Top 10 Tuesday – Top 10 Standalone Fiction Books

Top 10 Tuesday – Top 10 Standalone Fiction Books

I finally return to Top 10 Tuesday after a few weeks of absence. Because I didn’t like the topics. Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “Top 10 all time favourite books from X genre”. What? What do you mean “standalone” is not a genre. Of course it’s a genre.

The truth is, I read a lot of series and I read a lot of fantasy. So I’m obviously not going to be able to pick my favourite from those genres. But I also don’t know if I read enough of other genres that I can pick 10 all time favourites from any individual one. So this is my workaround. I added in “fiction” as a genre. Are you pacified? Okay, let’s begin, then.


1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

the book thief

I love this book for so many reasons. It’s so beautiful and also unique. You should read it. Everyone should read it. I have a review of it here.

2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

nightingale

I love WWII books. Both fiction and nonfiction. Because I think that it’s a part of history that everyone should be familiar with. And it’s also a very recent part of history. In any case, The Nightingale is a beautiful WWII book and even though it is fiction, it’s inspired by real events. I recommend this book to everyone.

3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

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This is one of my favourite classics. If you love stories of revenge and daring prison escapes and love and swashbuckling adventures (but mostly revenge), then this is the book for you. I think I’ve read it 3 times,even though it’s a fairly large book, but I just love it.

4. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

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One of my favourite mysteries and certainly my favourite Agatha Christie mystery. It just always kept me guessing and it was so neat. Great book.

5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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One of my favourite romances. I am obsessed with this story like so many people, for some unfathomable reason. I honestly couldn’t tell you exactly what it is that appeals to me so much about it, but I just love it.

6. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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Another great mystery. I listened to this on audiobook and I really loved it. It created so much suspense and the narration was great and I think that’s why I enjoyed it as much as I did. I have a review of it here.

7.  The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Dissapeared by Jonas Jonasson

hundred year old man

If you enjoy Nordic humour, this book is amazing. I honestly laughed out loud on so many occasions. The absurdity of some of the things that happen is genius. I have a review of this one as well.

8. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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Among my favourite contemporary books that I’ve read. I loved the characters and the story and the slap of reality that this book was. Also, it was really funny. John Green has a talent for that.

9. The Schwarzschild Radius by Gustavo Florentin

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This book freaked me out. It was a really good thriller, but it was messed up. Seriously messed up. I couldn’t put it down.

10. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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I love Charles Dickens. And this is my favourite of his books that I’ve read. If you don’t know this story, then I don’t know what you’ve been doing all your life.

So, this is my list of top 10 fiction standalones. To be honest, if you asked me next week, I’d probably give a different answer. But I’m just really terrible at picking favourites.

 

 

Surviving the Angel of Death by Eva Mozes Kor – Book Review

6648391Rating: 5/5 stars

Genre: Historical, memoir

First published: 2009

Author: Eva Mozes Kor

Synopsis: Eva and her twin sister, Miriam, were 10 years old when they were ripped away from their family and thrown into Auschwitz. There, they became part of the medical experiments conducted by Josef Mengele, also known as The Angel of Death. Mengele was obsessed with twins and conducted many horrendous experiments on them. This is the story of how two children found the strength and endurance to survive true evil. 

Book Depository | Goodreads


I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I finished reading it in about an hour and I cannot tell you how I felt upon finishing. I don’t know how much I will be able to gather my thoughts for this review. Every time I read or watch a film about what happened then, no matter how many times I do so, it brings me so much sorrow to know that human beings are not only capable of such cruelty and hatred, but worse, they remain silent when faced with such atrocities.

Eva was a Romanian-born Jew. She was born in Transylvania, which is where I was born as well. So, from the beginning, this resonated with me on a profound level. Especially that I recognised some of the events that were mentioned, because they coincided with what my grandparents remember about those times.

Before I get too much into how this book made me feel, I will tell you a little bit about the writing itself. The book is written in a way that is easily accessible to a younger audience. But it is full of emotion, full of pain, but also full of healing and of forgiveness. In addition to the writing, there are pictures depicting Eva and her family, the emaciated forms of some of the Auschwitz children, as well as the twins at various stages in their lives.

As a woman of science, the fact that such atrocities were committed in the name of science makes me sick. I will not list here the things that were done to those twins and to the rest of the people that Mengele experimented on. Some of them, you will find in this book, some you can read about from other sources. And I urge you to do so, because I truly believe we owe it to these people, to ourselves and to the word to know these things, to know the suffering our cruelty and hatred as a species has brought and to make sure it never happens again.

