Friday Feature: Book Fun with Barbies

I had a whole feature planned for today until I checked this month’s blog stats and seriously guys, people have been going crazy over anything I’ve posted about Kiera Cass’ forthcoming book, The One.

So, then I thought (as I’m stupidly excited about it too), that I’d do a ‘lets all get excited, with a summary so far’ post….which I was just about to start when I remembered the HILARIOUS reenactment with Barbies that Epic Reads did.

Epic Reads, I applaud you. It really is something.

If you haven’t read any of The Selection series but want to, this video will tell you EXACTLY what happened in the first book so I wouldn’t recommend watching it. But if you have read them, or frankly don’t care, you are in for a treat if you’ve not seen it yet! SRSLY.

 

It’s brilliant right?

Well, the book fun with Barbies doesn’t end there. As with most awesome things on the internet people have jumped on the bandwagon and I found a whole host of Barbie reenactments.

Like this Trailer for The Hunger Games…

 

And then I came to this. A pretty offensive parody of Twilight which I probably shouldn’t laugh at but when Edward sees Bella and pukes on her I couldn’t help do a LOL.

 

Now I really want to play out my favourite books with Barbies. Shame I got rid of them about 20 years ago.

The One is released May 6th, and The Selection Stories was out on Feb 4th. How have I not bought it yet!?

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Related Posts:
*Fangirl Alert* The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass
Di & Lipsy do… The Selection

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Rereads Challenge Review: Northern Lights (The Golden Compass) by Phillip Pullman

REREAD

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When Lyra’s friend Roger disappears, she and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, determine to find him.

The ensuing quest leads them to the bleak splendour of the North, where armoured bears rule the ice and witch-queens fly through the frozen skies – and where a team of scientists is conducting experiments too horrible to be spoken about.

Lyra overcomes these strange terrors, only to find something yet more perilous waiting for her – something with consequences which may even reach beyond the Northern Lights…

I’ve always thought of Northern Lights as one of my childhood favorites even though I had only read it twice. The last time was probably when I was about 16 – almost 15 years ago (EEEEEK) – so it was long due a reread. Added to that, I went off on an adventure of my own in the hope of seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland, so I thought it would be the perfect book to get me excited about it.

Unfortunately, the beginning of the book felt more like a chore this time round. It’s funny how you always remember the good parts (Lovely Lyra, the badassness of Iorek Byronison, the magical descriptions of the arctic and the Aurora) but forget the bad parts (the slow pace and drawn-out plot).

But thankfully, my disappointment didn’t last too long. I’m pretty sure the reason I fell in love with this book when I was younger wasn’t just the fantasy, magical elements of it, but Lyra herself. She’s such a great protagonist. She’s inherently good and powerful but she doesn’t know it. She has no idea of her potential but runs on the simple instinct to do what’s right and to help the best she can. In the beginning her only motivation is to save Roger and a longing to explore the north, but little did she know where it would lead her.

I probably missed a some of the underlying themes in this series the first time round. It’s infamous for being anti-religious (or at least void of Christianity) much like the Narnia books are infamous for their not-so-subtle Christian themes, but that wasn’t what was new to me this time around. I’d somehow missed the onslaught political and racial commentary.

Also, it’s totally Steampunk, right?

All that aside, by the middle of this, I was hooked again, I stopped peeling back the layers and just enjoyed the story of a plucky girl and her daemon (oh how I wanted my own daemon growing up – OK I still do!) on a thrilling adventure to the arctic to save her best friend and find out the truth about the family that disowned her.

And it’s dark, really dark – with the human experiments, kidnappings and gory deaths…

And as he said that, the Aurora flickered and dimmed, like an anbaric bulb at the end of its life, and then went out altogether. In the gloom, though, Lyra sensed the presence of the Dust, for the air seemed to be full of dark intentions, like the forms of thoughts not yet formed”

Perfect!

I’m so glad I can still call it a favourite.

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Disclosure?: Nope, I own it.
Title: Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1)
Author: Phillip Pullman
Details: Paperback, 399 pages
Publication Date: October 23rd 1998 by Scholastic Point (first published 1995)
My Rating: 4/5

WWW Wednesday 26.02.14

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

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Currently Reading: I’m fiiiiiinally reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer. Loving it so far!

Recently Finished: Kissing with Fangs by Ashlyn Chase. I’m totally behind on reviews but I’m hoping to catch up over the weekend!

