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?

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?

 

 

 

 

mini book reviews – ARC’s i didnt like

It is a truth universally acknowledged that we cant like ALL the books we are sent or buy for ourselves right?

I hate it when this happens but i’d rather be honest with the publishers who have sent them to me and maybe pass the ARC (advanced review copy) onto someone else who will love it and want to review it fully.

So here are the latest batch of books I did not like…

The hanging tree by Ben Aaronovitch

Its not the first book in this series that I couldnt get on with but i had hoped that as this is a much later one the writing may have changed. Its sooooooo slooooooow!  Nothing seems to happen for pages at a time, it just waffles on with background info but I have never actually come across any plot. Its only redeeming feature is that it is really funny but thats not enough to grab me and keep me reading i’m afraid.

The book of forgotten authors by Christopher Fowler

All I can say about this is that they had obviously been forgotten for a reason. Very few of the authors in the book had written anything i’d heard of or had made a big dent in the publishing world so why bother telling us about them now? The only one i knew of was the lovely Arnold Ridley of Dad’s Army fame who wrote a very popular play called The Ghost Train. It was nice to read about him. The whole thing is rather dry, samey and like a school textbook of old.

Scorn by Paul Hoffman

I knew this was gonna be weird and bonkers but It was so much worse than i thought. It made no sense to me at all. It is a chunker of a book with the smallest of fonts (when will publishers stop doing this?) and it just wasnt for me.

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

This opinion will win me no friends and may lose me Twitter followers but I have to be honest; this book sucked!  It was one huge mix of contradictions. Its a middle grade book but is over 400 pages and again the font is so small that when published it will be over 500 surely! It’s written for 12+ children and even sounds a bit patronising in places as if meant for younger ones than that but then it adds a paragraph of quite complicated writing that would fox a YA reader.  I’m hoping its because its still a proof and these wrinkles will be ironed out but I just never gelled with this at all.

Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

This is the review i’m sadest to write as i’ve loved her books in the past and adore her prose poetry style for its originality and ease of reading. But for some reason i just couldnt get into this one and i’m gutted. I found it a bit disjointed and hard to follow at times as well as rather miserable, also i found I didnt like any of the characters much, it was difficult to distinguish between some of them.

Bluets and The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson

These books are clearly meant for someone a whole lot smarter than me or who’s brain just works differently as i couldnt grasp half of what she was on about.  Bluets is good in parts and i enjoyed some of the many poems about the colour blue but seriously people how many do you need? It all got a bit unnecessary after a few pages.  The Red Parts is very hard to follow, it jumps around all over the place in its timeline which is not a literary device i enjoy and for a crime type story it just didnt grab my attention but waffled on and distracted itself all the time. Weird!

A huge thank you though to all the publishers who sent me these:

Gollancz, RiverRun, RedOpera, Pan McMillan, Vintage and Bloomsbury

I may be offering these on Twitter soon if anyone’s interested? Just cover my postage and they are yours!

What books have you not enjoyed lately?

 

 

 

 

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Ruler of Books Tag

I saw this the other day on Charlotte’s lovely blog Bookmarks and Blogging but she got it from the wonderful Ariel Bissetts channel on You Tube.

It basically says if you ruled your own world what would it look like bookwise.

Let’s get to it!

If you were the ruler of books…

Question 1. What book would you make everyone read?

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens of course. My favourite book of all time! But I suspect that seeing as it was published over 170 years ago most people, may have read it anyway. The book shows that its never too late to change, the power of redemption, the mistakes we make in life and that we can all be redeemed if we want to.

Question 2. What would you abolish in book construction?

Oh this is so easy, I would get rid of any paperback book that wasnt floppy! By floppy I mean that it opens easily and stays open, is easy to hold and read and all soft etc.  Not like some paperbacks whose spine is so hard and fiercely glued together that its like breaking toffee just opening the damn book! These make my hands ache and i usually end up DNF’ ing them.

Question 3. What author would you commission to write you any book?

I’d love a novel specially written for me by David Levithan. I just love his writing, he is one of my all time favourite authors and i especially adore his character called Dash, so a book about Dash and set in New York would be adorable!

Question 4. What book would you demote to the library basement to make way for new books?

Can I have two for this? and sorry Ariel if you ever read this but one of them is Animal Farm and the other Lord of the Flies!  They both freak me out so much! I just hate the cruelty in Animal Farm, i cant read any book that has a humanised, talking animal in. I am way too soft and wimpy! And LOTF is another cruel book but to children which as a mother appalls me.

Question 5. What cover artist would you commission to make a mural?

It would have to be Isabel Greenberg, author of The Encyclopedia of Early Earth who illustrates her own books and their covers. Her artistry is stunning in its simplicity and blown up would look fantastic on a large wall.

Question 6. What characters face would you put on a coin?

I’d love a Dumbledore coin! His face would make me feel safe and happy at the same time and would be a very grand look for my Kingdoms coinage.

Question 7. What book would you award the Ruler of Books 2017 prize to?

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. Its been the best book i’ve read this year so far, thrilling, funny, scary and her prose is just sublime.

What would your choices be if you were Ruler of Books?

Book Mail #2

Well i never expected Book Mail #2 to be written so quickly but today this beauty came through my door

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

I was so thrilled! Frances Hardinge is an award winning writer and to get a proof of her latest book is such an honour.  Its published on 21st September by Pan Macmillan.  I’ve been lucky enough to receive ARC’s from publishers for over 3 years now but each one is still as much as a thrill as my first one.

