Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books of 2017 So Far #TTT #2017Books

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

TTT has been on hiatus over the summer and now it’s back. Whoop. Welcome back! I wanted to join in to celebrate this, however I wasn’t very inspired by the topic (Ten book recommendations for ______________), so I’m going to do one of the ones I missed.

This week my topic is… Top Ten Books That I’ve Read So Far This Year (they were not all published this year). Links go to my review, or the Goodreads page if I haven’t reviewed it yet.

10. Spectacles ~ Sue Perkins

spectaclesWhen I began writing this book, I went home to see if my mum had kept some of my stuff. What I found was that she hadn’t kept some of it. She had kept all of it – every bus ticket, postcard, school report – from the moment I was born to the moment I finally had the confidence to turn round and say ‘Why is our house full of this shit?’

Sadly, a recycling ‘incident’ destroyed the bulk of this archive. This has meant two things: firstly, Dear Reader, you will never get to see countless drawings of wizards, read a poem about corn on the cob, or marvel at the kilos of brown flowers I so lovingly pressed as a child. Secondly, it’s left me with no choice but to actually write this thing myself.

This, my first ever book, will answer questions such as ‘Is Mary Berry real?’, ‘Is it true you wear a surgical truss?’ and ‘Is a non-spherically symmetric gravitational pull from outside the observable universe responsible for some of the observed motion of large objects such as galactic clusters in the universe?’

Most of this book is true. I have, of course, amplified my more positive characteristics in an effort to make you like me. 

Thank you for reading.

Published July 28th 2016 by Penguin

 

9. Broken Branches ~ M. Jonathan Lee

 

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‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse. 

Published July 27th 2017 by Hideaway Fall

 

8. Calling Major Tom ~ David M. Barnett

 

callingmtCALLING MAJOR TOM is a heart-warming and ultimately life-affirming story of a man who has given up on the world… but discovers in the most unlikely way that it might not have given up on him.

We all know someone like Thomas.

The grumpy next-door-neighbour who complains to the Residents’ Committee about the state of your front lawn. The man who tuts when you don’t have the correct change at the checkout. The colleague who sends an all-company email when you accidentally use the last drop of milk.

Thomas is very happy to be on his own, far away from other people and their problems.

But beneath his cranky exterior lies a story and a sadness that is familiar to us all. And he’s about to encounter a family who will change his view of the world. 

Published June 18th 2017 by Trapeze

 

7. The Inexplicable Logic of my Life ~ Benjamin Alire Saenz

theinexplicThe first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he? 

Published March 7th 2017 by Clarion Books

6. All the Good Things ~ Clare Fisher

 

allthegoodTwenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve to ever feel good again.

But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head.

But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.

What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone-even a 100% bad person-deserve a chance to be good?

Published June 1st 2017 by Viking, Penguin UK

5. The Last Act of Love ~ Cathy Rentzenbrink 

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In the summer of 1990 – two weeks before his GCSE results, which turned out to be the best in his school – Cathy Rentzenbrink’s brother Matty was knocked down by a car on the way home from a night out, suffering serious head injuries.

He was left in a permanent vegetative state. Over the following years, Cathy and her parents took care of Matty – they built an extension onto the village pub where they lived and worked; they talked to him, fed him, bathed him, loved him. But there came a point at which it seemed the best thing they could do for Matty – and for themselves – was let him go.

With unflinching honesty and raw emotional power, Cathy describes the unimaginable pain of losing her brother and the decision that changed her family’s lives forever. As she delves into the past and reclaims memories that have lain buried for many years, Cathy reconnects with the bright, funny, adoring brother she lost and is finally able to see the end of his life as it really was – a last act of love.

Powerful, intimate and intensely moving, this is a personal journey with universal resonance – a story of unconditional love, of grief, survival and the strength of the ties that bind. It’s a story that will speak to anyone who has lost someone close to them, to anyone who has fiercely loved a sibling, and to anyone who has ever wondered whether prolonging a loved one’s life might be more heartbreaking than saying goodbye.

