of Weep. But as an orphan and junior librarian, no one takes him seriously. Then, one day, the Godslayer arrives and Lazlo has a chance to live his dream for real and visit Weep. Many questions are answered on his arrival but hundreds of times more questions appear, including the question of the identity of a woman with blue skin who keeps appearing in his dreams and seems more real than is possible.

Something I have to begin by praising is the sheer scope of imagination in this book. This is particularly evident in the creation of the powers of the godspawn, especially Sarai’s. The whole idea with the moths (I won’t go into it, its nice to be able to discover everything for yourself in this book) is simply out of this world. Everything in this book is so brilliantly weird it is beautiful. Sometimes I have to stop and think how on earth did  the writer even come up with this stuff? But then it is Laini Taylor. However, nothing seemed out of place, it all seemed credible in the world that was created. It was so vivid and magical, a joy to read.

The writing did great credit to the wonderful ideas in the book. It just fit the beautiful nature of it all, replicating the weirdness and the beauty of the world through the descriptions, which were never dull to read. I wouldn’t say the descriptive nature was too much in this case, although it might be for some people, depending on what you enjoy reading. Personally for me, it was right on the verge of being too much but it was just on the right side of the border between completely taking over the plot and characters and balancing with them to create a nice harmony, which it did. I also didn’t think there were too many metaphors, or that the metaphors were too out of place, which can happen very easily in books (e.g. Caraval by Stephanie Garber).

The characters were so real and fascinating to read about. Lazlo was just such a likeable character, a nice break from all the really brave and tough main characters and instead realistically ambitious but not without fear. He was someone you really want to root for and in my opinion never got annoying. The godspawn were also all so realistic. Each one was so individual and they felt like real people, rather being overly consistent and predictable as so many fictional characters turn out to be. Sometimes inconsistency is good; in real life people don’t remain the same and always stick to everything they say and every opinion they state. I felt like these characters were definitely real and not just cardboard cut outs. They also weren’t all likeable all the time, Lazlo gave the reader someone to back throughout the novel but the others were sometimes less so.

I did have a few criticisms, however. I don’t by any means see this as a perfect novel. I would definitely not praise the ending; I thought it took an interesting direction but there are so many other ways it could have gone and been a lot more interesting and had more at stake. I also think it dragged a bit through the middle, and I think the dream scenes added a lot of interest but other things did come to a bit of a standstill and the ending wasn’t strong enough to drag me back in and be more dedicated to the story. The book definitely could have been cut down by a hundred pages or so, without losing the beautiful dreamy effect and writing. I felt that it didn’t quite live up to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, where it felt like there was a lot more at stake even in the first book. However, the beginning of this one was extremely promising and to begin with I thought it might be better than that series.

In short, I loved this book. Everything about it was beautiful, so imaginative and weird and wonderful. The characters burst out of the pages and the writing complimented the story and the world. My criticism would be that the plot began to move a bit too slowly in the middle and it needed something to just keep interest going, and the ending wasn’t quite enough to redeem it. I think the stakes needed to be a bit higher; I just didn’t feel invested enough. It was very good, just not quite Daughter of Smoke and Bone good. But still worth reading.

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June Wrap Up

I usually do a Wrap Up and a TBR but I’ve decided not to do a TBR this time as I have recently found that I tend to read more if I don’t plan what to read, and instead just pick up any book that interests me at the time. My reading was slightly limited to the second half of the month because of my exams during the first half of June, however I still read 5 books, so lets get into it!

  • Fairest by Marissa Meyer  –  5 stars

This seriously impressed me. I wasn’t sure what to expect, whether this novella would be a bit of a half hearted addition to a very successful series, but in fact it absolutely reached the standard of the Lunar Chronicles. I had to give it 5 stars, awarded for its interesting examination of a villain which isn’t seen a lot in books, especially not in YA. It was also very gripping and it completely absorbed me from start to finish. I definitely recommend reading this as part of the Lunar Chronicles series as it definitely stands its ground as a worthy part of the series.

  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – 4 stars

This book is an absolutely adorable YA contemporary which I would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a light, enjoyable summer read. However, it offers even more than your average cute contemporary. One, it surpasses any other I’ve read in terms of cuteness and two it is outright hilarious in parts. But perhaps the most stand out thing about this book is its perspective, being based around two Indian American teens. This isn’t a perspective I have read from before and it was very eye opening in terms of learning about the tradition of arranged marriages and also just experiencing a perspective that is explored very little in YA. I deducted a star only because of the predictability of some of the plot, but honestly it isn’t a huge fault and I would still without a doubt recommend it. It was the ideal book for me to come across during my exams.

Full review

  • Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – 5 stars

Wow, this book was an emotional rollercoaster. The plot in this book was just jam packed with twists that I never saw coming, despite how many there were being thrown my way. The characters were awesome, challenging their roles in society and just generally being amazing. I can’t decide whether I preferred this to Illuminae, to be honest both were brilliant and if you haven’t read this series yet I strongly advise that you do. If you feel intimidated by the sci fi aspect, don’t be, because I never read sci fi, these may be some of the first sci fi books I have read but I had no trouble getting involved in the stories and enjoying them.

Full review

  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – 4 stars

I actually finished this on the 1st of July, but I read the majority of the book in June. To begin with I adored this book as much as the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. This book is endlessly imaginative and literally, a dream. However, there were some aspects I began to find fault with as the book went on, which I will discuss in my full review, which I will post tomorrow. Overall, I loved it. Just not quite up to the impossibly high standards set by Laini Taylor’s other books.

Full review to come

  • Persuasion by Jane Austen – 5 stars

How could this not be 5 stars. This is the first of the many classics I will be reading this summer and in short, I loved it. It was honestly really involving and I loved the maturity of Anne, the lead character. I don’t think it is my favourite Austen, that would have to go to either P&P or Emma, but I still loved it and I enjoyed the themes. I will discuss the themes more in an upcoming post, not a review, more of a run down of what makes it a classic, which I will be doing with most of the classics I read in the next few months. I’d love to hear opinions on which Austen book is your favourite, as it would be interesting to see which is the most popular.

What was your favourite book you read in June? Have you read any of the books I read this month? Which was your favourite?