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The Liebster Award

liebster 2017

I’ve been nominated for The Liebster Award by the lovely Natalie who blogs at The Owl on the Bookshelf, and if you aren’t a follower of Natalie’s blog, then you should go and check it out.  I love the variety of books that Natalie reviews as well as the gorgeous Owl that makes a regular appearance.


Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person/blog who nominated you
  • Answer the 11 questions they wrote for you
  • Nominate 11 people
  • Give them your set of 11 questions to answer

Without further ado, here are the questions that Natalie posed:

What was the last book you bought?

Devotion

The last book I bought was Devotion by Ros Barber, a book that I’ve been wanting to read for a while. Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

Set in the near future where religious fundamentalism is on the verge of being classified as a form of mental illness, Finlay Logan is a criminal psychologist who must assess the sanity of April, a young woman who has blown up a bus and killed fifteen teenagers, citing religious reasons as her primary motive. At the same time, Logan is grieving over the death of his daughter who died in a terrible accident. When Logan comes across the radical psychological practices of Dr Salmon, he feels her controversial techniques may be able to help him understand April’s behaviour. But when he discovers that Dr Salmon is able to communicate with the dead, his own life begins to unravel, especially when he begins to suspect that a former romantic rival might have been involved in his daughter’s death. Weaving together a moving story of grief with a gripping and topical narrative about religion, science and the role that psychology plays to bridge the gap, Devotion is an ambitious and highly readable novel that asks fundamental questions about the nature of reality when balancing the emotional and rational sides of human experience.

What book(s) have been on your TBR the longest?

long dark dusk

The book that has been on my TBR the longest (I bought it in April 2016) is Long Dark Dusk by J. P. Smythe.  I bought it when it was first published as the first novel in the series, Way Down Dark, was one of my favourites of 2015, but I decided to wait until the third and final instalment, Dark Made Dawn, was published before reading it.  Big mistake, as I’ve not managed to read either of them yet!  These titles are both in my Beat the Backlist Challenge, however, so I definitely will read them soon!

What is your favourite book of 2017 so far?

It’s so difficult to pick just one, so I’m going to cheat (sorry, Natalie!)

Narrowing it down to three, I would say:

  • The Dry by Jane Harper – a riveting read about a small Australian town which follows an investigation into an apparent murder-suicide
  • The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown – a stunning debut giving a ficitional account of infamous Witchfinder, Matthew Hopkins
  • The Wanderers by Meg Howrey – a beautiful novel about the experiences of three astronauts and their families as they are picked for the first manned mission to Mars

Three very different novels, but all exceptional.

What book are you most looking forward to that is being published this year?

waking-gods

There are quite a few that I’m looking forward to this year, but the standout one is Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel, the follow up to Sleeping Giants, one of my favourite novels of 2016.

Luckily for me, it’s being published on 6 April, so I don’t have too long to wait now!  😃

What book do you want to re-read the most, if any?

I don’t do a lot of rereading, but I will reread George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series when the next novel in this series, The Winds of Winter, is released.

What book would you recommend as a perfect book to join you on holiday? (Looking for inspiration for my forthcoming holiday!)

For me, holiday reads tend towards dystopian, post-apocalyptic, fantasy, and psychological thrillers i.e. the books that I typically read when I’m not on holiday.  I like something that you can absolutely lost in, be it a new world, or a narrative that it is utterly gripping.

I’m going on holiday later this month (woo hoo!), and my current plan is to read:

  • The Revenant by Michael Punke
  • The Method by Shannon Kirk
  • Mister Memory by Marcus Sedgwick

This is subject to change, however – I find it really difficult to plan what I’m going to read in advance, as I always feel differently once I’m out there.  Hurrah for Kindles and being able to take as many books as I want with me!

What is your favourite book that is a sequel/part of a series?

a conjuring of light

I’m thoroughly enjoying V. E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic series that began with A Darker Shade of Magic and continued in A Gathering of Shadows.  I do have the final instalment, A Conjuring of Light, which thinking about it now, I may also try to read on holiday!

What book do you wish had a sequel/was part of a series?

I’m going to cheat a little here, as these books are part of a series, but I’m still waiting on the next instalment in Patrick Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller Chronicle, which started with The Name of the Wind and continued in The Wise Man’s Fear.  There has been a novella published in this series, too – The Slow Regard of Silent Things – but Kvothe’s tale is not yet complete!

What book would you love to see adapted for film/television?

My stock answer for this has always been The Handmaid’s Tale, but it feels as though I’d be cheating to say that now that it HAS been made into a TV series (which I am extremely pleased about, even as it seems to be getting closer to being a documentary given recent events).

Slade House

As such, I would love to see David Mitchell’s Slade House brought to life (although not by whoever produced the film Cloud Atlas, which did nothing for me whatsoever, despite it being one of my favourite books!)

Time to judge a book by its cover! What book features your favourite cover art?

There are quite a few options for this, but one that sprung to mind (and if you ask me on a different day I’ll probably give you a different answer) was Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes.look who's back

I just love the simplicity of the design, but how it says quite a bit about what the book is about.