Published July 2nd 2015 by Pan Macmillan

 

4. Labyrinth ~ Jim Henson/ ACH Smith

 

labyrinth1Finally back in print and for the first time in hardcover, the novelization of LABYRINTH written by A.C.H. Smith and personally overseen by Jim Henson, is the first in a series of novels from the Jim Henson Archives.

This beautiful hardcover features unpublished goblin illustrations by legendary illustrator and concept artist Brian Froud and an exclusive peek into Jim Henson’s creative process with 50 never-before-seen pages from his personal journal, detailing the initial conception of his ideas for LABYRINTH.

Published April 22nd 2014 by Archaia

 

3. The Rest of Us Just Live Here ~ Patrick Ness

therestofusWhat if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions. 

Published August 27th 2015 by Walker Books

2. The Marsh King’s Daughter ~ Karen Dionne

 

marshking‘I was born two years into my mother’s captivity. She was three weeks shy of seventeen. If I had known then what I do now, things would have been a lot different. I wouldn’t have adored my father.’

When notorious child abductor – known as the Marsh King – escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.

No one, not even her husband, knows the truth about Helena’s past: they don’t know that she was born into captivity, that she had no contact with the outside world before the age of twelve – or that her father raised her to be a killer.

And they don’t know that the Marsh King can survive and hunt in the wilderness better than anyone… except, perhaps his own daughter.

Published June 13th 2017 by Sphere

1. The Hate U Give ~ Angie Thomas

 

thugSixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. 

Published April 6th 2017 by Walker Books

 

Did any of these make your Top Ten of the year so far??

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones #BookReview#YA #FantasyReads

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wintersongTitle:
 Wintersong
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Series: N/A
Format: Paperback, 508 pages
Publication Details: February 7th 2017 by Titan Books
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy; Romance
Disclosure? Nope I bought it! 

Goodreads 

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‘Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.’

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Review

Inspired by one of my favourite films of all time, Labyrinth, I met Wintersong with equal amounts of excitement and apprehension. It’s not a short book at 500ish pages, but it flew by…however, I don’t feel like I can say I loved it. In fact I’m really not sure how I felt about it and I finished it a couple of weeks ago!

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Basically, The Goblin King steals away Liesel’s beautiful sister Kathe to lure Liesel to the Underground where he plans on making her his bride. Liesel has always dreamt of The Goblin King. She’s drawn to his beauty and his power, but also fears him. There is a passion between the pair but being The Goblin King’s bride means leaving her family behind and never setting foot overground again.

Wintersong was certainly cringe-worthy in places, and outright bizarre in others, and it never went where I thought it would which is a double-edged sword in that it’s good that it was unpredictable but bad in that I wanted things to happen that didn’t.

Overall, I enjoyed this strange, slightly melancholic tale that brought a new Goblin King into my life. I obviously pictured a young Bowie with a ridiculous wig and an even more ridiculous cod piece but that’s not the point (swoon). There were some deliciously dark moments in Wintersong, but the relationship between the MC and The Goblin King never truly felt right, not even in that ‘so bad but good’ way.

I do think Jae-Jones has written a lovely tribute to Labyrinth though, and I also loved the evident use of, and inspiration from Rossetti’s The Goblin Market which I’ve only ever read snippets of but now want to read in its entirety.

“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
“Come buy,” call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen.

– The Goblin Market

unicorn rating 4

(I rounded-up)

This Month in Books: Jan & Feb 2017 #Books #NewReleases #Reviews

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I haven’t done a monthly round-up yet this year (my bad), so here’s a quick summary of both. In January I took a blogging break and only posted TWIB and one review anyway. When I returned in Feb I decided to make some changes in which I wanted to blog less and read more, and also blog to the mantra of quality not quantity. It’s really renewed my enjoyment of blogging and reading so far. Whoop!

