Tag: books

Shelf Control #11 – 06/12/2019

Hi guys – Happy Friday and welcome to today’s Shelf control post! Once again I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the next book on my TBR and telling you why I am excited to read it!

As a refresher, Shelf Control 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.

 

By using these Shelf Control posts I can look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

Today’s featured book is one I have owned for nearly three years now, but haven’t picked up yet!

 

Dune – Frank Herbert

Goodreads – Dune

Purchase Links – Waterstones     Amazon UK     Amazon US

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender’s Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or ‘spice’, is the most valuable – and rarest – element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person’s life-span to making intersteller travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands.

In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them.

And his journey will change the universe.

 

My Thoughts…

I received a copy of Dune from former work colleagues for my birthday nearly three years ago now. It’s actually scary how the time flies! Even before throwing myself into reading as a daily habit and starting my blog in 2017, I was known for my bookish tendencies.

I also think they made a really good choice of book for me too! Dune is a classic and highly award-winning science-fiction novel. Truth is, before I had been gifted it, I hadn’t heard of it. I have only just realised that this is the first book of an eight-part series as well! I prefer a series to a standalone book – I guess that’s the part of me that likes long, complex stories…

As I have had this for a little while now, I do think I should make an effort to pick it up soon. I’ve also been doing really well lately for picking up more science-fiction novels.

Have you read Dune? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

First Lines Friday – 29/11/2019

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to my First Lines Friday post! I love writing these and either sampling the beginnings of books still to be read or re-reading old ones! Today’s featured book is one that is currently on my TBR, or to be read list. Given the science-fiction theme I have been sticking to lately, I figured to share the opening lines of another book from the same genre!

Can you guess what it is?

 

I love Thursday nights. They have a feel to them that’s outside of time.

It’s our tradition, just the three of us – family night.

My son, Charlie, is sitting at the table, drawing on a sketch pad. He’s almost fifteen. The kid grew two inches over summer, and he’s as tall as I am now.

I turn away from the onion I’m julienning, ask, “Can I see?”

He holds up the pad, shows me a mountain range that looks like something on another planet.

I say, “Love that. Just for fun?”

“Class project. Due tomorrow.”

“Then get back to it, Mr Last Minute.”

Standing happy and slightly drunk in my kitchen, I’m unaware that tonight is the end of all of this. The end of everything I know, everything I love.

 

Shall we find out what it is?

 

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Goodreads – Dark Matter

Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.

It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.

When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”

Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.

And someone is hunting him.

 

Purchase links:     Amazon UK     Waterstones

 

Did you enjoy today’s extract of Dark Matter? Is it on your list to read? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger! Thank you!***

Shelf Control #10 – 22/11/2019

Hi guys and welcome to today’s Shelf control post! Once again I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the next book on my TBR and telling you why I am excited to read it!

As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies – 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 am using Shelf Control to look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and then listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

 

Age of Myth – Michael J. Sullivan

Goodreads – Age of Myth

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between humans and those they thought were gods changes forever.

Now only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer; Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom; and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over. The time of rebellion has begun.

 

My Thoughts…

What interests me about this book is the breaking of a convention that Gods are immortal; untouchable. How the inevitable conflict that will ensue will pan out interests me. This synopsis is pretty short, leaving a lot to the imagination. There’s just enough there to draw a reader in whilst leaving a lot about the plot unsaid. It makes you want to read it and find out!

Age of Myth is an epic fantasy novel. I would consider myself well-read in the genre at this point; anything that even hints at any combination of overused tropes in the genre is a put-off for me – it isn’t new. What I like about synopsis of Age of Myth is that beyond the whole destiny concept, there is nothing else that would allude to other overused tropes. I’ll have to read it to see if there are others hidden in there.

Age of Myth also has some really good reviews, so I am optimistic that taking the plunge and reading a novel by a new author will have a good payoff!

 

Have you read Age of Myth, or is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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The Autumn Book Tag

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s post – the Autumn Book Tag. I saw this over on Sara the Bibliophagist’s blog and knew I wanted to take part as a bit of fun! I absolutely love Sara’s blog and quite regularly link to some of her posts in my Sunday Summary posts. So, if you haven’t checked out her blog already, please do! You won’t regret it!

I wanted to take a step back from book reviews for the next couple of days, having published two last week. It has been a little while since taking part in a bookish tag, so I’ll take any excuse to take part in one! They’re a great way to get to know the person behind the screen, so I hope you enjoy this post as much as I will!

