Best Books of Jan-Feb-Mar 2017

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When considering my top books of the year posts that I post as we count down to Christmas, I also think about giving out honourable mentions to books that narrowly missed out on the list. I quite often read a lot of books that I want to recommend to other people, as some books might not have been for me personally. So, with that in mind, I wanted to make a quarterly book round-up for books that I enjoyed that may or may not make the best books of the year list. With that in mind, let’s get this list underway.

These books are in no particular order.

Poison Study by Maria V Synder

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Yelena has a choice – be executed for murder, or become food taster to the Commander of Ixia. She leaps at the chance for survival, but her relief may be short-lived. – from Goodreads.com

I had real Thrones of Glass vibes with this book, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I enjoyed Throne of Glass and Poison Study for different reasons. I loved the slow burn romance with Valek and I wondered whether it was going to happen for a while, so the pay off was great. It was nice to have it subtle and hinted at rather than insta-love. It had a nice and mature result. The book, over all, was really good fun and I will definitely be reading the second book in the series, Magic Study.

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

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Eleven years ago, six kindergartners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to. Until today. Today five of those kids return. – from Goodreads.com

Although this book might present as the usual “kidnapped but coming home” story, there are some really unique and interesting differences, and developments, throughout the book. One of them is that there is actually a book that appears in The Leaving that is titled… well… The Leaving! It gets very meta and keeps you guessing right up until the very end! The Leaving is very interesting to read!

One by Sarah Crossan

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Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins. And their lives are about to change. No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love? – from Goodreads.com

This book absolutely broke my heart but I don’t want to go into too much detail about this book because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Also, what I adored about this book was that it was written in verse, which is always something that I love as a poetry fiend.

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

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Che Taylor has four items on his list: 1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym. 2. He wants a girlfriend. 3. He wants to go home. 4. He wants to keep Rosa under control. – from Goodreads.com

This was an absolutely chilling and unique read, one that will stick with me for a while I think. Once again, I don’t want to give too much away, or accidentally spoil someone, but what I did love about the book was the way that Che’s feelings of frustration, and down-right terror about his sister Rosa, translated on the page.

The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

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Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring—the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers. – from Goodreads.com

This is the second book in the Charlotte Holmes series which re-imagines the world of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. In this instalment, we move away from Sherrinford and to Holmes’s family home in Sussex, which is not too far from me actually! Their cat and mouse game all of Europe was so fast-paced that I finished this book really quickly!

So that sums up my three month round up. The next collection will be April-May-June. Are there any books on this list you read and loved? Do you have any recommendations you think I should get to reading in the next three months? Let me know in the comments!

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Top 20 Albums I Love (11-20)

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Continuing on from my post yesterday, here are the rest of the albums I consider to be in my top twenty favourites.

Almost Here by The Academy Is…

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This marks the first album of band The Academy Is… who were one of the many Fueled by Ramen bands that dominated the alternative rock scene. At just over thirty minutes long, this bite sized album stepped apart from other alt-bands in the rise of the “scene phase” that gained popularity in 2005. William Beckett’s smooth vocals and powerful lyrics gave the band a steady foundation to build another two albums on. It might be far back in the music archives, but it’s one well worth listening to.

Songs to Love: All of them. There are only 10.

From Under the Cork Tree by Fall Out Boy

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The album that bought alternative rock to the mainstream chart. Fall Out Boy fell into the deep hole between Pop and Rock and built up an empire from the ashes. Although this wasn’t their first album, it was their first to make them household names and help them revolutionise guitars-and-drums musicianship.

Songs to Love: “Our Lawyers Made Us Change the Name of This Song So We Wouldn’t Get Sued”, “Of All the Gin Joints in All the World”, “Dance Dance”, “Sugar, We’re Goin Down”, “Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year”, “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More “Touch Me”, “XO”.