Up Next: Same as last week as I forgot I had Cinder and wanted to start it so bad! So either Blood Orange Soda, Monsters of Men, or Eden Forest.

Leave the link to your post and I’ll do my best to come visit!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read Before I Started Blogging…

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week. This week the topic is a freebie. We could pick a previously done topic, one we missed or something chosen at random. I don’t fancy revisiting any previously done topics just yet, and I’m sure there’s loads of good ones I missed but what I really want to do is Top Ten Books I Read Before Blogging That I Wished I’d Reviewed!

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The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson: I had a love/hate relationship with this book. From what I remember I loved the present day story but got a but bored by the flashbacks. I wish I’d reviewed this as it was a really interesting read even though I only gave it 3 stars on Goodreads.

Dirty Angels by Andrew Clover: I remember really loving this book but I can’t remember a thing about it – it only has TWO reviews on Goodreads and it doesn’t even have a synopsis!????

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes: I loved this too, but a few of my friends read it and hated it. Why did I love it so much?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: I wish I’d reviewed this before the film came out. I had been wanting to read Perks for about six years before I actually picked up a copy and it broke/melted my icy heart! But now all I can think about is the AWFUL film which everyone else seemed to enjoy. No.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: I have kind of reviewed this in a Favourites Friday post, but I wish I’d written my thoughts down about it at the time.

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Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion: Again, I wished I’d reviewed this before I saw the film – which I didn’t hate, but I definitely preferred the book. The film was much more light-hearted than I found the book. I did a very short Goodreads review before I started blogging.

The Gates by John Connolly: I will get the opportunity to review this for my Rereads Challenge so watch this space. This book was funny, clever, and just awesome.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan: I think this has been my favourite Green book to date, and maybe my favourite Levithan too. The characters have left a lasting impression on me but I can’t remember the ins and outs of the story.

Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin: I knew about this book before I’d ever even heard of Game of Thrones, it’s a bizarre tale of a riverboat captain and a vampire. I remember it being really hard to get into but also too intriguing to put down. I’d like to give it another go at some point.

The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas: Scarlett Thomas is one of my favourite British authors and this is the first book of hers I read, falling in love instantly. I class it as a favourite but I’ve only read it once, and everyone that I’ve convinced to read it didn’t like it as much as I did….so maybe I was wrong?

Friday Feature: 5 Reasons Why Vampire Show Moonlight Was Ahead of its Time.

Before there was Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, CBS delivered a short-lived Paranormal Romance series called Moonlight. Anyone remember it? Nah, thought not.

I don’t know what the reception of the show was like in the US but over here in the UK Moonlight was a bit of a non-starter. I’m pretty sure we just got it as a bit of an afterthought to fill a slot on one of the lesser-known Sky channels. I don’t even remember what it was on, or how I discovered it. But I loved it. Sorry, LOVE it.

Moonlight follows private investigator Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin), who was turned into a vampire by his bride Coraline (Shannyn Sossamon) on the couple’s wedding night fifty-five years earlier. In the present day, he struggles with his attraction to a mortal woman, Beth Turner (Sophia Myles), his friendship with Josef Kostan (Jason Dohring), and his dealings with other vampires in Los Angeles.

A few weekends ago I had a proper Moonlight binge and watched the whole series. Every time I get to the last episode it makes me sad…it was totally cut off in its prime, managing only 16 episodes before it was cancelled. Which led me to wonder why it never took off…..

Obviously, it was just ahead of its time! Here’s why:

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1. Moonlight arrived in 2007 which was just two years after Twilight was published. It was a year before Meyer’s novel was adapted which was really the catalyst in rejuvenating the Vampire genre, and paranormal romance (on screen) on the whole. If Moonlight had been released after the tween world went crazy for hot immortals then who knows what could have happened.

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2. Alex O’Loughlin was relatively unknown when the series began. He’s since gained fame and acclaim for his role in the reboot of Hawaii 5-0. Having a big name in the lead role could have worked wonders. Not that I’d change it, Alex O’Loughlin is awesome. And by awesome, I mean hot.

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3. Original storylines are hard to come by, especially when it comes to Vampire or paranormal shows. Ideas are lifted from both myth and literature, using them and re-using them to create all of those cliches we are so used to these days. So it’s no surprise that some of the themes seen in Moonlight have cropped up again in newer, more popular series. The use of Vampire blood as a euphoric drug for one. In Moonlight, a case leads Mick and Beth to Lola (guest star Holly Valance), a night-club owner and vampire who is killing her own for blood which she harvests into a drug called Black Crystal to sell to humans, making them feel powerful and sexy. This idea has cropped up recently and most substantially in True Blood* (2008) where Vamp Blood (V) is heavily used as a metaphor for drug abuse.