Who is your favourite fictional character, and why?

My favourite fictional character is Susan Sto Helit from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series – Death’s granddaughter, no less.  I can’t really tell you why, she just is!


I nominate:

And my questions are:

  1. A nice easy one to start you off – what are you currently reading?
  2. Who is your favourite author?
  3. What was your favourite book of 2016?
  4. Where do you like to read?
  5. Are there any fictional characters that share your name?
  6. What books did you like to read as a child?
  7. What is your favourite bookish quote?
  8. What book would you recommend to someone who doesn’t enjoy reading? (Yes, I believe that there are such people out there!)
  9. Why did you start your blog?
  10. More generally, what do you like to do when you’re not reading?
  11. If you could have any superhero power, what would it be?

 

The Horror Movie Book Tag

horror movie book tag

Rules:

  1. Please credit Princess at RoyalReader (or just Royal Reader), as the creator of this tag, and add the rules
  2. You can use the graphics provided in your post, or you’re welcome to make your own!
  3. Thank the person(s) who tagged you and let others know of their fabulous blogs
  4. Tag as many people as you want, be it 1 or 20, it’s entirely up to you!

Many thanks to Annie over at The Misstery for tagging me into this one.  If you don’t already follow Annie’s blog, you really should – she reads a wide variety of novels, and I’ve added several books to by wish list and TBR as a result of her wonderful and honest reviews!

THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: A BOOK YOU WOULD SAVE WHEN CIVILISATION ENDS?

the knowledge

It might be cheating, but I’m going to say The Knowledge by Lewis Dartnell, as it’s a handy guide for restarting civilisation should the worst happen.  It covers a multitude of aspects, including how to purify water, make cloths from scratch and how to get technology going again.

THE VAMPIRE: A BOOK YOU WOULD STAKE THROUGH THE HEART?

the first bad man

The First Bad Man by Miranda July.  There was a lot of hype about this when it was first published a couple of years ago.  I’ve honestly no idea why – I didn’t enjoy it at all.

THE HAUNTED HOUSE: A BOOK THAT STILL HAUNTS YOU?

the handmaids tale

The Handmaid’s Tale is a book that has stayed with me since I first read it at the age of 17.  I’ve reread it since then, and it’s still as powerful now as it was when I first read it.  Perhaps even more so, given what’s going on in the world…

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER:  A BOOK WITH A TWIST YOU DID NOT SEE COMING?

gone-without-a-trace

I recently (so recently I’ve not had chance to review it yet!) read Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen.  Hannah comes home one day to find her partner, Matt, has left the house they share.  He’s taken everything of his with him, and the house looks exactly as it did before he moved in.  He’s even put Hannah’s books which had been moved to the loft back on the book shelf.  There’s no sign he was ever there, it’s like he never existed… Brilliant, brilliant book, and I did not see that twist coming at all!

THE CREEPY DOLL: A BOOK THAT SEEMS INNOCENT BUT ISN’T?

charlie and the ...

A couple of years ago, Penguin released a Modern Classics edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with this wonderfully creepy cover.  It proved to be Marmite – some, like me, loved it, and others hated it.  I loved it so much that I went out and bought it, and gave it a reread for the first time since I was child.  And it’s wonderfully dark reading it now.

THE MONSTER: A BOOK YOU COULD BARELY TACKLE/DEFEAT?

j

I’ve found this to be a particularly difficult category, as if I’m not enjoying a book, I won’t usually finish it.  But there are some that I’ve not enjoyed that I’ve really wanted to like, and that I have persevered with, one of which was J by Howard Jacobsen.  I read it in 2014 when it was first published, and I can’t really why I struggled with it so much, but I do remember it being hard work.

THE COMEDY-HORROR: A BOOK WITH MIXED GENRES THAT WORKED (OR DIDN’T)?

dark-matter

I absolutely loved Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, and found it to be a wonderful mix of science fiction, thriller with a bit of a love story thrown in for good measure.

THE (CLICHED) TEEN HORROR: A BOOK YOU FOUND SUPER CLICHED/STEREOTYPICAL?

the belgariad

It took me an age to think of something for this category, and I’m not entirely sure that this answer is what was meant for this tag, but, in the absence of anything better:

I loved David Eddings’ series The Belgariad, which starts with Pawn of Prophecy, when I was growing up (pre and early teens).  Whilst I can see that these books are quite cliched in the “orphaned child is actually king of the world” sense now, I do still have fond memories of them, and I’ll still read them again at some point.

THE DEMONIC POSSESSION: A BOOK SO GRIPPING YOU NEEDED AN EXORCIST TO ESCAPE IT?

Sleeping Giants

For me, Sleeping Giants was one of those books that I started reading and had to keep going to find out what happened – it’s absolutely amazing.

THE SCIENCE FICTION: A PRECIOUS BOOK YOU WOULD PERMANENTLY SACRIFICE TO ALIENS FOR THE GOOD OF MANKIND?

beauty

This is another tricky one to answer, but I’ve chosen Beauty by Raphael Selbourne, which is a novel about overcoming differences, of race, in this instance, but I think that it shows that we are capable of acceptance and of seeing past the things that make us different, and that might be important should aliens come calling!