 

Rules

  • Answer the questions
  • link back to the creator (Jenniely)
  • tag other people!

 

 

  1. Hot Chocolate – what is your comfort book?

It’s going to make absolutely no sense, but I would have to choose a series for this question. Which series? A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. What’s comforting about a series full of death, debauchery and deceit, I hear you ask? Well, I know that I can always pick up any one of these books and instantly forget about whatever else is going on. The writing is fantastic and the world-building and characters so intricately interwoven that I am absorbed immediately.

 

  1. Pumpkin Carving – what is your favourite creative outlet?

I have had a good go at quite a few creative hobbies; years ago I used to make my own Christmas / birthday / occasional cards. I still have all the stuff, but I haven’t done it for years now. Maybe I ought to dig it all back out again. I briefly took up cross-stitch but that didn’t catch on very long.

Shortly after I moved into my flat I bought a DIY painting that now has pride of place in my living room. It took me HOURS. I listened to most of the audiobook of The Stand whilst doing it. That means I spent somewhere around 75 hours completing it! I have another one part finished for the spare room, but I haven’t really touched that one for a while. I think I stopped in between paints so fingers crossed what is left hasn’t gone dry…

My latest creative hobby is crocheting. I started small with crochet animals and have gone on to crochet a jumper as well! It’s a good pastime if you want to keep your hands busy.

 

  1. Falling Leaves – changes that appear bad but you secretly love?

My family think I am a little odd for it, but I love when the nights start drawing in as winter approaches. It makes coming home after a day at work nice and cozy. That’s not to say I enjoy the dead of winter and going to work/coming home in the dark. I’m not that miserable…

 

  1. Pumpkin Spiced Latte – something you love that others tend to judge

I agree with Sara on this one – I love to stay in. There is nowhere I want to be after a long day at work than at home. Door locked. Peace at last. Sure, going out and catching up with friends and family is fun, but I enjoy coming home to my own space and being unable to unwind in my own way. I have come to need my own space to do my own thing – read a book or listen to music usually. What’s important is that Rebecca is IN and the rest of the world is distinctly OUT.

 

  1. Bonfire Night – what makes you explode with joy?

Finishing a really good book! In that moment before the book hangover begins, concluding a really good book or series reminds me just why I read so much!

 

  1. Fright Night – favourite scary book or film

This is definitely going to be a scary book choice because I don’t really get on with scary films… and not for the reason you would expect. They don’t scare me. I learned the techniques film-makers use in my Performing Arts and Psychology lessons to hype up an audience, so I can see it a mile away and expect it. Element of surprise ruined.

I’m much more of a fan of psychological thrillers. With that in mind, I would have to say my scary book choice is Pet Sematary by Stephen King.

 

  1. Halloween candy – favourite thing to eat

Oh goodness we could be here all day! It’s generally known and accepted that I will eat pretty much anything and everything! If I have to pick something seasonal as my favourite though, the first thing that comes to mind is the tin of Quality Street you buy “in preparation for Christmas” – knowing full well it won’t even see December.

 

  1. Scarves – your autumn ‘must have’ accessory

My must-have autumn accessory is just that – scarves! More specifically, Kipling scarves. I’m not just a maniac for their handbags and purses, but their viscose scarves as well. I love them because they are so lightweight but do a fantastic job of keeping you warm without the bulk of a thick scarf. They’re also really pretty and smell like your perfume too, so win-win.

I have… one or two of these beauties…

 

  1. Fire – a book or film that burns your soul

This is actually a really tough question – I have read so many great books that it is hard to choose! I suppose the books I feel most passionately about – and love to talk about – are the likes of The Green Mile and To Kill a Mockingbird. Knowing the injustice served to so many based on the colour of their skin makes me really angry. I like to talk about them as a means of education and to be part of a society that wouldn’t let anything as ludicrous as race be a reason to treat someone differently again.

 

  1. Toffee apples – a book or film that seems one thing but really has a different inside

When I read War and Peace I didn’t expect the ending to be a philosophical discussion about how things could have gone differently for Napoleon. It’s about the only example I could think of – I am pretty open-minded when it comes to my books. This is the only curve ball I’ve encountered to date!

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed this tag and reading a little about me! I’m not going to tag anyone specific to also take part, but if you do, please link me in so I can read your answers.

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 15/11/2019

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! If you want to try the opening lines of a book without the bias of a front cover, then this post is for you! Which book am I featuring today?

 

Once upon a time, an angel and a demon fell in love.

