Goldsboro Books and the bookish community

Posted in Books
on 20/03/2019

Full disclosure: I was able to get hold of a copy of the book in question. Would I be disappointed if I hadn’t got a copy? Probably. Would I still be so angry about the way people have been reacting on Twitter? Absolutely.

When Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff announced the Goldsboro Books special edition of Aurora Rising, I bet they thought it was a sweet deal. With its purple sprayed edges, it’s a gorgeous, limited printed run edition of the hotly anticipated book.

When a book is limited to 500 copies, you know you’re chancing your luck. Goldsboro ship worldwide and, when the authors are as high profile as this, there’s obviously going to be high level traffic wanting a copy.

So what, then, has made me so riled that I feel the need to rant?

The entitlement shown by some members of the bookish community in the last few days has been awful.

This book was always going to be in high demand so it was no surprise that the website crashed 10 minutes before the book was even on sale. What followed was horrible to watch.

Frustration. Anger. Entitlement.

Over a book.

A very pretty book. But a book. That’s going to be available for everyone to get some form of copy.

Let’s dive into the details.

The website went down at 11:50am – I know this because I had the website open from 11:30am.

Cue a b s o l u t e bedlam.

At first, the tweets were people asking Goldsboro if their website had stopped working… Duh, but at least it was jovial. There were jokes being made about the Illuminae Files books and people were just waiting to get on the site.

Then someone said they’d ordered by phone. A pretty standard thing to do, really. You can order almost anything over the phone. Theatre tickets, books, movie tickets, gig tickets. Box Offices still exist, people just don’t phone so often.

I get that this puts international folk at a disadvantage. It must charge a shedload to call the UK for a book, but that doesn’t mean that those who can, shouldn’t. I mean, if my gran wanted a copy she would have to phone because she doesn’t have internet?

Anyway.

This is when everyone lost their shit.

Cue Goldsboro staff being called incompetent, accused of not being fair, threatened with the revoking of custom, asking that people who phoned have their orders revoked?!. Simply because people wanted a book.

It’s absolutely not okay.

In 2011, the Booksellers Association reported that the number of independent bookstores fell from 1894 in 1995, to 1159 in 2011. That’s the equivalent of one independent bookstore closing every 13 days.

So we shouldn’t expect Goldsboro to be able to handle the amount of traffic generated by two powerhouse authors. Combined, Kaufman and Kristoff can “influence” around 114,000 people. Imagine if even one percent of those people wanted a Goldsboro book. Over half would leave disappointed.

We should be celebrating the fact that an independent bookstore has been able to get a book of such clout. That it can keep paying the rent prices of central London (the store is literally next to Leicester Square).

We should treasure small bookstores, not shit on them.

The entitlement that seems to be seeping into day to day interactions scares me. No one has the right to dictate who should and shouldn’t get a copy of a book (can you believe I’m still talking about a bloody book?). No one has the right to act personally wounded if they are not able to get a copy. Move on. The odds were against all of us to begin with.

I probably could’ve brushed off some of the criticism of Goldsboro, if I weren’t seeing this entitlement everywhere. What has emboldened people to be rude and confrontational about everything? The people who work, not just at Goldsboro, but in supermarkets, in call centres, in public facing jobs deserve our respect, not our insolence. Because those jobs are fucking soul destroying.

So, for those attacking Goldsboro: get your heads out of your ass. It’s a bloody book, for fuck’s sake.

Finally, and most importantly;

To all the fabulous folk at Goldsboro Books,

The past 24hrs have been rough. Your tech team will be tired, your front of house staff will be sick of hearing the phone ring, and you’ll likely have turned off your notifications because DAMN people are infuriating. So know one thing, Goldsboro Books:

You’ve done brilliantly.

 

 

 

 

 

TAG: Unpopular opinions

Posted in Books
on 18/02/2019

Unpopular opinion posts are some of my favourite posts to read. Writing one was a completely different experience.

Thank you to lovely Vicky at The Roaring Bookworm for the tag – if you do not follow her blog, you need to go do that right now. Her reviews are an absolute delight!

I can’t procrastinate any longer. Here we gooooo…

A popular book or book series that you didn’t like.

Eeek. Starting as we mean to go on, I see.

