Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Favourite Books of 2014!

Hello & Happy New Year's Eve! I hope you're looking forward to the prospect of a new year, new goals, and that you stay safe tonight whatever you're doing to celebrate! I made a little list of the books that I read for the first time this year that stood out to me the most, trying not to think about it too much because otherwise it would be a very long list! Aaand without further ado here they are...
B by Sarah Kay
Small in size and in length, but inside is a beautiful poem that has been so fabulously illustrated and packs a big punch. I'm very happy to have this on my shelf because there's something so very comforting about it every time I read it. 

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St John Mandel 
I'm currently reading Station Eleven and so far it has confirmed my suspicions that I may have found a new author to add to my favourites list. Last Night in Montreal is atmospheric and beautifully constructed, I'm so glad I overlooked the slightly naff cover and chose to pick it up one day.
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
I won't say too much because I've rambled on about this book so much you're probably tired of seeing me mention it. The longest book I've read this year and my absolute favourite! If it sounds like your kind of book, it's absolutely worth the time commitment! 

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
A classic on my University reading list that I really didn't think I'd enjoy, but I was hooked from the very first sentence. This novel has taught me to seek out books that feel like they would be out of my comfort zone because I might just be pleasantly surprised. And I must read more of Du Maurier's work very soon.
The Listeners by Leni Zumas
I found this to be an incredibly immersive novel that reveals as much as you're willing to look for. There's the surface level story, but there are so many layers underneath it and I just know that the more I revisit it again in the future, the more of its secrets it's going to let go. Next year I want to find more novels like this!

Honourable Mentions: 
  1. Just Kids by Patti Smith
  2. More Than This by Patrick Ness
  3. Wonder by R.J Palacio 
I'd absolutely love to know what your favouite books of 2014 were in the comments below and I'll be sure to check them out over the next couple of days because I love recommendations!


P.S. I'm going to be tinkering with my layout a little over the next couple of days, so I apologise in advance if you've stopped by and things look a little wonky! 

P.P.S. Happy New Year!

P.P.P.S. I'm beyond excited to up my book blogging game in 2015! I'll see you soon!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Book A Day Challenge #19 | Travelling Home Reading This

Day Nineteen - Travelling home reading this...
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
It's not one of my favourite books, but for some wintery sweetness I don't think it's possible to go too far wrong with Dash & Lily!

Which book would you choose to read travelling home for Christmas?


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Book A Day Challenge #18 | Massive Tome

Day Eighteen - Massive tome...
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
I'm sure my choice today won't come as much of a surprise. You must know I've been looking for a way to squeeze this novel into the challenge somewhere - it's my favourite read of the whole year and I don't ever want to stop talking about it. I'd even go so far as to say that if you asked me what my favourite novel is, there's a good chance this would be my answer even though really that's a bit of an impossible question! The Luminaries is huge but it's SO worth the time investment, I promise!


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Book A Day Challenge #17 | A Funny Read

Day Seventeen - A funny read...

Fortunately The Milk... by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell make a perfect team here!


Questions About Books & Reading #4 | Bookmas Day Seventeen

39. What distracts you easily when you're reading?
Pretty much any noise, especially if the TV is on. 

40. Favourite film adaptation of a novel?
I think they got The Perks of Being a Wallflower very right.

41. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Oh gosh, I'm not sure. I don't think I've seen many where I've also read the book.

42. The most money you've ever spent in a bookstore at one time?
Probably not very much, I usually buy a couple of books at a time but I don't think I've ever purchased a lot at once. 

43. How often do you skim a book before buying it?
Mostly never.

44. What would cause you to stop reading a book half way through?
Only if I really disliked the story, I do like to finish novels if I can or at least skim the ending. 

45. Do you like to keep your books organised?
I like to have them all on shelves, but they're not in any particular order. 

46. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you've read them?
It depends. If it provoked a strong reaction, whether I loved or loathed it, I do like to keep hold of them. But if I don't have a strong opinion either way and am unlikely to want to pick it up again I'll donate them to a charity shop. 

47. Are there any books you've been avoiding?
I put off The Luminaries for the longest time because it was so huge and it was incredible, so I've definitely learned not to avoid books for that reason.

