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Top Ten Tuesday #7: 2016 Releases I WILL Read This Year!

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Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is new book releases you meant to read in 2016, but never got round to… and definitely plan to read in 2017! As I’m a bit of an expert on hoarding books that I will ‘read next’ for several years, I thought this might be a good one to do.

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Five of the six books above are sat on my bookshelf, waiting to be read. I remember buying them eagerly, knowing that I’d soon be lost within them. And did I pick them up straight away? Nope. One was sent to me, Cloak of War, and I’d planned on reading it during Sci-Fi Month 2016 as I absolutely loved the first book, The Empress Game, which also took me ages to get around to. And the remaining book, A Closed and Common Orbit, I am DESPERATE to read, but I want to buy it – and I want the paperback. Which actually isn’t available until April so… that’s my excuse. I just really don’t like hardbacks, okay?! 😉

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I own both Time Siege and The Crown’s Game from the four books above, but still haven’t touched them. I’m also waiting for the paperback of Truthwitch, which I believe comes out in June!

What 2016 releases do you still need to read? Would you recommend any of the books on my list?

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Top Ten Tuesday #6: My Top TV Shows

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I am once again taking part in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is all to do with your top TV shows!

Parks and Rec Community

I think Parks and Recreation and Community are quite possibly my absolute favourite shows of all time. I’d just left university, had moved home and had broken up with my boyfriend whom I’d been with for several years. I was not in a good place – and these two shows helped me through. They’re funny, thoughtful and just so, so perfect. If I could find a job that I love as much as Leslie Knope loves working in the Parks Department, I would be so happy. I basically force people to watch these two shows at every chance I get, and even got one of my friends in Leiden to watch all of Community – every week we’d watch a couple of episodes with dinner and wine, until slowly I got him to love the show and no longer had to be the one to encourage the Community marathons. 😉 I’m so sad that they’re both over – Parks and Recreation had a perfect finish, but Community was cancelled, not once but twice.

The Office Green Wing

Clearly I enjoy workplace comedies! It may be blasphemy for me to say this as a Brit, but The Office US was far more enjoyable to me than the original UK version… Firstly, there was so much more and secondly JIM AND PAM. JIM AND PAM. The world’s most perfect, beautiful couple, who took far too bloody long to get together, but watching every interaction between them was amazing and my god do I want a relationship like that. Plus just about every other character in the Dunder-Mifflin office is an absolute treat – I’m still annoyed that Netflix decided to remove this show from its UK streaming titles. Unlike the first three titles here, Green Wing is a British comedy. It is set in a hospital, and follows employees from various departments – all of whom are very weird in their own way, but perhaps no-one more than Dr. Alan Statham, played by Mark Heap. It is surreal and possibly one of the strangest comedies you’ll ever watch, but 100% worth it if you get the chance. Also my go-to show for when I’m feeling ill or sad.

Game of Thrones Black Books

I’m pretty sure that Game of Thrones will make a lot of these lists. I didn’t actually start watching it until either halfway through the first season, or at the end, but when I did I immediately fell in love. I then devoured all the books, making sure I finished the first book before watching past episode one of season one. It consistently amazes me, and I love that my whole family now watch it – although watching Game of Thrones with your parents can be a rather awkward experience at times… Black Books is another British comedy, and also another workplace comedy, set in a second-hand bookshop in London. Owned by grumpy Irishman Bernard Black, it follows him and his two friends, Manny and Fran. Another surreal yet hilarious comedy that, like Green Wing, is definitely worth your time.

outlander firefly

I cannot get ENOUGH of Outlander, based on the fabulous books by Diana Gabaldon. Following a combat nurse from 1945 who ends up travelling through time via a stone circle, and lands in 18th century Scotland, it truly has a bit of everything. Time travel, romance, sex, action, adventure, sex, violence, did I mention sex? – just reading about Claire and Jamie together makes me feel a bit weak at the knees sometimes. This has been televised so perfectly, with gorgeous locations and an even more gorgeous cast. I can’t wait for season three, although 2017 now feels way too far off. Firefly is another case of an excellent show that was ended far, far too soon. A sci-fi show with steampunk elements, the main characters were basically space scavengers/pirates and were all completely loveable. If you’ve not yet watched this, but loved books such as The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, then this might just be the show for you.