I’m going to go for A Dance of Water and Air by Antonia Aquilante. The book was fine but it followed the same plot story as a million other YA books out there. Plus, I find the way the LGBT+ content is written problematic.

A popular book or series that you hate but everybody else seems to love.

I don’t know how unpopular this is going to be, as a lot of people in the Bookish community said they hadn’t heard of this book, even though I couldn’t escape it for weeks in the build up (but it does have 4.11 stars on GoodReads). The Binding by Bridget Collins has left me so disappointed that I can’t even bring myself to finish it. It started off so strong and then an event has happened and has completely changed the direction of the book. Plus there’s some weird subplots that were brought in sloppily. All in all, it seems like the book was pushed so strongly because the cover is pretty.

This time, you can judge the book by its cover.

A popular author that you can’t seem to get into.

This one I feel super awful about. I just don’t get the love for John Green.

via GIPHY

A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing.

When characters fall in love at first sight. I’m sorry, but that is just not how it happens. What authors don’t want to say is that they just want to jump each others bones immediately. Love comes later…

A popular series that you have no interest in reading.

I really don’t want to say this because I love the author as a person, but I am just not interested in the Ember Quartet. I know. But I will always follow Sabaa on social media because she is a queen.

Please don’t hate me.

The saying goes ‘the book is always better than the movie’, but what movie or TV show adaption do you prefer more than the book?

Game of Thrones. I can’t deal with that many P.O.V. characters in a book. It is too confusing.

via GIPHY

Phew! You made it to the end so you can’t hate me too much! So, there you have it. My deepest, darkest bookish thoughts are out there for the world to see.

If you enjoyed reading my unpopular opinions about books, I tag YOU! Answer the questions and tag me in your responses so I can check out your answers!

 

 

 

 

February 2019 TBR

Posted in Books
on 13/02/2019
There should be more anti-hero characters in books. The Ruin of Kings is going to be so much fun.

After a pretty good reading month, I can feel myself slipping into a bit of a slump so my February TBR is a little lighter on books – I’m currently flip-flopping on books literally every day so my wrap up might not match this! That being said, there are SO MANY good books coming out this month that I cannot wait for, fingers crossed my slump comes to an end.

So, let’s jump into this.

A quick heads up for you, there are affiliate links within this post that, should you purchase anything through them, I will earn a commission. This is at no extra charge to you. 

A Darker Shade of Magic, V. E. Schwab

Kell's coat takes centre stage on the cover of A Darker Shade of MagicKell wore a very peculiar coat.

Yep yep yep. I am caught from the very first line in the book and it is time for my love of V. E. Schwab to get even deeper. Travelling through different versions of London (the red one, white one, grey one and black one), Kell is a magician who delivers messages between the different London’s – until he delivers a package he knew he shouldn’t.

I think I might end up reading more of Schwab this month if this book catches me as I think it might!

Dark Pines, Will Dean

I LOVE a good Scandi murder/mystery, and Dark Pines is bloody creepy.SEE NO EVIL. HEAR NO EVIL. SPEAK NO EVIL

I’m doing a re-read – something I never do – because I love Tuva and I love Will Dean’s writing and Dark Pines has the best plot.

Tuva is a deaf reporter who ends up covering a series of murders within Gavrik, a small Swedish town. The victims eyes have been gauged out and it looks like a killer from the past is killing again.

 

 

Red Snow, Will Dean

The next in the series after Dark Pines, Red Snow promises to be just as good.

TWO BODIES. TWO COINS. TWO WEEKS.

Next up for Tuva is a suicide and a murder – are they connected? Liquorice coins cover their eyes and #Ferryman starts trending as locals start to get sliiightly freaked out.

If Red Snow is even half as good as Dark Pines, I am in for an amazing time. The way Dean writes is just amazing, the setting just the perfect balance of beautiful and downright creepy.

I have three different copies of this book – I think I’m obsessed.

 

The Last, Hanna Jameson

A hotel in flames for a post-nuclear setting in Hanna Jameson's The Last

BREAKING: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington

Historian Jon Keller is in Switzerland when the bombs go off. So remote is the hotel, Jon and the rest of the hotel’s residents survive and have to come to terms with potentially being the last people alive.

Then they find the dead little girl and realise that there may be a murderer within the survivors.

