A Christmas Book Haul

I don’t often to book hauls, mostly because I don’t really get a lot of books in one go, but I was lucky enough to get so many wonderful books for/around Christmas that I just wanted to share them.

From Publishers

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Before Christmas I got a few exciting booking parcels in the post. One was this lovely set of It Girl books by Katy Birchall from Egmont. I loved the first two books and am excited to see what happens to Anna next. The new covers are gorgeous and I love this new design.

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I also received a copy of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber, from Walker books, which I’m reading at the moment. So many people have been tweeting amazing things about this book and I feel really lucky to have a copy.

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And finally, I have The Fireman by Joe Hill, from Gollancz. When I was emailed about this I’d just finished reading Horns and the offer of another book by Joe Hill was just too tempting.

From Nathan

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The majority of my presents from Nathan were books, which is alright by me! They were a good mix of things he knew I wanted – Noughts & Crosses which I used to borrow off my sister so never had my own copy, Goldenhand because I love The Old Kingdom series, a beautiful illustrated copy of The Lie Tree – and some new things to try as well. I’ve already read Scarlet Witch and can’t wait to get stuck into the rest of them.

From the In-Laws

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Nathan’s parents really know how to do Christmas well, and I was lucky to get a lot of books from them. The one I’m most excited about is The Call by Peadar O’Guilin, which I’ve heard great things about, and The Creeper Man by Dawn Kurtagich, as I loved The Dead House by her.

From my Mom

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And lastly, from my dear old Mom, I got The Muse by Jessie Burton. I read The Miniaturist last year and quite enjoyed it, though I’ll admit I struggled a bit as adult books aren’t really my thing. but it was still an interesting story and I’m looking forward to picking this one up.

This year I’ve decided to prioritise the books I got for Christmas, as last year some of them got lost in all the review books and new books I got throughout the year (I still haven’t read some of them…) So I have my new books in a separate pile and am going to work my way through them, alternating with review books when I have them.

I hope you all had a very bookish Christmas and that the new year holds lots of exciting things for you to read.

Book Review: Hatter M, Volume 1 (Frank Beddor, Liz Cavalier, Ben Templesmith)

Publisher: Automatic Pictures

Pages: 176

Release Date: October 16th 2008

Summary (from Goodreads):

Put to rest any delusions or disinformation you have of the tea guzzling madman of faux literary history and prepare to expand your consciousness as the saga of Hatter Madigan and his relentless search for the lost Princess of Wonderland unfolds on these pages.

In Frank Beddor’s The Looking Glass Wars, Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan was ordered by Queen Genevieve to take Princess Alyss and leave Wonderland after a bloody palace coup staged by the murderous Redd. But while escaping through the Pool of Tears (the portal connecting Wonderland to our world), crushing centrifugal force pulled them apart, and Alyss was lost. In this geographic parallel adventure, Hatter finds himself in Paris, France in the year 1859 shockingly separated from the child he had been sworn to protect.

Unbeknownst to Hatter, Alyss had exited a puddle in London, England. Lost and alone, she was befriended by an aspiring author to whom she told the surreal, violent, heartbreaking story of her young life only to see it published as the nonsensical children’s fairytale Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But Carrol had got it all wrong.He even misspelled her name! Alyss had trusted Lewis Carrol to tell the truth so that Hatter would find her and bring her home. Instead, Hatter must endure a non-stop quest, crisscrossing the globe for 13 years in search of the lost Princess. While formidable with blades, a moment must be taken to introduce his signature weapon, the Hat. Woven and blocked from a material not available in any realm except the origins of wonder, the Hat, when hurled by his expert hand, instantly unfolds into a circle of blades to attack or defend.

The mad odyssey begins here…

Review:

I loved Frank Beddor’s The Looking Glass Wars books when I was a teen and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get round to reading the spin off graphic novels.

The great thing about this is that it feels like a natural spin off rather than one that’s been forced in. The graphic novels follow the missing years when Alyss grew up in Oxford and Hatter jumped through the Pool of Tears again and again to try and find her.

This is the first in the series and covers some familiar ground, as well as some new. If you’ve read the books then you’ll remember that Hatter first lands in Paris and begins his quest to find Alyss there. We see this at the beginning of the novel and then track his adventures from there.

One of my favourite parts was a flashback to the day Queen Redd stormed the palace and murdered Queen Genevieve. This was such a key moment in the books and it was great to see it drawn out. I also loved getting to know Hatter  Madigan more as he’s an amazing character and doesn’t get enough limelight in the books!

I wasn’t too sure about the drawing style. Most of the time it was really beautiful, kind of ephemeral and ghostly. However, as the writing was often quite sparse and relied on the illustrations to move the story forward. This didn’t quite do it for me sometimes and I wasn’t always sure what was going on during some of the action sequences.

This is really great for fans of The Looking Glass Wars books, or for any Alice in Wonderland fans too, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes next.