Orange is the New Black how to get away with murder

So apparently when I’m not watching workplace comedies, I enjoy shows about criminals and murderers. If you haven’t yet watched Orange is the New Black, then you’re probably one of four people on the planet who hasn’t. This drama, set in a women’s prison, is so so so GOOD. The depth of every character is astounding, and it’s refreshing to have a show where the cast aren’t all stunning and made-up every second of their lives (like when women often spring out of bed on TV looking all made-up, what?). So basically, if you’re one of those four people, please amend that asap. How To Get Away With Murder (probably not the best phrase to have on your internet history) is one of those shows that leads you on, makes you think you know what’s happening or what’s going to happen – then it tears out your heart, stomps on it and serves it back up to you. It is brutal, it is amazing and every single episode is basically a giant cliffhanger that leaves you screaming in frustration. And it makes me so happy.

Have you watch any of these shows? What did you think? Let me know your favourite TV shows in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday #5: Books I Read In School

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This week I’m joining in with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The theme is ‘Back to School’, so I’m going with just a list of the books I remember reading in school, in no particular order. This comes to nine, but I’m sure there must have been more!

Angela's Ashes Jane Eyre Chinese Cinderella

I vividly remember reading Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt with my class when I was 14, by which point I’d already read it. I also remember, above all else, watching the film and our teacher rushing to fast-forward any ‘inappropriate’ bits, blushing and stammering throughout the whole thing… Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is one book I have previously discussed, more specifically how I absolutely love it. However, it was not love at first sight – mostly because reading books for GCSE English meant tearing every little sentence apart from some kind of hidden meaning. Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah is probably the first book I remember reading at school, I must have read it in primary school when I was 9 or 10 and had already read it several times before (massive book nerd for life). It’s a really interesting look into the culture of China, and the practices of that time, but it’s also very sad.

Pride and Prejudice Wuthering Heights Lord of the Flies

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a book that I feel really suffered at school. I enjoyed it, but also know that I would’ve loved it even more, as would my classmates, if we hadn’t had to completely pull it apart. If we’d just read it as it is, I feel that everyone in the class would have enjoyed it, instead of developing a future hatred for the classics… Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte also suffered from this, although admittedly I did try and re-read it a few years ago and struggled just with the first chapter because of the gardener/servant/whatever he was. The accent was too thick to understand! I also remember the film version of this with Ralph Fiennes much more than anything in the book. Lord of the Flies by William Golding however, I really really loved. It was so different to everything we’d read so far, and I even went so far as to hunt down books inspired by it – I did find one that was a female version of the story, which I then leant to classmates and never got back. I can’t even remember what it was called now!

Crucible Macbeth An Inspector Calls

I studied The Crucible by Arthur Miller for both English and Drama GCSEs. I really enjoyed it, and there are so many different and wonderful adaptations of the plays. It is insane how the community starts to fall apart from the inside because of these crazy beliefs. Of course we had to read some Shakespeare, and Macbeth by William Shakespeare is the one that really stands out. Which reminds me, I still need to watch the film version released last year featuring Michael Fassbender… And finally, An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley. We read this in Year 7 or 8, and I remember it being pretty fun – acting it out in English class and following the mystery.

Which books do you remember reading in school? Did any of them really stand out?

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Top Ten Tuesday #4: Books Read In 2013

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Yes, I’m joining in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! I was planning on doing a top ten of my books read this year on December 31st anyway, and since that’s the topic of this week’s TTT, why not join in?

This week’s theme is: Top Ten Books Read In 2013

I’d love to know what your top books of the year are too, or if you agree with any of my choices – so feel free to leave your list in the comments, or perhaps link to your own top ten. I’m looking forward to the selections! And now, in now particular order, my top ten books read in 2013…

1. & 2. Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #1 & #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

You’ve probably seen these books everywhere on the blogosphere, and they deserve every ounce of praise. Sarah J. Maas has crafted a brilliant fantasy world and cast of characters, and I really hope that the series encourages people who might not normally try the fantasy genre to give it a try. Plus I met the author in October, and she was absolutely lovely – she shows a lot of dedication to her fans. I told her that Throne of Glass was my favourite book of the year, and she also remembered meeting Paola and Charlene a few months and a whole continent ago!

3. All Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays #1) by Cristin Terrill

All Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays #1) by Cristin Terrill

An incredibly fun whirlwind of a read, this Young Adult novel involves time-travel and a Doctor… but not the kind of Doctor you’d like to take a trip through time and space with. Yes there’s a love triangle, which I normally hate, but this one isn’t quite as simple – in fact nothing is. I pretty much devoured this book in one sitting and had such fun writing a review full of Doctor Who references (I just had to!).

