5 Historical Fiction Books!

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This post is inspired by PeruseProject on YouTube who just posted a video about her top 5 historical fiction reads, so I thought I’d do the same! Keep in mind that these are not all historically accurate, but I love them anyways. Also, please note that some of these are more recent historical fiction, in the more recent decades. I’ll be including a basic summary and also the reasons I enjoyed these books.

1. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.

The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown.

This book was so interesting to read. I loved that it was focusing on fighting for the throne but wasn’t a fantastical novel like Game of Thrones. It follows one side and one family’s fight for the throne in England. I loved the time period that this was set in and found it captivating and quite an easy read, although keeping track of all the people’s names was quite intense!

2. War Crimes for the Home by Liz Jensen

`You know what they say about English girls’ knickers,’ ran the wartime joke, `One Yank and they’re off.’ When Gloria met Ron, he was an American pilot who thought nothing of getting hit by shrapnel in the cockpit. She was working in a munitions factory in Bristol during the Blitz, but still found time to grab what she wanted. Ciggies. Sex. American soldiers. But war has an effect on people. Gloria did all sorts of things she wouldn’t normally do – evil things, some of them – because she might be dead tomorrow. Or someone might. Now, fifty years on, it’s payback time. In her old folks’ home, Gloria is forced to remember the real truth about her and Ron, and confront the secret at the heart of her dramatic home front story. In a gripping, vibrant evocation of wartime Britain, Liz Jensen explores the dark impulses of women whose war crimes are committed on the home front, in the name of sex, survival, greed, and love .

This book made me feel all the feelings. It was something I was wary of picking up as I wasn’t sure how I’d like it, but it was so funny. It depicts wartime life on the home front really well. I loved the split between Gloria’s time during the war working in a munitions factory and her time as an old woman. I loved the fact that Gloria was not depicted as some lovesick, wishy washy woman trying to survive through the war. She was such a 3-D character who made me laugh out loud and cry.

3. Camille by Tess Oliver

At a time when society conforms to the strictest rules and most proper etiquette, sixteen-year-old Camille Kennecott and her guardian, Dr. Bennett, live a most unconventional life. They hunt werewolves.When unwitting victim, Nathaniel Strider, wanders into one of their full moon pursuits, Camille and Dr. Bennett believe they have found a specimen for their study.

Finding a scientific key to unlocking the mystery of lycanthropy would end their late night excursions. Yet beneath the irresistible exterior, Nathaniel is transforming into a flesh-tearing monster, and as each experiment fails, Camille loses another inch of her soul to him. In a month’s time, she must face the prospect of destroying the boy who has stolen her heart

I found this book for free on the kindle store and whizzed through it. I always have an idea in the back of my head where I assume because a book is free it’s going to potentially have a pretty thin plot, 2-D characters and not be that great. I was so wrong! This book was so captivating. It takes place in the early 1900s and it depicts that time extremely well. Although there is the fantasy element to this book, it is still excellent in
the depiction of destitute London at the time. Excellent and a quick read.

4. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

THE FEELS IN THIS BOOK ARE SO INTENSE. I was torn as to whether to include this one, as although it is set in 1986, it doesn’t focus on the time, it is more the plot. However, there are some great little mentions of objects and trends evocative of the 80s era. This is one of my favourite books of all time and I defy anyone to read it and not be moved.

5. Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy

Evacuated from Blitz-battered London, shy and genteel Elizabeth White is sent to stay with the boisterous O’Connors in Kilgarret, Ireland. It is the beginning of an unshakeable bond between Elizabeth and Aisling O’Connor, a friendship which will endure through twenty turbulent years of change and chaos, joy and sorrow, soaring dreams and searing betrayals..

I feel like this book was a result of my mother’s influence. I loved the story this book depicts and again I thought it did an excellent job of conveying what Britain was like in WW2.

I hope you guys enjoyed that:) I am hoping to delve into some more historical fiction as soon as I can!

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Reading Slumps: A Discussion

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I’m in a bit of a reading funk, I haven’t had very much in the past week and I’ve quite frankly not had very much time.

The question for me is this: is that a bad thing? I’d have to answer no. I have read 6 books this month, a massive success in my opinion and I’m kind of at the point where I need a break. Reading is one of the things I love to do more than anything in the world and so I don’t want to make myself resent it by pushing myself to read and read and read. It’s the same with drawing, I consider myself quite good at art and so after having spent maybe 3 or so weeks on a project I like to leave it a while before I start something else. It continues to keep it as a hobby I find great pleasure in. I feel personally, that if I was pushing myself to read and read when I wasn’t in the mood, it’d start to feel like a chore.

Currently, I’m reading Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut and although I am thoroughly enjoying it, I am having a hard time a) having time to read and b) being motivated to do so. I decided that I’m going to attempt a chapter or so every evening or a minimum of twenty-ish pages. If I do finish it by the end of the month, YAY! If not, that’s okay too.