48. Name a book that made you angry.
The Shock Doctrine. But not at the book. At the world in general!

49. A book you didn't expect to like but did?
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. 

50. A book you expected to like but didn't?
Orlando by Virginia Woolf. I will read more Woolf but I'm not as convinced as I once was that her work is for me. 

51. Favourite guilt-free pleasure reading?
Never feel guilty about reading any book, that's my motto! 


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Book A Day Challenge #16 | For Someone I Love

Day Sixteen - For Someone I Love...

The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
I bought this for my Mum a little while ago because she loves a good mystery novel. I hadn't heard very much about it and I was mostly drawn in by the fabulous cover. The first part is so, so captivating and there's a lot of reading between the lines needed because there are so many things going on. But then the ending happens, and I won't spoil it, but let's just say it wasn't exactly what I was expecting.


Questions About Books & Reading #3 | Bookmas Day Sixteen

27. Favourite reading snack?
A hot chocolate.

28. Name a case in which the hype ruined your reading experience.
I can't think of one, which is a good thing! Feeling disappointed in a book is not good, and feeling that way when hype has made it seem incredible must make it so much worse.

29. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
It depends on the critic. Some of them I disagree with almost all of the time, and some I agree with almost all of the time. Just goes to show how differently we can approach books. 

30. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
Usually for every negative there's a positive. A negative for me might be a positive for someone else. I think that reviews always need to be honest & balanced because that's how other readers decide if they want to pick that book up or not.

31. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
All of them!

32. Favourite poet?
Allen Ginsberg. Although if you asked me again in a few months there's a good chance my answer might be different. I change my mind all the time. 

33. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
I don't have a local library, but when I was younger I used to check out about 10 books at a time...

34. How often have you returned books to the library unread?
...and I would always manage to read them all, somehow

35. Favourite fictional character?
There are a handful that spring to mind but I have to stick with the first fictional character I ever identified with - Hermione Granger.

36. Favourite fictional villain?
O'Brien from Nineteen Eighty-Four is incredibly creepy. Or Bellatrix, she's fabulously evil!

37. The longest you've gone without reading?
There was a period of time as a teenager that I now refer to as 'my lost reading years'! 

38. Name a book that you couldn't/wouldn't finish.
I may have skimmed parts of Little Women. I still liked it though!


Monday, 15 December 2014

Book A Day Challenge #15 | Favourite Colour Cover - Bookmas Day Fifteen

Day Fifteen - Favourite Colour Cover...
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
I think this cover may have been redesigned now; it's beautiful but it doesn't replace my love for this one that has the same sense of mystery that the story itself holds. I've chosen to forget about the ending of this novel because until the last 5th or so it's perfect. It starts to lose its magic and in some ways feels quite disconnected from the wonderful writing of the beginning. I would still wholeheartedly recommend it though if you like magical realism, heavy atmospheric novels, or are just a fan of beautifully crafted sentences in general. I don't think it will disappoint!


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Book A Day Challenge #14 | Read at school

Day Fourteen - Read at school...

Selected Stories by Katherine Mansfield
The Twentieth Century Lit module I'm taking at University has this collection of stories on the reading list and it was practically love at first page. I now officially adore Mansfield and her beautiful writing. I think my favourite story is 'The Canary' because it has such a captivating atmosphere and so much more depth than its few pages in length would initially suggest. What a talent!


Three Beautiful Covers | Bookmas Day Fourteen

I know you shouldn't really judge a book by its cover but very often I can't help but marvel at beautiful designs, especially when they manage to capture the essence of the stories within so perfectly.

The whole Barnes & Noble Leather Bound Collection is gorgeous and my edition of Aesop's Fables has been one of my favourite books on my shelf ever since I bought it last year. The deep blue and faded white cover of The Show Child gives me the same ethereal, magical feeling as the story has. I think they've redesigned the cover now but I don't love it as much as this one. And I'm not sure how but the cover of Their Lips Talk of Mischief seems to perfectly reflect the atmosphere of the novel; it's a little abstract, a little moody and somehow very fitting.

Do you have a favourite book cover?


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Book A Day Challenge #13 | Stocking Filler - Bookmas Day Thirteen

Day Thirteen - Stocking Filler...
The Tales of Beedle The Bard by J.K. Rowling
Sometimes the best things really do come in small packages!