Jan & Feb 2017 Stats

Total Posts: 5 & 11 

Books Read: 9 & 5

Reviews

Most Viewed Posts

  1. This Week in Books 01.02.17
  2. Discussion: Blog-Life Crisis
  3. My Favourite Books of 2016

Awards

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That’s it for this month. I should be back to my full monthly round-up next time. I also usually share my TBR update here but I haven’t looked at that since Christmas so there’s lots of additions (and a few subtractions) to make. I’ll do a separate post if I get time.

 

 

Reading Round-Up: January 2017 #MiniBookReviews

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Welcome to my new post where I discuss any books that I read in the month which for one reason or another didn’t warrant a full review. This is a way for me to keep track of what I’ve read but without the pressure of having to write comprehensive reviews for them all. 

There are quite a lot this month because I took January off from blogging and read anything I wanted. It was great!

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Bowie: The Story of Rock’s Enduring Enigma ~ Mike Evans

I got this book for Christmas and really enjoyed working my way through it. The text wasn’t anything spectacular but it was laid out well and the photographs and old gig posters/ticket stubs made it special. As a huge Bowie fan, I was surprised to see a few photos I didn’t recognise which is always a bonus.

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Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: The Novelisation ~ A.C.H Smith

Another Christmas book and one I had wanted for so long! I’m so glad I wasn’t disappointed. There were some notable changes from the film which made it fresh, but without a doubt the best part of this book is Jim Henson’s notes at the back and Brian Froud’s original sketches. A must for any fan of the ultimate ‘kids’ fantasy film.

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Heartless ~ Marissa Meyer

I was really excited about this Alice in Wonderland tale (mainly because it looks so pretty tbh) but also quite apprehensive to start it. The Lunar Chronicles was amazing, and something that I thought shouldn’t work (Cyborg Cinderella), and I worried that maybe Meyer was churning out another retelling on the back of that success. I’m pleased to say that I was wrong and found Heartless to be an enjoyable origin story for the Queen of Hearts. There were some really great bits in it, but I felt it dragged in places. Not hugely exciting, but enjoyable enough.

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Ruin & Rising ~ Leigh Bardugo

It’s taken me a whole year to read this series. I was quite disappointed with the second book so I kept putting this one off but I’m glad I finally picked it up. The third and final book in The Grisha series was a vast improvement and I couldn’t put it down. I loved Alina’s character arc, and her complicated (and very different) relationships with Mal, Nikolai and The Darkling. It’s a vivid, dark fantasy world that Bardugo has created here using elements from Russian folklore, which is what sets it apart from other YA fantasy.

unicorn rating 4

Pagan Portals: Merlin ~ Elen Sentier

I’m not religious at all but I like to think I’m pretty open-minded and I’ve always been interested in alternative religions, especially those which worship nature rather than a person. I’m also a fan of Arthurian mythology so I figured this book would be an interesting read.

Unfortunately it wasn’t quite what I was expecting (which I guess was something along the lines of exploring Pagan values in the stories of Merlin and King Arthur). However, what I actually got was what seems to be an eccentric old lady who is frequently visited (in real life) by the wizard Merlin who guides her spiritually, and goes on describe how we too can befriend him if we try hard enough.

It just wasn’t for me and I couldn’t finish it.

DNF – no rating

January’s Spotlight Review was A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week in Books 18.01.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where I share what I’ve been up to in bookland this week

Hi guys, I’m enjoying a bit of a blog hiatus this month but I’m still posting this Wednesday post where I’ll simply be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now:  Heartless  ~ Marissa Meyer

Re-tellings can be very hit or miss for me but The Lunar Chronicles is one of my all-time favourite series so I’m hoping Meyer has struck gold again with this Wonderland re-imagining. We shall see…

Then:  Labyrinth – The Novelisation ~ A.C.H Smith

This book did exactly what I was hoping for – it got me out of my reading slump. Hurrah!!! Jareth never lets me down 🙂

Next: ??? 