It did not end well.

 

Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day. It seemed like just another Monday, innocent but for its essential Mondayness, not to mention its Januaryness. It was cold, and it was dark – in the dead of winter the sun didn’t rise until eight – but it was also lovely. The falling snow and the early hour conspired to paint Prague ghostly, like a tintype photograph, all silver and haze.

On the riverfront thoroughfare, trams and buses roared past, grounding the day in the twenty-first century, but on the quieter lanes, the wintry peace might have hailed from another time. Snow and stone and ghostlight, Karou’s own footsteps and the feather of steam from her coffee mug, and she was alone and adrift in mundane thoughts: school, errands. The occasional cheek-chew of bitterness when a pang of heartache intruded, as pangs of heartache will, but she pushed them aside, resolute, ready to be done with all that.

 

 

I have just finished reading the sequel to this yesterday and I have loved it just as much as this first book! They are so easy to pick up and get absorbed into. I have read other books by this author as well, and all of them have been brilliant! They are all touching, the characters beautifully human and hilariously funny at times.

Shall we find out what it is?

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

 

Did you enjoy reading the first page of Daughter of Smoke and Bone? Have you read any or all of the series? I’d love to know!

 

 

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Shelf Control #9 – 08/11/2019

Hi guys and welcome to today’s in-depth look at the next book on my TBR in today’s Shelf Control post.

As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies – 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 am using Shelf Control to look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and then listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I won’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

 

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

Goodreads – Sleeping Giants

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

 

My Thoughts…

It was the synopsis of the book that prompted me to add this to my To Be Read pile. It sounds so unusual! For those prone to question what you read, it immediately has you asking questions like who does the hand belong to? and, what does it all mean? I get the impression that our protagonist is much the same and so I think she will be really relatable!

I also love that this series has been published already. Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than happy to wait for books, but if I don’t have to then even better. There is some comfort in knowing that you COULD binge-read something if you really wanted to!

Have you read Sleeping Giants or any other books in the series?

 

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Halloween Horrors – Book Recommendations

Are you looking for inspiration on what to read this Halloween? If so, you have come to the right place! In today’s post, I am going to be recommending some of the spooktacular books/authors I have read.

 

Stephen King

Before I started my blog, I hadn’t read a single book by Stephen King. Stupid, foolish me. Since dipping my toe in the water with The Green Mile, I have gone on to read Pet Sematary, IT, the first two books of The Dark Tower series and listen to The Stand. I still have plenty of books of his to read, including some of the more classic horror novels, such as The Shining.

If you want to check out any of my reviews, I have linked them above.

 

Jay Raven

If you are in the mood for short stories or a novella, then either Game of Crones or To Snare a Witch may be if interest to you. I have read both of these books this year; I am reviewing To Snare a Witch in the coming days.

I enjoyed these reads for the theme of witches and their reverence/treatment by society. They are also great to pick up for a quick read, or a break from another genre.

 

H. P. Lovecraft

I bought my copy of the Necronomicon last year and whilst I am nowhere near having read the entire collection of stories, I have read a few. H P Lovecraft is an iconic writer of the horror genre and I can see why. His stories are pretty damn creepy, or outright weird…

 

My current read… Stephen Chbosky

This Halloween, or Hop Tu Naa locally, I will be continuing to read Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky. I love the story centring on 7 and a half-year-old Christopher. Children are really imaginative and suggestible, so you don’t know what is true and what isn’t! It makes happenings so much more sinister! I’m currently about a quarter of the way through this read, but I’ll be making more progress with it as I can in the coming days up to October 31st.

 

Have you got any other reading suggestions or recommendations I haven’t mentioned? What are you reading this Halloween?

 

 

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Blogging and Social Media

Social media is a huge element of blogging. Regardless of the content of your blog, you need to put yourself out there to get your content noticed. Which platforms you use is entirely up to you, and maybe dependent on the content of your blog. Sounds easy, right?

In some respects, yes. With a few simple settings, new posts I publish are automatically shared to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. All I have to do is write a brief description/summary I want to accompany the link and away it goes. I don’t even have to think about it.

It’s not all automatic though. There is a degree of effort you have to put in to maintain a presence online. Ultimately, readers are connecting with the person behind a blog, not just the content itself. A feed of links to own content can be a bit boring. Here is where I will admit that I fall down. I am not that good when it comes to proactively using social media. My feeds are pretty much as I have described above – links to my own blog.