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4. In another episode, Beth hires Mick to protect the survivor of serial killer ‘Shepherd’ who gets the death penalty. In a Manson family type storyline the killer’s loyal cult following is blamed for carrying on the killings, when in fact Shepherd turns out to be a vampire. Sound a bit familiar, minus the vampires? Recent hit The Following starring Kevin Bacon perhaps? See, waaaaaaaaay ahead of its time.

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5. And lastly, Doppelganger folklore has been showing up more frequently in paranormal literature and TV shows in the last few years. In Moonlight, Mick’s ex-wife Coraline who he killed decades before returns in the shape of Shannyn Sossamon (A Knights Tale, 40 Days and 40 Nights) and he believes her to be a doppleganger. A few years later The Vampire Diaries*, premiered in 2009 centered around the story of Elena, the doppleganger of her soon-to-be vampire boyfriend’s ex. Got that?

*Yes I know L.J Smith’s Vampire diaries series and Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books were released before Moonlight, but we’re talking about TV shows here people. Keep up!

Blog Take-Over: B.I Woolet on the inspiration behind their World of Arcas series.

I’m absolutely delighted to hand over my blog today to B.I Woolet, authors of The Hunter, The Bear and the Seventh Sister (HBSS). I fell in love with the world they built instantly and I was intrigued to find out where their inspiration came from.

But first, here’s the low-down on HBSS:

hunter
Title: The Hunter, The Bear and the Seventh Sister
Author: B.I Woolet
Details: E-Book, Paperback
Publication Date: January 28th 2014, by ArcasArts

When a beautiful and powerful stranger throws Jackson into the world of Arcas, his predictable midwestern life instantly vanishes into an all-consuming adventure.

The last kingdoms of Arcas possess enduring youth, beauty, and wealth but have slowly crumbled under the weight of endless apathy and a painful past.

The rising evil of Gurges Ater now threatens to reopen the ancient kingdom pillars created long ago as passageways between Earth and Arcas. With access to both worlds, Gurges Ater will quickly conquer the weak kingdoms and establish his own throne.

Can Jackson along with a paranoid bear, a lone hunter, and the surviving seventh sister work together to protect both Earth and Arcas?

Or will the unlikely heroes allow their own fears, pain, and past to paralyze them as Gurges Ater opens the pillars and claims the throne?

Leave your own world behind, dive through the shimmering portal, and join Jackson to discover the beauty, danger, and adventure awaiting you in the World of Arcas!
Read my review here.

Thanks Lipsyy for letting us take over your blog today! 🙂

Fantasy and Sci-Fi adventures…

have always been an enjoyable part of our life. Like many others, we grew up escaping to the worlds of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien. We loved to “journey” to other worlds but never thought that we would actually create one. Many readers have asked us about our inspiration behind The Hunter, the Bear, and the Seventh Sister, so today we hope to give you some of the inside scoop on our journey through the fantastical world of Arcas.

The idea of writing a fantasy story did not start on the side of a glorious mountain or before a marvelous sunset descending upon the crashing ocean. The World of Arcas was born during… a baby shower. I (Benji, the “B” in B. I. Woolet) was by sitting by the fire on one cold November evening in 2011. Actually, I was hiding a bit from the whole awkward feelings about being a man at a baby shower that wasn’t for my wife or for my baby. So, I sat alone in the back room, enjoying the warmth of the fire and looking out at the snow covered ground. Perhaps I secretly wished to be transported away, so I wouldn’t feel so out of place. “What would happen if I transported to another world?” I thought, staring at the flaming logs and breathing in their smoky incense. Thus, the dawn of a new world, the breath of new characters, and the rumors of a new adventure in the World of Arcas were all conceived during a baby shower.

