Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My TBR That I Still Haven’t Read

August 23: Top Ten Books On My TBR That I Still Haven’t Read
This week’s prompt was very specific in that it desired a list of books that have been on my TBR since before I started (book) blogging that I still haven’t read: game on! Un/fortunately, this list could have been much, much longer!

1. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

2. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

3. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

4. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch 

5. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

6. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

7. Half Bad by Sally Green

8. The Selection by Kiera Cass

9. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

10. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their blog and get involved!

For more content, visit @charlottebibliophile on Goodreads, Instagram and YouTube

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books Set In Multiple Countries

August 16: Top Ten Books Set In Multiple Countries
This week’s prompt was to do with settings: I love books that feature travel in some form or another, so decided to incorporate the two. Most of these books jump between countries as an important plot device (though one – I’m looking at you Gorsky – merely employs it to indicate extreme wealth). I’d love to visit many of the countries stated in their pages.

1. I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
I think it would be easier to list the countries this book wasn’t set! The main strands occur in the USA, Turkey, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia – strangely I’m only interested in visiting (or returning to in this case) two of these countries!

2. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Primarily set in the USA, there is a plot strand that leads Bella and Alice to Italy (both beautiful countries I want to revisit).

3. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
This novel features Australian characters who visit the USA (there seems to be a theme developing). I’ve never been to Australia, but it is one of the country’s highest on my bucket list.

4. Point Blanc by Anthony Horowitz
Set in the UK (London) and the French Alps, travel and exploration is a key theme of the Alex Rider series.

5. Girl Online by Zoe Sugg
Told by a Brighton based blogger (pretty much Zoe’s doppelgänger), she visits New York City with her family, and inadvertently falls in love with a pop star.

6. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Primarily told in Switzerland and Italy (as well as beginning in the USA), this novel is intense and combines the scientific and the religious.

7. Gorsky by Vesna Goldsworthy
Centered around a Russian billionaire living in London, characters are known to jet-off (to Greece) purely to advertise their wealth. Well, if the shoe fits…

8. Tripwire by Lee Child
Name a country a Jack Reacher novel hasn’t taken place in?! Whilst Jack was based in the USA in this one, there was a lot of detail about Vietnam and a past war crime that he was uncovering.

9. Foe by J.M. Coetzee
A re-telling of Robinson Crusoe sees Susan shipwrecked on an island. Her travels took her all over the globe (primarily South America) to find her abducted daughter.

10. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Predominantly based in the UK, it also includes a fabulous section in Mauritius, and a less fabulous, but equally poignant trip to Switzerland.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their blog and get involved!

For more content, visit @charlottebibliophile on Goodreads, Instagram and YouTube

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YALC 2016

On July 29-31 I spent the weekend at YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) at London Olympia. I’d been to signings and met authors before (J.K. Rowling, Audrey Niffenegger, Sarah J. Maas, E. Lockhart to name a few) but I had never been to a dedicated convention – it’s fair to say that I was more than a little excited.

Friday passed in a blur: I spent the day obtaining as much free merchandise as one human could possibly carry, which included a fair few proof copies, bookmarks, pin badges, tote bags, postcards and posters. I also purchased too many books – when there’s an offer of a free t-shirt or a 3 for 2, I’m there. I spent an hour or so looking around LFCC itself, finding all the available Harry Potter merchandise (I bought a Platform 9 3/4 watch and a set of four spell bracelet beads) and discovered I’m really better suited to the relaxed YALC atmosphere.

Saturday in some respects was more relaxed: I had been to the majority of the YALC stands so I had more time to browse and pick up what I wanted, rather than everything that was on offer. Despite this, it was the day I met Malorie Blackman, author of one of my favourite books of all time, Noughts and Crosses. I wasn’t overly stressed about meeting her – indeed I cracked a joke and she burst out laughing, we had a photo and she signed my books – but it was a big occasion nevertheless. I also headed down to LFCC to buy a Harry Potter jumper I had seen, but neglected to buy, the previous day.

I cannot fail to include the midnight launch party for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Piccadilly, which I attended with a few of the MuggleNet crew. We arrived almost two and a half hours before midnight, and got to explore the amazing efforts to transform the store into Hogwarts – it truly was remarkable! There was a costume contest, drinks reception, live Quidditch matches being played all evening, sweet shop, sets and props from the films and so much more. At midnight we sang happy birthday to Harry and Jo, before collecting our much anticipated books.

Sunday was the MuggleNet Potter Party. I may not have ever mentioned this, but I am a London Critic/Reviewer for MuggleNet and am therefore staff. However, I wasn’t involved in the successful event, so got to enjoy it with other Potterheads. We had party games, authors as our house captains/prefects, a quiz spanning the entirety of the series, a cosplay contest and much more.

