My Winter Reading List (2014-2015)

Here are the books that I’m planning to read this winter. Some of these are set in winter, or just remind me of winter, but most have nothing to do with it. For some reason, when it gets cold, I mostly gravitate towards children’s literature. I don’t know why! Perhaps the approaching Christmas reminds me of my childhood? Who knows!

This post is linked at “Top Ten Tuesday”, a weekly book list meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. All the links take you to Goodreads.

Maija’s Top 10 Books from Winter TBR Pile

1. The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1) by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
I will read anything that Holly Black writes, so I’m looking forward to reading this magical school fantasy. I think I’m going to buy this as a birthday gift for myself.

2. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Also written by Holly Black, so a must read. This new release comes out on January 13th.

3. The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising #2) by Susan Cooper
The second book in the Dark is Rising series begins at winter solstice, so it is a perfect winter read. It is also about time that I continue with this series!


4. The Mad Ship (The Liveship Traders #2) by Robin Hobb
I want to continue on with this fantasy series and find out what happens to Wintrow, Althea, and Paragon!

5. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell
Another potential birthday gift for myself. Neil Gaiman’s twist on the Sleeping Beauty tale is something I’d really like to read.

6. Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch, #1) by Ann Leckie
I finally want to start this Hugo award winning series!


7. Foxglove Summer (Peter Grant #5) by Ben Aaronovitch
This is a quite new release, and I’m anxiously waiting for it from the library. If it takes too long, I might just cave and buy it as an ebook, even though I don’t own the other books in the series! I just really want to know what happens after book four!

8. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos (Theodosia Throckmorton, #1) by R.L. LaFevers
I just bought this children’s book about museums and cursed artifacts, and I really want to get to it.

9. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
I’ve never read this Christmas classic, only seen adaptations of it. Might tackle it on Christmas day.

10. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
I really, really want to reread this book, and for some reason I associate it with winter. Perhaps because of its length? Big books always feel like winter reads to me – something to curl up with on the sofa. Let’s see if I manage to get to it!

What’s on your Winter TBR list? Are there some books that you’ve been meaning to read for the longest time, or are most of them new releases?


Top 10 Authors I’ve Only Read One Book From

Here is a list of authors from whom I’ve only read one book, but am excited to try more of their works.
I mention:
1) what I’ve read from the author,
2) why I loved that book, and
3) what book I would like to read from them next.

Some of these authors were also mentioned in an older post, Top 10 New-To-Me Authors I Read in 2013.

This post is linked at “Top Ten Tuesday”, a weekly book list meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. All the links below take you to GoodReads.

Maija’s Top 10 Authors I’ve Only Read One Book From, and Need to Read More

Throne of the Crescent Moon A Room with a View

1. Saladin Ahmed
Read: Throne of the Crescent Moon
Loved: The fun, old-school adventure fantasy feel
To Read: Engraved on the Eye, a short story collection

2. E. M. Forster
Read: A Room with a View
Loved: Everything about it: the characters, the plot, the romance…
To Read: Maurice

3. Raymond E. Feist
Read: The Magician
Loved: It’s been a while since I read this, I just remember I liked it – perhaps the main character & the magic?
To Read: The Riftwar Saga

4. Oscar Wilde
Read: The Picture of Dorian Gray
Loved: The lush descriptions, that air of decadence, the heavy themes, the snarky dialogue, Basil
To Read: The Importance of Being Earnest

5. Catherynne M. Valente
Read: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Loved: The fairy-tale like narrative voice
To Read: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There

Rebecca All These Things I've Done

6. Jonathan Maberry
Read: Rot & Ruin
Loved: The characters, the zombie apocalypse, the questions raised about humanity
To Read: Dust & Decay

7. Rainbow Rowell
Read: Attachments
Loved: I actually didn’t really like this book, but I want to give her YA fiction a try
To Read: Fangirl

8. Victor Hugo
Read: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Loved: The question of morals, of good and evil, prevalent in all the characters, masterfully done in Frollo
To Read: Les Misérables

9. Daphne du Maurier
Read: Rebecca
Loved: The atmosphere was off the charts, loved the writing style!
To Read: Jamaica Inn

10. Gabrielle Zevin
Read: All These Things I’ve Done
Loved: The cold & guarded main character, that read-in-one-sitting fast-paced quality
To Read: Because It Is My Blood

My Most Owned Authors

Today we are going to look at my bookshelf and Kindle, count some books, and determine which author reigns supreme over my shelf space! (There ended up being only two Kindle books on this list, though, so it is a pretty solid representation of my physical shelves!)

