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The Frozen Sea

Books to the ceiling, books to the sky, my pile of books is a mile high. How I love them! How I need them! I'll have a long beard by the time I read them!

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Utterly brilliant. I adored all the characters and the way they fitted together to form a hodgepodge crew.



I loved all the different cultures and ideas and how Becky Chambers used them to bring each person to life. I also thought the world building was wonderful. My heart broke for them at the end. Possibly my new favourite sci fi novel

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Such a brilliant idea, and so well written! The plot was gripping and suspenseful, and the writing was simple and so well done. You can see why Agatha Christie remains one of the world's favourite writers - she really knew people, what made them tick, what made them do the things they did.


I came to this book after watching the new BBC miniseries of the same name. They really didn't have to change much at all - the book as it is is perfect.

The Red Queen (The Obernewtyn Chronicles 7) by Isobelle Carmody

I have waited 16 years for the conclusion to this amazing story, and it did not disappoint. This is the series that got me on to epic fantasy - without Obernewtyn, I'd probably be a very different reader today. I have loved Elspeth, Rushton, Dameon and Matthew particularly since that first book when I was 14, and to finally come to the end of all of their stories is both heartbreaking and .. well, actually, just heartbreaking really. I haven't cried so much while reading a book in years.




I'm not even sure if you could call it a happy ending. All of the plot threads that Isobelle had been weaving for decades came to neat ends, but there is still so much that she could have explained. There's so much left up to our imaginations. And there's a huge message throughout the entire saga that people should definitely heed. If you've been put off by the years of silence from the author, don't be. It's finally finished. Start at the beginning, you won't regret it

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Enthralling, disturbing, and pretty relatable, I had a hard time putting this book down.

Set about 20 years after an epidemic has wiped nearly all of humanity from the planet, Kirsten and her travelling symphony wander what used to be the mid-west of the United States, putting on Shakespearean plays and classical concerts for the small groups of people they encounter on the way.


The book goes back and forth between the final few weeks of civilisation and the present, connecting characters from the past with those in the present through a comic book beloved by the main character. I found the people in this book really relatable, their fear palpable, and their actions justifiable. I have to admit that I didn't see the twist until about two-thirds of the way into the novel but it really makes an odd kind of sense.

I also rather enjoyed the tiny splash of hope at the end. What's a dystopian novel if it doesn't end with a little bit of hope for a better future?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Utterly enthralling and completely unputdownable. The writing style was so true to form - it sounded just like a geeky teenage boy, unsure of himself and cocky at the same time, and with moments of hope and dismay and depression.





Wade was such a clever kid, and the writing style too was clever. I loved everything about Wade and the technical world he felt most comfortable in. If you enjoy all things 80s, love computer games and geeky references to movies, TV shows and books, and like stories about how we humans are our own downfall but could really do SO MUCH BETTER if we just put a bit more effort in... read this.

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio




Beautiful and wistful story that shifts between the present and the 1940s. Romantic and sad. The writing style had me picturing a grey, turbulent ocean, ferocious and frothy. But instead of feeling disturbed by it, I felt peaceful. The ending was satisfying, even if a certain part of the plot annoyed me. 

The Beast's Garden by Kate Forsyth

Such a beautiful, heart-wrenching book. It was utterly flawless. Once I started, I couldn't put it down - I think I read it in about 4 hours. The romance was a sweet note to the violent overtones that was Ava's life. I could hardly comprehend her bravery. I would hope that in the same situation, I'd be just as strong.



I did love how Ava's escape from what was happening around her was fairy tales and song. Reminding her of her humanity, that there were other people out there who felt as she did, who loved as she did. Would be very hard to remember that when all around you, people are callously murdering people.

Basically anything Kate Forsyth writes is a must read for me. You should make them must reads too.


The Martian by Andy Weir

This book was amazing. It was 368 pages of awesome - I left one page off because I was disappointed that we didn't actually see Mark get back to Earth. It's action packed and interesting and full of surprising humour.


I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, because it is full of physics, maths, botany, astrophysics, chemistry, biology - whatever science you can think of, it's packed in here. It didn't weigh the story down at all though, but rather added to Mark's characterisation.

That's another thing. I love this guy. Mark Watney is a brilliant character. He's hilarious. He's so intelligent. He's resourceful. And he never gives up. If all astronauts are like this, I need to meet them. How he survived that long alone on a planet thinking he would probably die is beyond me. I can't even read it without feeling claustrophobic and terrified. 







A very entertaining and well-written story. It reads like a Sherlock Holmes mystery, if Sherlock lived in a world where supernatural beings existed and he had the ability to see them. Didn't Arthur Conan Doyle believe in fairies and psychic phenomena? I enjoyed the mystery, as well as the setting. Jackaby was rather like Sherlock, only I think less condescending, and maybe less... utterly brilliant. His house was a place I wish was real - I really want to explore it. 


The cover is beautiful too, especially in it's hardcover version. 


The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman


Wonderfully written, and beautifully illustrated. I enjoyed the mix of two fairytales (Snow White and Sleeping Beauty) and the unexpected twist at the end. A picture book that isn't just for kids - adults will enjoy the melding of two well-known tales, and the unexpected differences. 

