Category: For Fun

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Was SO EXCITED to Get, but Still Haven’t Read!

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post topic, Books I Was SO EXCITED to Get, but Still Haven’t Read, is going to be a fun one to participate in. It’s reminded me that I have a lot of great books that I really want to read, and some of them I’ve had for an embarrassingly long time!

I have been through my bookshelves and selected my top 10 books, I’ve also got a step further and done some research to find out roughly when I got them, so you have an idea of how long I have had them for. There’s even one book, the first book, that I couldn’t put a precise date on as to when I bought it. Whoops!

Enough of the preamble; shall we jump into the list so you can find out what some of the oldest books I’m excited to read are: –

 

Malice – <2016?

I cannot tell you when I bought Malice by John Gwynne.

The only way I have been able to roughly date this book is a memory of myself packing up this book when I left a job in February 2016. I was using a paperclip as a bookmark (although I’d only got through the first few pages in reality). The paper clip had left a slightly rusty mark on the page, so that tells you how long had even been there! I have absolutely no idea when I physically purchased this book, and that makes this the oldest book on my list.

I’ve heard great things about this series and John Gwynne, so maybe this post is telling me it’s time to pick this one up at last.

 

The Shining – 07/2017

Thankfully we jump ahead a little bit with this next book, although not by as much as I’d like! Now we are in the realms of a timeframe in which I had started my blog. This book is still nearly 5 years in my possession, however, and I still haven’t read it! I have come to love Stephen King even though horror isn’t a genre I would have picked up originally. I have given other books of his a go and I have come to love them.

I have no doubt that The Shining will be just good. I feel like this would be an excellent read to pick up in autumn or around Halloween, so maybe that’s what I’ll save this one for!

 

Th1rt3en – 10/2017

When I drafted this post I put together my list in what I thought was roughly date order, but I was surprised by this book. I was convinced I’d bought this a lot later, but obviously not!

Ironically, I think my mum is more likely to read this book before I do and it’s been on my radar a lot longer. Admittedly, I hadn’t realised that this was the fourth book of a series (but the stories don’t seem connected so could be read in any order) when I picked up my copy in Waterstones. That won’t stop me though, and if my mum gives the rest of the books a really good review when you can guarantee I will be picking these up as well!

 

Fools and Mortals – 05/2018

I’ve become a huge fan of Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom, aka the Saxon Stories series. Having started this one, I saw a copy of Fools and Mortals in Waterstones and decided to give it a go based on author alone.

Don’t get me wrong, I really love the sound of the synopsis, but it’s my love of Bernard Cornwell that drove me to pick this up and see what it was about in the first place! I’m still working my way through the Saxon Stories series now, but I should think that I will pick this up long before I finish that one.

 

Norse Mythology – 10/2018

I love the idea of reading a book about Norse mythology, and given that Neil Gaiman is a well-known writer in the fantasy genre, I was really excited to buy this book.

I’ll admit that now I am a little bit more sceptical. When I bought this book I had every confidence that I was going to enjoy Neil Gaiman‘s writing, however that hasn’t necessarily proven to be the case. I haven’t hated his books, don’t get me wrong. But the best read has been a three star rating from me. I finished American Gods but didn’t enjoy it and I couldn’t even finish Good Omens, his collaboration with one of my favourite authors, Terry Pratchett.

It’s not going to stop me from picking up Norse Mythology though, as I’m hoping the subject of the book will help spur my interest.

 

Skyward – 12/2019

I used Goodreads as a good indicator of when I had purchased copies of books and added them to my TBR for this post. However, I ended up resorting to my Sunday summary update posts to find out when I purchased Skyward, because I forgot to add this onto my TBR at the time.

It turns out I bought my copy of Skyward in December 2019. When you see that date you probably automatically assume that I got it for Christmas, however I purchased it a few days beforehand with a book voucher I had one for my competition at work. I joked in that post that it was a rare occasion, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t won anything like it since.

I can’t grumble though; last year we were all given vouchers as a thank you for our work rather than a competition. They are good eggs.

 

The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz – 01/2020

We are down to the last four books on this list and in terms of recency, we just about make it into the 20s.