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Top Five… Princesses and Queens

Last week I read two of the Selection series books (The Selection and The Elite) and in honour of those reads, this week’s Top Five is Princesses and Queens! Unfortunately America doesn’t make this list as she’s not a princess or queen (yet…where I am in the books anyway!) And I guess this can also honour the newborn real life princess as well….
5

Redd Heart 
The Looking Glass Wars (Frank Beddor)
Redd Heart is one of my favourite evil queens. She’s got that perfect balance of power, crazy and pure evil that makes her so entertaining to read. I love seeing what she turns Wonderland into when she finally gets to rule. Though I don’t think she’d be too happy to see who’s number one on my list…
4

Princess Cleopatra
Cleo (Lucy Coats)
Everyone knows what an amazing Pharaoh (Queen, basically) Cleopatra becomes, but in Coats’ novel we see her as a princess, struggling against two powerful/evil sisters, being the Chosen One of Isis and generally being awesome. You can read a bit more about Cleo’s story in this interview with Lucy Coats
3

Jadis/The Queen of Narnia
The Chronicles of Narnia (C. S. Lewis)
Jardis could easily have made it into last week’s Top Five Witches, but she’s slipped in here under her unofficial title of Queen of Narnia. She’s one of the characters who terrified me as a kid but I also couldn’t wait to read more of her. She also made me very suspicious of turkish delight…



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Daenerys Targaryen
A Song of Ice and Fire series 
(George R. R. Martin)
She has a dozen different titles saying she’s Queen of This and Princess of That and (most importantly) Mother of Dragons. Daenerys has always been a favourite of mine in the books as she grows so well into her role as a leader, and remains strong despite the men around who try to crush her. I hope she lives to the end!
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Princess Alyss Heart
The Looking Glass Wars (Frank Beddor)
It’s Alice in Wonderland, but as a real princess (then later queen) of Wonderland. As a young princess Alyss is mischievious and fun, but after seeing her parents murdered by evil Aunt Redd she grows up pretty fast (in our world, no less). She becomes the ultimate warrior queen and I could read her story forever.

I actually found this pretty hard, I need more princess/queen story suggestions!

Top Five… Couples

In honour of Valentines Day this weekend, my Top Five this week is Favourite Couples. I’m not the overly romantic type so some of these may be bitter sweet relationships! And I’ve added in some fan fiction for good measure 🙂
 
5.
 
Sonea and Akkarin by CartographerCaitlin
Picture by Cartographer Caitlin
Sonea and Akkarin – The Black Magician Trilogy (Trudi Canavan)
I’m going to admit that I can’t say much about this relationship: it’s been a really long time since I read the books and I’ve forgotten a lot of plot details, but I remember loving these two so much. At least this way there’s no spoilers for anyone (including myself – I want to read the books again as if it’s the first time!) I remember it from so long ago so I’m sure it’s worthy of a place here!
 
4.



Picture by Laurajanetolton

 

Sabriel and Touchstone – Sabriel (Garth Nix)
I’ve always loved the scene where Sabriel and Touchstone meet: there’s such an innocence and curiosity there that seems so genuine. Theirs is a relationship that develops slowly and doesn’t seem contrived: everything that happens occurs naturally and their relationship isn’t even a big focus of the book, which I appreciate. I also love being able to see them grown up in the next book, with an even stronger relationship despite all their trials.
 



3.
 
 
I Wished For Her - the-night-circus Fan Art
Picture by Greeneiris
Celia and Marco – The Night Circus – (Erin Morgenstern)
Celia and Marco are true star-crossed lovers: right from the beginning they are destined to be pitted against each other, and it’s infuriating when Celia doesn’t even know who her opponent is. But I think that the wonders they create for each other in the circus show an incredible love that can outlive their fate.
2.
 
Picture by Nick Morgan

 

 

Alyss and Dodge – The Looking Glass Wars (Frank Beddor)
It’s never an easy ride for Princess Alyss of Wonderland and Dodge Anders, son of the Captain of the Guards. Alyss is destined to wed the spoilt and rotund Jack of Diamonds and even if he were out the picture, Alyss could never marry a servant. When Wonderland is taken over by Alyss’ evil Aunt Redd, the childhood sweethearts are separated for almost 20 years and they both have a lot to work through when she returns. Still, they make an amazing couple and Alyss is very strong, inspiring woman.
And the winner is…
 



 
1.
 





Picture by Gtjiyeon
Will and Lyra – His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman)
I told you there’d be some bitter sweet in here! Lyra and Will’s relationship was one of the first that I really remember touching me from my younger days of reading, and it always stayed with me. There was something so natural and truthful about their relationship and the progression of it, whereas these days it often feels like relationship are just shovelled in for the sake of it (especially the dreaded love triangle!) This relationship was made more memorable by the sacrifice they made together (which I won’t spoil, in case you haven’t read it.
Wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day this weekend, whether you’re celebrating with someone special or enjoying a little me time 🙂