4. Endymion (Hyperion Cantos #3) by Dan Simmons

Endymion (Hyperion Cantos #3) by Dan Simmons

Knowing I am a big fan of science fiction, my dad kept trying to get me to read his favourite series, the Hyperion Cantos. I finally picked up the first book in the series, Hyperion last year, and I read book three this year. I’m so glad I decided to read it, because it has proven to be one of my favourite sci-fi series so far – it’s epic, brilliantly written and just amazing. Now I just have book four, which I hope to read in 2014! The first book in the series has been chosen as my bookgroup’s Sci-Fi Book of the Month for January 2014.

5. The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind was the first book that my bookgroup chose to read together, and I don’t think we could have started on a better note. Rothfuss’ tale of Kvothe, the mysterious narrator, is gripping and exciting, enchanting and oh so unique. I recently discussed magic systems in fantasy novels, including that of The Name of the Wind, which is referred to as ‘sympathy’. I have book two waiting for me on my shelf and it’s definitely high priority – perhaps it will make my top reads of 2014?

6. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

If you’ve never read anything by Haruki Murakami, then you really should. If you have, then you know what I’m talking about: Murakami’s writing is weird, good weird, and incredibly imaginative. He has written many novels, and whilst some of them are perhaps more ‘normal’, this is not one of them. His writing really makes you think, and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how to describe a typical Murakami book. Basically, give it a try.

7. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I really can’t rave enough about this book! I’ve said this so many times, but I’ve never read anything quite as fun as Ready Player One. With its pop culture references and crazy online world known as the OASIS, it’s pretty much the perfect book for anyone nostalgic for the 80s, early 90s, or any avid games (particularly online gamers). Know someone who would rather play a video game than read a book? Give them a copy of this and they might change their mind…

8. Graceling (Graceling #1) by Kristin Cashore

Graceling (Graceling #1) by Kristin Cashore

Graceling wins ALL the awards for being ‘Most Surprisingly Amazing YA Book’. Being part of the book blogging community, you hear a lot of good stuff about a lot of good YA books – and although I’d heard that Graceling was worth the read, it wasn’t surrounded by all the fuss that Throne of Glass was, for example. I got it out of the library on a bit of a whim and then fell in love. It’s been a great year for fantasy books apparently!

9. Leviathan (Leviathan #1) by Scott Westerfeld

leviathan cover

How close I was to returning this one to the library unread! Not because I didn’t like the look of it, but because I had so much to read and review – but luckily I caught up. Luckily, because wow. I’m not sure if I’ve ever read an alternate history before, and I’ve not read much steampunk, and Leviathan has most definitely peaked my interest in the genre. Not to mention the absolutely gorgeous illustrations that accompany the story.

10. Serena by Ron Rash

Serena by Ron Rash

Seriously underrated and under-read, Serena needs more recognition! A tale of determination, this book truly shocks. I can’t even remember how I heard about it, I just know that as soon as I did I wanted to read it – and ordered myself a brand new copy, which is a rare thing. It’s also being made into a film, featuring Jennifer Lawrence (yay!) as the eponymous Serena and Bradley Cooper as her husband, George Pemberton.

And there we are, my top reads of 2013! What were yours? Share them in the comments below!

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Top Ten Tuesday #3: Books I’d Like To See As A Movie Or TV Show

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I’m joining in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week’s theme is:

Top Ten Books I’d Like To See As A Movie Or TV Show

I first read this series when I was about ten or eleven, not too long after it had first been released in the UK, and absolutely fell in love with it. I was lucky enough to interview Marianne Curley a couple of months ago, and The Named was also my first ‘Five Reasons Why You Should Read This Book’ feature. As it’s set in Australia, there would be some beautiful scenery – not to mention all the time travel scenes. I even have an idea for cast members – I could see Douglas Booth as Arkarian because of his chiseled features, and Robert Sheehan as Ethan.

One word: epic. This space opera series is just absolutely fantastic and would make SUCH a brilliant series of films. With a great variety of characters, there are plenty of actors and actresses who would fit in so well. Plus seeing the Shrike on the big screen would be amazing. There’s just the right mix of action and character development to make this a silver screen hit, in my opinion. Apparently Warner Bros. have had the rights to make a film for several years, and Matt Damon has expressed interest in working on the script, but they have yet to make any progress on it. It would certainly be an expensive project so I guess that’s the main issue at the moment. I also featured Hyperion as my second ‘Five Reasons Why You Should Read This Book’.

