Top 5: Anticipated Releases II

It has been a while since I last posted on here… Oops! At the end of November I lost focus on my blog due to assignments deadlines; come December I had decided to attempt Vlogmas on my YouTube channel and during the latter half of December I went home for Christmas break, during which I also didn’t get round to doing anything YouTube-y. Since then and until last week, I’ve been busy writing a beast of an essay.

Now, that’s been handed in, and I have returned from my unplanned hiatus! I’m not sure what day I’ll try to upload every week, but I’ll definitely try to post something each week from now on!

Excuses aside, back in July, I wrote a Top 5-post on Anticipated Releases. Here is another list, with some more exciting books that’ll be released between now and May!

 dumplin1. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (28 January 2016)

Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant-along with several other unlikely candidates-to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City-and maybe herself most of all.

This book just sounds like a whole lot of fun: body positivity, pageants, trying to figure oneself out, and a spot of romance. Dumplin’ has been getting really good reviews so far, and I can’t wait to find out for myself whether I like it as much as I think I will (though that might actually take a while, because it appears to be released in hardback first – and I tend to find those too expensive… Eventually I’ll get round to it!).

2. The Wicked + The Divine, vol. 3: Commercial Suicide by Kieron Gillen (11 February 2016)wickeddivinevol3

After the detonation of FANDEMONIUM the gods-as-pop-stars of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE try living in the long dark shadow.

The Wicked + The Divine is one of the first graphic novels I laid my eyes on – after recommendation by a friend – and I loved it. It’s got such fantastic art, the story is fascinating and it ends on a huge cliff-hanger. I read Volume 2, Fandemonium, last summer and was just as enthralled as by the first volume – and it had just as much of a cliff-hanger as the first one. I’m very excited for the release of Volume 3, so I can finally find out what happens next.

radiosilence3. Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (25 February 2016)

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way […] But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken. Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past… She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

I read Alice’s debut novel, Solitaire, sometime last year – mostly out of curiosity about what a published book, written by someone my age, might be like. I didn’t like it all that much, which perhaps was largely down to the protagonist, or perhaps I just didn’t like the plot that much: I’m not sure. Who knows – I might give it another shot in the future. However, I am very interested in Radio Silence: story-wise it sounds more like something I’d be interested in, and I would also like to read something else by Alice and see whether I feel any different about it than her debut.

4. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (3 May 2016)acourtofmistandfury

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

This was to be expected, right? Last year I first read Sarah’s work, and I was immediately hooked. I didn’t love A Court of Thorns and Roses quite as much as I do the Throne of Glass series, but I am excited about this sequel to ACOTAR nonetheless!

 

thecrown5. The Crown by Kiera Cass

Twenty years have passed since the events of The One, and America and Maxon’s daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own. Princess Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

To be honest, I have quite mixed feelings about The Selection series: I didn’t love the first three books, but found them somehow quite addictive. The Heir, which followed Eadlyn for the first time, I liked more: possible because America was constantly getting on my nerves in the first three. Despite my mixed feelings, I’m interested in reading The Crown, which will be the final instalment in this series. I’ve gotten this far – might as well see it through ‘till the end!

 

Those are all the books for today: as per usual, let me know what books you’re excited about and whether you’re planning on picking any of these up!

Top 5: Books I Wish I’d Read While Growing Up

Having been born and raised in The Netherlands, I discovered I had missed out on a great deal of good children’s literature when I moved to the UK in 2013 and learned what my British peers had read when growing up (or what children’s books were around). Therefore, I have decided to make up a list of books that I wish I’d read while growing up – some of these I now have read, most of these I still haven’t gotten round to, but hope to get my hands on soon!

chronicles of narnia

  1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

Four adventurous siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change… and a great sacrifice.

As a child, I’d never read The Chronicles of Narnia. At some point I did see the BBC adaptation, and later the film adaptations by Walden Media, but it wasn’t until I was about fifteen years old that I read the books. I enjoyed them, but didn’t think a whole lot of them. As I write this, I have just finished reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for a second time as we’ll be discussing it in my Children’s Literature module at university. I definitely enjoyed and appreciated it more this time round, but I can’t help but feel I would have loved the series, had I read them as a child.