What are your thoughts on reading slumps? Do you think there’s anything wrong with taking reading breaks?

My top 5 fictional crushes

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You all know what I’m talking about. We’ve all read a book and fallen in love with a character. We’ve all become emotionally attached to a character and wished they were a real person so you could be with them. Don’t lie to me, I know you have. Today I’m going to list my top 5 fictional crushes. These will be going in order from 5 to my number 1….hope you enjoy!

5. Tobias (Four) from Divergent by Veronica Roth.

I have only read the first book in this series but I fell in love with Four extremely quickly. He was just so brave and just sweet and I just…I can’t even.

4. Etienne St Clair from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Okay, first…he’s english. Secondly, he’s gorgeous. Thirdly, he’s the sweetest and funniest guy and fourthly….hell, do I even need to go on?

3. Lincoln from Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Not only is he fit, he is the sweetest and most socially awkward guy ever. He is basically me but actually good looking. I love his little nerdy things and the fact he is quite awkward around girls etc. and how he thinks about Beth regardless of her looks etc. LINCOLN BE MINE.

2. Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

It was really hard not to put Mr Rochester at the top because I freaking loved him. I love how he was kind of blunt but flirtatious with Jane and after seeing the movie and seeing him be played by Michael Fassbender I just wanted to marry him.

1. Levi from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I think we all knew he was going to be number one. I love Levi. Throughout Fangirl, even when he wasn’t as big of a character at first I still just loved him from the word go. He’s very much like me in that he likes to be nice to people and to make them laugh. Also, he freaking works at Starbucks aka my home away from home. I love how he was described as tall as I myself am quite tall and oh my god I just squealed whenever he said anything. I’D READ TO YOU LEVI.

So those are my top 5 fictional crushes. They overload my head with feels. I hope you enjoyed this and please leave your fictional crushes in the comments!

Playing with your emotions: Book tag

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One of my favourite YouTubers, Padfootandprongs07 created this tag and I thought it was quite fun so, here we go:

Which book makes you feel……
1. Happy?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Why?: Because it is 120% adorable and the ending is just awesome.

2. Sad?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Why?: I think we all know why.

3. Angry?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Why?: Purely because it is extremely over hyped and not as good as it’s made out to be.

4. Nostalgic?

The Harry Potter series

Why?: I have been reading it since I was wee and it just reminds me of so many different things as it’s been a constant throughout my entire life.

5. Scared?

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Why?: I was terrified for the characters and their fates and I just worried about them a lot while reading it.

6. Surprised?

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Why?: I hadn’t expected to enjoy this classic as much as I did. I found it quite a enjoyable and I loved the story.

7. Disappointed?

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Why?: It is considered one of the best American classics and I just can’t get my head around that. I couldn’t wait to read it and once I did I felt like it had all been a massive anti-climax.

8. Distressed?

Wonder by RJ Palacio

Why?: I hated the way that Auggie was treated throughout the book and I felt so strongly about it and constantly I just wanted to take some characters and throw something at them.

9. Confused?

Again, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Why?: Fitzgerald’s writing sometimes confused me and as a result I found the book not as good.

I hope you guys enjoyed this 🙂

Literary Identification Tag

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This tag looked quite fun and so I thought I’d do it. Here we go:

1. What fictional character is most like you? (Personality) 

I would actually say Cather in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I relate to her a lot as I don’t like change, I like to hold on to people I have and don’t like facing knew and unknown things and I also am a bit of a fangirl myself.

2. What character would you most like to play in a book-to-movie adaptation? 

I’d love to play Bridget Jones just because we are so alike and COLIN FIRTH IS LUSCIOUS.

3. What character do you physically resemble the most? 

Probably Eleanor from Eleanor and Park. By the sounds of it, anyway.

4. What is a quote from a book that hits home/describes something in your life really well?

”  “I have a lot of friends,” Cath said. “I never see them.” “I just got here. Most of my friends went to other schools. Or they’re online.”

“Internet friends don’t count.”

“Why not?” Raegan shrugged disdainfully. “And I don’t have a weird thing with Simon Snow,” Cath said. “I’m just really active in the fandom.”

“What the fuck is ‘the fandom’?”

“You wouldn’t understand,” Cath sighed,”

TOTALLY DESCRIBES ME TO A TEE. Two of my best friends are online. One lives in London and the other in Germany and we’re all part of the Criminal Minds fandom (pretty cray) and I love them both so much. We chat a lot and they know more about me than people I see every day. I love them to bits. I totally understand where Cath is coming from.

5. What character do you have the most sympathy for?

Probably Ron Weasley from Harry Potter as out of him, Harry and Hermione he is the least spectacular. I feel bad for him as his mother holds his brothers in such high regard (I know this feeling) and he gets made fun of for how much money his family has.

I hope you guys enjoyed this tag. It was quite fun to do as it’s very personal to me. Hope you enjoy!

Mid month wrap up!