Oh, this would be a tough one. With the fanbase it has, the film version would need to be perfect and match Rothfuss’ writing precisely. It could be an absolutely stunning film, a sort of Harry Potter for the older generation (popularity, not strictly content wise). My book group actually discussed a fantasy casting for a film of this, and came up with some pretty interesting ideas. I haven’t yet read The Wise Man’s Fear, but several friends have said they did not enjoy it as much as the first book – I’ll have to wait and see.


This series. Read it now. Another one that I’ve featured in ‘Five Reasons Why You Should Read This Book’ – it would make a brilliant fantasy epic. Although I wasn’t as impressed with The Daylight War as I have been with the other two (I plan on putting a review up soon), I still love Brett’s writing. He’s pretty awesome and interacts with his fans a lot, including hosting fanart contests. I’d love to see how the different types of demons appear on the big screen, and the fight scenes would just be fantastic.

This would make such a fun movie, although it could be potentially problematic what with all the pop culture references. I also wonder how the OASIS would appear. Would they just film it normally so it looks real? Or would there be a subtle hint of illusion hidden beneath everything? I could also imagine the stark differences between reality and the game, and how well that would work on film.

As with the Guardians of Time trilogy, this is another series I fell in love with when I was younger, and another of my favourite childhood authors that I recently interviewed! It would make a lovely film series for the middle grade audience, and would definitely be something different to the usual fantasy series. The only problem with making a film like this would be finding the right cast – for example, in my opinion the first few Harry Potter films suffered because of the acting skills of the cast when they were younger.

I’m so amazed that this hasn’t been adapted yet. It’s been out for over fifteen years, has a massive fanbase and it just so, so brilliant. Perhaps when it was published the techniques hadn’t yet been developed to allow the film to be created to its full potential, but now they definitely have. The last news of a film based on the series was in 2008 – someone in the film industry is missing out on something big!

Yeah so I haven’t even read the second or third books. I’m STILL waiting for Fire to arrive at my local library (it’s been in transit for nearly three weeks?!), but I know that Graceling would make a fantastic film. I discussed in my review of Graceling that I somehow pictured Po as Fenris from Dragon Age II… so if he doesn’t look like that in the film I will be very confused, even though his description is completely different. Oh, and this one actually is heading to the big screen, it’s just not clear when.

My first non-fantasy or science fiction suggestion! I really loved this book and think it would make a beautiful film, as it’s set in Cambridge, as well as an excellent thriller. The casting for this one would have to be very well done though, as the portrayal of each character is very important.

And my last choice… some historical/mythology-based fiction. I love Greek mythology, particularly the stories surrounding Troy, so I would definitely watch a film of this. I also think that it would be wonderful to see Miller’s take of the story on screen as it covers a homosexual relationship, a part of the story that many screen versions of Achilles leave out. Of course, it’s not completely certain what the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus really was (if the two ever actually existed), but it’s nice to see it addressed this way for once. Plus the story is beautifully written and highly emotional.

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Top Ten Tuesday #2: Book To Film Adaptations

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I’m taking a break from my Community marathon to join in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is a Top Ten Freebie, meaning each blogger can pick their own theme. I’ve looked through the past themes, and chosen:

Top Ten Book to Film Adaptations

1. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

Films directed by Peter Jackson – one of my favourite book and film series. I know there is plenty that was changed, added or left out, but I believe that Peter Jackson created the very best he could without making something that was days long, nor cutting out too much. I know Tom Bombadil would have been awesome but would he really have been necessary? Yes, it was Glorfindel, not Arwen, who took Frodo to Rivendell and over the Bruinen Ford, but Jackson and co worried that the lack of female characters would cause complaints – and as an avid lover of the books, I have no problem with the creative liberty taken.

2. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

Films directed by David Yates, Alfonso Cuaron, Chris Columbus and Mike Newell) – when the first one came out, I was 11 and a massive fan. I was so, so disappointed – and I hated the films until the fourth one. I think they slowly improved with time and now, even though the first few aren’t great, I enjoy them because they’re Harry Potter and they show the changes the series went through. And the cast makes me SO proud of my nationality.

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Film directed by Gary Ross – I feel this adaptation was really faithful, and Ross did so well in making it violent but still appropriate for a younger audience. Plus some fantastic casting.

4. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Film directed by Steven Spielberg – although the book is a lot more technical (read it if you haven’t!), and the adaptation maybe isn’t as faithful as some, I absolutely love this film. When I was younger I wanted to study dinosaurs – but somehow I ended up as an archaeologist, rather than a palaeontologist!