I’ve read a few chapters of this book already and it is brilliant! The writing is fantastic, the detail is exquisite and you really get a feeling of isolationism (not sure if that’s a word).

 

The Ruin of Kings, Jenn Lyons

There should be more anti-hero characters in books. The Ruin of Kings is going to be so much fun.

Then again, maybe Kihrin isn’t the hero, for he’s not destined to save the empire. He’s destined to destroy it.

I’m in love with this book. It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s creative and rich with detail plus it showcases my favourite trope: the antihero.

I’m less than 100 pages in, but this book is shaping up to be a book of the month contender. I absolutely love the two characters you are first introduced to and the style of the prose is absolutely fabulous.

 

The Priory of the Orange Tree, Samantha Shannon

It's almost here. The Priory of the Orange Tree is the one book I cannot wait to get my hands on.

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

I feel like e v e r y o n e is talking about this book. But, then again, there’re dragons involved so why wouldn’t they?!

I was lucky enough to receive an excerpt of Priory via NetGalley and it is incredible. Similar to The Ruin of Kings, it has such a rich, creative world and is beautifully constructed.

The Priory of the Orange Tree comes out at the end of the month and I cannot wait!

 

 

And there you have it – my short and sweet February TBR! I’ve already been jumping from book to book so don’t expect my wrap up to look anything like this. Keep your fingers crossed my reading slump ends soon!

 

Let me know that you’re reading in the comments!

January 2019 Wrap Up

Posted in Books
on 03/02/2019
The cover of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo features the actress herself in THAT famous emerald dress.

January was a good month for reading! I got through most January TBR of my and a couple of others too, plus I picked up some sick reads for next month. Tearjerkers take pride of place this month’s wrap up (maybe it’s something about January?) because my gosh did I cry through some of these books. I also found it so hard to pick up a book – I think going back to work after my three weeks off over Christmas ruined me. Anyway, I still did relatively okay this months – eight books means I’m on track for my goal of 100 and I’m going to take some of my own advice to get me through the last of the dark days of winter!

Anyway, enough rambling – let’s jump in to my January Wrap Up!

A quick heads up for you, there are affiliate links within this post that, should you purchase anything through them, I will earn commission. This is at no extra charge to you. I also received some of these books for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Book of the Month

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid

The cover of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo features the actress herself in THAT famous emerald dress.

Yes, I’m jumping on the bandwagon, here, but this book is just so good. It it not the type of book I usually read, but I could not put it down and I ended up reading it in one sitting! It made me laugh, cry, and angry – sometimes all at once

Evelyn Hugo is a famous actress who, after a colourful life, has lived in relative silence for many years. Until she wants her story to be told and, to the disappointment of many, she chooses Monique Grant, a relatively unheard freelancer, as the person to write her story. The book follows the journey of her rise to fame, the behind the scenes sadness, and her relationships.

I don’t want to write too much as I’ve got a fuller review coming soon, but this is such a beautiful book – I cannot recommend it enough.

Read

Yes, this girl finally read a book by Victoria Schwab and I’m completely in love. City of Ghosts was my first read of 2019 and I’m v. excited for Tunnel of Bones in September! I’ve got A Darker Shade of Magic and Vicious lined up in my February TBR. The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton, by Anstey Harris, was an “ooooo, that front cover is v. cute” purchase and, you know what, it turned out to be a bloody good read too!

Michelle Kenney’s Book of Fire and City of Dust were my rollercoaster reads. I think I enjoyed Book of Fire slightly more than the second installment. Everything was new and there was an enemy to sort of lovers trope that will get me every time, whereas that wasn’t so prevalent in the second (for various reasons that would spoil the books if I told you what they were).

One Of Us is Lying kept me guessing up until it was so obvious I felt a little stupid for not spotting the ending. A brilliant read and I finished just before Karen McManus’s next book, Two Can Keep a Secret, came out – keep an eye out for that in my TBR!

The saddest moment of the month had to be not enjoying A Dance of Air and Water. Look, it’s a decent book, but I’ve read it before in a million different ways. And, whilst it is refreshing to see LGBT+ characters within a book, I just think that the author was clumsy with it and missed the mark.