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SO GUYS. We’re already halfway through January of 2014. What the hell man?! The first half of January is usually the crappiest part for me and this year has been no different. Unfulfilled resolutions everywhere, thousands of tweets uttering the words “new year, new me” and waiting to find out if I’ve gotten into university (which I can honestly say, is the most painful thing I have every experienced). However, in terms of reading…the first leg of the month has been pretty great. In terms of meeting my 50 books goal, I am 3 books ahead of schedule (according to Goodreads) and I’m feeling pretty positive about what I’ve read so far. I’ll be doing an overall wrap up at the end of the month but I thought as a bit of a self motivator I’d go through the books I’ve already read. Books have done a pretty good job of keeping my mind off waiting to hear back from university and so I thank them for that.

Anyway, enough rambling, let’s get cracking!

The first book I read was Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan:

Boy Meets Boy

I thoroughly enjoyed this quick little read and it got me pretty pumped up to read. I have a review of it on my blog if you would like to know more about my opinions on this book. I flew through this on the first day of the year and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice, refreshing contemporary to boost your book count, as being roughly 180 pages it is a quick one! I’d give this book 4 stars out of 5.

The second book I read was Attachments by Rainbow Rowell:

Attachments

This book was freaking awesome. 5 stars out of 5 from me. I have finally soaked up every ounce of Rainbow Rowell’s literary genius and I wait in eager anticipation for her next book. Again, I have a review of this book for anyone who is interested to know more. This book was a great and fun read  which I flew through.

Thirdly, I reread The Fault in Our Stars by John Green:

The Fault in Our Stars

OH GOOD LORD THE FEELS GUYS. I think I loved this book even more once I read it a second time. It was great refreshing my memory of the book as it has been two years since I initially read it and I figured with a movie coming out soon it’d be a good idea. I can’t say enough good things about this book but I think everybody knows it is amazing. READ IT IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY.

Fourthly, I finished The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan:

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

I will be posting a review of this at the weekend most likely. Although I  loved this book, I was totally gutted when I noticed a spoiler on twitter. And it wasn’t just a spoiler for this book…but the whole series. FML GUYS! I still loved it though and I give it 4 stars out of 5. More to come on this book later on in the week!

In terms of what I want to read during the rest of the month, I may have a look at my tbr post I made and get some inspiration there, but I’ve found so far this month that reading what I want when I want has been working quite well.

Hope you guys enjoyed this!

The reading routine

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I’ve already done a tag about habits I have when reading but I thought I’d advance on that and go into a reading routine which I have adopted and use for the most part when I read. Please note that this IS quite jokey but most of it is (embarrassingly) true. Here we go:

Step 1: Preparation of space

I always start off by preparing my reading space and what I need for my space, a very crucial step for me. When I read I usually would like to dedicate an hour or more to it so I always make sure I’ve got the necessities around. If I’m read ing in bed I fluff up all my pillows, put on my lamp, open my window and turn down the heating so I have a little cocoon of cosiness where I can read. If I am reading in the porch  on the armchair I make sure to take my blanket, my book or my kindle and LEAVE EVERYTHING ELSE. If I’m reading on the sofa I like to grab my book and curl up in the one armchair and have my back to everyone and be facing into the armchair.

Step 2: Preparation of refreshments

Food and drink wise, I always start off by making myself a coffee from the coffee machine. I usually make a café au lait in a travel mug so that when I retreat to my reading space it stays warm if I forget about it while reading. It also comes in handy if I’m reading in my bed…it stops me falling asleep in the comfy nest I’ve made. If I know I’ll be there long term, like for maybe a few hours, I get myself a glass of something cold too like some Diet Coke or water or juice and have it there. Food wise, I like something small to snack on that isn’t too elaborate and doesn’t require too much attention such as crisps, crackers with dip, toast, biscuits (in particular, Shortbread) or something of that description. I don’t tend to eat a full meal while reading and I don’t read while at breakfast etc. I just like a wee something to nibble on while I read.

Step 3: Controlling the noise level

I don’t like reading when it’s really noisy, so I do not like listening to music while I read or having the TV on in the background unless it is a TV show that I’ve already seen or am not interested in, in which case I can deal with it. My phone goes on silent and I issue a warning to my parents, telling them that they will feel my wrath if they don’t keep it down.

Step 4: Eliminating distraction

Once reading commences my phone goes on flight mode, laptop goes off, my door gets shut and I just sit down and get stuck in. I tend to make sure that I’m reading at times I won’t get interrupted (e.g. after dinner or well before dinner) and I avoid during the time of day when everyone seems to be looking for me.

Step 5: READ INTO OBLIVION

This is the most important part (obviously) and the most fun part. I soak up all the goodness of the atmosphere I’ve created for myself and get sucked into my book. I could read for hours, or maybe fifteen minutes. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m doing it.

I HOPE YOU ALL ENJOYED THIS AND I’LL SEE YOU LATER!