BBNYA, the first annual Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award, is a competition for indie authors (both self-published and published by small indie presses). The contest will be judged by a large and diverse panel of book bloggers from all around the world. The panel will put the books through several rounds of judging based off a wide set of criteria. As each round goes by, we will have bookbloggers announce the…
I hope your weekend has been filled with books ✨ I have been stuck in a never-ending vortex of work which has been eating up my reading time, so yesterday I stole loads of time to hide from responsibilities and read under 7 blankets (Scotland has taken a turn towards dang cold).
Because I have been in a work-induced book slump for a bit, today I wanted to talk about which book tropes always fire up my passion for reading. No matter how deep into a slump I am, encountering any one of these overly specific book tropes wakes my bookaholic tendencies.
An unexpected chosen one that is revealed to everyone (including the chosen one themselves) in public
I love the chosen one booktrope! Especially when the chosen one is an…
Under My Hat is an anthology, featuring some of the best known voices in fantasy fiction. The stories are all based off the idea of witches, some with the traditional ideas we know but with a slight twist, others with more varied, unrecognisable characters, and each one a delight to read.
There are elements of fantasy and horror in here, but most lean away from horror, focusing on other aspects of witchcraft. The first (Stray Magic) is a really sweet, endearing story about a dog separated from her master. There’s a story about a young woman who has recently joined a wiccan coven, and is searching for her belief. A tale about a cursed girl takes an interesting twist when her dead grandmother is bought back to life to protect her. And a young man in a forest comes across a woman who seems to be half cat, half human.
The anthology is well written, really well put together, and none of the stories blur into the other. Each has its own voice, and its own unique charm, carrying you from one tale to the next and making the book as a whole quite difficult to put down.
Overall, this is a really strong, interesting collection of stories, one that’s perfect for spooky season, and one that takes what could be seen as a stock character, and adds layers upon layers to it, without making the witches completely unrecognisable.
Another slight amendment from the list – the challenge notes ‘Witchy YA’, but I don’t read enough YA (I wish I did – I love YA!) to talk about that. So I’ll talk more about witches in fiction in general.
Firstly, I can’t do a blog about witches without mentioning Harry Potter. This series really got me hooked on reading, and reading about J.K’s struggles (I know, not as many rejections as they made out, but to 10-year-old me it was A LOT, not to mention everything else) made me think maybe it was something I could do, too. And the female characters (in the books, maybe not the films so much) helped me see how strong and varied women could be, from Ginny to Hermione to Luna to Tonks, Lily, and even McGonagall. These were women to admire, and as a kid who loved nothing more than reading, Hermione was great to read about, and earned a place in my heart right next to Matilda.
The next book is one I’ve mentioned a few times this month, and I finally finished reading it last night! Under My Hat is an anthology about witches, from a variety of different authors. It’s a great collection of short stories, each story presenting something different, and the book itself was an absolute pleasure to read. From young teenage girls trying to protect their school, to older witches trying to ensure their family’s happiness, each story was intriguing and interesting in different ways. A book very fitting for spooky season,
Next, Equal Rites. It’s the third Discworld novel, and the first of the Witches series. This novel introduces us to Granny Weatherwax, who travels with a young woman to the wizard’s university, trying to help her learn how to control her powers. It’s a fantastic book, full of Pratchett’s brilliant humour, and well worth a read.
The last book I’ll mention here is a bit different than the ones above. Although there are some elements of horror in Under My Hat, and really dark moments through the Harry Potter series, they aren’t full horror, unlike Hex (review and review-with-spoilers). This novel deals with a town held hostage by a witch who died a long time before. She wanders the streets, her eyes and lips stitched shut, and is very much part of the town. But the townspeople cannot stay away for long, and the younger generation, fed up of this arrangement, look for ways to stop her. The book is eerie in ways that haunt the reader, especially with the imagery of the witch, standing in the corner of a living room, unseeing yet always watching.
So there we have it! Some of my favourite witches in fiction. Do you have any favourites? Have you read the books listed here? I’d love to know!