Definitely Pagan Portals: Merlin by Elen Sentier. I should have reviewed this before the end of the year but y’know- life!

  

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

This Week in Books 11.01.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

 

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where I share what I’ve been up to in bookland this week

Hi guys, I’m enjoying a bit of a blog hiatus this month but I’m still posting this Wednesday post where I’ll simply be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now:  Labyrinth – The Novelisation

I’ve really not been reading much lately which is a bummer because I was hoping to spend my blog break reading ferociously to get a head start on the year. Hopefully this book will get me back into the groove. If anything can, this can!

Then:  A Mother’s Reckoning ~ Sue Klebold

This book was really interesting and I have so much I want to say about it!!! I won’t be posting a review until February though. Don’t worry, I have notes! It is being re-released Feb 9th.

I’ve also read one of the books I got for Christmas, Bowie: The Story of Rock’s Enduring Enigma by Mike Evans. The text itself wasn’t anything special (I’ve read quite a few Bowie books!) but the photographs and old posters in it were great.

Next: ??? 

Probably Heartless by Marissa Meyer which I got for my birthday and am verrrrry excited about. I do however need to read some ARCs…grr….we’ll see.

  

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

This Week in Books 04.01.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where I share what I’ve been up to in bookland this week

Happy New Year to you all! I hope you all had a wonderful end of year and all that jazz. I’m enjoying a bit of a blog hiatus this month but I’m still posting this Wednesday post where I’ll simply be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now: A Mother’s Reckoning ~ Sue Klebold

I barely got chance to read anything over Christmas due to being ill and being busy with family and … OK OK, I mainly didn’t get much reading done because I was drunk. I was ill as well, but mainly drunk. LOL.

But I’m back in action now and for some reason this was the first book on my list that I fancied picking up. It’s a true account of the Columbine High School shooting as told from the mother of one of the teenage gun-men. It’s really interesting so far.

Then:  Christmas Under a Starlit Sky ~ Holly Martin

I didn’t love this as much as the first book, but it was still a lovely read for just before Christmastime.

Next: ??? 

I have to make a start on some January ARCs but I’ll probably go for the best book I got for Christmas – the Labyrinth novelisation…which I’ve wanted for so long! I’m so happy it’s been reissued as I was never able to find a copy of the original version and, this one’s so pretty!

  

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Back to the Movies #TTT #90sMovies

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is… All about the movies. 

There was quite a few suggestions for the movie theme this week and one of them was 90s movies. I was an 80s baby and a 90s t(w)een so naturally 90s movies are full of childhood nostalgia for me.

So without further ado, here are my top ten 90s movies (that everyone should watch)! In no particular order…

  • The Craft
  • Clueless
  • Scream
  • Home Alone
  • An Interview with a Vampire
  • Speed
  • Pretty Woman
  • 10 Things I Hate about You
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Terminator 2

 

Bonus Round: Not quite the 90s…

These were staples of my childhood, and I still love to watch them now! Let’s face it, 80s films were also pretty awesome. I’ll have to do a separate post for them at the some point.

  • E.T
  • The Goonies
  • Labyrinth
  • The Karate Kid

What would have made your list?

Top Ten Tuesday: Villains (mwahahahahaaa)! #TTT #HorrorOctober

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten Villains!

I’m very happy with this topic as it’s perfect for Horror October! I’m going to narrow the topic down to the most swoon-worthy baddest of the bad guys, but I’m choosing characters from both page and screen. Let’s face it, there’s gonna be a lot of vampires in this list. Sigh. 

These guys take ‘always falling for the bad boys’ to another level!

 

Spike (Buffy)

Spuffy forever! I’ve always loved Spike, he’s clearly the best. Much better than that lamo Angel.

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Lestat (Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles)

 I’m not talking about Tom Cruise here, although I think he played it brilliantly. Lestat is so the original bad boy vampire that we really want to want us, right?  Plus, he’s a rock star on occasion.