The backbone of The World of Arcas Series is the union of astronomical science and fantasy. When we first started writing HBSS, the links to objects in the celestial universe weren’t totally formed yet. As fate would have it though, about the same time as the genesis of HBSS, my wife and I got interested in astronomy. As beginning stargazers, we started by learning the constellations and how to star hop. Once we recognized individual stars and the various characters in the night sky, we could use our telescope to find cool deep space objects.

orionDuring the day, we were creating a fantasy world. At night, we were gazing at the stars. As we searched the dark sky one night, the powerful figure of Orion—the hunter—almost demanded to enter the story. We knew there were already stories about Orion from various cultures throughout human history, but those stories seemed so removed from our world, so distant. It was time for the stars to come to life for a new generation. After all, the constellations do not just belong to the ancient world; they belong to those of us who are breathing, and seeing, and enjoying them right now. They needed a new story for a new age.

Now, of course, we didn’t get rid of the old legends all together. We did what most people do while forming a creative work: borrowed, altered, and added. Otava (which comes from the Finnish name for the constellation) is the great bear Ursa Major. However, in American culture, many people don’t even know it’s a bear; we usually think of it merely as the big dipper (which makes up the back half of the bear). Hence, we made our bear into a culinary enthusiast! And we also added a few jokes about Otava’s “big dipper.” But there are also many new and interesting aspects of the bear that we added to make him a loveable, powerful, and quirky character!

Ok—beware! I’m about to get super geeky on you now!

Another example of mashing together science with fantasy is found in the chapter “The Ring and the Lyre.” My “go-to” constellation is Lyra when I stargaze. I first use a trick my uncle taught me to test my optics out on the “double-double” (a set of two double stars in Lyra that you can “split” with the telescope). Then, I immediately look for the famous Ring Nebula (M57). It’s an amazing nebula, and I wanted something special for it. For the musical fans out there, the idea formed out of something similar to the dream sequence in Oklahoma.

ringWe turned the stringed Lyre into a magical instrument. So when Sulafat (Gamae Lyrae – the second brightest star in Lyra) plays the lyre, a cloudy magical ring appears that is reminiscent of the Ring Nebula: Upon reaching the bank, the cloud formed a ring swarming round and round, displaying blues and greens in the center along with golds and reds on the outside. The colors were vibrant yet muted by the white haze. A beautifully haunting tune quietly radiated through the ringed cloud.

There are so many other amazing star connections to be discovered as you journey with The Hunter, the Bear, and the Seventh Sister! Don’t get me started on the epic Horsehead Nebula in Orion, our inspiration for the warhorse Alnitak. Or the gravitational modeling involved in creating a planet within a trinary star system.

But don’t worry! Even if you are not into astronomy, you can enter the World of Arcas and enjoy the ride in complete bliss without worrying about star names or constellations or nebulas. It’s a fun adventure story for the whole family to enjoy. The backbone of Arcas may be the celestial universe, but the life of Arcas radiates through its memorable characters and on-going action.

HBSS was a two-year writing project and all this science stuff is great, but it doesn’t reveal our greatest inspiration. We were fortunate enough to receive continual encouragement from close friends and family to follow our dream and finish this first book. Every day at the gym, one of my closest friends asked (consistently for two years!) how the book was coming along. Now folks…that is real inspiration. Friendship.

Meet the Authors

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B. I. Woolet (Benji & Ila Woolet) is the author of The Hunter, the Bear, and the Seventh Sister, the first book from the World of Arcas series. Benji studied Music Composition leading to a Bachelor’s in Music, and Ila studied English leading to a BS in Education. When they aren’t working, writing, or chasing their three little girls around, they are active in their local community and church. The couple enjoys creating lyrical and literary arts, playing music together, and exploring nature. They are happily married and live in Indiana.

Links
Website: World of Arcas
Facebook
Twitter
Find the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, and Goodreads.

Image Credits:
The Ring Nebula: The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2002/28/image/d/

Orion: images adapted with the courtesy and written permission of IAU and Sky and Telescope Magazine.

Update: Back to work & what’s coming up!

I am back from an excellent holiday in Iceland (I’ll post some pictures soon) and I’ve also been revamping my flat as my friend and flatmate Dora (Hi Dora) moved out before I went away. It’s the end of an era! But I am looking forward to living by myself for the very first time. EEEK.

I’ve been pretty busy (mainly deciding where to put ALL THE BOOKS) but now it’s time to knuckle down. I have loads of awesome things lined up for the blog so I thought I’d let you know what to expect for the rest of Feb and March.

Guests Posts

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I have two wonderful guest posts lined up from two (well technically three as one is from a fantasy-writing husband & wife duo) authors who talk about the inspiration behind their respective titles.

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I did the bad thing and went a bit NetGalley crazy a few months ago, which is good because I have some awesome- looking books to review, but is bad because I HAVE NO TIME.