I try to interact as and when I can, but I can honestly say I don’t really have the compulsion to use social media that much. On a personal level, I use Facebook to keep up to date with what is going on with friends and family, news and such and that is it. I am one of those ghost friends that hardly ever post. My blog has given me some purpose to post more in recent months, but it isn’t natural to me.

Even my ‘blog’ accounts aren’t all that up to scratch. I’m not at all consistent with my use of Instagram. Remembering to take pictures and create a visual medium for my blog is a conscious effort, but it’s one I am not conscious of all the time and so I lapse. I just don’t take that many photos. I change my Facebook profile picture maybe once every six months in a good year, and only when there is a change to the way I look really. Call me lazy, but I just can’t be bothered and I doubt anyone is really all that bothered about it – myself included.

Do you have any tips for me to get better with my use of social media? Which platforms do you find easiest to use and why? I’ll take all comments on board at this point!

 

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First Lines Friday – 25/10/2019

It’s Friday once again friends, so today I am sharing another First Lines Friday post! This post gives you the opportunity to sample something new without the bias of a front cover? Which book am I featuring today? Here are the first few lines from today’s featured book: –

 

When the steamboat Moselle blew apart just off the Cincinnati landing, I was sitting below deck in the ladies’ cabin, sewing tea leaves into little muslin bags and plotting revenge on my cousin Comfort for laughing at me during dinner.

I had many ways of getting back at her. Sometimes I put a few darts in her cuffs so that when her wrists swelled, which they always did when she was performing, she would have to cut the cloth later to get her arms out. Or I snipped her lace ties just a little, which kept her from pulling her corset as tightly as she liked; or I sewed a small pigeon feather into the back of one of her costumes so that when she walked across the stage the shaft scratched at her skin.

I was Comfort’s seamstress, dresser and trunk packer. And a hundred other things as well. She was the Famous Comfort Vertue. That was her stage name.

 

 

 

I found this book on Bookbub and purchased my copy in July 2017, having been blown away by the synopsis and in particular, the topic that it covers throughout. I also really enjoy historical fiction, so this was pretty much a no-brainer purchase for me!

Shall we find out what it is?

 

The Floating Theatre – Martha Conway

Floating Theatre

In a nation divided by prejudice, everyone must take a side.

When young seamstress May Bedloe is left alone and penniless on the shore of the Ohio, she finds work on the famous floating theatre that plies its trade along the river. Her creativity and needlework skills quickly become invaluable and she settles in to life among the colourful troupe of actors. She finds friends, and possibly the promise of more …

But cruising the border between the Confederate South and the ‘free’ North is fraught with danger.

For the sake of a debt that must be repaid, May is compelled to transport secret passengers, under cover of darkness, across the river and on, along the underground railroad.

But as May’s secrets become harder to keep, she learns she must endanger those now dear to her.

And to save the lives of others, she must risk her own …

A gloriously involving and powerful read for fans of Gone With The Wind and Tracy Chevalier’s The Last Runaway.

 

So, what do you think? Will you add this to the TBR? Is it on already?

 

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Autumn: The Season of Reading

Autumn is my favourite time of year for reading.

Gone are the long nights and the ‘day’ after the working day is over. The nights draw in and grow colder, and it’s the perfect time to snuggle in at home with a good book. I enjoy closing the curtains of a night, putting my feet up and burying myself in a slanket with a cup of tea to hand. Cosy in my own home. It’s my favourite place to be.

Autumn season is the calm before the storm of the festive season. The end of the year is a frantic period. Before all that business begins there is a chance to spend the colder, miserable days doing what I love best – reading. The weather turns very quickly here; we all know when our fleeting summer is over. I enjoy sitting indoors when the rain is lashing against the windows and the wind is howling outside. Last year, the weather was so fierce that I had rain forced inside my windows by the rain. That isn’t so fun – I spent the day running around with towels left, right and centre. I can’t say I enjoy it when I’m outside, so much. I’ve had that joy a few times this year already.

Evenings are my favourite time to read, but especially at this time of year. It has that atmosphere about it that encourages a quieter lifestyle and enjoying time to yourself. I wouldn’t say I feel all that guilty about staying home in the summer months, because I do in fact stay home. There is a part of you that makes you think you ought to make the most of the lighter nights and not waste them, although mine is pretty small. The way I see it, I am out most days at work. If I want to go home and spend my evenings with myself like a social hermit, that’s not a problem at all!

Do you have a favourite place or time to read? Do you find it makes you more productive as I do?

 

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