Author: joycemay (page 5 of 48)

Autumn and Winter

Hello good people! How are you all? What fabulous reading matter do you hold In your hands right now? Answer these questions and more in the comment box below and I’ll be a happy chappess (?)

What have I been doing lately? I have been falling in love with Ali Smith’s books! Oh yes I have!

(For the benefit of new readers to my blog I overuse the (!) ALL THE TIME! But I don’t care 😉

I recently finished reading Autumn by Ali Smith and although I wouldn’t rave about it, I did enjoy it and began to see my way through her very quirky writing style. There are some laugh out loud passages of absurdity that I really loved.

So when I finished I decided to treat myself to the next part of her seasonal quartet, Winter.

Now this I am loving! So much more so than Autumn. I even bought it in hardback and you know that’s not something I do often. It’s a gorgeous cloth bound semi naked hardback too and I adore it.

I’ll update as I go along and may even share the odd quote or two

TTFN

Gill

A-Z Book Tag

I saw this on Maddie & Bee’s fab You Tube channel Heart Full of Books

Its a bit of long one but bear with me, some of my answers may surprise you.

A – Author you’ve read the most books by

J.K. Rowling because I read my way through all the Harry Potter book series which is something i’ve never done before or since

B – Best sequel

As stated above I dont read book series, preferring stand alones so it has to be The Half Blood Prince, my fav of the HP books. How J.K Rowling made us do a complete U-turn on Snape was masterly.

C – Current read

Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell

D – drink of choice for reading

I dont especially sit down with a drink to read, I tend to snatch moments when I can

E – e-Reader or physical copy

Woah! Physical copy anyday! a massive no brainer for me. That damn piece of plastic called an ereader is just soulless and never feels like i own the book. Unless i can turn a real page i’m lost.

F – Fictional character you would have been friends with at school

Charlie Bloom from Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell sounds very cool and geeky at the same time and bonding over our love of photography would have made us good friends i reckon.

G – Glad you gave this book a chance

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt was a real delight to me even though i never read Middle Grade books normally I had heard so much hype that i had to get a copy and i’m so glad i did.

H – Hidden Gem

The arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley is a book that should be much more well known. Its a really unusual, magical realism, quirky novel and i just loved it.

I – Important moment in your reading life

This has probably got to be when I discovered YA books about 4 years ago. It has opened up a whole word of reading pleasure for me.

J – Just finished

Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister, a crime thriller with an unusual angle, which i liked but it disappointed me in the end.

K – Kind of books you won’t read

Horror, violent crime, anything with gore in it, misery memoirs and most biographies

L – Longest book you’ve read

I hate long books but the longest i’ve managed has been the Goblet of Fire. Somehow Harry Potter books just never seemed too long when you were reading them.

M – Major book hangover because of…

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. I read this last Christmas but it has stayed with me all over 2017 so far. I fervently hope for another book in this series.

N – Number of bookcases you own

Sadly not as many as i’d like. I have 2 which does not even begin to hold all my books so a lot are stored in cupboards! Oh the cruelty to books!

O – One book you’ve read multiple times

I am not a re-reader of books. There are far too many wonderful titles out there to waste time re-reading ones you’ve already enjoyed. However, an exception to this is Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens which i’ve read about 8 times now over many years. I adore Christmas so reading it was just a part of the tradition of the holiday for me.

P – Preferred place to read

Always a comfy chair in the living room. I cant read in bed, i just nod off and hate reading outside in the summer its too distracting, so indoors is the place for me.

Q – Quote that inspires you

I dont really remember quotes, sorry.

R – Reading regret

I do regret not sticking with some books and reading to the end. I tend to give up reading them after just a few chapters if they arent interesting me. Then much later if I fancy reading it again I have to re-read the chapters I already read once before which is such a bore.

S – Series you’ve started and need to finish

Like I said, i dont read book series but I was recently sent Ringer by lauren Oliver and as I’ve read Replica, which is the first book I guess I need to read Ringer to finish this story.

T – Three of your all time favourite books

A Christmas Carol,  Planetfall by Emma Newman and Dash & Lily’s Book of dares

U – Unapologetic fangirl for…

Anything to do with The Brontes. Mainly their lives rather than their writing apart from Emily Bronte’s poetry which is just amazing.

V – Very excited for this release

I’m going to be greedy here and choose more than one book.  The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (its out i hardback but i have to have the paperback version) and Circe by Madeline Miller.

W – Worst bookish habit

(See R for regret) giving up books too soon without giving them a proper go and also becoming a page corner folder overer when i can’t lay my hands on a bookmark in time.

X – Top left of shelf and count to the 27th book

The Gilded Cage by Vic James. I havent read this yet but also have its sequel Tarnished City right next to it.