I added this book to my TBR back in January 2020. I recalled that at the time I had read or listened to another Auschwitz themed book around the same time, and having looked back, I had finished listening to Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. Whilst a morbid subject, I love books with this setting. Clearly I wanted to continue to pursue the genre further, and to date I still do!

In fact, I’ve gone onto purchase even more Auschwitz themed books in paperback since then. Strangely, this is almost a bit of a comfort read. But not really, you know what I mean!

 

Invisible Women – 03/2020

This next book on my list is a little bit different, however having read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg recently, this is one that I’m going to make sure I end up reading this year.

Up until a couple of months ago I would not have described myself as a feminist. There are a lot of reasons why that is the case, mostly being the negative connotation that comes with the word. However, Lean In reminded me that just because people associate the word in the wrong way, that doesn’t mean that I am not a feminist. I do want equality, for women in the workplace and for men in their personal lives.

I really liked that Lean In covered both sides of the story, because men are just as pushed out of primary parental roles as women are in the workplace. It’ll be interesting to see if Invisible Women takes the same route, or if it really just focuses on women and the injustices we live day-to-day.

 

Nevernight – 02/2021

Nevernight

I really loved the Nevernight trilogy as audiobooks, and so after I finished listening to Darkdawn I decided to buy the whole trilogy to read in paperback. I must admit I thought I had bought them a little more recently than February last year, but that’s still not too long you have been sat on myself waiting to be picked up!

 

The Witches – Salem 1962, A History – 10/2021

This is the most recent book on this list. I only purchased my copy of this around about six months ago, and I’ll admit I purchased it on a whim. I happened to see it in the bookstore and I really think it’s an interesting topic.

For that reason, I will can’t wait to give this a read. However, with all the older books on my list yet to be picked up, this one might take a while to get to!

 

So, those are my top ten books I was so exited to get, but still haven’t read… yet! Have you read any of the books featured in today’s Top Ten Tuesday post? Have you now added any to your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Shelf Control #48 – 13/05/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is one of my regular features (typically fortnightly on a Friday). It’s a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies… a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to pick a book you own but haven’t read and write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

 

The Incendium Plot – A. D. Swanston

Goodreads – The Incendium Plot

England in 1572 is a powder keg of rumour, fanaticism, treachery and dissent. All it would take is a single spark . . .

In the England of Elizabeth I, the fear of plague and invasion, and the threat of insurrection are constant. As the Earl of Leicester’s chief intelligencer, lawyer Dr Christopher Radcliff is tasked with investigating rumours of treachery at home and the papist threat from abroad. And with heresy and religious unrest simmering beneath the surface of a country on the brink, Radcliff is under pressure to get results.

Then two brutal and seemingly motiveless killings point alert Radcliff to the whisper of a new plot against the queen. There are few clues, and all he and his network of agents have to go on is a single word: incendium. But what does it mean – and who lies behind it? Christopher Radcliff must find out before it’s too late . . .

 

My Thoughts…

I love the idea of reading this book because it will allow me to read more about British history. Whilst I am familiar with the gunpowder plot, in general, I think my education when it comes to British history is lacking… especially considering I am British!

The Incendium Plot (first published just under the name Incendium), based on the tags on Goodreads, looks to be like a combination of historical fiction and mystery/thriller genres. These are separate genres that I enjoy independently of each other, so I’m really excited to see how they come together! What I also really like about this book is that it’s set in the Tudor period. It’s one of my favourite periods of British history – it’s one of the subjects I do have some knowledge of as a result.

It was the cover that caught my eye, of all things. We say never judge a book by its cover, but sometimes, the cover can be the swaying factor to make you look at something. That was definitely the case with The Incendium Plot, and I am glad I saw it and added it to my TBR. What is also nice about this book is that it’s long enough to be able to explore the subject with a reasonable enough amount of detail, but not too long either. At just over 400 pages, I don’t find this to be an intimidating length.

Have you read The Incendium Plot? If so, what did you think, or have you added it to your reading list? I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Characters

In today’s Top Ten Tuesday post, I’m featuring my top ten bookish characters. I’ll admit that I actually struggled to put this list together a little bit. Despite having read so many books, I don’t typically read anything with bookworms for characters. That being said, I have just about managed to scrape together a list; if you love your bookish characters as well, then check out my list below and which books they are from so you can check them out for yourself!