The blurb above is of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – officially this is the second book in the seven-part series, but it was the first that was actually written and published.

  1. the wizard of ozThe Wizard of Oz (and its sequels) by L. Frank Baum

Dorothy thinks she is lost forever when a terrifying tornado crashes through Kansas and whisks her and her dog, Toto, far away to the magical land of Oz. To get home Dorothy must follow the yellow brick road to Emerald City and find the wonderfully mysterious Wizard of Oz. Together with her companions the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion whom she meets on the way, Dorothy embarks on a strange and enchanting adventure.

I am a huge fan of the musical Wicked – a musical that is based on the novel of the same name by Gregory Maguire. A novel which, in turn, has been based on The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. I’ve read the novel Wicked, and have seen the film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, but am yet to delve into the pages of the novel that started all of it. And although I think I might be able to that soon, I think it would’ve been even better had I read it when growing up!

  1. anne of green gablesAnne of Green Gables (and its sequels) by L. M. Montgomery

The Cuthberts are in for a shock. They are expecting an orphan boy to help with the work at Green Gables – but a skinny red-haired girl turns up instead. Highly spirited Anne Shirley charms her way into the Cuthberts’ affection with her vivid imagination and constant chatter, and soon it’s impossible to imagine life without her.

To be honest, I don’t know an awful lot about this book and its sequels, but I know it’s a British children’s classic. For my birthday this year I received a box set of all four books, so I’m sure I’ll read it soon (though ‘soon’ might not be soon at all, what with me having to read a lot of books for uni as well).

  1. alice in wonderlandAlice in Wonderland (and its sequel) by Lewis Carroll

On an ordinary summer’s afternoon, Alice tumbles down a hole and an extraordinary adventure begins. In a strange world with even stranger characters, she meets a rabbit with a pocket watch, joins a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, and plays croquet with the Queen! Lost in this fantasy land, Alice finds herself growing more and more curious by the minute…

I don’t know why, but I just have never read Alice. I’ve seen the Disney animation once or twice, the live action Disney adaptation a fair few times, but I’ve never read the book. I promise it’ll change within a year, though! I’ve got my hands on a gorgeous edition this year – one that is, I believe, almost exactly like the original manuscript – and I look forward to reading it.

  1. sabrielSabriel (and its sequels) by Garth Nix

Since childhood, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who refuse to stay dead. But now her father, the Abhorson, is missing, and Sabriel must cross into that world to find him. With Mogget, whose feline form hides a powerful, perhaps malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage, Sabriel travels deep into the Old Kingdom. There she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life and comes face-to-face with her own hidden destiny…

Like with Anne of Green Gables, I don’t know an awful lot about this series, but it sounds intriguing. I know recently Garth Nix published two new books in this series (Clariel and To Hold The Bridge) with Hot Key Books – something from which I only can deduce these novels are still very well-loved and definitely worth a read.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you think there are some books that are missing on this list!

Love,

Christa

Top 5: Favourite Childhood Reads

Even when I was younger, I was an avid reader. I would read well into the night by the light on  my nightstand – much to the annoyance of my parents, but really they’re partly to blame! After all, they had a habit of reading me and my sisters stories before bed, and thus installed in me a love of good stories.

However, I wasn’t just an avid reader. I was a big fan of re-reading (so much so, that one point my dad decided to just buy me a new book and push it under my nose until I’d read “something new”).

1. Stravaganza series by Mary Hoffman

Lucien is sick. Very sick. He has a form of cancer and is bed-bound most of the time. As sometimes he finds it hard to speak, his father brings him a notebook he randomly found to write in. That day, he also tells Lucien about Venice. Going to sleep that night, with the notebook still in his hand and thinking of Venice, Lucien wakes up to find himself in a place that looks an awful lot like the City of Masks.