Currently Reading

I was so pumped for Red Snow to come out last month so I decided to do a re-read of the first book in the series, Dark Pines, ahead of the publication of the next installment. Then I got distracted, and work got hectic, and I still haven’t finished it. Fingers crossed I’ll get this and Red Snow done in February as there are some big books on their way that I am dying to get my hands on!

When I first bought The Binding, I’m not going to lie, I bought it for the cover. It is beautiful. And the story was blossoming into something beautiful too. Until it wasn’t. And now I’m fighting to not DNF the book and that is making me so sad.

DNF’d

A beautifully written book, it just wasn't my cup of tea.I warned you in last month’s TBR – this book was massively out of my comfort zone. Unfortunately, that has proven to be it’s downfall.

The Far Field, by Madhuri Vijay, is a beautifully written book. Very descriptive and a story that should grip anyone. It just wasn’t the type of book I needed this month. A very sad DNF for me!

 

So, there you have my January Wrap Up! Full reviews of each book will be coming soon, I just need to pull my finger out and get writing! What were your reads of January? Did we read any of the same books?

*Updated to include disclosure at the top of the article. Sorry for any confusion.

The Flower Girls, Alice Clark-Platts

Posted in Books
on 26/01/2019
Yellow and black tend to mean bad, like wasps. Doesn't bode well for the colour scheme of The Flower Girls then, does it?

What happens when you mix the innocence of children with murder? A gripping book full of twists and turns!

Thank you to Bloomsbury for an e-copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. For complete transparency, there are affiliate links within this post that, should you purchase anything through them, I will earn a commission at no extra charge to you.

Yellow and black tend to mean bad, like wasps. Doesn't bode well for the colour scheme of The Flower Girls then, does it?

Title: The Flower Girls

Author: Alice Clark-Platts

Page count: 339

YOU’LL NEVER FORGET THE FLOWER GIRLS

The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose.

One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.

What. A. Book.

Seriously, this is one to grab a copy of ASAP. Set in the present day, with flashbacks to life as children, we meet Primrose (now, Hazel) who is on a getaway break over the New Year’s period. All is, relatively, well in the hotel until a child goes missing.

Not a big deal, I hear you say. Sounds like the premise of an interesting murder-mystery, right? Until you find out that Hazel was given her new name because her sister, Laurel, was found guilty of the murder of a child at the age of 10 (Hazel was 8). Yep. Not good.

And so begins the most intriguing and (at times) disturbing rollercoaster ride this book takes you on.

This book gripped me from the very first page.

I absolutely love the way the Clark-Platts has written this book. The different viewpoints and flashbacks give enough to make you think some outcomes are certain, whilst slowly building a case for the final reveal. I remember finishing the book and feeling both delighted with the ending and annoyed that I didn’t spot it – exactly what you want for this type of book.

I also think that the setup is rather unique. Murder committed by young people is often, in books, designed under the trope of “led astray” or “expected due to their upbringing.” Whilst the latter may be true to some extent, it doesn’t feel like the focus throughout the book. That’s an amazing feat for the author to achieve.

I would say that one of the reveals at the end was more obvious and fitted well with the story, but it also worked to draw your mind away from the final few twists that have stuck with me since I read this in November!

Go get this book and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

January 2019 TBR

Posted in Books
on 06/01/2019

I’ve got to be tactical with my TBR’s this year as, for some crazy idea, I’ve set my GoodReads Challenge for 100 books! I’m feeling the regret but considering the amazing books coming out this year I’m slightly hopeful I can at least get close! So, my January TBR looks a little something like this.

A quick heads up for you, there are affiliate links within this post that, should you purchase anything through them, I will earn commission. This is at no extra charge to you. I also received some of these books for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

A geek, a jock, a criminal, a princess, a murder. Who would you believe?

Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive.

Damn. Those two sentences make this sound epic, right? I’m about a quarter of the way through so far and this is pretty good!

One of the kids in detention runs an anonymous website (xoxo Gossip Girl-style). He dies – not a spoiler, it’s on the back copy! – and each of the main characters are put in the frame after being mentioned in the next update that was being released the following day.

It’s shaping up to be a pretty good whodunnit novel. I currently have NO IDEA who it could be and it’s really annoying me (in a good way!). The characters are fun and whilst it could’ve been tempting for the author to really write this for a younger audience, I’m finding that their issues are really reflective of issues that I recognise having gone through as a teenager – really impressive!