I didn’t count manga series, although I do own three long ones; Hellsing with 10 volumes, Death Note with 13, and Fruits Basket taking the cake with 23 volumes. A bit of an arbitrary choice, I know, since I did count other comics and graphic novels. I just thought the list would be perhaps unduly ruled by manga authors if I added them in.

This post is linked at “Top Ten Tuesday”, a weekly book list meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. All the links below take you to GoodReads.

Maija’s Top 10 authors according to the number of books owned

Courtney Crumrin

1. Ted Naifeh (23)
This came as no surprise to me! Ted Naifeh is my favorite comic artist. In addition to his own stuff, he has also illustrated comics and books written by other people. That, along with the fact that I own multiple editions of some books, explains his number one spot well.

  • The Courtney Crumrin series in color hardback format (4 – with still two left to buy)
  • The Courtney Crumrin series in b&w paperbacks (4)
  • Courtney Crumrin Tales (2)
  • Polly and the Pirates vol.1, plus two colored French issues in hardback (3)
  • Broom with a View (with Gayla Twist)
  • The Death Jr. series ~ written by Gary Whitta (2)
  • The Good Neighbors trilogy ~ written by Holly Black (3)
  • Gloomcookie vol. 1 ~ written by Serena Valentino
  • How Loathsome ~ written by Tristan Crane
  • Unearthly ~ written by Naifeh, art by Elmer Damaso
  • Illustrated short story collection, Alabaster ~ written by Caitlín R. Kiernan

2. Jim Butcher (21)

  • The Dresden Files series (13)
  • The Codex Alera series – haven’t read these yet! (6)
  • Side Jobs, the Dresden Files short story collection
  • The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle graphic novel

3. Neil Gaiman (17)

  • The Absolute Sandman hardcovers (4)
  • Signed paperback of The Sandman: Season of Mists
  • Signed hardback of Sandman: The Dream Hunters
  • Signed illustrated paperback of Stardust
  • Neverwhere
  • Smoke and Mirrors
  • Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett)
  • American Gods
  • Anansi Boys
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane
  • The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish
  • The Wolves in the Walls
  • Coraline
  • Odd and the Frost Giants

4. C.S. Lewis (10)

  • The Chronicles of Narnia paperback boxset (7)
  • Some Narnia books in old Finnish hardcover editions (3)

5. Holly Black (7)

  • The Curse Workers trilogy (3)
  • The Good Neighbors graphic novel trilogy ~ art by Ted Naifeh (3)
  • Doll Bones

And the lower positions are pretty much tied:

6. Bryan Lee O’Malley (7)
7. Caitlín R. Kiernan (7)
8. J.K. Rowling (7)
9. Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman (7)
10. Gail Carriger (6) and George R.R. Martin (6)

Who is your most owned author? Tell me below, or leave a link to your post!

The Best Books of 2014 So Far

It’s time to take a look back at my favorite reads so far this year, divided into a couple subcategories. You can see my 2013 list here.

This post is linked at “Top Ten Tuesday”, a weekly book list meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. The cover images take you to GoodReads.

Favorite Fantasy Books

The Name of the Wind Whispers Under Ground
The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss
A great fantasy story that has it all: a legendary hero, a coming of age story, and a magic school. It made me at turns excited, sad, and laugh out loud. The best book I’ve read so far this year.

Whispers Under Ground (Peter Grant #3) by Ben Aaronovitch
Yep, the first book, Rivers of London, was on last year’s list. I still love Peter Grant, and all the other characters in this series!

Favorite YA novels

All These Things I've Done The Summer Prince
All These Things I’ve Done (Birthright #1) by Gabrielle Zevin
I breezed through this futuristic crime story in one day. Anya was a great main character – not everyone will like her, but I really did.

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
I loved the atmospheric writing in this book, and liked the focus on art performances.