Panels attended over the three days (best in italics):
Behind the magic: exploring magical systems in fantasy YA – Sally Green, Taran Matharu, Melinda Salisbury, V.E. Schwab
– A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness
– Fantasy London – Samantha Shannon, Ben Aaranovitch, V.E. Schwab
Join the Rebellion! Resistance and protest in YA – Alywn Hamilton, Julie Mayhew, Simon Mayo, Kass Morgan
– To Boldly Go… YA in Space – Malorie Blackman, J.P. Smythe, Eugene Lambert
– Ask YALC! – Holly Bourne, Juno Dawson, Rosalind Jana
#MorallyComplicatedYA – Melvin Burgess, Louise O’Neill, Manuela Salvi, Emerald Fennell
– The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater

Authors met and books signed:
The Summoner – Taran Matharu
A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness (+ photo)
This Savage Song – V.E. Schwab (+ photo)
Noughts and Crosses, Chasing the Stars – Malorie Blackman (+ photo)
Alwyn Hamilton (+ photo)

Books signed (author not met, purchased at YALC):
The Sign Of One – Eugene Lambert
7 Days – Eve Ainsworth
A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas
Way Down Dark – J.P. Smythe
Contagion – Teri Terry (proof)
Goldenhand – Garth Nix (proof)

Other books obtained:
The Moonlight Dreamers – Siobhan Curham
The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski
Whisper To Me – Nick Lake
Twenty Questions For Gloria – Martyn Bedford
Blame – Simon Mayo
The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book – E. Lockhart
The Deviants – C.J. Skuse (proof)
Stealing Snow – Danielle Paige (proof)
Dear Charlie – N.D. Gomes (proof)
Saint Death – Marcus Sedgwick (proof)

I had the best three days and definitely intend to return for YALC 2017 next summer – though I might bring a suitcase with me next year!

For more content, visit @charlottebibliophile on Goodreads, Instagram and YouTube

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favourite Book Characters

August 9: Top Ten Favourite Book Characters
Today we have a freebie week, so as usual I looked back at the very first topics (completed years before I began blogging) and plumped for favourite characters. I could have written a post purely about my favourite Potter characters, but I wanted to make it more diverse, so here we are.

1. Scorpius Malfoy Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Since seeing the play in June, I’ve been slightly (completely) obsessed with Scorpius. He has some of the best lines in the whole script, and is completely loveable and geeky. A new favourite.

2. Peeta Mellark The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
As the most loyal character in the universe, Peeta would undoubtedly be a Hufflepuff. He is selfless, caring and giving; in every sense, the perfect gentleman.

3. Noah CalhounThe Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
Writing a letter a day for a year to the love of your life sounds so romantic. It might have been difficult for Noah and Allie to be together, but they overcame the odds through true love.

4. Hermione Granger Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
As a child I shared a bond with Hermione that I cannot adequately explain. She’s the brains behind the operation, selfless, ambitious and brave (I think I just described all four Hogwarts houses!)

5. Clare Abshire The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
I love Clare’s spirit and how deeply she loves. She’s fiesty and sure of herself, and her relationship with her husband is passionate and true.

6. Katniss Everdeen The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Despite her snarky attitude, Katniss is immensely brave, independent and fiercely loyal to those she loves.

7. Jacob Black The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
I just love Jake: he’s loyal, kind and honest (and pretty darn good looking too). I’m glad he found his happy ending.

8. Charlie Bucket Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
As one of my favourite childhood characters, I couldn’t neglect to mention Charlie. Despite his background, he is full of humility, love and honesty, and is proof that what goes around comes around.

9. Jack Reacher Jack Reacher by Lee Child
Jack is not just pure muscle. Underneath the giant exterior lies a well-developed brain, allowing him to work his way out of life-threatening situations.

10. Robin Ellacott The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
JKR herself has stated that Robin is one of her favourite characters she’s ever written: I just love how kind, selfless and true she is.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their blog and get involved!

For more content, visit @charlottebibliophile on Goodreads, Instagram and YouTube

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‘Confessions Of A GP’ by Dr. Benjamin Daniels [Book Review]

After finishing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, no book grabbed my attention. As is so often the case with my own personal reading slumps, to completely escape them I need to read non-fiction. I followed my own advice (for once) and picked up Confessions Of A GP, and devoured it! Whilst it didn’t count towards my 2016 Reading Challenge, I have rediscovered my love of reading – and that is far more important!