 

A Dance of Water and Air by Antonia Aquilante

A regal cover for a regal tale. Dark greens and blues let you know that this isn't going to be the happiest of books!Edmund is heir to the throne of Thalassa and a wielder of Water magic. Devoted to his kingdom and his duty to it, Edmund can do nothing but acquiesce to an arranged marriage with the queen of a neighboring kingdom. The marriage and the child it is required to produce will seal an alliance between Thalassa and Aither that is vital to Thalassa’s safety, and far more important than Edmund’s personal misgivings.

This is also shaping up to be a pretty solid fantasy. I’m 9% through this one and, so far, I love it. If you’re a fan of Sarah J. Maas, I think you will too!

Alongside Edmund being palmed off for marriage, someone then attempts to assassinate the woman that he is destined to marry, putting Edmund in a bit of a sticky situation.

I received a copy of this through NetGalley and am finally catching up with my out of date reviews (sorry, Antonia and NineStar Press!). Expect a full review when I’m done!

Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney

The Book of Fire holds all the secrets - at what cost?

Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that’s what Insiders are told.

I stumbled across this book by pure accident. I requested City of Dust on Net Galley (see below!) without realising that it was the second part of a trilogy! I’m a quarter of the way through this and it is SO GOOD! 

The domes are built to house survivors after a nuclear war. But not everyone thinks the domes are a good thing. Those who leave the domes have set up their lives in a sort of tree city in a valley that’s only accessible through what is essentially a water slide (except it’s claustrophobic and my worst nightmare). After some of the outsiders are taken back to the dome after a forest raid, the main character, Talia, is on a mission to rescue them.

The book is full of colourful, descriptive writing that just pulls you in to this whole other world. Bonus points that it’s set in Exeter – my parents aren’t too far from there and it’s one of my favourite cities in the UK!

I’m excited to see what the resolution to this book is and where the next book picks up. Speaking of the next book…

City of Dust by Michelle Kenney

The pages are still on fire after Book of Fire so I imagine it doesn't open in a happy place.

The fight is never over. Life in Arafel is no longer safe.

It doesn’t sound like the Book of Fire ends too well, does it?

I don’t want to say too much about this one as I think it would majorly spoil the first book for those of you who have quickly added it to your TBR’s!

What I will say is that City of Dust looks to be following a betrayal, a theft and a potentially deadly conclusion should the wrong hands get hold of the knowledge that has kept Arafel safe.

I’m excited, and I haven’t even finished the first book!

 

The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

Orange and red flowers adorn the cover of The Far Field.

In the wake of her mother’s death, Shalini, a privileged and restless young woman from Bangalore, sets out for a remote Himalayan village in the troubled northern region of Kashmir. Certain that the loss of her mother is somehow connected to the decade-old disappearance of Bashir Ahmed, a charming Kashmiri salesman who frequented her childhood home, she is determined to confront him.

This is a little different from the books I usually read. The book follows Shalini as she tries to find closure over the death of her mother. 

Exploring Indian politics, class prejudice and sexuality against a back drop of grief and guilt, this book should be an interesting read.

I’m a bit nervous that it’s a little outside of my comfort zone – although it would be great to find another genre to fall in love with! 

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

There's a ghost human, a ghost cat and Edinburgh on the front cover - things are going well for this book already.

When Cass’s family heads off to Edinburgh, Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift” of entering the world of the spirits. Cass still has a lot to learn about the Veil – and herself. And fast…

Confession time: I haven’t read anything by this absolute Queen, so you bet I asked for mostly all of her books for Christmas. My boyfriend (and favourite person in the world, if you’re reading this) delivered and excuse while I go and devour it.

Yes, I know this is meant for middle grade children, but a ghost book set in Edinburgh? Come on, now! You know that that is a recipe for perfection (and, in theory, shouldn’t be as terrifying as I find all other ghost stories).

 

 

Into the Hollow by Lynn Vroman

The forest Free hides in is presumably the forest you can see on the cover of this book.The hollow was the perfect place to hide. Or so Free’s dad said when they fled California, her five-year-old brother illegally in tow, to hide out in the West Virginia mountains and make some fast cash.