Favorite Re-Reads

Velho ja Leijona Shades of Milk and Honey_bigger

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia (Publication Order) #1) by C.S. Lewis
I was in a nostalgic mood, and read the first Narnia book in Finnish, the language that my mother first read these to me. Now I want some Turkish delights (although they were translated simply as a box of chocolates in this book, I always think of the BBC adaptation’s box of Turkish delights when I read this.)

Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories #1) by Mary Robinette Kowal
A fun magical Regency fantasy of manners novel. A quick, fun, if a bit predictable read.

Favorite Graphic Novels

Young Avengers Vol. 1 Yotsuba Vol. 12
Young Avengers, Vol. 1: Style > Substance by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie & Mike Norton
This was so much fun! I definitely want to read the rest of the run from these creators.

Yotsuba&! Vol. 12 by Kiyohiko Azuma
Yes, Yotsuba makes it to the list again. I can’t fight it! She’s adorable! I love her enmity with Yanda, it always makes me laugh.

Favourite Book Friendships

Today I’m going to take a look at some of my favourite friendships depicted in books and graphic novels. This was surprisingly tough, I was amazed that I couldn’t rattle off tons of awesome friendships at the drop of a hat!

This post is linked at “Top Ten Tuesday”, a weekly book list meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. All the links below take you to GoodReads.

Maija’s Top 6 favourite friendships in books

Top 5 Friendships

1. The Mabudachi Trio
From the Fruits Basket manga series by Natsuki Takaya
Shigure, Ayame and Hatori Sohma form the Mabudachi trio. They have been friends ever since they were little. I just love the dynamics between the outrageous Ayame, wicked Shigure, and serious Hatori. I have a soft spot for friendships among the older characters in stories, not necessarily the main characters.

2. Courtney & Aloysius Crumrin (pictured)
From the Courtney Crumrin graphic novels, by Ted Naifeh
Courtney is a pessimistic young girl, Aloysius her warlock uncle, and together they are badasses. Courtney gets introduced to magic through Aloysius, and then there’s no stopping them. And look, this is already the second friendship among relatives on my list.

3. The Marauders
From the Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
And now we’re back to friendships among older characters than the main characters – James, Sirius, Remus and Peter! I love the Marauders flashbacks in the series, and I especially love Sirius & Remus together.

4. Fitz and the Fool
From the Farseer and the Tawny Man trilogies, by Robin Hobb
Theirs is a bit of a bittersweet friendship, but I can’t help but love them. The Fool is one of my favourite characters ever, and while Fitz does occasionally get on my nerves, I do love their dynamic.

5. Harry Dresden & Karrin Murphy
From the Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher
Wizard Harry Dresden and Lieutenant Karrin Murphy are a power duo when it comes to stopping magical crimes. There are bumps on their road even after Dresden has gained Murphy’s trust, but I do like to follow them solving cases together.

6. The Three Musketeers & d’Artagnan
From The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and d’Artagnan are some lovable, often broke, idiots, and it’s so much fun to follow their antics.

My Favourite Secondary Characters

It’s time to highlight some perhaps often less focused on characters, the supporting cast! Actually, quite often my favourites aren’t the main characters, but the people helping them. While compiling this list, I noticed that the majority of the characters were men, and while I would love to add other characters to the list, these are the ones who have stuck with me. If you have any suggestions of books with great women (and other) characters, let me know in the comments!

This post is linked at “Top Ten Tuesday”, a weekly book list meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

Maija’s Top 10 favourite secondary characters

Top 10 Best Side Characters 1
1. The Fool
From the Farseer and the Tawny Man trilogies (among others), by Robin Hobb

I love the Fool. The Fool is awesome. One of my favourite characters in anything, ever. I can’t describe the Fool properly, so I will not even try. Mysterious, witty, loyal, intelligent.
Image is by John Howe, from the cover of Fool’s Errand.

2. Marquis de Carabas
From Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman

Oh, tricksters. How I love thee! The Marquis is, to me, the highlight of the book. He’s always up to something; he is cunning, dangerous & self-serving, but can also be heroic.
Image is from the Neverwhere TV series.

3. Professor Lyall
From the Parasol Protectorate series, by Gail Carriger

My favourite professors tend to be werewolves. Or my favourite werewolves tend to be professors. Either way, the Beta of the Woolsey pack, Randolph Lyall, is my favourite character in the series. I like those reserved, competent types.
Image is from the manga version of the series.