Y – Your latest book purchase

Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell which literally has just turned up whilst im typing this. It has the most gorgeous scarlet sprayed edges!

Z – ZZZ snatcher, a book that kept you up way too long

I don’t stay up late regardless of what i’m reading really, i’d just be too tired.

Well thats my A-Z, I tag anyone who reads this. Feel free to leave me a link in the comments and i’ll come read your choices

 

 

another book haul – Sept/Oct

Yes, I did it again. More books have been purchased and sent by delightful publishers.

Fancy a peek?  Course you do, so here they are…

I am so mega, mega excited by all these books! *cue happy squealing*

I was so lucky to get sent copies of Warcross by Marie Lu and Wonder Woman Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. Both of them came via the wonderful folk at Penguin books, and Turning for Home by Barney Norris is courtesy of Transworld books.

A new John Green book is something to celebrate so I had that on pre-order for ages along with All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. I think I am in love with this cover and its gorgeous Uranium orange spine. That blue and orange work so well together dont they? am i right?

Invictus has been bigged up all over Twitter and You Tube and i do love me a bit of time travel so im hoping i’ll enjoy that.

The Ada Lovelace book is because I wanted to find out more about her, I mean imagine being Byron’s daughter and being involved with something so modern and forward thinking as computers! in Victorian times!

I couldnt resist the Potion diaries 2 & 3 even though i havent read book 1 yet. They are an easy but fun read and im sure ill enjoy binging on them sometime in the future.

Finally to get a copy of The Glass Town Game by Catherynne M Valente is so fab. It wasnt available in the UK when it first came out and considering its based around The Brontes and the fictional world they created how could I not get it! Oh and last but not least Radiance also by the wonderful Cathrynne was a no brainer really it looks to be an unusual type of book. Such a shame about the awful cover design though. The US edition is so beautiful. *shakes head in despair*

What books are you most excited for this month?

 

 

Anything You Do Say eBook blog tour – Day 5

Welcome to Day 5 of Gillian McAllisters ebook blog tour of her latest book – Anything You Do Say.  I was kindly sent a copy by Penguin Books in exchange for an honest review.

Joanna is an avoider. So far she has spent her adult life hiding bank statements and changing career aspirations weekly. But then one night Joanna hears footsteps on the way home. Is she being followed? She is sure it’s him; the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave her alone. Hearing the steps speed up Joanna turns and pushes with all of her might, sending her pursuer tumbling down the steps and lying motionless on the floor. Now Joanna has to do the thing she hates most – make a decision. Fight or flight? Truth or lie? Right or wrong?

This book is so clever, I dont think ive come across a premise quite like it before. We get to see the story from two different angles, From the perspective of Joanna if she decides to stay, call an ambulance and confess her mistake or if she runs, lies and keeps what she did a secret. It certainly is a page turner and made me more stressed with every chapter, but happily so because it meant the author was doing a good job.  However I did have some reservations with the book, here are my Pro’s and Con’s

 

Pros

Very interesting sounding premise, a sliding doors style, what if, two scenario story.

Never read anything like it before.

The book builds up pace like a runaway train.

The tension is ramped up, like waiting for the explosion at the end of a firework.

Very well rounded characters, builds up the relationships beautifully.

Really enjoyed her writing style and how she created her characters, it kept me gripped for ages.

Cons

Tension built up over 4/5th of the book just fizzles out in last few chapters

Disappointing ending which I actually saw coming a little earlier but hoped i was wrong about.

Unnecessary dialogue and rather too wordy in places which kept stopping the build up of tension and gradually annoyed me as it went on.

Teaser about halfway through the book came to nothing but that could just have been me wanting things to go a different way.

 

Rating: 3.5/5 (was a 5/5 until last few chapters)

I would still very much recommend this book to anyone who loves thrillers and crime novels.

The ebook is out on 19th October and the paperback in January 2018. Its well worth your time.

Gillian McAllister’s blog can be found here

She is also on Twitter

and Instagram

Dont forget to check out Day 6 tomorrow which is hosted by Chelles Book Reviews

Best Loved Poems – A Treasury of Verse by Ana Sampson

I’ve loved reading poetry for 40 years now and this book is such a wonderful addition to my bookshelves. Its a beautiful naked hardback with as you can see the prettiest of covers and some beautiful teal blue end papers. Its perfect for picking up whenever you need a little lift or a laugh or the perfect words to say something.

It contains such a fascinting mix of poetry spanning hundreds of years from Shakespeare to the present day and is split into sections like; love, war, lost love, poems remembered from childhood etc.

In here there are so many favourites of mine that i first read years ago along with poems and poets i’ve never before encountered, so reading it was such a joy and a journey of discovery for me.