In total, there are six books in this series. I must admit, the first three are my favourites (I think it set out to be a trilogy, but more books got added). However, I do get to see my favourite characters in the later books, so I don’t mind them. Though I think this series might take some getting used to, it is completely worth the effort! Masks, intrigue, magic and betrayal: these books are truly magical. It was due to the City of Masks that I wanted to visit Venice myself (and did so in 2012 – it was beautiful!) and for a long while I longed for a talisman of my own so I could be transported to Bellezza.

2. The Doomspell Trilogy by Cliff McNishdoomspell

Siblings Rachel and Eric unexpectedly find themselves transported to another world by the Witch. As they try to escape her claws, they experience many adventures and learn they possess gifts they never even imagined possible. 

I must admit, out of the bunch these books are the ones I re-read the longest time ago. Though I might not remember many of the details, I do remember loving this trilogy. It gave me a new twist on magic, a setting that pulled me in, two great protagonists and a wicked villain. Funnily enough, I think this trilogy was the book my dad insisted I should read as “something new”. I would love to re-read these sometime soon!

Unfortunately, I think these books might now be out of print (however, if you click the link in the title, you might be able to get your hands on a new one. If not, try Amazon’s second-hand buys or Abebooks).

the letter for the king3. The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt

This is a wonderful story about Tiuri, a 16-year old squire in the kingdom of King Dagonaut. It is the night before his knighting and, as is tradition, he and his fellow to-be-knighted friends are holding a vigil in the chapel. They are not allowed to speak to anyone. They are not allowed to sleep. And they are not allowed to leave or even open the door.

But then, Tiuri is startled by an urgent knocking and decides to see who it is. Following this, he is sent on a quest of which the outcome could determine the fate of an entire kingdom.

I absolutely adored this book when I was younger! It has knights, fights, long journeys, treachery and friendship. It is a wonderfully crafted story, told in seven parts (each comprise up to nine chapters), and despite its size is a great read for middle graders, I’d say. For those younger, it’s a great bedtime story.

It was originally written in Dutch (and first published in 1962!), which is the language I have read it multiple times it, but as of last year it is also available in English! YES! I actually read it in English recently, and I can confirm it’s just as great a story: translator Laura Watkinson did a great job. Even more exciting, its sequel, The Secrets of the Wild Wood, is set for publication by Pushkin Press this September! You can preorder it here.

Sidenote: the illustrations, including the map, in this book were actually drawn by the author herself. How cool is that?

4. The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan

The saga starts with Cirque du Freak: Darren Shan (named after the author?) and his friend Steve stumble upon the opportunity to buy tickets for a freak show. Being the young boys they are, they can’t resist this chance. The freak show is really quite freaky, but amazing. Afterwards, Darren accidentally overhears his friend asking something strange of one of the acts. Later, Darren does something strange of his own, setting of a series of irreversible events.

Comprising of 12 books in total, this is quite a commitment to make. However, the books are quite short and easy reads, yet completely enthralling, so I’m sure if you put your mind to it, each installment will leave you wanting for more. I think my favourites of the bunch might be Vampire MountainTrials of Death and The Vampire Prince (books 4-6), but they’re all amazing. Also, the ending to this series is so incredibly emotional and perfect. Sigh. These books are really due a re-read.

HP one 15. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

Raised by his unloving aunt and uncle after his parents died in a car crash when he was just one, Harry is surprised when around his 11th birthday he receives a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. With the help of giant Rubeus Hagrid, Harry is whisked away on the Hogwarts Express to spend his school year learning magic. Little does he know, danger is lurking around the corner and waiting for him.

It is completely impossible to not include this series in any sort of “all-time favourites” post. I grew up with these books – my dad read them to me and my older sister first, but as I grew older I read them myself (too impatient to wait for bedtime!) and loved them even more. I’m not sure it was at all necessary to include a description of the plot, but I figured I might as well. These books are incredibly near and dear to my heart and, if for some absurd reason, you still haven’t read them – get on it! You won’t regret it. Promise.

That’s all for today – thank you for reading!

Love,

Christa