 

Hermione Granger

This one is a fairly obvious start, but as I’ve just finished re-reading the Harry Potter series, this was the first name that popped into my head. Hermione is very intelligent, and can always be found with a book in hand. It suits her personality very well and she is one of the most likable characters… even if she can be a little bit of a snotty goody-two-shoes sometimes!

 

Liesel Meminger

Readers of The Book Thief will be familiar with Liesel, and the book title tells you everything you need to know! Liesel loves books so much that she will go out of her way to steal them. What is also very endearing is that reading is something she does with her foster father and it is a bonding activity for them. Readers can really empathise with Liesel, because a lot of the time she reads to escape her reality – Germany in the middle of the Second World War.

 

Tyrion Lannister

Tyrion is one of my favourite characters in the Game of Thrones series. Not only does he have his head screwed on the most, but he is also an avid bookworm. From history tomes to books about dragons, nothing is off-limits for Tyrion. He also reads for some personal solace; as a dwarf, he is ridiculed by almost everybody, despite his birth. Especially by his father. From birth he was never destined to follow his brother in prowess as a knight, but instead he made use of what he had – the thirst for knowledge and the patience to learn.

 

Samwell Tarly

Samwell Tarly is another Game of Thrones character who would never have made it as a warrior if not for being thrown into the Night’s Watch. He is well suited as a steward, not only for his kind and gentle manner, but also for his love of study and reading. It’s for this reason that he ends up on the wall in the first place; Sam is a disappointment to his father as he does not follow in his footsteps. He does not wish him to be the family heir and so he is sent to Castle Black as a means of disinheriting him in favour of his younger and more pliable brother.

 

Lazlo Strange

If ever asked how his nose got broken, you’d expect Lazlo to regale you with a story of some kind of brawl or fight. But the truth is, Lazlo Strange breaks his nose when a book falls off a bookshelf and hits him in the face.

Lazlo loves the adventure in books, little knowing that he’s going to end up undertaking an adventure of his own. Aptly titled, events in Strange the Dreamer take this wide-eyed, naive young man on a journey to find a city lost to legend, Weep. Little does he know that his dreams of a blue-skinned goddess are tied to that place as well.

 

Bilbo Baggins

Bilbo Baggins of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy enjoys both reading books, but also writing them. After his adventures in The Hobbit, he is determined to make a record of his journey and this is referenced in the Lord of the Rings series. The life of a hobbit is, for the most part, a quiet one… and a bookish nature is far from strange. However, we get to see the exception to the rule in the form of the protagonists of these books.

 

Dantry Tanza

Blackwing

Dantry Tanza is a character that features throughout The Raven’s Mark series. He is very scholarly by nature, but he is emotionally driven to his studies in order to help save his sister Ezabeth.

Dantry is quite endearing because he is one of those people who is very, very intelligent, but also quite lacking in terms of experience and common sense. He is naive, but he really blooms throughout the books!

 

King Alfred

In a slightly different way, King Alfred of the Saxon stories series is also bookish. But more in a chronicler’s sense. He is determined to unite a fractured England, and he attempts to record the history of his efforts to unite England as we know it today.

In a way, we probably owe a lot to him for this as it’s where a lot of our knowledge of history in the period came from.

 

Scout Finch

Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird is undoubtedly a very bookish character. She is taught by Atticus Finch in a way that allows her to develop her mind from a very young age. She’s even said to have learnt to read before starting at school, which is very young indeed!

 

Guy Montag

I didn’t expect to feature a Classic on this list, but Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451 is the epitome of bookish characters.

In a world where books are banned, his job as a fireman is to burn books. But, curiosity gets the better of him and ultimately, he becomes the kind of person that is being rooted out of their censored society. There’s something about the forbidden that lures you in, and Guy Montag falls for books and their sacred, secret knowledge hard.

 

That’s all from me in today’s Top Ten Tuesday post. Have you read any of the books on today’s list? Do you like any of these bookish characters? Let me know in the comments!

