Top 5 (#3)

It’s snowing here – albeit kind of pathetically, but snow is snow. And December starts on Tuesday, so I’m struggling not to throw all of my Christmas recommendations at you all at once. So I’ll settle with a kind of “Christmas special” and add in another Christmas recommendation every week until the day itself. And I’m not going to lie, I am listening to Christmas music right now, even if it is Ariana Grande’s last holiday single.

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL:

1. My True Love Gave To Me – a collection by Stephanie Perkins

Ok, so this is a collection of short Christmas-themed stories from some of the leading names in YA with the alluring blurb of “Long, cold nights are for falling in love…” Now, yes, it sounds cheesy. But it’s not. With beautiful winter romances from Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Kiersten White and Jenny Han (just a few of my favourites) this book is perfect for the run up to the holiday season.

2. The 5th Wave  – Rick Yancey

We’re back to normal. I promise, this book leaves no time for the characters to celebrate Christmas – when aliens are wiping out most  of the population, there’s not much time to decorate a Christmas tree. I love the blurb of this book, so I’ll quote it:

“The 1st wave took out half a million people.

The 2nd wave put that number to shame.

The 3rd wave lasted a little longer… four billion dead.

In the 4th wave, you can’t trust that people are still people.

And the 5th wave? No one knows. But it’s coming.”

Basically, this book is terrifying. Because the way that the Others (the aliens) destroy society, is described in detail and in theory, is actually possible. The story follows, mainly, our protagonist Cassie, who thinks she might be the last person alive. Wildly exciting and full of wit, this book is the perfect post-apocalyptic read.

3. Did I Mention I Love You? – Estelle Maskame

Lovingly dubbed DIMILY, with this series, the pages turn themselves as the story of Eden and Tyler unfolds, the characters three dimensional and complicated. I sped through the first book in one sitting. I started chapter one at noon and when I looked up, the world had gone dark and I was clutching at my heart because OH MY GOD, THIS BOOK. Extra pride because the author is from Scotland, something that makes me kind of excited. Also – she follows me on twitter, a fact that still makes me freak out every now and then.

4. The Secret Countess – Eva Ibbotson

A historical fiction novel about what happened to the aristocrats of Russia after the revolution. The story follows Anna, working in a rich English home and growing closer and closer to the young earl who lives there. I really love this book. I love the romance and the plot, but what I loved most of all was the glimpse into Russian culture and the aftermath of the Russian revolution. I loved learning small phrases and seeing how the aristocracy fell apart and went into hiding. Russian history is just fascinating.

5. How Much Land Does A Man Need?  – Leo Tolstoy

This is a short story by Tolstoy that was featured on Penguin Little Black Classics which cost 99p each, I think. It is an amusing tale of what greed does to a man and how you’ll never be satisfied with what you have ; always thinking the grass is greener on the other side. It also serves another purpose, as saying to people, “Oh yeah, I’m just reading some Tolstoy” makes you seem both incredibly intelligent and cultured for a teenager who’s barely passing their subjects.

Robyn,

Wanderlust Book Blog.

 

Top 5 (#2)

Last week we didn’t post a top 5, which is a disgrace, I know, but in my defence, I did have the flu. But I am super excited to write this. (Mainly because I just got new bookshelves in my room and they are gorgeous).

1. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before  – Jenny Han

Lara-Jean Song has a special way of dealing with her emotions. Every time she likes a guy, she writes a letter, puts it into a box, and moves on. But one day, someone sends the letters out, and she’s left to deal with the consequences. I mean, oh my. This book was so good but also made me so anxious, because while it’s not the same as Lara-Jean’s, I have a box of letters too. Letters I wouldn’t want anyone to ever read. Honestly, the thought of those letters being sent makes me kind of ill. But Lara-Jean’s story isn’t just about anxiety. It’s beautiful. It’s about family and relationships and culture and how complex people can be. Also, it’s set kind of around Christmas time and really good for this time of year.

2. Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead

These books are so good. I don’t understand how more people haven’t read them. I mean, yes, the covers are horrible, but the storyline and characters are brilliant. Adrian Ivashkov. Dimitri Belikov. Rose Hathaway. Lissa Dragomir. Sydney Sage. Christian Ozera. With witty dialogue, a sweeping love story and a fantastically developed world, the Vampire Academy series has everything.

3. The Sound  – Sarah Alderson

I don’t know what it is about this book that I love in particular, but I’ve read it several times. I love the romance and the mystery and the way that the main protagonist is so kick-ass. And particularly the love interest too. He’s really attractive. Seriously.