Free’s family seem like they can’t catch a break. Decisions are made in the moment causing her family to fall apart. There’s something about family stories that instantly grabs me and I’m hoping that this book takes me on a journey.

Plus, if the writing is as beautiful as the premise, I think we’ll be on to a winner.

Reviews say that this is an emotional one, so I’ll have the tissues ready.

 

 

Red Snow by Will Dean

Thankfully no blood or red snow on this cover.

TWO BODIES. One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik? TWO COINS. Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition. TWO WEEKS

I’ve already banged on about this book in a previous post so I won’t go on for too long!

I’m hoping to round out the month with a good, gritty murder mystery! Intiguingly, the main character is deaf so it’ll be really interesting to see how that’s written.

This book isn’t out until next week, but if you want to read the first instalment of the series, you can check out Dark Pines before Red Snow is released!

 

 

There you have it! My January TBR. I’m being quite ambitious but, at the time of writing, I’ve already finish One Of Us is Lying – hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in a few more books before I go back to work on the 7th!

What are you reading this month? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe if you want to hear my thoughts on these books!

Forget Me Not, A. M. Taylor

Posted in Books
on 03/01/2019

A double murder-mystery with a twist I didn’t predict? Yes, please! Check out my thoughts on Forget Me Not by A. M. Taylor.

Thank you to Killer Reads for a free e-copy of this book via NetGalley. A quick heads up for you, there are affiliate links within this post that, should you purchase anything through them, I will earn commission. This is at no extra charge to you.

Cover of Forget Me Not which follows Maddie as she tries to solve her best friends disappearance.

Title: Forget Me Not

Author: A. M. Taylor

Pages: 336

What happened to Nora?


On 8 January 2008, Nora’s car was found abandoned on a highway – she was never found. Fast forward 10 years, and we meet Maddie, Nora’s best friend, who has returned to her home town for the 10 year anniversary of Nora’s disappearance.

Sad times. It gets worse.

Nora disappeared when she was 17. On the exact same day, 10 years later, Nora’s now 17 year old sister is found murdered almost in the exact same spot as the car was found all those years ago.

And so begins Maddie’s journey to build friendships that were decimated by grief, to rebuild herself and to find the killer.

Thoughts

Forget Me Not follows the same beats as most murder/mystery books out there. It’s written using a combination of prose and news paper articles which is great way to build up a bit more of picture of the state in which the main characters are situated and to deliver those little clues that those who read this type of book adore.We’d all been there before and yet familiarity doesn’t always mean

I loved the resolution. I really didn’t see it coming until it was basically happening. However, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed. I think this is mostly due to the pacing. The resolution happens in maybe the last 10% of the book with tidbits coming in at about 50% through. This spacing felt a little off to me.

It also doesn’t help that the reason why the entire thing happened is the most stereotypical. I won’t spoil it for you, but if you’ve read more than two murder/mystery books, you’ll probably get it in three guesses.

That being said, I think the character development throughout the book is fantastic. You get to know Maddie and several other characters really well. The flashbacks, which were italicised, took a little while to get used to but ultimately really shook up the way in which you read the book and absolutely tested my memory and clue-finding skills!

Ultimately, Forget Me Not was a good, standard murder/mystery read. If you’re looking for something a bit more innovative, this isn’t your book but a nice easy read on a rainy Sunday? Absolutely.

What are you reading at the moment? If you need some thoughts, check out my most anticipated reads of 2019

My Most Anticipated 2019 Book Releases

Posted in Books
on 01/01/2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It’s 2019 and I am ready.

2018 was tough. Work was manic and, in my infinite wisdom, I thought that starting up this bad boy would be a great idea in amongst the chaos of life. That went well…

Don’t you worry though, I’ve not been resting on my laurels. I’ve been reading behind the scenes and you better believe I’ve got a ton of content ready to come your way! One of my goals for 2019 is to always have at least one post scheduled – right now, that thought is quite terrifying!

Anyway, as it’s the first day of the year, here’s a snapshot into the books I’m most excited for this year! These books mostly come out in the first half of the year, so I think I’ll have to do quite a few of these posts throughout 2019!

A quick heads up for you, there are affiliate links within this post that, should you purchase anything through them, I will earn commission. This is at no extra charge to you.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The cover of The Priory of the Orange Tree

Expected release date : 26 February 

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens. The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door. 