 

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First Lines Friday – 29/04/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or are on my TBR… or even just to experiment with something new!

For today’s post I have set myself another challenge. My last couple of posts have been challenge-free, and so to keep the content fresh I wanted to bring this back. I am, however, bringing back a challenge I have done before, purely because I have so much content I can cover on it that it makes sense to use it. And what is that challenge you ask? To feature a book I read before I started my blog over 5 years ago now.

Shall we check out today’s intro? Can you guess which book it’s from?

 

When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.

My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course she did. This is the day of the reaping.

I prop myself up on one elbow. There’s enough light in the bedroom to see them. My little sister, Prim, curled up on her side, cocooned in my mother’s body, their cheeks pressed together. In sleep, my mother looks younger, still worn but not so beaten-down. Prim’s face is as fresh as a raindrop, as lovely as the primrose for which she was named. My mother was very beautiful once, too. Or so they tell me.

 


The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Goodreads – The Hunger Games

Could you survive on your own in the wild, with every one out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weight survival against humanity and life against love.


My Thoughts…

The Hunger Games is a fantastic trilogy for anyone who likes fantasy, dystopian fiction, or most importantly, a bit of both! As a huge fantasy reader, this really appealed to me as it was slightly different from the plethora of other fantasy books I was reading at the time.

The Hunger Games and the characters within offer a little bit of everything. Fantastic character development really starts with this book and blossoms throughout the trilogy. It’s the kind of book that shows you what humankind is capable of at its worst, but also can bring out the best in people as well.

I’m glad I read this trilogy. It’s a book series I really appreciate. I also really like the films made based on these books! I think it’s one of the few exceptions to the rule where the film has done the books justice.

If, like me, you have found yourself in a bit of a fantasy rut and are desperate to try and find something a little bit different in the overcrowded genre, then give this one a go! I read this at a time where I had gotten a little bit bored of fantasy because I read that much of it. The Hunger Games offers something a little bit different, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, or any of the other books in the series? I’d love to know what you thought!

 

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Contradictions Book Tag

Today I am taking part in the Contradictions  Book Tag!

I found this tag over at Kristin Kraves Books and I loved the idea! I’m all about trying different things and branching out, and so naturally, I have plenty of content for this type of post. Sometimes I’ll branch out to something I wouldn’t normally read and I love it. Equally, sometimes I will pick up something that I think will be a firm favourite, and it’s a flop. That is what today’s post is all about.

Let’s dive into today’s tag and look at the topics below: –

 

I love this genre but I didn’t like this book

I tried really hard with this book, but I got so far in and I still had absolutely no idea what was going on! For me, the narrative jumped around far too much to be able to keep a grasp of the plot and I lost interest because I couldn’t invest in it.

I’d heard great things about this book, so I was disappointed that I couldn’t get on with it. But equally, I’m not going to force myself to read something I’m not enjoying it either.

 

I rarely read this genre but I loved this book

Up until a couple of months ago I wouldn’t have described myself as a feminist.

The word has ugly connotations in that women who describe themselves as feminists are perceived to be out for the betterment of women, at the cost of men. That is not the definition of feminism. Feminism is about equal rights, but the connotation comes from the fact that in order to bridge the gap in equality, it’s women’s rights that need to be improved. Women are underpaid because they are perceived as a higher risk of leaving the workforce to raise children. Women are often overlooked for career advancement because they are ‘emotional’… or even because other senior women perceive them as a threat (because of course there’s only room for one senior female to be representative of the gender…)

It’s only when I read this book a couple of months ago that I reminded myself that this is not true. However, what I really liked about this book as I didn’t just focus on women, and what women can do. Obviously it’s a big part, but it’s not exclusive. It talks about how men should not be alienated for stepping up or being a primary parent and their lack of inclusion in that role, to name one example.

Whilst I don’t read the genre a lot, it’s one that I will read again. I am a feminist. I want to stand up for myself and others to be offered the same opportunities, and I won’t be put down for that.

 

I love this trope but I didn’t like this book

Stories that include unreliable narrators are great. It adds an element of mystery and really makes you second-guess everything you’re being told. It’s the kind of book that you really have to think about, and this makes it really interesting.