Title: Confessions Of A GP
Author: Dr. Benjamin Daniels
Released: 2010
Pages: 327
Category: #45 A medical book
Rating: 7/10

Review:
“The mind is an immensely powerful tool for healing.”

Confessions of a GP is a collection of anecdotes from a real-life English GP, working in practices across the country. It is full of amusing stories about patients Dr Daniels (a pseudonym) has seen and treated over the course of his profession, accompanied by tales of his sometimes woeful degree, and first days in new jobs.

As a non-fiction piece, it comes across perfectly! It is funny enough to be devoured, yet potent enough to sit with the reader long after finishing – one thing is for certain, it definitely made me appreciate the difficult and varied work of GPs. Long live the NHS!

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This was a very entertaining read, which I blazed through in two days: I think I can consider myself well and truly out of my reading slump. Whilst reading this memoir, I was constantly amazed at excuses people fabricate to obtain sick notes, reasons for visiting GPs and how the NHS manages with the strain. It covered serious topics with lighthearted humour, and I will certainly read the sequel.

For more content, visit @charlottebibliophile on Goodreads, Instagram and YouTube

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‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne [Book Review]

I’m sure it will come as a shock to noone that the book that finally brought me out of my reading slump was Harry Potter: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to be more specific, and with it, the 2016 Reading Challenge is back on track! Having seen the play a month before the book was released in script form, I obviously knew the plot and the characters, but that didn’t make my return to the wizarding world by page any less magical.

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Author: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Released: 2016
Pages: 343
Category: #40 A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy
Rating: 7/10

Review:
“Harry, there is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.”

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth offering into the wizarding world, but instead of the novels we are used to, this comes in the form of the script of the play of the same name. Set 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts, it picks up where Deathly Hallows left off, on Platform 9 3/4. 

Little can be said as to its plot without spoiling the crazy journey that unfolds within its pages. What can be said, however, is that we are introduced to a new generation of characters, and reintroduced to those we fell in love with almost two decades ago.

Much has been said about the plot – the spoilers are easily available to access if you should so desire – and it is, unquestionably, going to be a play that divides Potter fans: much like Marmite. I can only speak for myself, but having been fortunate enough to see the play at the Palace Theatre in June, reading the script immersed me once again in its brilliance: let’s just say I totally ship it!

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Whilst this script isn’t perfect and there are plot holes big enough for Hagrid to fall through, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book and devoured it in two sittings. Any addition to Harry’s world will be welcomed by millions of Potterheads across the globe, and I certainly am no exception!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’d Buy Immediately If Handed A Fully Loaded Gift Card

August 2: Top Ten Books I’d Buy Immediately If Handed A Fully Loaded Gift Card
This list is assuming the gift card is for books available in a store, and not an unlimited gift card whereby I could locate a 1/1 copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and happily pay £30,000 (I wish!)

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1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Deluxe Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling
At £135, this is a purchase I simply cannot justify, regardless of how insanely beautiful it might be.

2. Monsters by Emerald Fennell
One of my favourite panels at YALC was #MorallyComplicatedYA, featuring this and the following next book/author. I love anything that challenges perceptions, so this is high up on my “to buy” list.

3. Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill
The book Louise was discussing at YALC was Asking For It, but I as I already own that I’ve put her debut novel on my “to buy” list.

4. The Jungle Book (MinaLima Signed Edition) by Rudyard Kipling
Appallingly, I have never read this novel, but MinaLima (the graphic designers of the Harry Potter movies) have released a beautiful edition that I definitely want to get my hands on.

5. The Geek’s Guide To Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash
I can’t for the life of me remember where the recommendation for this book came from, but I added it to my “to buy” list – it looks very funny and appropriate.

6. One Shot by Lee Child
There are only a handful of the Jack Reacher books that I do not currently own, and this is one of them. I will complete my collection one day!

7. The Hogwarts Classic Boxset by J.K. Rowling
I already own the books within this boxset, so I’m loathed to buy it, but with that unlimited gift card, I’m certainly getting it.

8. The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy: A Trilogy In Five Parts by Douglas Adams
This book has nothing but positive reviews and it’s something I definitely want to read, but I just haven’t got around to buying it yet.

9. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
This has been on my Amazon wishlist for about a year and I’ve still not got around to buying it. I love YA road-trip stories, so I’m certain I’ll enjoy this one.

10. Harry Potter Page To Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey by Bob McCabe, Jody Revenson, Moira Squier
Another “I wish”. I remember when these were a Lightning Deal on Amazon and I missed it. Now they’re retailing at £500 or so. I want!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their blog and get involved!

For more content, visit @charlottebibliophile on Goodreads, Instagram and YouTube

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