4. Karrin Murphy
From the Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher

Murphy is a badass. She has Dresden’s back, but also calls him on his bullshit. She is 5’2″, my height, but can hold her own in a fight. She has principles, strong morals, and helps the helpless.

5. Aloysius Crumrin
From the Courtney Crumrin graphic novels, by Ted Naifeh

The main character Courtney’s uncle, Aloysius is a powerful warlock, and another certified badass on this list. I like his relationship with Courtney a lot. While he does at times rush in to save her, I love how adults aren’t pictured as infallible in this series.
Image is from the creator Ted Naifeh’s website.

Top10 Best Side Characters 2
6. Lord Akeldama
From the Parasol Protectorate series, by Gail Carriger

Lord Akeldama dresses to kill, uses endearments like “my little sugarplum”, and knows everything that goes on in the city through his spy network of dandies. This also makes him one of my Top 3 Vampires.
Image is from the manga version of the series.

7. Remus Lupin
From the Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling

Oh, look, it’s another werewolf professor! Lupin is my favourite character from the Harry Potter series, hands down. I love how his reserved nature serves as a counterpoint to his loss of control as a werewolf. Plus he’s just adorable, and a wonderful person.
Image is Wolfsbane, by Linnpuzzle over at Deviantart.

8. Genevieve LeFoux
From the Parasol Protectorate series, by Gail Carriger

Yes, yes, I realize this is getting ridiculous, but the main reason I like the Parasol Protectorate series is because of its characters. Madame Lefoux dresses like a man, owns a hat shop (and makes the hats), and is an awesome scientist and engineer. She has a hidden chamber for science stuff under her hat shop!
Image is from the manga version of the series.

9. Thomas Raith
From the Dresden Files, by Jim Butcher

The second character from the Dresden Files series to make this list. Thomas is a vampire who feeds on human emotions. Whether he is self-assured or full of self-doubt, in full-on vampire mode, or trying to live among the humans, I always find him fascinating.

10. Lucien
From the Sandman graphic novels, by Neil Gaiman

There are a lot of great secondary characters in The Sandman, but Lucien made it to this list. It might have something to do with the fact that he is a librarian…. also his thin, tall frame just pulls me in. I’d love to spend some time with Lucien, going through his library (which contains every book that anyone ever dreamed of writing).
Image is from the Sandman graphic novels.

So, those were my choices. Do we share some favourites? What did you choose as your Top 10 Tuesday topic this week?

2014 Resolutions: High Fantasy Challenge

For the year 2014, I chose 10 adult fantasy books that I’ve been meaning to read for a while, and set myself a challenge to read them all. This comes after my epic fail of 2013, when I read only 3 (!) adult high fantasy novels during the whole year. So these books are all set in a separate fantasy world, unlike the modern/urban fantasy that I’ve gravitated more towards the past couple of years (which features fantastical elements in our modern world).

This post is linked at “Top Ten Tuesday”, a weekly book list meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

Maija’s Top 10 Adult High Fantasy Books to Read In 2014

The Name of the Wind The Lies of Locke Lamora Ship of Magic Prince of Thorns The Well of Ascension Furies of Calderon The Last Wish The Blade Itself The King of Elflands Daughter The Last Unicorn

1. The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss *
2. The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch *
3. Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders #1) by Robin Hobb *
4. Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence * (turned out not to be high fantasy)
5. The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson
6. Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera #1) by Jim Butcher *
7. The Last Wish (The Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski *
8. The Blade Itself (The First Law #1) by Joe Abercrombie
9. The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany
10. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (might change, as this could be counted as a children’s book)

The asterisk after the title means I own the book. The links read to reviews of read books.
Check out the challenge shelf with all the books on GoodReads.

So, most of these are pretty new books, ’cause I somewhat dropped out of the high fantasy loop during the 21st century (apart from A Song of Ice and Fire). There are a couple of fantasy classics thrown in, which are great for not being part of a series! So I do realize that almost all of the books listed are the start of a series, but that is just how it goes with high fantasy novels. Perhaps I’ll get excited enough with one or more of the books that I’ll end up reading the whole of that series this year! And if I don’t care for some of them, I’ll just drop the series, but I really don’t see that happening.

What are your resolutions for the year 2014? What do you think about the books I’ve chosen to read?