However, I couldn’t get on with One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Maybe it was just timing, or perhaps because I found the narrative a little bit slow. But, I couldn’t get on with this one.

 

I hate this trope but I loved this book

To be honest, I’m not really a fan of the genre in general as much as the trope, but Me Before You is a real exception to the rule. I don’t like reading books that manipulate my emotions in that way. I don’t like reading something that I’m going to find upsetting; who deliberately puts themselves in that position?

Somehow, I did. After all the hype of the film and the book, I decided I had to give it a try. And I’m glad I did! It abused my emotions to the very limit but I absolutely loved the story!

 

I love this author but I didn’t like this book

I have read so many Terry Pratchett books, and I plan to continue reading many more. But Good Omens just didn’t do it for me.

If I had to decide what was the biggest factor in making me put this down, I’d say it was because I didn’t get on with the mixed writing style between Terry and Neil Gaiman. I’ve only read one Neil Gaiman book in the past that I thought was okay – the second I didn’t like. If I had to suggest there was a theme, I think you can see where I’m going with this one…

I’m not going to let that stop me reading any more Terry Pratchett books, and I’ll even give his collaboration with Stephen Baxter a try. But, it won’t be pure Terry and I’ll just have to get used to that. Hopefully I get on with it more than this!

 

I previously disliked a book by this author but I loved this book

I originally read George Orwell around my GCSE years at school, and I thought it was really dry and boring. In hindsight, I put that down to having to study the text to within an inch of its life and over analyse it. I didn’t really enjoy any of the books I studied for school. That’s just not my way of enjoying a book.

Ironically, I went on to read 1984 again in my own time, as well as Animal Farm shortly thereafter. Taking a more relaxed approach to reading these books made such a difference! I really don’t think the way I was taught about books in school is the right way to encourage reading. It’s dull, it puts people off and what is achieved at the end of it? What difference does my ability to ‘interpret’ the authors choice of curtain colour (for want of example) make in life? Because yes folks, this is the ridiculous amount of detail we had a look at. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the answer is absolutely naff all.

 

I love this cover but I didn’t like this book

And here is my reappearance of Neil Gaiman – this time with American Gods. This is really beautiful cover and I love the idea of the book in principle, but it didn’t work for me.

I wasn’t a fan of the writing style, I found it confusing and it wasn’t for me. I’ve seen a lot of comments saying that people are usually better off reading this book for a second time, but I decided very quickly that I wasn’t going to waste my time reading a 500 page book that I didn’t really like, again. I didn’t get anything out of the storyline, I didn’t mean anything new and I finished the book not really understanding what I just read.

It’s a no from me.

 

I don’t like this cover but I loved this book

Reading The Rag Nymph was a recommendation from my mum, and I absolutely loved this story. I really wish the cover got as much love, because honestly I don’t like any of the editions I’ve seen. As much as we say don’t judge a book by its cover, we do. We do that all the time. Even I will literally pick up a book based on its pretty cover.

That’s why I would like to see The Rag Nymph get a little bit of love and a refresh. I want people to pick this up and read it, because it’s a fantastic story with really lovable characters. It’s not the sort of thing I would’ve picked up unless my mum had recommended it… another reason why I’d like to see it get a refresh.

I want it to appeal to people like me who love these kind of stories off their own back and not just by recommendation. That’s not to say reading a book based on a recommendation is a bad thing, because hey, I have a website in which I basically give my recommendations all the time. It deserves to stand out in its own right – that’s my point.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Contradictions Book Tag. If you’ve taken part in a post like this before, then I’d love to know what your answers were. If you haven’t, let me know any that come to mind in the comments below.

And of course, if you have done this tag, or you take this as your invitation to do so, please leave a link in the comments! I would love to see your answers to these questions!

 

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Shelf Control #47 – 22/04/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a regular feature here on my blog (typically fortnightly on a Friday) and is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

I really like the sound of today’s featured book. The synopsis is intriguing and sinister all at the same time! I’ll put you out of your misery and not keep you in any suspense – as I am sure you are curious to find out what today’s feature is?