A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out by Panic! At the Disco

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Signed to Pete Wentz’s label, Decaydance, his prodigies went one step further than Fall Out Boy with the critically-acclaimed album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. This record defies genre or definition, at times feels like a concept album, and breaks the mould musically and lyrically. I don’t believe there has been another album quite like it, before or since. Another Fueled By Ramen alumni, along with Fall Out Boy and The Academy Is, Panic! (as their name is often shortened to) were standout musicians with this breakthrough record.

Songs to Love: The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage, London Beckoned Songs About Money Written by Machines, Camisado, Time to Dance, Lying is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off, I Write Sins Not Tragedies, Build God Then We’ll Talk.

Like Vines by The Hush Sound

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Hands up anyone who has heard of The Hush Sound? No one… well, that’s not really surprising. The Hush Sound were another of Fall Out Boy’s proteges, groomed in the same way Panic! At the Disco were, to make unique, and sometimes slightly odd, sounding music. They too were signed to Decaydance records and spawned three albums over their short lived time as a band. Like Vines was produced by Patrick Stump, who clearly gave it a little touch of magic, as it was by far their most popular.

Songs to Love: We Intertwined, Sweet Tangerine, Don’t Wake Me Up, Where We Went Wrong, Magnolia, Wine Red, Out Through the Curtain.

American Idiot by Green Day

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In a similar vein, Green Day’s American Idiot is unlike anything before or since. The social commentary concept album surrounding post-9/11 America and war ideologies went on to create the ground-breaking musical of the same name. Although at times the music is schizophrenic (see: Jesus of Suburbia), this album is really musical story telling at it’s finest, and on paper is simply poetry.

Songs to Love: Jesus of Suburbia, Holiday, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Are We the Waiting, Wake Me Up When September Ends.

Hopes and Fears by Keane

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Keane are my homeboys, from Battle, East Sussex, not far from where I live. These guys put East Sussex on the map and wrote and recorded their album in the area. They’re out claim to fame, and we’re so proud to see them win awards and sell records doing what they love. Their first album, Hopes and Fears, not only put them on the map but was considered among the best British albums of all time.

Songs to Love: Somewhere Only We Know, Bend and Break, We Might as Well be Strangers, Everybody’s Changing, This Is the Last Time, Bedshaped.

+ by Ed Sheeran

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Ed Sheeran was an underground star before he ever released his first album, but the commercial success of + put him on the map. All Sheeran uses is a guitar and loop pedal when playing live and everything else is down to him. He’s a true musician and this album is proof that whatever he touches turns to gold. (Or ginger.)

Songs to Love: Drunk, Wake Me Up, Small Bump, This, The City, Lego House, Kiss Me, Give Me Love / The Parting Glass.

21 by Adele

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Who does not have a copy of this album? Who does not love Adele? I defy you to find a person guilty of both. Adele’s second album is a masterclass in how to write a breakup record and do it with grace, dignity and honesty. Need I say anymore? The album speaks for itself when I say it has sold over thirty two million copies world wide.

Songs to Love: Rolling in the Deep, Rumour Has It, Turning Tables, Set Fire to the Rain, Take It All, Someone Like You.

Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson

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From one strong female to another, Kelly Clarkson’s album Breakaway was probably the soundtrack to every female adolescent. It spawned hit after hit and remains Clarkson’s bestselling album to date.

Songs to Love: Breakaway, Since U Been Gone, Behind These Hazel Eyes, Because of You, Gone, Where Is Your Heart, Walk Away, You Found Me, Beautiful Disaster.

4 by Beyonce

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And from two strong ladies to another, it was difficult picking just one Beyonce album to feature, (not because they’re not all amazing, but because I’ve come to the end of my list), especially after she dropped her self-titled album as a complete surprise, fully formed with accompanying music videos. But 4 has my heart, as it’s the perfect blend of pop, r’n’b, soul, and a tonne of hits.

Songs to Love: 1 + 1, Best Thing I Never Had, Party, Start Over, Love on Top, Countdown, End of Time, I Was Here, Run the World (Girls).

That’s it, this concludes my list of top twenty albums I love. Let me know down in the comments if you agree or think I should have added a few more. Which one from this list is your favourite? Happy listening.