Whats been your most exciting book this week?

 

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Book Mail #1

Welcome to the first post of my new series Book Mail!  *Imagine cheering and a tickertape parade sort of thing*

This is a new thing on the blog whereby i share with you the excitement of any book post as it arrives, literally minutes after postie delivers it through my letterbox and as soon as i’ve picked myself up from the floor after passing out with happiness, you will know about it. Not at the end of the month in one big haul along with other books i may have been tempted to buy myself!

Okay, enough of the waffle lets do this thing!

Ringer by Lauren Oliver

This is the sequel to Replica which was one of my most anticipated reads.  I was so thrilled when this arrived as i had no idea it was coming. Gotta love those Hodder guys n gals.

And there is also this…

Ikigai – The essential Japanese way to finding your purpose in life by Ken Mogi

Look at this cover! I adore those whirls and the shiny concentric circles that make up the cover

close up

This is courtesy of Quercus books who are such lovely folk too.

I’m currently reading Replica so hope to get to Ringer quite soon as its published on 5th October in hardback.

Ikigai comes out on 7th September in hardback

 

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A Change is Gonna Come – Book Review

This ARC was sent to me by Stripes Publishing – @StripesBooks in return for an honest review so thank you very much guys!

This is a book of short stories and poetry by 12 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic writers.

For someone who doesn’t often read books of short stories/poetry this was a real treat and totally hit the spot for me. The diverse range of genres in this book is amazing. There are contemporary, dystopian, magical realism, time slip and historical tales all under one gorgeous cover, designed by Lucy Banaji, her cover design is so striking.

As with a lot of short story collections, I didn’t necessarily love all of them but I did like them all, very much and the ones I did love, I really, really loved!

I hadn’t read anything by these authors before which was exciting as I love discovering new voices in literature.

Favourite stories/poems include:

Hackney Moon by Tanya Byrne. Full of warmth, humour and honesty. I wanted this story to go on and on, her writing is so beautiful and i’m pleased to see she has other books already published.

Of Lizard Skin and Dust Storms by Inua Ellams is a really powerful and moving poem, its sparse lines just say so much.

Iridescent Adolescent by Phoebe Roy is full of magical realism,(which I always love reading), symbolism and has a gorgeous fairy tale quality about it.

Dear Asha by Mary Bello is so moving and tenderly written and follows a girl who loses something precious but discovers who she really is by doing so.

If I had to pick a favourite, favourite though (and this is very hard to do)it would be the wonderfully titled:

The Unwritten Future of Moses Mohammed Shabazz Banneker King by Irfan Master. A really short, quirky, time travellish story which really grabbed me with its skillful words.How they managed to pack so much into so few words astounds me.

In the back of the book there is a mini biography of all the contributors so you can see if they have published anything else before and they even have a list of the subject matter covered by the stories and poems in case you want to avoid anything you dont like, which I think is a such a cool idea.

I’m so glad I requested a proof copy of this from Stripes Publishing, its been such a wonderful reading experience.

Its published today, and its in your local shop now so rush out and buy a copy for yourself and everyone you know, this is a an excellent collection.

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#ChangeBook Photo Challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I absolutely loved it so look out for my review which will be up tomorrow (10th August) on publication day!  But for now I thought i’d share with you my entries for a Photo Challenge based on the book thats currently on Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the colour yellow, dont you? Its so happy and jolly and cosy all at the same time.

Have a go, take part and share your books. Use the hashtag #Changebooks and share them with @stripesbooks

I’d love to see your choices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Top books read in 2017 – so far….

It being July already (how?) I thought it was time to stop and have a look back at some of the books i’ve read in 2017. It’s not been the best reading year for me if i’m honest. We’ve been really busy DIY-ing among other things but I have managed to read some cracking books, so I’ve chosen my Top 3 and here they are.

Planetfall by Emma Newman was the first book I read this year and i adored it. I set myself a challenge to read more Sci-Fi in 2017 and this was a very good place to start. Its an exciting thriller that just gets better as it goes along. The pace really picks up by the end and I defy you to put it down without feeling anxious for the characters. I loved it and would highly recommend it anyone even if you think you dont like sci-fi.
The Essex Serpent is one hell of a good novel. I came late to this as most people were raving about it in 2016 but i wanted to wait for the paperback to come out and im glad i did as i got the Waterstones special edition which was blue instead of green and had the gorgeous blue sprayed edges. This is such a special book and one i can see myself re-reading in the future, which is not something i normally do, well I mean there are just too many fab books out there to discover without reading the same one twice, right? Sarah Perry creates this wonderful world and peoples it with the most curious and fascinating motley crew of characters i’ve come across since Harry Potter. Her writing style is so exquisite with paragraphs of prose that leave you breathless. Just go buy it and see what i’m on about, its ace!
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner is my latest read and I so enjoyed this contemporary YA story. For a debut novel it was very assured and confident in its style with 3 really interesting main characters. Nothing really out of the ordinary, plot wise but so well written that you could forgive that. It also had just the right ending which makes a huge difference.

I’m so looking forward to the 2nd half of 2017’s books but for now these are my top choices.

Have you read any of these?

What have been the stand out books for you so far this year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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