 

Sleepyhead – Mark Billingham

Goodreads – Sleepyhead

Detective Inspector Tom Thorne now knows that three murdered young women were a killer’s mistakes — and that Alison was his triumph. And unless Thorne can enter the mind of a brilliant madman — a frighteningly elusive fiend who enjoys toying with the police as much as he savors his sick obsession — Alison Willetts will not be the last victim consigned forever to a hideous waking hell.

Already an international bestseller, Mark Billingham’s “Sleepyhead” is a chilling masterwork of crime fiction — a boldly original experiment in terror that will beget dark dreams and sleepless nights.

 

My Thoughts…

The synopsis of this book is well-written, because there is enough information to draw your attention but equally give nothing away at all. And all in a nice, concise and easy to read way. Perfect, right? Well, it worked for me, and I can’t wait to pick this up. I haven’t read any books by Mark Billingham to date, although I am very familiar with the name and the kind of genre he writes.

I can’t wait to give this a try! I’m always looking to broaden my horizons and read new books/authors. What I particularly like the idea of is getting invested into this series. According to Goodreads, this series of his alone is 18 books long. That’s plenty to sink my teeth into if I fall in love with it! I enjoy the mystery/thriller genre as well, so it has plenty of promise!

Have you read Sleepyhead, or any other books by Mark Billingham? If so, what did you think? I’d love to hear from you!

 

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First Lines Friday – 15/04/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or are on my TBR… or even just to experiment with something new!

For today’s post I decided once again to keep my options open and choose a book at random. I do enjoy setting myself a challenge from time to time, but unless I have inspiration, these aren’t always the easiest. When I was drafting my Sunday Summary post last week, I had absolutely no idea as to what I might want to do; that’s why I left it open.

I have since decided to feature a book that is sat on my bookshelf and waiting to be read. I enjoy going to visit these books because it gives me a reason to get excited about picking them up in future. I have been known to prioritise a book based on featuring it, so who knows, I might be reading this one soon!

Shall we check out today’s intro?

 

Just under the surface of the waves where the ocean met the land, a hand without a body reached for someone to grab it. The hand was wrapped in plastic, so time and water hadn’t eaten it, and its fingers, unmoving, were poised and ready to be held. Nell Crane picked it up out of the foam. She placed it quietly into her satchel.

Right where the black river split into the big wild blue, Nell and Ruby Underwood were collecting bits of treasure from the foam. They were farther out than they were supposed to be, out on the city’s jagged edge, the pair of them charged with rebellion.

Besides, this was where all the best stuff washed up. Right before the hungry sea gobbled the old pieces of the city into oblivion, the estuary caught them and spread them all out on the beach. Treasure among the pebbles.

Nell wouldn’t take her boots off and stood at the kissing lip of the water, keenly eyeing the drift. A lightbulb, a coil of wire: she snatched them and tucked them away. Only useful things. Maybe they’d be the very things that would spark off a great idea – she needed one, and fast. Summer would be over soon. Days like today were a distraction from the forms Nell had not yet filled out, the letters that she hadn’t answered, the end of apprenticeship project she had not yet begun. Here by the waterside she could forget, at least for a little while.

 

 

Spare and Found Parts – Sarah Maria Griffin

Goodreads – Spare and Found Parts

Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?

Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

 

My Thoughts…

I found this book in my local Waterstones, and it was this very same introduction that led me to buying the book! I really liked the sound of it, and it’s quite unlike anything I have ever read before. I was looking to treat myself and picked this up on a whim, and I think it’s fair to say from what we know of the book already, that I did!

In terms of timing, a book featuring an epidemic may not be for everyone. However, I think this has a really interesting premise and it has the dystopian feel that I love. I think this is aimed at a young adult genre, as opposed to being more of an adult fantasy, but I’m still excited to read it and see what it has to offer even if I’m not strictly the target audience! I’m also really excited as the book is categorised as steampunk on Goodreads. I recently read and loved another book with a similar theme, and so I think I’ll really get on with this. 

I can’t lie, I am also a really big fan of the red sprayed edges on my paperback copy. It might seem like a small thing, but I love it!

Have you read Spare and Found Parts? If so, please let me know what you thought! Equally, if you like the sound of this book and want to add it to your reading list, I’d love to hear as well!