Beautiful Wreck by Larissa Brown

I was pleasantly surprised multiple times by this time travel novel. The initial surprise comes from the time period the heroine Ginn comes from - a bleak future in the 22nd century based on virtual reality, where citizens escape the drudgery of their lives in their favourite moments of history. The world no longer makes it's own history, but simply mimics and revisits what's come before, and this struck me as a rather grim future. Ginn herself has long since realised this, but she can't help but be drawn to the Viking era. Something goes wrong with her virtual reality, however, and she finds herself stuck on a farm in Viking-Era Iceland.



It's here that we meet Heirik, Chief of this particular village, who is feared and ostracized because of a birth mark across his face. He's untouchable, withdrawn, and alone. Something Ginn can relate to, both in her current 10th century setting, and in her own future.


The romance that developed between these two was sweet and well done, but also aggravating at times. The will-they-won't-they push and pull got rather frustrating after a while. I also thought the time travel aspect wasn't explained very well - there are time travel novels that leave this a mystery and do it well, but this one gave a confusing explanation that wasn't very satisfying



The Poison Garden by Sarah Singleton

Interesting novel - I loved the idea of secret gardens hidden inside plain boxes that were bigger on the inside, that took on aspects of whoever controlled the garden; their dreams, their memories, their imagination. What wonderful places those gardens could be, and what terrible places.


The mystery of the murders was enthralling, but I found the ending somewhat unsatisfying. We never learned where the garden came from, or what the other members of the previous guild had created. Still, an entertaining and well-written novel.

Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav



Poetry isn't for everyone. It's something that is deeply personal, and even if you are a fan, only a tiny minority of poetry will speak to you. Even then, only a tiny fraction of that poetry will move you on a given day, due to whatever mood you're currently in.

I'm grateful I picked this book up today, when I was in this mood, at this precise point in my life. It only took me less than an hour to read it, and what an enjoyable 40 minutes that was. I enjoyed the short prose the most, but the tiny poems were heartfelt and beautiful, as well


Alyzon Whitestarr by Isobelle Carmody


I just loved this book. I've liked all of Isobelle's books, but this one was different. It's not a big epic fantasy like Obernewtyn or the Legendsong of the Unykorn, but still just as interesting, I think. Much simpler plot, but that comes with the territory. I love the idea of each person having their own unique scent which tells you something about what that person is truly like, and that their emotions are also represented by various scents, but which occur differently in different people. I also love the fact that Alyzon discovers that her cat also communicates in this same way, and that if she concentrates, she and her cat can have conversations. She can tell when he wants to be scratched, fed, let out, or where he's been exploring simply by the scents he releases as a result of her thinking what she wants to know. The characterisations of, in particular, Alyzon's father, her friend Gilly, and Patrick, the boy Alyzon develops a crush on, are all wonderful as well.




Two things really stuck out in my mind though, that led me to leaving off that extra 1 point. One was the sudden change in story, from Alyzon exploring her new abilities, to her discovering that certain people with a terrible rotting smell are actually infected with a disease. She discovers that her family is caught in a conspiracy to 'infect' people with particularly good essences so that they catch this rotting soul disease. The transition felt really felt sudden and clumsy to me, as I had really enjoyed Alyzon exploring her new gift. The second issue I had was how easy it was for Alyzon's abilities to leave her. As soon as she tried to put some effort into using them, they were practically forced out of her body and she had to go back to being as she was originally. It was rather disappointing. We also didn't get a satisfying conclusion to the events that occurred in the final half of the book - we have no idea as to why this rotting infection was being spread among the population or who was behind it. It will be rather hard to ferret out the people who have this disease now, and how will she go about understanding her poor cat? Still, it was an enjoyable young adult novel. 

Sophie Masson's Retold Fairytales

I've loved fairytales since infancy, like pretty much every other child ever born. This love hasn't lessened with adulthood, though, so I tend to read a lot of retold fairytales. These two books were a recommendation from another author who does the genre brilliantly - Kate Forsyth.


Scarlet in the Snow



A beautiful and enchanting re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale, interwoven with re-worked Russian mythology and some lovely fantasy and storytelling. The romance was sweet and subtle but well developed, I thought, particularly for the genre. This is definitely worth a read, particularly if you love fairytales and Russia in general.  I want to go and find everything else this author has written now.


Moonlight and Ashes



Beautiful retelling of the Cinderella fairytale, and utterly original. I was obviously entranced. I think the story was let down a little by the lack of a relationship development between Serena and Max - it did seem a little like insta-love to me, so in that respect, the writing and character development was not as well done as in the previous book - but other than that, it was wonderful.

Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman

Really enjoyable historical novel in the style of Kate Morton-type stories, with a very light romantic aspect in the background.



The story starts off with Beattie Blaxland, a Scottish girl who emigrates to Australia in 1929 and who's journey is full of devastation and heartbreak. Intertwined with this is the story of her granddaughter Emma Blaxland-Hunter, a ballerina who has suffered a career-ending injury and the end of a relationship almost simultaneously. The one constant in the story is Wildflower Hill, a property in Tasmania, that Beattie leaves to Emma and that provides the setting for most of the story. It was engrossing but also quite difficult to read in some parts. 


I love Kim Wilkins' supernatural novels and so this was a natural progression for me. I'll definitely read more of this style from her.