Arts & Culture

Books – December 23

Christmas is around the corner; a new year is about to be upon us. So, what better than to reflect on a great year of reading. Here are my top five favourite reads this year.

By Gemma Mathers

The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes  

by Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins returns to the world of The Hunger Games with the enigmatic prequel detailing the origins of President Snow and the evolution of Panem’s cruellest contest.

Years before he rules as president, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is determined to save his fading family name and the 10th annual Hunger Games is his last chance. When Snow finds an unlikely ally in his tribute, Lucy Gray Baird, he finds his fate disastrously entwined with District 12. If someone had told me during the original Hunger Games era that in 2023 Panem would be returning to the big screen, I wouldn’t have believed it. Collins has perfectly reimagined an already rich world, thrusting the reader right back into a story thick with lore and history that adds a layer of tragedy to the perfect dystopian series.

Fourth Wing  

by Rebecca Yarros

“A dragon without its rider is a tragedy. A rider without their dragon is dead.”

Violet Sorrengail had no intention of joining the ranks of Navarre’s dragon riders, but as the daughter of a famed war general and sister to two war heroes, Violet finds herself without a choice. Thrust into the ranks of the Rider Quadrant at Basgaith War College she has two options: graduate and join the dragon riders or die and shame her family. Rebecca Yarros’ first delve into the realm of fantasy has been a great success with Fourth Wing taking 2023 by storm and the sequel Iron Flame becoming one of the most anticipated reads of the year.

House of Earth & Blood

by Sarah J.Maas

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life in Crescent City, until a demon murdered her closest friends. Two years later when the murders begin again Bryce is determined to do anything to unravel the investigation that changed her life forever, even working with the notorious Fallen angel Hunt Athalar. Sarah J.Maas’ third series is an unforgettable read, with rich world building and to die for romance (as always).

House of Earth and Blood perfectly balances the expectations of a high fantasy with a modern take. Think angels and demons and the classic fae we already know from Sarah J.Maas. Now add guns, a city thriving on power and an explosive adventure. Bryce Quinlan joins the ranks of Maas’ incredible heroins.

House of Sky & Breath  

by Sarah J.Maas.

Bryce and Hunt are desperately trying to get back to normal after the events of last spring. Under the watchful eye of the terrifying Asteri, they’re determined to stay out of the drama and find peace at last. But when Bryce learns that her best friend Danika had a closer involvement with the human rebellion than anyone knew, Bryce is thrust back into the path of danger. Growing ever closer to dismantling the tyrannical rule of the Asteri, everything Bryce thought she knew is brought into question and the peace she desperately clings to is threatened more than ever.

I’m Glad my Mom Died

by Jennette McCurdy

Jennette McCurdy’s debut novel I’m Glad My Mom Died is a heart-breaking and hilarious memoir following her unconventional childhood as a former child actor, struggles with eating disorders, addiction and an exceedingly complicated relationship with her mother. I’m Glad My Mom Died has been a showstopper over the past year, allowing readers to delve into the life of beloved iCarly child star Jennette McCurdy. It is not only McCurdy’s rich narration in the audible version of her memoir, but her poetic writing style that incorporates trauma and humour in such an authentic way. McCurdy sparks conversations on serious topics and unpacks the struggles she faced in the industry.

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