My 25th Birthday Goodies!

It was my 25th birthday last week (cue sulky expressions from my friends who are, well… getting on in years. You know who you are and I remain smug, thank you’ and as I’m lucky enough to know a whole bunch of awesome people (mainly the ones I’ve just lovingly insulted) I recieved a towering pile of awesome presents.

A huge thank you to Ellie, Charlotte, Bex, Laura and Katie to generally being thoughtful. Not just for the books they sent, but also for being around when I need them and texting me when they know I’m not very well. 

You all make me smile so hard!

Anyway, let’s talk books. The four Agatha Christie novels are from my Grandma and my Aunt, who I sheepishly presented with a list of the mysteries I already owned and asked to fill in the gaps. I love the editions by Harper and I’m trying to complete my collection. They bought:

I’ve had a craving for some vintage mysteries lately but I’d read all those left on my TBR, so I really appreciate having four more to devour. Perfect read-a-thon fodder, perhaps?

I don’t even know where to begin with the rest of that pile, so the following isn’t in any particular order.

Thank you, Charlotte, for allowing me to open Gay Pride & Prejudice in front of my Grandma. That was an interestingly awkward moment, orchestrated by you in an obviously malicious manner. Honestly. I actually can’t wait to read this though.

HHhH (by Laurent Binet) is actually the first book I read after I finally gave up on The Goldfinch, and it’s amazing. This book, I mean, not the Donna Tartt one. It took me a while to work out whether it was fiction, non-fiction, or what but it just blew me away. Perfect.

I’ve actually read two of Hester Browne’s other books, The Little Lady Agency series, but I’d forgotten about her completely until I added The Vintage Girl to my wishlist. It’s pretty and written by an excellent author, what can go wrong?

The black and white box at the bottom of the book pile is also from Charlotte, but there was a wet Springer Spaniel charging around and I didn’t want to have to put the books on the floor so I could take a photo, as that would only result in 14 muddy and dishevelled novels. Anyway, it’s a box of retro sweeties! Drumstick lollies, parma violets, sherbet dipdabs… Mmm.

Three awesome books and a giant box of sweets. Go Charlotte! 🙂

Ellie has taught me many things over the course of our relationship, the most recent of which is that I can absolutely never spell ‘siege’ correctly the first time round. She’s also taught me that she’s awesome at buying books for people. I didn’t review Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo because I didn’t feel like I had a lot to say about it, but I did really enjoy it. Points to Ellie for knowing that without me posting about it, because she was nice enough to send me the sequel, Seige Siege and Storm.

I’ve never heard a bad thing about The Girl With All the Gifts and I’ve been eyeing up this book for a while, so I doubt it’ll be long before I give it a ago. Does anybody know if it’s a series or a stand-alone?

Anyway, I love Ellie and her pretty wrapping paper. Not to mention her excellent choice in books.

 What next? I know, we’ll go with Laura 🙂 Yay Laura!

The Phantom of the Opera is one of the far-too-many books that didn’t get reviewed because I read it near the end of the year and therefore didn’t get round to reviewing it before the New Year, when I wanted a clean slate. If that even makes sense. But I did really enjoy it – it’s quite different from the musical (involving torture and all sorts) and apparently based on an actual pre-existing legend, which always helps. And I am a sucker for the Vintage red spines 🙂

I actually made an ‘oooh!’ noise when I pulled Middlesex out of the Amazon box. I really liked The Marriage Plot by the same author, but also the only other book I’ve read about gender identity, Beautiful Music for Ugly Children. Which everybody should read, by the way.

Haha, I just reread my review of The Marriage Plot, and there’s a comment from Laura saying, “OH MY GOD HANNA, YOU SHOULD TOTALLY READ MIDDLESEX.” I wonder why you would pick this book, Laura? 🙂

I love it when people send books they they loved themselves though. It shows that a) they care enough to want to share and b) the book is probably awesome 🙂

I read a review of Three by Sarah Lotz a while ago and I can’t for the life of me remember where. Anyway, I knew I absolutely had to read it and Katie was lovely enough to send it to me! She also gets points for the prettiest jiffy bag I’ve ever seen in my life.

It was the last book I opened on my birthday so I took the time to read the first few pages and I desperately want to read the rest of it.

I actually finished reading The Dinner today while stood in line for a Sarah J. Maas signing (yes, I’ve been writing this post for a fortnight). It’s amazing and I need everybody with a reasonably strong stomach and moral strength to read it right now.

Bex and her family also sent the stunning little owl necklace you can see dangling down the pile of books and the white bracelet on the table just in front. What can I say, she knows my love of fun jewellery!


Thank you to everybody who thought of me on the 4th August, both those who sent pretty things and everybody else who tweeted/texted birthday wishes. I love being part of such a close-knit group of people who take the time to make each other feel special and valued. It means an awful lot to me and not just because I suddenly have more books!

Thank you everybody!


  1. Bex says:

    Aww Hanna we love you too 😀 awesome birthday stuff and I love that Charlotte sent you Gay Pride and Prejudice, I didn't even know that was a thing!

    1. admin says:

      Nor did my Grandma…

  2. Ellie says:

    Gawd, where do I start?! Firstly, me and Laura totally did that creepy 'but I almost sent that!' thing again, like with Bex where I nearly bought her a John Steinbeck book and Laura actually sent the same one. I LITERALLY HAD MIDDLESEX IN MY HANDS AT ONE POINT IN WATERSTONES WHEN I WAS CHOOSING YOUR BOOKS, HANNA. Spooky.