What shocked me almost as much as the experiments, was how easily hatred was awoken in the common people. How ordinary people could turn against their neighbour because of propaganda. It scares me how susceptible we are to blind, unadulterated hatred.

This book, despite its content, has taught me not that humans are capable of atrocities, but that we are capable of enduring, of forgiveness; that we can survive  and that we can heal. I apologise that this review is not more collected and coherent, it’s difficult for me to gather my thoughts. But please, read this book and read any books like this that you come across. These are stories that must be heard. We owe it to hear them.

Bookish Pet Peeves

I don’t know about you guys, but I have a lot of pet peeves. I get annoyed by so many things, so today I’m going to share with you some of my bookish pet peeves. This post is going to be a rant. You have been warned.

When it isn’t specified that a book is not the first in a series.

Like, why you doing this publishers? Would it kill you to put a number on the spine or something so that I don’t buy a book and then open it and feel like I’m Jon Snow, cause I know nothing. And then I google it and find out it’s book 16.5 of the prequel to the sequel to the main series.

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When they don’t have the first book in the series at a bookstore.

I think bookstores should hire a person specifically to check that they have the first book in every series in stock. The amount of times I have gone to a bookstore looking for a specific book in a series I wanted to start and after spending half an hour looking for it on the shelves, I finally work up the nerve to go ask about it. And then they’re like “Oh, we don’t have that in stock right now. But we have books 2 through 26, if you’re interested.” No, I am not freaking interested, okay. At least have the decency not to rub it in my face that I wasted my time coming over here and I can’t get to book 3, which I heard is the cheese, because you freaking didn’t stock the first one.

And then, they ask if I would like to order it? Like, I’m sorry I have Amazon prime. I’m not going to order it from you, pay more money and then wait 5-7 life spans for you to deliver it. The reason I’m here right now and not at home, in bed, clicking “buy” on Amazon is because I want the book two minutes ago.

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Typos

Isn’t that what editors are for? If you’re going to publish a book, proofread it until your eyeballs bleed. Cause I’m paying money and I don’t want to be getting headaches because you can’t spell. Like, I get that there’s going to be one or two typos in every book. We’re all human. But I’m talking about books that have typos every other page and you feel like you’re reading a grade school assignment.

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Stickers

I don’t care that this book is now a major motion picture, I don’t care that it’s sold 1 million copies worldwide and I don’t care that it won whatever award. All I care about is that your ugly ass sticker is ruining the aesthetic of my cover and I will now have to sacrifice a virgin baby manatee in order to remove the sticker without damaging the cover.

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This post is getting pretty long, so maybe I’ll make a part two with some more pet peeves. Tell me some of your bookish pet peeves in the comments!

5 Series I Probably Won’t Finish – Part Two

5 Series I Probably Won’t Finish – Part Two

Part one.

1. The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

beautifulcreaturesgarciastohlThis is another one that I did not like. I read the first book and then I even gave it away because I just didn’t like it. The characters were annoying, it had a “new kid in high-school” thing going on and I generally dislike plots like that, and it was really just a book about a bunch of narrow-minded bullies. It was boring and way too long for how little happened.

Book Depository | Goodreads

2. The Gifting by K. E. Ganshert

the giftingThis is another new kid in school paranormal. But I may have read the second one if it hadn’t been for the ending. The ending just pissed me off. I have a review of the book where I talk more about that if you’re interested, but yeah, I will not be continuing with this series.

Book Depository | Goodreads

3. The Wardstone Chronicles (AKA The Last Apprentice) by Joseph Delaney

298567This is a middle-grade supernatural series. I enjoyed it at the time I read them. I read most of them, even though there are a lot (13 or 14). But I think I have one book left or so and I just sort of lost interest in the series, so I won’t be finishing it. I actually think I did finish the main series, but there are some extra stuff I didn’t read. I’m not sure, it’s been a while. I did really like it though. Especially I am Grimalkin. That one’s my favourite. Grimalkin FTW!

Book Depository | Goodreads

4. The Starblade Chronicles by Joseph Delaney

51ndbx8gtul-_ac_ul320_sr208320_This is a sequel series to The Wardstone Chronicles. I read the first book, but then I lost interest in the whole story, so I probably won’t be continuing.

Book Depository | Goodreads

5. Lorien Legacies by Pittacus Lore

i_am_number_four_coverI’ve read most of them. I was up to date at some point, but then I wasn’t. I just lost interest once I had to wait. Because it’s not a spectacular series. I mean, they’re easy and quick to read and the story isn’t bad, but it’s not very high-quality literature. So yeah, don’t think I will be finishing them. Especially since I’ve heard of the things the guy who owns the writing company that is behind the series has done, which are not cool. And normally, I try not to judge the book by the author, but I really don’t want to endorse the guy in any way. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s the Wikipedia page about it.