I love Autumn. I love the nights drawing in, the heating going on, the actually being able to get comfy because it’s not stupidly hot anymore feeling. Halloween approaches, followed by Bonfire Night, my birthday a week later and Christmas is just around the corner. In short, Autumn is amazing, and here are 5 books I think are great for this most wonderful season.
Under My Hat
Okay so I haven’t actually finished this yet, but so far this witchy anthology is proving to be a great start to the autumn season. It covers various kinds of witches, with each story presenting a unique and different view, and the authors involved are fantastic. Definitely well worth a read.
Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban
This book makes me think of Halloween more than any of the others, maybe because so much of it is about revealing Harry’s past, and it’s when the books start to take a darker turn. Perfect for longer nights. FUN FACT: The second or third time I was reading this, I was in bed, curled up, when I got to the part where the dementors came onto the train and all the lights went out. And…all the lights went out. In my house. As they appeared. I legged it downstairs so fast to find my parents. Just a normal power-cut, but yeah, it was kind of freaky.
This atmospheric novel feels like a fantastic autumn read, with descriptions that will make you glad to be huddled down in your blanket. Schwab has quickly become one of my favourite authors, and if you haven’t read it already, now seems like the perfect time to pick up The Near Witch, full of creepy imagery, a compelling cast, and haunting prose.
The Cruel Prince
I really loved this book, and something about fae and the world they inhabit makes me think of autumn, or at least the tail-end of summer, the in-between time as one season changes to the next. It’s another book with fantastic imagery and absolutely compelling characters, and a story to keep you riveted. And the last of the trilogy is out next month, so this seems like a perfect time to read The Cruel Prince and book 2, The Wicked King.
I couldn’t do an autumn books list without including at least one Stephen King. King was the author who first got me into horror, and along with JK Rowling and Anne Rice, inspired me to start writing. Almost any SK book could be included on this list, but I went for ‘Salem’s Lot partly because it was one of the first King books I ever read, and I read it before I ever read Dracula. Which means I read it a long time ago, but I do remember it being eerie, sparking a lifelong search for books that would scare me. And it was one of my first exposures to vampires AS EVIL. I was a vampire obsessed teen, but until ‘Salem’s Lot, I’d only really read Buffy and a couple of Anne Rice books, both of which had vampires with the potential to be good, not just villains. And I remember staring out of my bedroom window at night, after putting the book down, and paying particular attention to the shadows outside.
Any books you think are perfect for autumn? Any recommendations for me to check out? Let me know in the comments!
This is such a great idea – who hasn’t fallen into the trap of adding hundreds and hundreds of books to their GR to-read shelves?
I’ve been really happy with how these have turned out so far. Though I haven’t managed to get rid of too many books off my TBR, it has given me the kick I needed to start picking some books up that I’ve had on there for far too long. What book has been on your TBR for the longest? Let me know in the comments.
Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
Read the synopsesof the books
Decide: keep it or should it go?
The Emperors Edge – Lindsay Buroker
Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is good at her job: she can deter thieves and pacify thugs, if not with a blade, then by toppling an…
Finally, some fiction from me! This begins the first chapter of a serial novel I’m going to be winging. I don’t know how often I will actually update it, but at this point, I hope to do so once a month.
WARNING: There is likely to be swearing in this review, as personally I think it might be hard to talk about The Boys without a little bit of swearing.
The Boys is a small group of people, four men, one woman, who have one job: to keep the superheroes in line. Superheroes who the public adores, who have fantastic public images, but who, in reality, are little more than ambitious, power-hungry sociopaths who think everyone else is there for their bidding only.
Our way in is through Wee Hughie, a young man from Scotland, who gets roped into The Boys after something horrific happens to him. But throughout the book, we also get glimpses of the superhero groups, of which there are various kinds in North America alone. The Young Americans, Teenage Kix, and The Seven, who are essentially the JL, but with less morals.
Admittedly, this is not going to be for everyone. It’s graphic in nature, both with sex and violence, and it strips away the clean-cut image of the hero to something much dirtier. These heroes aren’t in it to help people. They’re not Captain America, Superman, Iron Man, Captain Marvel or any of the others we’ve seen on the big screen. They are, unfortunately, a more realistic view of what happens when the wrong people get powers.