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Authors I Haven’t Read, But Want To

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post topic is an interesting one, because it gives me the opportunity to feature some new books and new to me authors that I can’t wait to read! I have plenty of these on my TBR, and some of these are coming up very soon (cough cough The Thursday Murder Club).

As today’s list is a very simple one, I’m going to list below the books that I wish to feature. The reasoning behind all of these is pretty much the same – either the premise has really gripped me, I have read or heard rave reviews about the book in question or because I’m willing to push my boundaries and give something new a go. Perhaps it could be a combination of any of these three.

Anyway, I’m not going to bore you with a bit of blurb for each book, otherwise I’ll end up repeating myself quite a lot! So, without further ado, here is my list of top ten authors I haven’t read, but want to!

 

Richard Osman – The Thursday Murder Club

 

Julia Quinn – The Duke & I

 

Jeffrey Deaver – The Bone Collector

 

M. L. Rio – If We Were Villains 

 

Donna Tartt – The Secret History

The Secret History

 

Ransom Riggs – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

 

Antonio Iturbe – The Librarian of Auschwitz

 

Steve Cavanagh – The Defence

 

John Marrs – The Good Samaritan

 

Robin Hobb – Assassin’s Apprentice

 

So, those are my top ten authors I haven’t read, but want to! Have you read any of these books? Or have you now added any to your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Shelf Control #46 – 08/04/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! Shelf Control is a regular feature here on my blog (typically fortnightly on a Friday) and is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

When looking through my TBR for my next feature for this post, I got excited seeing this title! I remember adding this to my TBR all those years ago because the premise really stood out to me.

This is a book that deals with difficult topics, namely mental health, so if this sort of thing triggers you then I wouldn’t recommend reading this post. I do hope though that it doesn’t upset you too much and that you can enjoy my initial thoughts on this particular book!

 

The Good Samaritan – John Marrs

Goodreads – The Good Samaritan

She’s a friendly voice on the phone. But can you trust her?

The people who call End of the Line need hope. They need reassurance that life is worth living. But some are unlucky enough to get through to Laura. Laura doesn’t want them to hope. She wants them to die.

Laura hasn’t had it easy: she’s survived sickness and a difficult marriage only to find herself heading for forty, unsettled and angry. She doesn’t love talking to people worse off than she is. She craves it.

But now someone’s on to her—Ryan, whose world falls apart when his pregnant wife ends her life, hand in hand with a stranger. Who was this man, and why did they choose to die together?

The sinister truth is within Ryan’s grasp, but he has no idea of the desperate lengths Laura will go to…

Because the best thing about being a Good Samaritan is that you can get away with murder.

 

My Thoughts…

This book caught my eye for its unique plotline, and I think it’s interesting to base a thriller novel around the abuse of a position of power. It’s not the sort of thing you were traditionally associate as this kind of role, but it is true. When you are emotionally vulnerable, and you connect with somebody you think is reputable in order to help you, they will have a lot of influence over you in that moment. This is a really interesting hook for the premise and I can’t wait to see how events of the book play out!

For some people this won’t be an ideal read. It might not be the easiest subject to read about if you’ve had health problems in this way before. I’m not shy though. I’m not saying any sense that I haven’t experienced my own difficulties before and therefore mental health doesn’t concern me. I’ve had a moment.

Years ago I got the contraceptive implant and it was the worst decision I ever made. It’s one thing to be told what kind of side-effects you can have and quite another to experience them. Although, to be honest, I’m not even sure that these were explained fully. I don’t remember a conversation that went along the lines of “this could make you feel like shit”. I never did anything drastic on it, but it did affect me. I was angry and short-tempered a lot of the time, I would get upset at the slightest inconvenience or comment and it dragged me down for over a year. I’m not exaggerating when I say that having it taken out 15 months later felt like a cloud lifted – it really did. I was lucky in that I was able to identify the problem and get rid of it. Not everybody has that luxury!