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel. Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Yes, I too am on the hype train for this book! I was lucky to receive a copy of the first few chapters (thank you, Bloomsbury!) and, let me tell you, I was gutted when I couldn’t read on. I had forgotten how good fantasy was – I can’t get enough of them now!

I’ve got a beautiful edition on the way from Goldsboro Books but, seeing as I’ve booked the day of work to read it, I’ve also preordered the Kindle version so I don’t have to wait!

The Last by Hanna Jameson

Expected release date : 24 January 

Nice and simple – the bright red colour of the cover of The Last is perfect!

BREAKING: Nuclear weapons detonates over Washington

Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilisation, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia, and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message. 

Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive. Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?

Described as Stephen King meets Agatha Christie, I didn’t even need to read the blurb to know that I should be excited for this book! Whilst a murder mystery is good enough for me, I’m hoping to see a bit of influence from the dystopian genre to ramp up the tension!

Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan

Expected release date : 30 April

The cute cartoons on the cover of Hot Dog Girl is simply adorable!

Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:

*  She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
*  Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
*  Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick.
*  And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland–ever–unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.

Everyone in the world should be wanting to read this book. I’m wanting teenage angst, those awkward interactions you can only have as a teenager and some good old PG romance to warm my cold, adult heart. And, how cute is the cover?! If April could hurry up, that’d be great.

Also, so not sorry for entering every single Twitter competition to win an ARC of this.

The Ruin of Kings by Jean Lyons

Expected release date : 7 February

More dragons! This time on the cover of The Ruin of Kings.

When destiny calls, there’s no fighting back . . . 

As a bard’s apprentice, Kihrin grew up with tales of legendary deeds. He also steals, desperate to buy a way out of Quur’s slums. Then he raids the wrong house, he’s marked by a demon and life will never be the same again.

Kihrin’s plight brings him to the attention of royalty, who claim him as the lost son of their immoral prince. But far from living the dream, Kihrin’s at the mercy of his new family’s ruthless ambitions. However, escaping his jewelled cage just makes matters worse. Kihrin is horrified to learn he’s at the centre of an ancient prophecy. And every side – from gods and demons to dragons and mages – want him as their pawn. Those old stories lied about many things too, especially the myth that the hero always wins. 

Then again, maybe Kihrin isn’t the hero, for he’s not destined to save the empire. He’s destined to destroy it.

This book sounds fascinating! Yes, it’s another fantasy but the main character is not a hero, he’s an anti-hero who has to destroy everything. How will this book end? I have no idea. Part of me hopes everything gets destroyed but imagine if he doesn’t and then we get all the internal conflict on paper… Dreamy whatever the outcome.

The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang

Expected release date : 2 May

Yes, another dragon. I think 2019 already has a theme…

In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance…

I think The Poppy War was my favourite book of 2018. It whisked me off into a whole other world – I devoured it over two days (whilst also being in work 8am-4pm!). So, it’s no surprise that The Dragon Republic is on this list! Rin is the perfect main character, balanced perfectly by the friends around her. I’m most looking forward to more details of the various places Rin visits – the descriptive writing in this series is just phenomenal!

The Taking of Annie Thorne by C. J. Tudor

Expected release date : 21 February

Will I get nightmares? The Taking of Annie Thorne sounds absolutely terrifying. Give. It. To. Me.

Then . . .

One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. Though she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her.

But something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what. 
I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same. 
She wasn’t my Annie.

I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.

Now . . .

The email arrived in my inbox nearly two months ago.
I almost deleted it straight away – but I clicked Open:

I know what happened to your sister. It’s happening again . . .

How creepy does this book sound? I’ve never been one for horror books, but recently I’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone! Reviews also say it opens with a murder so the part of me that loves murder mystery books should be satisfied!

Stephen King himself has endorsed this book so I’ll just mark this as a 5 star review now?

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Expected release date : 21 February

Blood Orange with extra blood, I reckon?

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems… 

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it. 

Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up. 

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….

Red Snow by Will Dean

Expected release date : 10 January

Death. Scandinavia. Sold.

TWO BODIES

One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?

TWO COINS

Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.

TWO WEEKS

Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

This is the sequel to Dark Pines which is nearing the top of my reading list! I love Scandi murder books – there’s just something about the atmosphere that authors create that makes them even more horrific than ones set in London. Maybe living near London is the problem?