5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Film directed by David Fincher – I somehow feel bad for admitting that I preferred the American version to the original Swedish version, but I just did. Salander was more how I imagined her. Honourable mention to Niels Arden Oplev though!

6. Mrs Doubtfire by Anne Fine

Film directed by Chris Columbus, original book title ‘Madame Doubtfire’ – this is on my list because it’s one of my ‘comfort’ films (for when I’m feeling down), Robin Williams is my favourite actor ever, and this film turned a frankly quite depressing book into something really sweet and funny, but also touching.

7. Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding

Film directed by Sharon Maguire – how did I nearly forget Bridget Jones?! I’ve read and watched it so many times, it’s like an old friend. I’m really not a chick lit/flick person, but I make an exception for these books/films.

8. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

Film directed by Clive Donner (1982 version) – so I haven’t actually read the book yet… it’s on my list! But I just can’t ignore Anthony Andrews’ fantastic take on Sir Percival Blakeney (or should I say ‘Blakenehhh…), Baronet. It’s really hard to get hold of this film (at least in the UK), but it’s worth it!

9. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Film directed by Martin Scorsese – I think the film really caught the essence of the book – creepy and unsettling.

10. We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Film directed by Lynne Ramsey) – as with Shutter Island, this is every bit as harrowing as the book. Ezra Miller is outstanding.

And one book to film adaptation I’m not sure about – maybe it was too hyped up – is Blade Runner. I really loved the book, by Philip K. Dick (published as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). It’s my dad’s favourite film and he kept telling me to watch it, which I finally did after reading the book, and it just wasn’t that great. It was good, but really didn’t live up to my expectations – and is very different from the source material.

How about you? What book to film adaptations have you enjoyed, or been let down by?

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Top Ten Tuesday #1: Books To Get Into The Halloween Spirit

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I’m joining in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week’s theme is:

Top Ten Books To Get Into The Halloween Spirit

1. The Shining by Stephen King
Most likely a very popular choice on this Top Ten! I don’t think I need to explain this one. I love the book but I just can’t bring myself to watch the film…

2. Let the Right One In by John Lindqvist
One of the few books that has actually made me feel physically sick. It is graphic and shocking, and definitely not for the weak-hearted. I know my Goodreads rating of this one is quite low, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad book – it was just not particularly to my taste (as I’m squeamish…). However, it most definitely fits this top ten!

3. Dead until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris
Not scary, but all about the paranormal. I love this series, although sadly the last couple of books have been quite a let down – it feels almost as though Charlaine Harris is writing to fulfil the quota of thirteen in the series, rather than because she wants to or has much to say about Sookie (Sookehhh) and co. They are good fun though.

4. The Passage by Justin Cronin
A fantastic vampire dystopian novel that feels more like a character study. A hefty volume, but definitely worth the read! The sequel, The Twelve, is released on 25th October 2012.

5. Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin
If you’re a fan of A Song and Ice and Fire, then get on it and read some of GRRM’s other work – especially this one! A fantastic vampire novel set along the nineteenth century Mississippi river, and based around steamboats. I love the Louisiana accent so I had fun imagining this one in my head…

6. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Not quite as action packed as the film adaptation makes it out to be. But a great read, and very harrowing. And I’m sorry for having so many vampire novels on this list!

7. Carrie by Stephen King
Here we go, a non-vampire novel! If you want to read some of King’s shorter works, this is a good one to start with. A tale of a social outcast with telekinetic powers, who is pushed too far…

8. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
Not scary, as much as eerie. The stage production is terrifying, however. A friend of mine borrowed this from me and said she almost felt the need to keep it in the fridge when it got too scary, a la Joey from Friends 😉

9. The Stuff of Nightmares by Malorie Blackman
This one is on my list because I figure it’s probably not on many others. A good, scary YA novel by the fantastic author Malorie Blackman (who wrote the Noughts & Crosses trilogy. Note to Victoria Foyt: that is how you tackle racism.)

10. Fever (Flu #2) by Wayne Simmons
A good old-fashioned, action-packed zombie breakout novel. I won this from Goodreads, so I have a copy dedicated to me by Wayne himself. If anyone reading is from the Gloucestershire area, Wayne will be at the Cheltenham Waterstones store on 31st October, as part of a Halloween event.
So that’s my Top Ten Tuesday! I will probably participate in TTT every so often, depending on the topic and how much time I have.

What would your top ten books be? Have you read any of the ones on my list?