I’ve never really heard about Sarah Alderson online in the book community, but her books are brilliant. And there’s something about this book in particular that makes me inspired to write (a sentence that makes me guilty that I’ve given up on NaNoWriMo, but c’est la vie).

4. Blood Ties – Sophie McKenzie

I think these were the first book characters after Edward and Bella that I ever really shipped – way before I’d even heard of the term. Theo and Rachel were two normal kids whose lives, in a matter of days, were altered dramatically – they discovered they were clones.

I loved the characters. Rachel wasn’t far away and unrelatable – she had confidence issues and was bullied at school – she wasn’t the perfect model-figured, confidence-filled barbie doll with a machine gun figure that is so often seen, but she was a teenage girl, she was a real teenage girl, and she was kind of my hero. Also, I was so in love with Theo Glassman. Still am. In fact, in the book, Theo ran his hands through his hair when he was stressed, and I’d started copying him. But then it became a habit. Now, four years later, I still do it subconsciously.

 

5. Night Owls  –  Jenn Bennet

This book is one of those beautiful ones that you can read in one sitting without  realising how fast time is passing you by. I was really drawn to the unusual hobbies of the two main characters : one particularly into drawing anatomy and the other using unconventional canvases to paint on (and by unconventional I don’t mean something gross and psychopathic like the skin of dead humans). It’s a really cute romance and you’ll soon be wishing you had your own Jack Vincent.

Robyn, 

Wanderlust Book Blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Potter World Tips

Hey all! So during the October Holidays I went back over the pond to visit my family in the US for two fantastic weeks. All 10 of us decided to go stay a week in Florida and then head up back to Chicago for the other week. During that time we stayed in the Disney World Resort- Animal Kingdom Lodge to be exact; because who doesn’t love exactness? (Yes I know that’s probably not a word).

However, during this week, we ventured out from the magical land of happiness to go see the Harry Potter World in Universal. Now although Universal itself is, in my opinion, a bit overrated, Harry Potter World is definitely a bucket list option. However, again, there are some tips that I personally thought helped me through Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade and a few I thought of myself, so without further ado, here are my top tips for visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter:

1.Start in Diagon Alley; there’s a lot more merchandise available and a lot more to see- and then get the train to Hogsmeade.

2. Don’t hesitate to buy! If you see something you like, buy it. The shops are mostly unique so don’t exactly have the same merchandise therefore don’t think “I’ll get this later at another store” because that ‘other store’ won’t have it.

3. Buy an interactive wand. Yes, they cost a bit more but it’s worth it. You get a map of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley and there are certain places where you can perform spells and make things move, float, repair etc.

4. Olivander’s. This place is mayhem. It is a must see to go take pics but if you want to buy a wand then go to Gregoravich’s. It’s easy to find and buy your wands there. Both shops sell the same wands. Although if you want to wait in the huge queue to get the chance to possibly be ‘chosen’ and get your own personalised wand then that’s all good too.

5. Wait for the dragon in Diagon Alley. Immediately you will notice the dragon on top of the bank. It will breath fire every 25 minutes so if you miss it then it’s no big deal but just be ready next time as it is an amazing sight to see.

6. Scarves! Ok, so my Ravenclaw scarf is from Madam Malkins shop. Not from the quidittch shop. The official scarves come from Madam Malkins, so go there for scarves.

7. Go on all possible rides! My favourite was the castle one in Hogsmeade.

8. Get a butter beer in Hogsmeade, but if you want the mug, then get the mug in Diagon Alley. They look better. Also, make sure to take the Hogwarts express to Hogsmeade. The journey there is awesome.

9. When performing the spells with an interactive wand, make sure when you make the shape of the spell that you do it quite small (not a big dramatic flourish like they do in the movies) and find the infra-red camera that registers your movement with the wand. That should help you perform the spell.

10. Food! Try out the ice cream parlour in Diagon Alley. The ice cream is so creamy and the combinations are amazing! Visit the three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade and get a butter beer! However, the food there is sort of stereotypical British food, so if you’re from Britain then prepare to be disappointed as the fish and chips are definitely not the standard of fresh Scottish fish suppers.

Extra:  Act like a witch/wizard. You’ll be surprise how many people go along with it.

Hope that helps, fellow Harry Potter Wanderers! If you’ve been to the resort also feel free to post in the comments about your trip there too!

Niamh,

Wanderlust Travel Blog.