It’s true that we all have our own difficulties throughout our lives. We all experience it, maybe to varying degrees, but we do. I would like to see a day where it isn’t taboo to talk about it transparently… where we can open up to our friends and family, or work colleagues, as openly as if we had a physical injury. I’m a firm believer that only through talking about these things and demonstrating that it’s okay to be open about it can we encourage others to open up themselves. I’ll start in the only way I can – with myself. 

And that’s the same for my blog. I am going to read books with difficult topics and I am going to talk about them. It’s a great way to open up to a subject and start a conversation. As is the case with this book, it can highlight vulnerabilities and where additional safeguards need to be put in place to protect people.

All in the guise of an entertaining read. Every day really is a school day. That’s all from me in today’s Shelf Control post! Have you read this book, or is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

 

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First Lines Friday – 01/04/2022

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series on my blog. It’s a fun way to share books I love, those I am interested in and/or on my TBR or even just to experiment with something new!

For today’s post I decided to keep my options open and choose a book at random to feature. In today’s post, following a discussion I had with my friends, I’m featuring something completely different to the usual content on my blog. There is a book series that I’m considering trying, and the thing that’s most unusual about it is that the genre is not my cup of tea at all! He read a lot of my blog, you know that can mean only one thing… 

I’ve made it very clear in so many blog posts that romance is just not for me. And it’s not. However, I have been watching a popular TV series online that has got me invested in the storyline of this book. I have a friend who has also enjoyed some of the books as a result of the series, and my other friend is also going to give these a go in audiobook format, so I’m willing to give at least the first one a try too.

Have you guessed which book series I’m talking about? if not, today’s First Lines Friday intro might give you all the clues you need: –

 

The birth of Simon Arthur Henry Fitzranulph Basset, Earl Clyvedon, was met with great celebration. Church bells rang for hours, champagne flowed freely through the gargantuan castle that the newborn would call home, and the entire village of Clyvedon quit work to partake of the feast and holiday ordered by the young earl’s father.

“This,“ the baker said to the blacksmith, “is no ordinary baby.“

For Simon Arthur Henry Fitzranulph Basset would not spend his life as Earl Clyvedon. That was a courtesy title. Simon Arthur Henry Fitzranulph Basset – the baby who possessed more names than any baby could possibly need – was the heir to one of England’s oldest and richest dukedoms. And his father, the ninth Duke of Hastings, had waited years for this moment.

As he stood in the hall outside his wife’s confinement room, cradling the squalling infant, the duke’s heart near burst with pride.

Already several years past forty, he had watched his cronies – dukes and earls, all – beget heir after heir. Some had had to suffer through a few daughters before siring a precious son, but in the end, they all been assured that the lines would continue, that their blood would pass forward into the next generation of England’s elite.

 

 

The Duke & I – Julia Quinn

Goodreads – The Duke and I

In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince—while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable… but not too amiable.

Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen.

Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society—just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar.

The plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule…

 

My Thoughts…

I don’t know if branching out to read The Duke and I will be a good experience or not. But, as somebody who is willing to be diverse in every other reading genre, it would be rude of me not to try. There’s often a lot of bad press about books that become popular and consequently don’t live up to the hype. And I get that. I experience that with fantasy books quite a lot. However, I’d argue there are instances where popularity can be of a benefit.

If not for having watched the Netflix series, I would never have dreamed of picking up this book. I’d only started watching that series after a number of recommendations and good reviews. Even then, I’d only really put it on to experiment with it – it was more background noise than anything. But there were elements that I quickly found I enjoyed and I’ve come to like the series. I’m currently watching the second series on Netflix, with just a couple of episodes left. I believe this one deviates from the events in the book, but that’s a possible discussion for another day depending on how I get on with this first one.

It might be good, it might be bad, and equally it might fall somewhere in the middle. I just don’t know. But whilst I’m interested in the story, having watched the series, I’m willing to give this a shot. I’m not going to know what I think until I give it a try. And having read today’s introduction in preparation for this post, and a little bit further on, I can see myself giving this a healthy shot. That’s not to say I’m going to become a romance reader overnight, because that’s not true either. If I do go on to like this, it will definitely be an exception as opposed to the rule.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read The Duke and I, or any of the books in the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn? Let me know what you think, especially if this particular series was out of your comfort zone and you picked it up anyway!

 

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