Poems like:

A Subaltern’s Love Song by John Betjeman

The Soldier by Rupert Brooke

High Flight by John Gillespie Magee

Sonnets from the Portuguese: XLIII by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now by A. E Housman

are ones very familiar to me whereas

Poems like:

I wanna be Yours by John Cooper Clarke

Hour by Carol Anne Duffy

Just in Case by Charlotte Mitchell

Outgrown by Penelope Shuttle and

Dis Poetry by Benjamin Zephaniah

are all brand new and wonderful to discover.

You can see here just how many poems i tabbed for quick reading in the future

I was approached by the editor of this wonderful compendium, Ana Sampson who asked if I would like a copy to review. I couldnt have shouted YES Please! any louder. I may have a towering TBR most of the time but I can always find time for a poem.

Thank you to Ana and Michael O Mara Books for this total delight. It was published yesterday so rush out and buy copies for everyone as a Christmas pressie.

 

End of the year Book Tag

The last 3rd of 2017 has begun so lets answer these questions

Q1. Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

A. Oh baby what a question! Yes there certainly are:

Enjoying all of these books a lot! but things just keep getting in the way (damn you real life) and I keep putting them down again.

Q2. Do you have an Autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

A. (See answer above)  Autumn by Ali Smith is the most autumnal sounding book i’ve ever owned but isn’t so much about the season itself. Other than that, NO.

Q3. Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

A. Oh yes indeedy! This baby

Its set before previous ‘His Dark Materials’ books and i’ve read a sneak preview and love it already.

Q4. What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

A. So many books, far more than three but i choose these and all of them make my mouth water with excitement!

Look at the gorgeousness before you and bow!

Q5. Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your book of the year?

A. I have a hunch it could be this beauty

There is just something about the cover, the story premise and combined with all ive heard about it i reckon it could sneak up on me.

Q6. Have you already begun making plans for 2018?

A. Absolutely I have! I’ve kindly been sent a few books which arent due out until 2018 and i have a few on my spreadsheet that I want to buy too.

Its gonna be a costly year! But then when isnt it?

Well thems my answers and I tag whoever reads this to take part.

What books are you excited for in the last few months of 2017?

Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell

Oh how I wish i’d had this book back when i was a teen and followed boy bands. It captures perfectly the feelings of what it was like to be ‘in love’ with the band members. To want to meet them and know everything about them. With my son being in a band I can also identify with the tensions between band members which is something this book does really well.

Digressing for a second, my first loves were the Bay City Rollers but i also loved a band called Flintlock back in the 70’s (oh god im old!) I would have killed to have met any of them or know them better. Fast forward nearly 40 years and my son who has been in bands on and off for 10 years ends up getting to know one of the band members of Flintlock well and kindly got one of their albums signed for me as a Christmas present. *swoon*

Okay back to the book. I love Chris’ easy going writing style which makes this just so damn readable. Its a chunker of a book but I flew through it. It has love, music and mystery and will appeal to music fans of all ages.

I liked Charlie, she manages to keep her feet on the floor even when her heart is telling her differently. Of the four members of Fire & Light if i was a teen today I think id be crushing on Yuki. He feels to me like a George Harrison, young and more unassuming who was my fav of the Beatles. I wonder if Chris called him Harrison after George?

I may be a tad older than the demographic this book is geared towards but I just love YA books and couldnt really give a damn!

I have book Two of this series ‘Songs about us’ so i can continue to indulge my teenage self for a bit longer yet.

5/5 stars

September Book Haul

Yes its happened again!

Yes I have more books!

Get over it!

Lets get to the books shall we?

I dont usually follow book awards especially not The Man Booker. All the books chosen are usually far too ‘high falutin’ for me but I have been eagerly waiting for Autumn by Ali Smith to come out and Elmet sounds really good so I had to get them.

UPDATE and WARNING: Just begun reading Elmet and this is why i hate books long or shortlisted for awards. Its really beautifully written and nicely descriptive but in just over 30 pages there are so many scenes of violence, ITS SICK! I cant read anymore and i’m sending it back!

I havent read a Nicholas Sparks book in yonks so it was time i remedied that.

Songs about a Girl was good so i decided to get book two to continue the story and find out more about the boy band characters.

Nature writing is a bit of a change for me and this year i’m trying to read more widely and especially genres i’ve never tackled before. This cover though, whoooosh! How gorgeous is the white and gold design?

This book was originally published in 1910 so I am really looking forward to seeing the different writing style for that time in history.

I didnt even know this book existed until i did a search on Amazon for The Brontes. It has essays and letters from the Brontes!

I know I say this everytime but I really am sooooo excited for all of these books.

What books are you excited for right now?

 

August Book Haul

Have i got a stash to show you this month? Well yes, i darn well have and its gorgeousness personified!