Blood Orange Soda by James Michael Larranaga

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Darius Hunter is a bullied high school freshman. When he drinks Blood Orange Soda to transform into a Vampire and earn respect, he soon learns life as a Vampire has its own challenges.

Set in the future on the rural landscape of St. Cloud, Minnesota where pre-Vampire teens are required by the government to take a daily Red pill to prevent their urge to bite, Blood Orange Soda is a coming of age story of love, life and death.
Released 15th March 2014 by JML

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

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The Dane family’s roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn’t keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy’s few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls-the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t protect. Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri’s necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri’s death could be linked to her mother’s disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie.
Released March 11th 2014 by Spiegel & Grau

Frog Music by Emma Donaghue

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Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice – if he doesn’t track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women and damaged children. It’s the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts. In thrilling, cinematic style, FROG MUSIC digs up a long-forgotten, never-solved crime. Full of songs that migrated across the world, Emma Donoghue’s lyrical tale of love and bloodshed among lowlifes captures the pulse of a boom town like no other.
Released March 27th 2014 by HarperCollins

A Love Like Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

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In 1944, just days after the liberation of Paris, Charles Jackson sees something horrific: a man, apparently drinking the blood of a murdered woman. Terrified, he does nothing, telling himself afterwards that worse things happen in wars.

Seven years later he returns to the city – and sees the same man dining in the company of a fascinating young woman. When they leave the restaurant, Charles decides to follow…

A Love Like Blood is a dark, compelling thriller about how a man’s life can change in a moment; about where the desire for truth – and for revenge – can lead; about love and fear and hatred. And it is also about the question of blood.
Released March 27th 2014 by Hodder

Blog Tours

I’m chuffed to be reviewing Aoife Marie Sheridan’s Eden Forest as part of her Blog Tour, hitting Lipsyy Lost & Found on March 6th.

I better get to it!

WWW Wednesday 19.02.14

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

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Currently Reading: I’ve just started this Netgalley ARC today – Kissing With Fangs by Ashlyn Chase. On a bit of a Vampire Kick since reading VA but this might even be too cheesy for me!

Recently Finished: I didn’t get much reading time last week but I managed to finish Northern Lights (The Golden Compass) by Phillip Pullman and Zombies Vs Unicorns (Various). Both reviews will be up soon.

Up Next: So many to choose from. In the running is the last of the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, Of Monsters and Men, or ARC Blood Orange Soda and Eden Forest for a blog tour. Busy Busy.

Leave a link to your post and I’ll do my best to come visit!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books To Make You SWOON

toptentuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week. This week the topic is supposed to be Top Ten Reasons you love reading or blogging but I missed last week’s as I was gallivanting around Iceland and I really wanted to do that topic! So here are my Top Ten Books to make you swoon.

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1. Twilight: I can’t help it OK. Edward Cullen is totally hot and I will spend the rest of my life trying to get the image of Robert Pattinson out of my head. YOU ARE NOT EDWARD CULLEN.

2. Vampire Academy: Vampires are clearly going to feature quite heavily in this list. It’s an affliction. I read this for the first time recently and Dimitri definitely has the potential to be my new book boyfriend. And Rose can be my book girlfriend too. I am THAT greedy. Double swoon

3. Graceling: Katsa and Po are one of my favourite book couple ever. So many things about their relationship made me swoon. And who doesn’t love a Prince??

4. The Selection: I am firmly Team Maxon. I would be fighting for my place to be his one. And see above RE: Prince.

5. Morganville Vampires: It’s been a long time since I read these books, I got up to number 8 and lost interest a bit but I loved Claire and Shane’s romance in the earlier books. Michael, the guitar playing vampire is pretty swoon-worthy too.

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6.Throne of Glass: Celaena Sardothien is proper hot so she obviously has her pick of guys including Prince Dorian (yes another Prince – are you sensing another theme here?) and royal guard Chaol. I’m rooting for Dorian, obvs.

7. Sunshine: Con isn’t a cuddly, sparkly vampire, but man he’s really hot. The sexual tension between him and the eponomous protagonist is hawwwwwwt.

8. TMI: Jace, Simon, Malec, Isabelle….need I say more!?

9. Divergent: Tris and Four’s antics had me swooning quite a bit. The hot make-out scene on the train for one.

10. The Hunger Games: GALE. JUST GALE OK.