What did you ask Santa for this year? Each year, my mum, uh… I mean, Santa, asks my sister and I for a list of things we’d like for Christmas. Mine almost always ends up being a list of primarily books with a few other things mixed in. My mum’s great at picking books, so I was happy with the selection!
A few of these are ones I said I’d love, while most of them were complete surprises. They came from my mum and step-dad, my sister Emily, and my Secret Santa that we organised with my uni pals. I’ll show you them all now in detail. Let me know if you have any of these and tell me what you think!
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
This is one of my all-time favourite books. I listened to it as an audiobook earlier this year and I loved it, so I wanted to get a physical copy. It’s surprisingly hard to get a copy, but my mum managed to get one and I’m SO happy! You can read my review of Challenger Deep here.
Caden Bosch is on a ship that’s headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.
Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.
Caden Bosch is designated the ship’s artist in residence to document the journey with images.
Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.
Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.
Caden Bosch is torn.
A captivating novel about mental illness that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman.
Margot & Me by Juno Dawson
I’ve been wanting to read this since I met Juno at YALC. She’s quickly becoming one of my favourite authors and I’ve hardly read anything by her! I just love her. 😀 This book jumped out at me because not only is it LGBT, but it’s also set in Wales. Margot & Me is definitely high on my TBR list.
How can you hate someone in the present and love them in the past?
Fliss’s mum needs peace and quiet to recuperate from a long illness, so they both move to the countryside to live with Margot, Fliss’s stern and bullying grandmother. Life on the farm is tough and life at school is even tougher, so when Fliss unearths Margot’s wartime diary, she sees an opportunity to get her own back.
But Fliss soon discovers Margot’s life during the evacuation was full of adventure, mystery… and even passion. What’s more, she learns a terrible secret that could tear her whole family apart…
Release by Patrick Ness
Patrick Ness is another author I met at YALC 2017. He was delightful! I went to one of his talks (which was hosted by Juno Dawson – best duo EVER) and got my copy of A Monster Calls signed. I saw Release at the publisher’s stand but I completely forgot to buy it. Luckily, my mum got it for me for Christmas! This is also high up on my TBR list.
Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…
Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
This one was my mum’s choice. She said she wanted to get me one book that she loved the look of, and The Lie Tree was the one she chose. It’s a wonderful choice because I’ve wanted to read it for ages! It sounds dark, tense, and perfect when I’m in the mood for a good mystery.
Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is reliable, dull, trustworthy – a proper young lady who knows her place as inferior to men. But inside, Faith is full of questions and curiosity, and she cannot resist mysteries: an unattended envelope, an unlocked door. She knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing. She knows that her family moved to the close-knit island of Vane because her famous scientist father was fleeing a reputation-destroying scandal. And she knows, when her father is discovered dead shortly thereafter, that he was murdered.
In pursuit of justice and revenge, Faith hunts through her father’s possessions and discovers a strange tree. The tree bears fruit only when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder – or it may lure the murderer directly to Faith herself.
Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic
For our birthday, Emily and I went to the Warner Bros Studio Tour in Watford, and then to the History of Magic exhibition at the British Library. I was told not to buy any books while we were there, and this is why! This book is the companion to the exhibition, so it’s going to be interesting to read more information about what we saw.
An irresistible romp through the history of magic, from alchemy to unicorns, ancient witchcraft to Harry’s Hogwarts – packed with unseen sketches and manuscript pages from J.K. Rowling, magical illustrations from Jim Kay and weird, wonderful and inspiring artefacts that have been magically released from the archives at the British Library.
This spellbinding book takes readers on a journey through the Hogwarts curriculum, including Herbology, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Astronomy, Divination and more. Discover the truth behind making the Philosopher’s Stone, create your very own potion and uncover the secret of invisible ink. Learn all about the history of mandrake roots and dragons, discover what witches really used their brooms for, pore over incredible images of actual mermaids and read about real-life potions, astronomers and alchemists.
The perfect gift for aspiring witches and wizards and any Harry Potter fan. Celebrating twenty years of Harry Potter magic, and produced in association with the British Library to support their major exhibition, Harry Potter: A History of Magic.
A Galaxy of Her Own: Amazing Stories of Women in Space
I’m SO EXCITED about this book!! This was from Emily (all of her presents to me were space-themed) and it’s beautiful. It’s all about women who have worked at NASA and other space organisations. The most famous pioneers of space travel are men, so I can’t wait to learn about the women too. The book is full of amazing illustrations so I’ll probably be engrossed in this book for hours!
From Ada Lovelace in the nineteenth century, to the women behind the Apollo missions, from the astronauts breaking records on the International Space Station to those blazing the way in the race to get to Mars, A Galaxy of Her Own reveals extraordinary stories, champions unsung heroes and celebrates remarkable achievements from around the world.
Written by Libby Jackson, a leading UK expert in human space flight, and illustrated with bold and beautiful artwork from the students of London College of Communication, this is a book to delight and inspire trailblazers of all ages.
Packed full of both amazing female role models and mind-blowing secrets of space travel, A Galaxy of Her Own is guaranteed to make any reader reach for the stars.
J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World: A Magical Yearbook
Here’s another Harry Potter one! This book is so pretty, especially in person, because of the gold details on the cover. I have a couple of books now that share the behind the scenes secrets of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts, so now I can add this one to the collection!
Imagine if you could travel through the eras of J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World!
What would you pack if you were going to 1920’s New York? What kind of beasts would you imagine finding in Newt’s case? What do you think it would be like to study at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, or to fight Lord Voldemort in the Battle of Hogwarts?
This stunning hardcover is packed with fun activities and pictures from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and all eight Harry Potter films, including an 8-page fold-out Wand and Spells Guide and full-page posters.
Anything can happen in the wizarding world!
The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of my favourite films ever – I’ve seen it countless times. I spotted this book in Liverpool Waterstones a couple of years ago but I couldn’t afford it, so I asked Santa. 😉 It’s so pretty, especially the cover. You can get a paperback version too, but the hardback is just stunning. I might have to find somewhere to display this rather than putting it on my shelf!
This companion to the New York Times bestselling book The Wes Anderson Collection takes readers behind the scenes of the Oscar®-winning film The Grand Budapest Hotel with a series of interviews between writer/director Wes Anderson and movie/television critic Matt Zoller Seitz.
Learn all about the film’s conception, hear personal anecdotes from the set, and explore the wide variety of sources that inspired the screenplay and imagery—from author Stefan Zweig to filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch to photochrom landscapes of turn-of-the-century Middle Europe.
The Wes Anderson Collection: The Grand Budapest Hotel stays true to Seitz’s previous book on Anderson’s first seven feature films,The Wes Anderson Collection, with an artful, meticulous design and playful, original illustrations that capture the spirit of Anderson’s inimitable aesthetic. Together, they offer a complete overview of Anderson’s filmography to date.
A Million Cats: Fabulous Felines to Colour
Over the years, I’ve collected a fair number of colouring books. It’s so relaxing to sit down for a while and colour a picture, and seeing the finished page is satisfying too! This cat-themed colouring book was part of my Secret Santa present from Bethan, one of my uni pals. I love it!
A Blogger’s Journal
This was the other half of my Secret Santa present. All of my friends know about my blog and support it (thank you pals! <3) so I was happy to get this! It’s full of prompts and spaces to write blog post ideas, help to create a new blog if you’re starting from scratch, and more. It’ll be useful to plan out my book reviews and other blog posts. Hopefully it’ll help me get a bit more organised!
I love all of these books and I can’t wait to read them all. I still have books that I got last Christmas and I haven’t read yet, so hopefully I can get through more of them this year!