But they’re not all like that, and in Volume 1, we glimpse a young woman who achieves her dream and gets to play in the big leagues, only to find it’s not exactly what she was hoping for.
My literal reaction, just a few short pages in, was ‘HOLY SHIT’. Throughout, there are moments that make you want to weep, that stick in your throat, combined with a few instances of humour.
It seems like an odd word to use for such a graphic, err, graphic novel, but I did really enjoy reading The Boys, and I’m eager to pick up Volume Two, to find out what happens next. If you like comics with twists on the whole superhero thing, I would definitely suggest checking this out. And hopefully we’ll have the TV series to enjoy one day, too.
When I read Angie Thomas’ debut novel, The Hate U Give, I knew this was an author I was going to follow for a long, long time. I was super excited when I heard about her next book, On The Come Up, and honestly, I almost squealed in excitement when I spotted it in my local bookshop.
On The Come Up is the story of Bri, who wants to be the greatest rapper the world has ever seen. To try to get her start, she competes in rap battles in the ring, and from there, the story moves forward, showing us this young, strong, argumentative, passionate girl with a powerful voice, who the world wants to silence.
There are certain elements similar to The Hate U Give, a couple of similar themes and elements, and the books are set in the same area, but they are still vastly different. I’ve seen some people say Bri was harder to like than Starr, but I didn’t find that to be the case. I adored Bri. Like Starr, she felt completely and utterly real. A teenage girl, just trying to get along in life, juggling school, social life, her passion, and boys. There were a number of times I wanted to reach through the page and hug her, and there’s little about her personality I didn’t relate to.
When it comes to character voices, Angie Thomas has an amazing gift. Bri practically sings off the page (well, raps…) and it’s so easy to imagine her talking, rapping, thinking. Small touches emphasise her character, as we see the world through her eyes, as we witness the world around her, through her.
Overall, On The Come Up is a brilliant, fantastic novel, about ambition and voice and power (and being powerless), and once again Angie Thomas had me completely hooked right from the very first page until the last. I will be eagerly awaiting her third novel. If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest reading both The Hate U Give and On The Come Up. You really won’t be disappointed.
Yeah, so, one of the things I decided for 2019 was to revive this blog. I’ll be updating any successful submissions, confirming where my short stories can be read (all over on the About page, right now) as well as updating the blog with writing advice, as I have previously (such as here and here), book reviews – though don’t expect anything massively new, as I’ll be reviewing whatever I happen to finish reading most recently, and my TBR pile is currently pretty big, so need to get through that before I start buying brand new books. Maybe thoughts on films, games, podcasts as well, all of which I consume on a daily basis.
I’ll update as regularly as possible, and will try to get some posts written in advance, so there won’t be too long between updates.
I always welcome comments and discussions on anything I post, and if you have a blog you’d like me to check out, feel free to let me know. As well as on here, I’m also on Twitter (@elleturpitt).
So, just a quick catch up then.
I’ve recently read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which was so good I finished it in two days, squeezing in the last chapter before I had my hair-cut on Thursday. I’m currently reading City of Ghosts, and my boyfriend is trying to get me to read Star Wars’ Tale of the Bounty Hunters next, but we’ll see.
The last film I watched was Aliens, which was good and enjoyable, but I’m not completely sure if I want to watch any more in the series. I’d rather stick to my own head-canon, where Ripley and Newt live together happily ever after, maybe with Hicks, and definitely with Bishop popping in now and then to see how they’re doing.
The game I’m absolutely loving at the moment is Jurassic World Evolution. I’m having a lot of fun with it, and I feel like I’ve really got the hang of it. It took me a while to sort of pick up on how to find my way around completely, but I think that’s part of the fun with games like this. I will, however, echo something a friend of mine said – I just wish there were more theme park elements.
Basically, I sort of want a JP Evolution/Planet Coaster crossover game, my other current favourite. I want to build roller-coasters that dip towards dinosaur enclosures, but maybe that would just make the dinos panic? In all fairness, I’ve had enough of that already.
So that’s it, for now. I’ll try to post something else in the coming days. And of course, I’m always willing to check out any book, film or podcast recommendations, if you have any.