Goodreads

 

Book Recommendations Based on the Seven Virtues

A while ago I made a post recommending books based on the Seven Deadly Sins. You can check that out here if you missed it. So today, I thought I would turn that idea on its head and recommend books based on the Seven Virtues.


1. Chastity

pride-and-prejudice_bnPride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I love this book. I love the story and I love the characters and it takes place in Victorian England, so it’s pretty chaste. This is one of my favourite love stories and if you haven’t read it, or at least watched the film (the Kiera Knightley one!), then what are you doing?

Book Depository | Goodreads

2. Temperance

darker shade of magicA Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. Kell is probably the most level headed and tempered character I’ve come across in a while. This book and this series is absolutely amazing, I loved it! I literally cannot wait until the next one comes out! I love the world and the characters that Victoria has created and I can’t wait to read more of her books. She’s awesome! (Pst, I also have reviews for both books in the series. Here and here.)

Book Depository | Goodreads

3. Charity

nightingaleThe Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This book was so beautiful and if any book portrays charity, it’s this one. The girls both sacrificed so much for other people and they gave so much in a time when there was scarcely anything to give but one’s life. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone.

Book Depository | Goodreads

4. Diligence

the-raven-boys-maggie-stiefvaterThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Gansey’s diligence when it comes to his search for Glendower is remarkable. This is a YA paranormal book. I’ve only read this one in the series and I really enjoyed it, but I hear the rest are even better. I have a review of the book here.

Book Depository | Goodreads

5. Patience

acotarA Court of Thorns and Roses By Sarah J. Maas. I chose this series for two reasons. One, because there are quite a few characters who patiently bid their time, waiting for the perfect opportunity. And since the characters in this series have quite the long lifespan, they were really, really patient. The second is that patience is the virtue I need to exhibit while waiting for the next one and it’s proving to be problematic. I love Sarah J. Maas! I recommended her other series in the deadly sins post, so it seemed fitting to put this one here. Also, did I mention I will be meeting her in less than a month? *squee*

Book Depository | Goodreads

6. Kindness

the book thiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Definitely a book about kindness and the power of words. Another one that I universally recommend. There are just some books that everyone should read and this is one of them. I have a review of it here if you would like to hear more of my thoughts on it.

Book Depository | Goodreads

7. Humility

the-ascendance-trilogy-the-false-prince-35473004-935-475The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen. I’ve talked about this series before, although I haven’t really seen or heard much about it around the community, which is a shame because I really loved it. And Sage, the main character is probably one of the most genuinely humble characters. In the sense that he puts everyone else before himself and he genuinely does not believe himself to be better than they are, not in the sense that he is self deprecating.

Book Depository | Goodreads

These are my recommendations based on the seven virtues. Do you agree? What books would you choose?

5 Series I Probably Won’t Finish – Part One

5 Series I Probably Won’t Finish – Part One

I read a lot of series. And I have a very bad habit of starting a lot of series and then leaving them unfinished, not because I don’t want to finish them, but just because I’m weird. But sometimes, I start a series and the reason I don’t continue with it is because I actually don’t want to. There are quite a few, so I will serialise this and post 5 series at a time. I will also link to the Book Depository and Goodreads pages of the first book in the series, in case you’re interested.


1. Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams

5160arzmcdlI really loved this series when I read it. It was really interesting and I had never read anything like it. I haven’t read anything quite like it since then either. I read the first 3 books and about two thirds of the fourth. I’m not sure why I didn’t finish the fourth one, but I just didn’t. And now, it’s been so long, I’ve forgotten so much about it and I am just not going to re-read them just so I can continue with the series. It’s a good mystery sci-fi though. With some elements of horror, I would say.

Book Depository | Goodreads

2. The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

21936988I did not like this book. It was boring. I went into it thinking it would be about this weird girl who was born with poisonous skin. And I thought we would get some cool mythology about the sin eater. I thought it would be some sort of creature or wizard or magical being… I don’t know. Something other than a fat lady who eats a lot. But no, this book was just disappointment after disappointment. It was boring. And the main character was stupid and I was always annoyed with her and just, ugh. I have to admit, it does have a cool cover though.

Book Depository | Goodreads 

3. The Selection by Kiera Cass

10507293This is another series that I just did not like. I know a lot of people do, but it annoyed me and I thought it was badly written and badly thought out and I have a whole rant about it on Goodreads if you are interested. The books do get a bit better as the story progresses, but the plot was mediocre and the characters were just awful. I read the main trilogy and I have no desire to read the other ones. They’re not even with the same characters.