    I really want to read HHhH now, and also Three, and also all the other things, including that really nice Vintage edition of The Phaaaaantom of the Opera (is heeeere) which has actually been on my wishlist since BEFORE IT WAS RELEASED because PRETTY. I have The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne so we can compare notes about her pretty books later. And I really should read The Dinner because I bought it with you AND you picked it up and asked me about it the next time we met up, and I still haven't touched it. I also discovered that I have three more Agatha Christies in my book collection that I'd forgotten about, so I thought you'd be happy about that.

    I'm glad you had a lovely birthday (AREN'T KATIE'S JIFFY BAGS LOVELY, wow that sounded wrong) and that you now have SO MANY WONDERFUL BOOKS to read and think of us all in a totally nice and non-creepy way. Yaaaay! 🙂

    1. Ellie says:

      P.S. I know things about your book reading habits outside the blog because I'm a creepy LibraryThing stalker. You're right at the top of my 'shares all the books with you' widget thingy on my profile page, which is uncanny really since WE ACTUALLY KNOW EACH OTHER IN REAL LIFE, so sometimes when I'm bored I totally creep about in your LT library checking out ratings and being horrified when you've rated something I love super-low and not told me about it. I SEE ALL, HANNA. AAAAAAAALL. 😛

    2. admin says:

      Wow Ellie, you win the prize for longest comment in the shortest time elapsed since posting! I should come up with a snappier title…

      Haha, I knew Middlesex was from Laura before I even read the little note that came with it. I'm really looking forward to it, although these books are literally the ONLY ones I have access to at the moment so they're likely to all get read pretty soon! We're decorating so I have huge dust sheets covering all my others. Still, when I get them back it will be like Christmas 🙂

      HA! It was on MY wishlist before it was released too! Laura must have dug right down to the bottom of my list (I love when people do that – I forget what's on there sometimes) because it has been on there aaaaaaages.

      You should read The Dinner though. I actually finished it today and it's really, really good. It's fairly sickening in parts (graphically and morally) but it's necessary for the story so it's okay.

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Katie's Jiffy Bags.

    3. admin says:

      But I know – I find it really weird that you're at the very very top of the 'readers with similar libraries' bit, especially as everybody else is a stranger. It shows we're meant to be :p

    4. Ellie says:

      Long comment, LONG AWARD TITLE. It all fits. Unpacking all my books was definitely like Christmas, I got ridiculously giddy and excited and was like "COME TO ME, MY BAAAAABIES!" The funny thing is, I probably saw that edition of TPotO on your wishlist and added it to mine, years ago. Maybe back when we were first starting RAK and basically hopping around all the wishlists every month instead of at special occasions? We were definitely meant to be. I will read The Dinner. And I apologise profusely to Katie for objectifying her jiffy bags in such a crude and uncalled-for manner.

  3. I so love those Agatha Christie editions too! When I have shelves again (as opposed to boxes in various rooms…), I am definitely collecting them. Not only because there is so much Christie that I haven't read and she is the best for comfort reads.

    I'm so relieved that you didn't think I was a complete dork for the sweets (or at least didn't perceive any such dorkiness as a bad thing!) I just thought that I like to have yummy sugary things around when I'm poorly and figured that you might too. So phew on that one. I'd apologise for the obviously psychically malicious Grandma incident but it's just too funny, I'm afraid :p

    I haven't heard of Three but it looks awesome and I want it. And I don't think I'd really heard of The Dinner until Ellie and Bex were talking about it for your birthday and I realised that it sounded brilliant. Also on the 'want' list. (What an arsey way of saying wishlist…I'm leaving it because it astounds me that I wrote it in the first place and want it to stay there as a reminder that I should be ashamed).

    ALSO, YES to Katie's jiffy bags (sorry, Katie) – they're adorable.

    1. admin says:

      They do look very nice on a shelf… the probably is that there are such a lot of them and they're not as thin as you'd think so they do take up an awful lot of room! They are perfect for comfort reads though – when you just want something light but engrossing, they're great.

      Not dorky at all – just very thoughtful and considerate! You have no idea how much it made me smile. I've put it at the very bottom of my book pile just so I don't keep dipping in there every five minutes!

      The Dinner is brilliant, but I'll tell you about it this weekend (YAY THIS WEEKEND!).

      Oh Charlotte, I'm reading this in the toilets at work because I have to draft documents with clients RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and this is the only way I can escape for five minutes… Then I read your 'want list' bit and giggled, right as somebody walked in to the toilets. So now I'm the Crazy Toilet Giggler.

      You have a knack of embarassing me from afar, you know that? :p

  4. It seems my jiffy bags have become legendary…

    What an amazing collection of books. I highly recommend The Girl With All The Gifts and bought that for another friend recently. I'm pretty sure it's a stand-alone though I can see potential for other stories set in the same world, maybe. Hope you enjoy it!

    I'd never heard of the Gay Pride and Prejudice, but it's obviously an essential addition to your collection, so GO CHARLOTTE for picking that one (with the evil plan of psychically willing you opening it in front of your Grandma… :D)

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