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The Darkling (The Grisha series)

It’s so wrong but so right. I haven’t read the final book yet but I’m praying for more evil-hot Darkling action. 

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Eric (True Blood)

Skarsgard. Nuff said.

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Paul Spector (The Fall)

I couldn’t give two shits about the whole 50 Shades thing but OMG Dornan in The Fall is just ueghdhsoigahuy. He’s a serial killer, which is bad, granted…but his accent, and face and well, everything. IT’S TOO MUCH. 

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Kasper Varn (The Dark Heroine)

I only read the first book in this series and I can’t remember a great deal about it tbh. Apart from the main vampire being hot.

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Rowan (Throne of Glass series)

Another non-vampire. Check me out. The last book I read in the series was Heir of Fire (I’m behind, I know) where we meet Rowan, the fae prince and warrior. He’s pretty vicious. He’s also totes hot amiright!? I must be, you just have to look at all the crazygood fan art of him. Swoon. 

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Gavriel (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown)

 OK that was short lived. Here’s another vampire who shouldn’t make our knees go weak but does. At least he’s kind of nice by the end of the book…I think.

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Jareth (Labyrinth)

David Bowie. Cod Piece. Leather. Glass balls. Enough. I mean he might try to steal your baby but at least he’ll sing while he’s doing it. 

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Hannibal (TV series)

Never before has Hannibal Lecter been even the slightest bit hot. Until Mads Mikkleson. What is it about him? It’s so wrong…

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*Bonus Pick* Damon (The Vampire Diaries)

Oh Damon. He’s no Spike but he’d do. 

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Don’t forget to vote for your favourite  horror prompt for my Flash Fiction Battle. More info here. Voting closes in 2 days!

NEXT UP ON HORROR OCTOBER: Pretty Wicked book blitz & giveaway

 

 

Friday Feature: Spell your name out with fictional characters!

I was trying to think of a fun post for today and I came up with this!

Seeing as I missed this week’s TTT which was all about your favourite heroines, I thought I’d share some of my favourite characters with you today.

Why not join in and do your own name (link me if you do)!

LIPSY

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Laureth Peak (She is Not Invisible ~ Marcus Sedgwick): Laureth Peak thinks her father’s on the verge of a breakdown. He’s supposed to be doing research in Austria, so when his notebook shows up in New York, Laureth knows something is wrong. On impulse she steals her mother’s credit card and heads for the States, taking her strange little brother Benjamin with her. Reunited with the notebook, they begin to follow clues inside, trying to find their wayward father. Ahead lie challenges and threats, all of which are that much tougher for Laureth than they would be for any other 16-year old. Because Laureth Peak is blind.

Iseult (Tristan & Iseult ~ Various): Isuelt is the name of several characters in the Arthurian story of Tristan and Iseult. The most prominent is Iseult of Ireland, wife of Mark of Cornwall and adulterous lover of Sir Tristan. Her mother, the Queen of Ireland, is also named Iseult. The third is Iseult of the White Hands, the daughter of Hoel of Brittany, sister of Sir Kahedin, and eventual wife of Tristan.

Peter Pan (J.M Barrie): A mischievous boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood having adventures on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang, the Lost Boys, interacting with mermaids, Native Americans, fairies, pirates, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside Neverland.

Sarah Williams (Labyrinth ~ A.C.H Smith): 15 year old Sarah is on a quest to reach the castle at center of an enormous otherworldly maze, beyond the goblin city, to rescue her infant brother Toby, who has been kidnapped by Jareth, the Goblin King.

Yvaine (Stardust ~ Neil Gaiman): The fallen star. In Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, stars are living creatures. Yvaine appears to be immortal, but not invulnerable. She is pursued by the Lilim and the surviving sons of the Lord of Stormhold, who want her for their own reasons. When Tristran realises his love for her, he abandons his courtship of Victoria Forester, and Yvaine marries him despite their inability to interbreed.