Book Depository | Goodreads

4. The Elemental Assassin by Jennifer Estep

6611038This is an adult urban fantasy series that is not bad, but it’s not good. And it’s so freaking long. It’s like over 15 books long, I think. I am never going to finish it. I’ve read 4 books and I might read a few more books in the series, because they’re quick reads and they’re entertaining, but I don’t think I will ever read  all of them.

Book Depository | Goodreads

5. His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman

9780375823459I loved The Golden Compass. I loved the movie and I also loved the book (although for some reason, I enjoyed the film more). But I read about half of The Subtle Knife and I didn’t like it so much. I mean, I didn’t dislike it, but I got bored with it and I just never finished it. And as with the Tunnels series, I will probably not go back to the books and re-read them and then finish the series.

Book Depository | Goodreads

 

100 Followers!!!

I cannot believe that this blog has reached over 100 followers in just a few months! I am boggled and humbled by the idea that there are over 100 people who have stumbled upon my blog and have found my content good enough that they would want to follow it. That is just amazing and I want to thank all of you!

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The Liebster Award 3.0

The Liebster Award 3.0

I have been nominated yet again for the Liebster award, this time by Michelle @ Addictively Turning Pages. Thank you so much for nominating me. I feel honoured to have received this award so many times. Also, you should check her blog out!

What is the Liebster Award?

Liebster is a German word meaning sweet, favourite or dearest. It is an award from bloggers to bloggers to discover new blogs and help build a sense of community in the blogging world.

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers that you think are deserving of the award.
  • Let the bloggers know you nominated them.
  • Give them 11 questions of your own.

Michelle’s questions:

1. If you were stranded on an island, name 3 books you would take with you.

The Bible, A Dummy’s Guide to Surviving on a Desert Island and What it Takes to Build a Raft and like, a bind-up of A Song of Ice and Fire or some other long series that I would probably only finish by the time my raft was ready and I was being rescued.

2. What is your opinion on love triangles?

Ugh. There is exactly one love triangle I’ve come across in my reading career that I actually liked and that is the one in The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.

3. If you could ask any author 3 questions, who would it be and what would be those questions?

Oh boy! Um, it would probably be Tolkien and my questions would be:

  1. Did you happen to write an alphabetised compendium of the characters in the LotR universe and their brief histories, and if so can I please have that manuscript, I need it for reasons.
  2. How in the name of sanity did you keep up with your own creation?
  3. Can you teach me the ways of awesomeness?

4. Who are your top 5 ultimate book boyfriends?

  • Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
  • Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Artemis Fowl from the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer (He actually reminds me of someone I knew and sort of had a crush on. Like, it was more of a brain crush because this person was really smart and I just loved talking to him.)
  • *small voice* Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (I had a huge crush on him when I first read the books and I don’t know, I like antiheroes.)
  • Also, a honourable mention to Jace Herondale from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.

5. Who inspired you to blog?

I’m not sure. I’ve always liked the idea of a blog and I’ve had blogs before. But I guess it was just never the right time before, because I never really kept it up for more than a month or so until now.

6. What does your reviewing process look like? (ie the steps to writing a review; draft, edit, publish; mention plot, characters, etc)

Well, I generally try to create a profile for the book: genre, publication year, author, my star rating and a synopsis, which I generally try to write myself. Then I will usually mention what I thought of the plot and what I thought of the characters. But beyond that, it really depends from book to book. If I really liked or really disliked something in particular, I will talk about those things more. And then I usually end with either a question or a recommendation (such as “If you like so and so genre, I recommend this.” or “If you enjoy that type of character…” or “If you don’t like so and so, I don’t recommend this.” Or something like that.) Sometimes I will include both a question and a recommendation.

7. Favourite comfort food?

Chocolate.

8. Favourite flavour of ice cream?

Hazelnut, because it tastes like Nutella in ice cream form.

9. What are your thoughts on book trailers?

They’re cool. They’ve made me want to read a book on a couple of occasions.

10. What is one piece of advice you want to share with all book bloggers (or bloggers in general?)

Write content that you would like to read.

11. Where can we stalk you? (ie Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, etc)

You can stalk me on Goodreads and on Twitter. I am not particularly social media-y. I also have a Tumblr, but it’s been pretty neglected for the past few years.

I know I’m supposed to nominate people, but I just don’t know who to nominate whom I’ve not already nominated the previous two times. I need to follow more blogs because I know there are some great ones out there. I just haven’t had that much time to sit and look for them. Do you guys have any recommendations?

August Wrap-Up

Another month has come and gone. I don’t think I traveled through the month of August through the normal means. I think I fell through a wormhole because I swear I posted my July wrap up last week. As such, I’ve hardly had time to read anything and have only read like, 3 books and a poem.


