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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

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?

How to create the cosiest reading nook for autumn

Posted in Books
on 02/10/2018

Wow, I made it to day 2 of #Blogtober – who saw that coming?!

After yesterday’s TBR, it’s only right to discuss how to create the cosiest reading nook for the shorter days that come with the autumn and winter seasons. I haven’t created my dream nook yet – I will do once we’ve completed on our house – so this is going to be a mixture of what I’m hoping to buy and what I think would be perfect to settle down at the end of a long week and bury myself in another world.

First up, you need pillows. Lots of pillows.

I have a bit of a pillow obsession. They’re the best way to create comfort, whilst also looking super cute too! I love using them for pops of colour/design!

 

Clockwise from top left:
1. ELDTÖREL Cushion cover by Ikea, £4.50
2. Ryker Embroidered Cushion by MADE, £25
3. Yellow Modernist Throw Pillow by Madeline Louise at Society6, $29.99
4. Ohhio Braid Cushion Square by Ohhio, £54.71

No nook is complete without a blanket.

I love blankets. You can chuck one over any item of furniture and it immediately looks like you’re an adult who has their life together. My favourite blanket is one my grandma made for me – it’s chunky, wide knit and very good at keeping the heat in!

 

Left to right:
1. Chunky Knit Blanket by King and Eye Crochet, £70+
2. Zig Zag Throw by Koko Blossom, £95
3. Succulove Throw Blanket by Crystal W Design, $59.99
4. Lindsay Campbell Throw by Anthropologie through John Lewis, £128

A bit cliche, but string lights = cosiness perfection.

I love a set of string lights! For ultimate reading perfection, try and get ones that have a warmer/yellow glow, particularly if you’re a nighttime reader – there’ll be less blue light in them which won’t disrupt your body’s way of letting you know you’re sleepy!

 

Left to right:
1. Pumpkin Halloween Lights by Mini Loca Shop, £9.25
2. Fairy lights by Juliet Turnbull, £7.85+
3. LED Copper Leaf fairy lights by Hook and Light, £14+
4. Mini Pumpkin String Lights by Party Touches UK, £4.99

Hot water bottles everywhere, please!

Keeping people cosy one kettle at a time, hot water bottles complete any cosy reading nook! I love that such a small thing can show off so much personality. My current faves are these!

 

Clockwise from top left:
1. Hand Knitted Hot Water Bottle Cover by High Fibre Design, £35
2. Twist and Turn Hot Water Bottle Cover by Story Horse, £20
3. “Children’s Personalised Crown Mini Hot Water Bottle by Chi Chi Moi, £28 absolutely not just for kids
4. Biscuits the Shark Hot Water Bottle by Terri Leahy, £38
5. Merino Hug a Hottie Hot Water Bottle by Plum and Ivory, £50

So, there you have the items I think would make the perfect cosy reading nook! Do you agree? Let me know what your perfect reading nook looks like in the comments!

None of the links above are affiliate links – I’m just a girl, in love with these products.

Featured image photo by Janko Ferlic accessed via Pexels.

October TBR

Posted in Books
on 01/10/2018

I wasn’t going to be doing Blogtober, but this awesome suggested post ideas from Jenniely has got me sold!

So, let’s kick this off with my October TBR!

For full transparency, there are affiliate links within this page.

As you were.

The Unit, Ninni Holmqvist

The unit

Page count: 288

Blurb: An eerie dystopian novel envisions a society in the not-so-distant future where men and women deemed economically worthless are sent to a retirement community called the Unit. With lavish apartments set amongst beautiful gardens and state-of-the-art facilities, elaborate gourmet meals, and wonderful music and art, they are free of financial worries and want for nothing.

It’s an idyllic place, but there’s a catch: the residents – known as dispensables – must donate their organs, one by one, until the final donation. When Dorrit Weger arrives at the Unit, she resigns herself to this fate, seeking only peace in her final days. But she soon falls in love, and this unexpected, improbable happiness throws the future into doubt.”

It Ends With HerIt Ends With You, S. K. Wright

Page count: 372

Blurb: Everyone loves Eva. Beautiful, bright, fun, generous – she’s perfect. So when her body is found in a ditch in the local woods the only thing anyone wants to know is: who could have done this?

It has to be Luke, her boyfriend. He has the motive, the means, the opportunity and he’s no stranger to the police. Even though the picture is incomplete, the pieces fit. But as time passes, stories change.

The Periodic Table of Feminism, Marisa Bate

Page count: 204periodic

Blurb: Feminism is a political, social and philosophical movement that has transformed and revolutionized women’s lives.

From fearless women campaigning for the right to vote, to pioneers in fields of medicine, politics and business by the way of pop-culture heroines, writers and creatives, The Periodic Table of Feminism explores over 100 inspiring and engaging international figures who have helped to shape it.

And there you have it! I’ve only got a small TBR again this month, but I also have about 20 books on NetGalley to work through too! What are you reading this month?

 

Featured image photo by Ylanite Koppens accessed via Pexels

Vox, Christina Dalcher

Posted in Books
on 03/09/2018

“I don’t think I really believed it would happen. I don’t think any of us did.”

IMG_0193Title: Vox

Author: Christina Dalcher

Page count: 326 (hardcover edition)

Imagine a world where women have a 100-word allowance each day. Go over that number, and you’ll wish you hadn’t.