I’m intrigued to see how Dean writes the main character. I don’t think I’ve read a book where the main character is deaf so that should be really interesting!

And there you have it – my most anticipated reads of 2019! As I’m typing this, more and more books are coming to my mind so there will definitely be a part two (and three, and four, and maybe even 5!). I’m grateful that a majority of these books I am receiving as part of my Christmas presents!

Have you got any gems on preorder? Let me know in the comments! xox

This image is for use on Pinterest.

The Proposal, S. E. Lynes

Posted in Books
on 08/10/2018

I love a good thriller, especially the ones that keep you guessing. The Proposal by S.E Lynnes is absolutely one of those books.

Thank you to Bookouture for a free e-copy of this book via NetGalley. For complete transparency, there are affiliate links within this post.

As you were.

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Title: The Proposal

Author: S. E. Lynes

Page count: 324

The first thing you should know, dear reader, is that I am dead.

And so The Proposal begins. The book is set out in a series of blog posts and diary entries written by author, and lead character, Pippa Gates. After an encounter with a door-to-door salesman who sells her his life story for £200. Intrigued yet?

Lynes keeps you on your toes throughout the book, leading you in different directions away from your assumptions. Just over half way through, the twist comes and, boy, is it a good’un! From there, the story descends into organised chaos (in a good way!) until the dark and foreshadowed ending.

This book is a masterpiece in suspense. As a murder/thriller junkie, I didn’t see the twist coming. I was delighted when my assumed twist was completely wrong! It shocked me, made me scroll back to an earlier chapter to find the clues, and then smile like an idiot when I realised I’d been played. Honestly, such a good twist!

The writing style is fantastic. There’s a clear difference between the diary entries and the blog posts. There’s a narrative being played out here. The overly happy, perfect life portrayed in the blog posts is beautifully contrasted by the dark, twisted reality portrayed in the diary.

Have you read The Proposal? What did you think? If not, does it sound like one for you?

10 reasons why autumn is the best season

Posted in Life
on 05/10/2018

Autumn is the best season. No ifs, no buts, there is literally no competition. In the UK, it’s a bit of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it season as we don’t seem to have the falling leaves and cold crisp weather for very long (then it’s just rain until March!).

Don’t get me wrong, I wish autumn could also have the long day of summer but, in case you aren’t of this mind (yet), here’s a list to sway your mind.

1. Autumn is the perfect temperature

It’s not too hot, it’s not too cold. You can wear a jumper or a jacket with your summer clothes, and you won’t feel cold.

2. Jumpers galore

I love jumpers. Preferably chunky ones, or ones with embroidery on them! I love pulling out my jumpers from storage (read: under the bed) and knowing that I’ll be nice and cosy all through the season.

3. Stews and hotpots are back!

The easiest and most tasty meal prep solutions ever. Stew, some cheesy polenta and a metric tonne of gravy = the perfect autumn meal.

4. These colours

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Photo by Efdal YILDIZ from Pexels

‘Nough said, really.

5. Cold outside, warm inside

Nothing says autumn like setting your boiler to come on in twice a day. You come in from work and it’s so toasty inside that your glasses slightly steam up – that’s autumn to me.

6. Hot chocolate becomes acceptable at any point in the day

I feel judged drinking hot chocolate outside of autumn and winter, so I’m always grateful for the opportunity to drink it all day everyday.

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Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

7. The sun has the most perfect aesthetic

The sunsets. The sunrises. The gorgeous shades of pink and orange and yellow that fill the sky – b e a utiful.

8. Saying “I stayed in all weekend” doesn’t get you a funny look

It’s cold, and likely raining, so no one thinks you’re strange for not leaving the house all weekend anymore.

9. Mulled wine and cider EVERYWHERE

Mulled cider is my absolute favourite thing about autumn. Mulled wine, too! The smell immediately takes me back to bonfire nights as a kid with sparklers, sticky toffee apples and a hunt for any hedgehogs hiding in the pyre.

10. It’s almost Christmas!

I’m so excited for Christmas this year. I’m determined to have a Christmas in our new home – fingers crossed we move in before then!

 

What’s your favourite season? If it’s Autumn, would you add anything to this list?