571First thing I read was the poem Burnt Norton by T.S. Eliot. I really liked the poem and I read it because of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. I read somewhere that the poem was an inspiration for the book so I was curious. I don’t have a review of the poem, but I do have a review of Cruel Beauty if you are interested.

 

 

134866324/5 stars

Second book I read was The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. Which is to say I finally finished this book. Despite it taking me the better part of two months to read, I did really enjoy the book. I have a review of it if you want to hear more of my thoughts on it.

 

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5/5 stars

Book number three was Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, which has become one of my favourite reads of the year. I loved, loved, loved it and I can’t wait for Crooked Kingdom! I’m glad I don’t have to wait long for it. I have a review of this one as well.

 

the-raven-boys-maggie-stiefvater4/5 stars

Last book I read this month was The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This is one of the 4 books I said I absolutely want to read by the end of 2016 in one of my previous posts. So I finally got to it and it was pretty good. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but I did like it. I also have a review of this.

 

This is it for August. I thought I was going to be able to finish Glass Sword as well, but I’m just not liking it enough. I’m struggling to get through it. I don’t even think I’m halfway through.

The Wine Book Tag

Thank you TrustInTheWords for tagging me. I do not drink wine, I know next to nothing about wine, but I love doing tags, so why not.

1. Box Wine: A book that people will judge you for liking but you like anyway

Hmm, I don’t think I’ve ever been judged for liking a book. I mean, my brother judges me for liking books as much as I do, but nor for liking any book in particular.

2. Organic Wine: A book that has no added crap  in it and is just written perfectly

324620Laini Taylor’s books. She has by far the most beautiful and perfect writing style I’ve ever come across. I love how she writes. It’s magical and if I liked wine, I imagine I’d feel while drinking organic wine the way I feel when I read her books.

 

3. Gluhwein: A spicy, wintry read

harry_potter_and_the_order_of_the_phoenixGluhwein happens to be a kind of wine I actually like. I’m going to go with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, because I always get the urge to read this around Christmas. I mean, I usually get the urge to read the HP series around Christmas, but this one in particular for some reason.

 

4. Sauvignon Blanc: A really sharp and aggressive read that you couldn’t put down

51isww2rpol-_sy344_bo1204203200_Plenty of those. I’ll go with the most recent and that is Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I would put it down and try to do something else, but then two minutes later I would just pick it up again, because I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. So glad I only have to wait a few weeks before the next one is released! If you want to read more of my thoughts on it, I have a review of it here.

5. Pinot Noir: A book you didn’t expect much of, but ended up being blown away

17673307Neandethal Seeks Human by Penny Reid. I got this for free on Kindle, which generally doesn’t really inspire confidence and on top of that it’s a contemporary romance. An adult contemporary romance. Really not my cuppper. But I really liked it. I have a review of it here if you want to know more about it.

 

6. Chardonnay: A good summer read that was super zesty

71owghguhjlTangled by Emma Chase. Another adult contemporary romance that I surprisingly enjoyed. It’s really zesty. And it’s a really quick read. The narrative is hilarious and there is plenty of sexyness going on. I’ve been quite surprised by romance this year, it would seem.

7. Rose: A book that has a little bit of everything in it

artemis_fowl_first_edition_coverThe Artemis Fowl series. It’s got a bit of fantasy, a bit of sci-fi, a bit of magic, technology, adventure, action, humour, drama, angst… everything. Did I mention I love this series? Because I do. And I’m sad that I don’t seem to know anyone else who’s even read it, let alone loves it. I want a film. But a really good one. Please?

 

8. Shiraz: A full-bodied book that is dark and juicy

23403402-_uy200_I’m not sure what is meant by juicy, but I will say A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. It was definitely dark and I really loved it, it was unique and cool and you can read my review of it here if you like.

 

 

9. Merlot: A smooth and easy read with a soft finish

2016-07-01-23-49-12.jpgThe Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz. This was such a fun and easy read, with a fairy-tale ending (sort of). I really enjoyed it, despite it being very clearly a children’s book.

 

 

10. Champagne: Your favourite book

lord_of_the_rings_book_cover_by_mrstingyjr-d5vwgctI hate this question. I do not have a favourite book. I have a couple dozen. But for the sake of this tag, I will go with the answer I always give and that is The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Because the books and the films were a big part of my childhood and I grew up with them like some people grew up with Harry Potter.

I tag everyone to do this because I don’t know who to tag. So if you like wine and books, do it. Or if you only like one of them, do it anyway. Or if you like neither… well then you probably don’t want to do it.