YA Fantasy 101 Syllabus | Top Ten Tuesday

YA Fantasy 101 Syllabus | Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I’m not totally sure I would be qualified to teach this course, but I’d love to take it.

  1. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
    Ideally I’d prefer to study The Lord of The Rings, but we’d never finished ten books if we did that.
  2. Sabriel by Garth Nix
    This is a few years old now, and provides a nice bridge between Tolkien and more recent works.
  3. Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
    Obviously this had a massive impact on YA Fantasy. I prefer some of the later books, but there’s a (very small) chance that some students haven’t read this series before.
  4. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
    I’d be tempted to study Stardust, which is my favourite Gaiman, but this is a great introduction to urban fantasy.
  5. Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett
    At this point I think it’s time to look at someone playing with the tropes of fantasy, and no one does that better than Pratchett. Any Discworld novel would work for this, but if I have to cover something in depth I may as well pick one of my favourites.
  6. Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice
    This would be our first foray into some darker fantasy, and has the added bonus of demonstrating everything that’s wrong with Twilight.
  7. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
    Partly I’d want to talk about constructing fantasy worlds and integrating back story in a non-clunky way, but mostly I just love this book.
  8. The Owl Service by Alan Garner
    This is a nice eerie atmospheric one, bordering on magical realism.
  9. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
    More beautiful world building, but in a totally different style. This would also be a good point to compare the magic systems of the books we’d studied.
  10. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
    This isn’t itself a fantasy book, but it’s a great look at the impact YA fantasy has on people, particularly actual those who are actually young adults, and it also looks at how the internet is changing the relationship between authors and readers, which seems like a good thing to think about at the end of the course.

Please forgive me if this post is gobbledegook, I’ve worked 8.5 hours today.

Bookish Bingo: Ready For Spring | Wrap-Up

Bookish Bingo: Ready For Spring | Wrap-Up

bookish bingo aprjun complete

My first ever bookish bingo card went pretty well, I thought! This was the card for April, May and June. It was originally posted on Great Imaginations, but hosting has now moved over to Pretty Deadly. I’ll list the qualifying books I read below. I’ve been pretty terrible at reviews lately, so if you’d like to know what I thought of any of these, or which I would recommend, just leave me a comment. I have many opinions and I like to share them!

Forgotten Friday Pick – Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Aussie Author – Sabriel by Garth Nix
Reread – A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Classic – Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti
Yellow Cover – A Study in Sherlock edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger
April, May, June Release – The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough
High Fantasy – Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
Parental Relations – King Lear by William Shakespeare
Bullying – Wonder by R. J. Palacio
WWII – All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Horror – Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Thieves, Assassins, Pirates – Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Parallel Universes – A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Green Cover – Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
#weneeddiversebooks – Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden
Illustrated Cover – The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Part of a Trilogy – Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Nonfiction or Memoir – The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth

April Book Haul

April Book Haul

April haul

In April, I decided I would not be allowed to spend more than £30 on books. In spite of appearances, I stuck to that. The first seven books I bought at the end of March, and some of the others were presents, or on sale. So the money saving aspect of that decision went well. The attempt to keep my tbr pile under control? Not so much. But… books!

The first five books in this book haul I found in a charity shop. There was a shelf where the books were 5 for £1, so each of these books cost me 20p. None of them were at the top of my tbr pile, but all of them I had heard of before and was interested in.


This is a romance told over several years. The first chapter details the day that Emma and Dexter met, and each chapter following tells the reader what they are doing on that date for the next 20 or so years. I had high hopes for this story, but I’ve already read it, and it wasn’t for me. I talk about why in my March wrap-up. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t been looking for a light, heart-warming book. I believe this is considered to be a fairly good adult contemporary romance, but I wouldn’t call it heart-warming.


This is a Swedish murder mystery, and it’s supposed to be very, very good. That’s pretty much everything I know. Unless something pushes me, this might sit on my tbr pile for a while.


Another book that I know very little about. This one is non-fiction. From what I can gather, the author asked some women to tell her about their vaginas. And then she wrote a play. And here it is. It could be great and insightful, or it could be pretentious or it could be dehumanising. I don’t know yet, but it’s short enough that it shouldn’t take long to find out.


I’ve loved every Margaret Atwood book I’ve read up until now, so when I was going through the books in the sale and saw her name I picked it up without even reading the blurb. Later, when I looked it up, I discovered that it’s based on the true story of a servant in the nineteenth century who was accused of killing her employers, and the people who tried to establish her innocence using early psychiatry. I don’t know why I haven’t started this yet – it sounds amazing.


This is the first of Maya Angelou’s autobiographies. I read it a few years ago, but I’m looking forward to reading it again. As I recall, in this book she talks about racism and sexual abuse in her childhhod, and the impact it has had on the rest of her life.

I was supposed to absolutely definitely not buy any more books in March, but I had a bad day, and came home with these two.


In Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan, Tiny Cooper, the huge and hugely gay best friend of one of the Wills writes and performs in a musical about his life. Now, Levithan has written (the words of) that musical. This is another one that I wrote about in my March wrap-up.


A plague wipes out most of humanity. Those who are left struggle to survive in the ruins of civilisation. We’ve heard this much before. But in this book, we follow a group of travelling actors, performing Shakespeare plays in exchange for food. I’ve never heard that before. Also, I’m a sucker for a post-appocalyptic artist.

Now, we finally get to the books I actually bought in April.


Sabriel is the 18 year-old daughter of Abhorsen, who is a… sort of necromancer. He can go into Death, but he does not bring the dead back, he binds them there. Sabriel has been sent away from the realm of magic to a boarding school for her safety, but when her father is trapped in Death by an old enemy, she sets out on a quest to bring him back. This book came out a long time ago, and I think I read at least part of the series, but when a fourth book was released recently, I decided to go back to the beginning.


I’ve been on a bit of a high fantasy kick this month, and I’ve heard good things about Brandon Sanderson. My understanding of the premise of this book is that there was a bad guy, and a hero prophisied to stop him. Only he failed, and now the bad guy’s in charge. So I have to assume someone’s going to try again, or there won’t be much of a story. Also, I hear that the magic system is very interesting. I’m intrigued.


This is another book about someone who kills the dead, but I think it’s going to have a pretty different feel to Sabriel. Cas travels the country getting rid of ghosts of people, and in that capacity he goes to the house haunted by Anna, who kills everyone who enters. But she doesn’t kill him. She wears the dress she wore on the day she was murdered, still dripping blood. I don’t think I’ll be reading this in the dark.


Love and Death are playing a long game. They choose a couple, and struggle to determine their fate. Death always wins. And Henry, the white boy from the rich family, and Flora, the black girl who sings in the jazz clubs, are their new pawns.

goblin night butterflies

Penguin Classics are celebrating their 80th birthday with the release of of 80 of these little books and selling them for 80p each. I wanted to take advantage of this, but I wasn’t sure which I wanted, so in the end I went for the ones with the most beautiful titles. The Rossetti and Brontë ones are poetry collections, and the Darwin one is an account of what he saw during the voyage of the Beagle. In this time he was developing the theory of evolution, so I’m guessing the book talks about the evidence he saw for it.

The next couple of books were a present from my husband after I finished my dissertation.

Beautiful Creatures

I know I’ve seen the film of this, and I know I enjoyed it, but I’m still struggling to remember what it’s about. There are definitely good witches and bad witches and a curse and a romance and magical fights and all these things seem good to me. Also the cover is beautiful.

SJ Mass

This is a collection of the five prequel novellas in the Throne of Glass series. I’m not sure exactly what’s in them, but I’m hoping to learn how it was that Celaena Sardothien became the most feared assassin in the land when she was only a teenager. In the first book, that knowledge is just handed to us, and I’d love to see how it came to be. Bonus points if it happens in a plausible way.


This is a book about two teenage girls who fall in love. It was published in the early eighties, and naturally it was considered controversial. Sadly, it probably still would be if it was published. I’m expecting it to be adorable, and probably also heart breaking, because there’s a pretty high chance that they will be surrounded by disapproving people, probably people who they previously admired, like teachers and parents.

So that’s everything for April. Next month I will have exams, so there might not be very many posts around here. But there might be a huge book haul, because the chances of me buying books to make myself feel better about revision are pretty high.

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon – End of Event Meme

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon – End of Event Meme

Which hour was most daunting for you?

The hour that I fell asleep in the middle of – hour 15.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

A Game of Thrones worked very well for me, keeping me reading almost constantly for thirteen and a half hours, but I’m not sure that such a long book would be to everyone’s taste for an event like this.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Not really. I thought it was organised very well indeed.

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

Since this is my first attempt at this Read-a-thon, I don’t know what’s different this year, but I thought the twitter account was very well handled, with enough going on to make me feel I was a part of something much bigger than me, but not so much that I was distracted from reading.

How many books did you read?

One and two thirds, but I prefer to say 905 pages.

What were the names of the books you read?

A Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin, and a considerable chunk of Sabriel by Garth Nix.

Which book did you enjoy most? Which did you enjoy least?

I loved them both.

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

I wasn’t.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again?

Very likely, provided that there isn’t some life thing preventing me.

What role would you be likely to take next time?

I’m not sure. I’d like to try being a cheerleader, but I’d also really like to challenge myself to make it to 1000 pages next time.

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon – Bookish Brews

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon – Bookish Brews


Fig and Thistle‘s mini-challenge asks for your current caffeinated beverage of choice depicted with your current book. Technically, I haven’t started Sabriel yet, but Im just about to. I’ve edited this picture a LOT, as you can see, in an attept to hide the tip that is my bedside table, but I fear my efforts are insufficient.