Lets begin with a couple of books sent for review, i’ve decided to add them here rather than give them their own Book Mail this time but it will return.

A huge, huge thank you to Abrams & Chronicle Books and Simon & Schuster for these beauties.

Odd & True by Cat Winters

Sit back and admire this cover design! and its a floppy, i adore floppies!

The History of Bees by Maja Lunde

BOOM! this is a stunner of a cover too even though its a hardback but not only is front and back gorgeous but… the naked book beneath is a lovely surprise too!

What about that eh?


Now for the books I bought myself which i really shouldnt have but what the heck.

I’m so excited for all these books, i really am.

Circe & The Cyclops by Homer

The Night is Darkening Round Me by Emily Bronte

A bit of culture for a change here. I am so stoked for Circe by Madeline Miller so thought id read about Circe in readiness plus i just love these Penguin Little Black Classics.  And then we have some poetry by Emily Bronte, as you should know by now I am a massive Bronte fan and have been for nearly 40 years!

Selected Letters by Charlotte Bronte

I have wanted to read this for such a long time and now that i am planning an exciting blog post all about The Brontes this will come in very handy. I am a sucker for letters, diary entries, text, emails etc. Real or fictional so this is gonna be soooooo good.

Seconds by Brian Lee O’Malley

I saw the next 3 books on Ariel Bissett’s channel and I trust her taste impeccably so I know i’m gonna love these.  But this book is so gorgeous. It has this strange 3/4 size dust jacket as if they had run out of paper! but the naked hardback beneath is just book porn basically, look!

You cant really see it but the speckles on this are silvery and shimmery! just stunning.

All My Friends are Super Heroes by Andrew Kaufman

This is a small book which i always prefer but i just love the premise and it has a few illustrations too. Ariel really rated this one too.

We Are Okay by Nina Lacour

Another thin volume which pleases me a lot. Have heard mixed things about this and apparently its more character than plot driven but I cant wait to try it.

Eliza and her monsters by Francesca Zappia

Oh my, this is such a cool book, another hardback which is such a change for me and it has illustrations, Oooooh!

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Oh i forgot this was also a rec from Ariel Bissett. I’m not stalking her honestly! just love her channel. This sounds a really different idea for a plot and its super floppy! *all the smiles*

Can you solve my problems? by Alex Bellos

I do like me a puzzle or two to keep the old grey cells going for a bit longer. Cant guarantee ill get them all especially the Logic puzzles! I mean what are they all about?

PHEW! that was a huge pile and if you have made it this far Thank You!

Whats the best book you have bought recently?

 

 

 

 

The rapid fire book tag

Another great book tag to try so lets begin…

ebook or physical?

physical all the time! even though i finally caved and bought a Kindle i dont enjoy using it. It just doesnt give me the whole book experience of feeling the solid weight of paper in my hands. Plus, you dont get to enjoy the gorgeous cover!

hardback or paperback?

paperback anytime! hardbacks make my hand ache and the dust jackets drive me nuts but i cant remove them as most books are soooooo boring beneath and that would ruin the reading fun for me. I especially love those floppy paperbacks, you know the ones that open so easy and you can use like a fan. They make my heart happy.

online or physical bookstore for buying books?

online i’m afraid. I’d love to be able to browse in a bookshop now and then but all i have near me is a WHSmith who charge the earth for their books. I have no Waterstones anymore or Foyles etc and certainly no indy ones. Damn, i live in a crap area bookwise dont i?  So i buy 99% of my books from Amazon who such good value and just fantastic.

heroes or villains?

Hmmm, lets see, heroes all the way!  I am not a fan of bad boys or girls. I want the hero to win every time and lets face it they usually do so why be on the wrong side?

used or new books?

new, new, new, new! it has to be new books. I have a phobia about used books which is why i cant use the library anymore. I am so squeamish about any marks on books or yellow edges (yeuk, shudders) I miss loads of bootfair bargains because of this but it cant be helped, i just adore a fresh, new book thats all mine and no one else’s.

character or plot?

plot i think, without a decent plot it doesnt matter how good the characters are, they will look stupid standing around without much to do.  I’m not a fan of the character driven novel which just tells you about whats going on but never gets anywhere im afraid.

long or short books?

short every time!  mainly because i lack patience or time these days to read longer books but also its incredible how much an author can pack in to say, 150-200 pages. They can be very succinct and make use of every word.

long or short chapters?

short punchy chapters are what makes me fly through a book. Just enough info to keep the plot going and tease us. Like a load of mini cliffhangers. Ive read some books who think chapters have to be 40 pages long. They are not for me!

Wooh! that was fast thinking and i really enjoyed it.

I tag anyone who reads this, leave me a link in the comments below if you did it and i’ll come take a look.

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