That’s the reality for Dr, no, Mrs Jean McClellan, and all girls & women over 3 months old. No title, other than the one of ownership; no voting; no work but housework; no words, no signing, no gestures; no privacy. Not even any mail. The band around their wrist, calibrated to their voice, counts upwards throughout the day, enforcing quietness and submission to male dominance. And then, as if by total irony, the research Jean had been working on (until she couldn’t) was needed, beginning the fight for the right to have a voice.

Dalcher has created a masterful piece of literature, which uniquely combines the politics and turbulence of external factors, with family dynamics, not all of them good. Jean has to raise four kids, three boys and a girl, whilst adjusting to life within this new, intolerant country. Her husband, Patrick, works in the White House and is so wonderfully complex as a character, I could write a whole post on the mastery of it. It would, however, give away some major spoilers so I will save that for a time when people know how this book ends.

Add into this, Dalcher’s fantastic use of intersectional politics and identities, and there’s an element of this novel that makes you terrified for the future. The hints of Bible Belt religionism, nuclear family discourse, and corrupt politics make this book incredibly exciting and fast-paced. My one criticism – stylistically, it might have been a bit more impactful for each chapter to be 100 words or less.

That doesn’t really limit my love for this book, though.

Have you read Vox? What did you think? If you haven’t got a copy yet, you can pick one up here (not an affiliated link – I just love people buying books!)

Four ways to get out of your reading slump

Posted in Books
on 23/08/2018

I am awful at making time for reading.

My phone, social media, video games or binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy always seem to take a higher priority, even though they don’t bring me as much joy. So, I’ve been trying some new behaviours to try and teach myself to make more time.

1. Munching and reading

My most productive reading time? Lunch.

I’m very lucky to be able to take an hour-long lunch break, leaving me about 40 minutes to sit down and read every day of the working week (subtracting time to eat and get settled in). Find a quiet spot, put your headphones in, and you can transport yourself into another world quite easily. It also helps if a work pal reads with you as you can motivate each other to keep going!

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2. Go back to your classic

When all else fails, your classic read will always be there for you. My old faithful? Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Following Lyra’s adventures never gets old and always increases my love of reading. Go back to that book you say down and read in a day – it may just be the one to get you back on track.

3. “App”y reading

I have fallen in love… with an app? The Bookly App is so much more than a handy, digital bookmark. You can track how long you’ve been reading the book so far, see how successful your reading sessions have been, add quotes/thoughts/words as you read (or take photos for later) and even play relaxing sounds, such as a thunderstorm, as you delve into another world. But, and this is the bit that gets me, you can unlock achievements as you go, meaning the more you put into to the app, the more you can get through! Gamification is a sure fire way to get me on board. I use the app pretty much every day, so have splurged on the paid subscription (£4.99) which allows you unlimited books on the app itself (you can only have up to 10 on the free version) and allows you to set yearly reading goals. I really, really, really love this product.

4. Read or write about them

For me, part of the reason I wanted to start a blog is to motivate myself to read more! I have many books I want to read, but I just haven’t done it, so I thought I’d tell you all about them instead! But, if blogging doesn’t seem like your thing, read them. There are book bloggers for all sorts of niche genres (and quite a few every-genre-possible bookworms too!) so there should be a blogger out there for you!

Are you struggling to make time for reading at the moment? What’re you doing to counter it? Share in the comments below and help out a fellow struggling reader! <3

August TBR

Posted in Books
on 12/08/2018

I’m in a reading slump, and it sucks.

No book is gripping me, interesting me or getting me on board with its narrative. It’s so frustrating to have something that was once my escape from reality becoming a draining factor in my reality.

So, I’m setting myself some reading targets each month to help me focus on getting through the backlog of books I have acquired (and to give me space to buy more!). This month, I’ve only set myself three books to read, as I usually only have an hour or so a day to sit down with a nice paperback) but hopefully I’ll have the chance to get a couple more squeezed in!

Inside the Firm, Tony Lambrianou

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I’m low-key obsessed with crime documentaries so when a colleague at work was reading a book written by someone who was in the inner circles of the Kray twins, I basically gave him no choice but to let me borrow it! The author, Tony Lambrianou, was sentenced to 15 years for murder and all kinds of crime after having been a member of the Kray Twins gang throughout the most of their career. I’m hoping to have this read ASAP so I don’t hold on to someone else’s book for too long!

WTF?, Robert Peston

What have we done? Why did it happen? How do we take back control? These are the questions being asked in this book.

If you don’t watch Peston on Sunday, you’re missing out. Robert Peston is one of the best journalists out there, and he actually talks common sense. If like me, you’re still reeling from Brexit and the rise of the alt-right, this book is for you. I’ve read his introduction and the book takes you all the way back to the banking crash in 2008 to assess what happened that has caused Brexit, Trump and the ever-widening gap between those at the top, and those at the bottom.

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The Darkness, Ragnar Jónasson

love Scandi/Northern crime writers. There’s something about the bleak landscape descriptors that make them the best kind of suspense writing. I picked this up at a little independent bookstore in Totnes and am very much looking forward to starting it. A young woman is found washed up on the shoreline. It’s ruled a suicide, but DI Hulda Hermannsdottir soon finds that another woman went missing at the same time… I just hope it isn’t an obvious ending.

What are you reading at the moment? Are there any books being published soon that you’re looking forward to?