I tag:

And anyone else that would like to take part!

Blogger Recognition Award

blogger-recognition-award

I was absolutely thrilled when I was nominated for this award by both Natalie at The Owl on the Bookshelf and Susan at Books From Dusk Till Dawn.  I love both of these blogs, and I really appreciate the support they’ve shown to me, both generally and in nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award.

Here are the rules for this award:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  2. Write a post to show your award
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
  5. Select other bloggers you want to give this award to
  6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide a link to the post you have created

I started my blog in May 2015 as a way of sharing my love of reading and all things book related with a wider audience.  It’s something I’d been thinking about doing for quite a while, although I’m not sure I’d ever have taken the final step of actually setting up a blog without the encouragement of my other half.

I’ll be honest, it was quite a daunting experience, particularly for the initial few posts, but I’ve found that I grown more confident with it over time.


My advice to new bloggers would be:

  • Do things your own way.  There are lots of bloggers out there, and we all do things differently – it would be really boring if we were all the same.  So, experiment, and find a style that works for you
  • Don’t put yourself under pressure – for most of us, this is a hobby, and it’s something we do whilst balancing our day jobs and general lifestyle.  It doesn’t matter if you can’t blog every day, or if you need to take a break.  Life can be stressful enough, so be kind to yourself, and treat blogging as a hobby and something to be enjoyed, rather than letting it become a chore

I’m nominating the following blogs for the award:

Cathy at Between The Lines

Cleo at Cleopatra Loves Books

Emma at Emma’s Bookish Corner

Dave at Espresso Coco

Renee at It’s Book Talk

Janel at Keeper of Pages

Wendy at Little Bookness Lane

Annie at The Misstery

Rapid Fire Book Tag

Many thanks to Emma at Emma’s Bookish Corner for tagging me into the Rapid Fire Book Tag! I’m assuming from the name that the answers are meant to brief, and I had to stop myself elaborating on many of these questions.

eBooks or physical books?

Both.

Paperback or hardback?

Usually paperback, although hardback if there’s an opportunity to get it signed by the author.

Online or in-store shopping?

In-store – browsing online just isn’t the same.

Trilogies or series?

I enjoy both, although I hate waiting for the next in a series!

Heroes or villains?

This probably says a lot about me, but villains!

A book you want everyone to read.

Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker

Recommend an underrated book.

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist

The last book you finished.

The Bishop’s Girl by Rebecca Burns

Weirdest thing you’ve used as a book mark.

Nothing more unusual than a train ticket – I tend to have a bookmark with me.

Used books – yes or no?

Yes, although they need to be in reasonably good condition.

Top three favourite genres?

Dystopian / Post-apocalyptic

Fantasy

Psychological thrillers

Borrow or Buy?

Always buy.

Characters or plot?

Both are important, but if you’re forcing me to choose then plot.

Short or long book?

Either.

Long or short chapters?

Either.

Name the first three books you think of.

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

Children of Men by P. D. James

A Love Like Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

Books that make you laugh or cry?

Laugh – I don’t really cry at either books or films.

Our world or fictional worlds?

Either.

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

Yes!

Book to movie or book to TV adaptation?

It depends – some books can’t be condensed into a movie.

Series or standalone?

Standalone.

I tag:

Janel at Keeper of Pages

Book Buddle

Hi!

A slightly different post from me today as I wanted to share Book Buddle with you all.

Buddle is a protective cover for your books to stop them getting marked, dog eared or otherwise damaged when you’re on the go.  As someone who always (and I do mean always!) has a book with me, I’ve found this to be a real problem on occasion, depending upon the bag I’m using and what else I’m carrying with me, and so I was very much taken with the product when I first came across it on Twitter.

Book Buddle is the brain child of Jules Swain, who, having become fed up of her books being damaged, decided to do something about it.  From having made these covers for herself, friends and family, Jules now has her own shop on Etsy and is selling to the general public!

They are made from linen and cotton and have a foam padding, so your books really are well looked after.  I’m so taken with these that I already have three!

buddle-5

Buddles currently come in both large and small sizes, although Jules is happy to custom-make these to fit Kindles etc.:

  • Small measures approx. 9″ by 7″, and will fit a standard sized paperback of up to 600 pages
  • Large measures approx. 11″ by 8.5″, and will fit a standard sized hardback of up to 600 pages

I can’t say that I’ve fully stress-tested them, but The Quick by Lauren Owen (a hardback of approx. 520 pages) and Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace (paperback of approx. 550 pages) both fit comfortably in the large and small Buddles respectively.

Jules has some great prints available, and is happy to be contacted directly if you have something specific in mind.

You can find Jules on Twitter at @bookbuddle and @julesbuddle and her shop is on Etsy.

Harry Potter Book Tag

harry-potter-book-tag

I was tagged into the Harry Potter Book Tag by the lovely Not-so-modern girl, and I thought that it sounded like quite good fun!!  I’ve not to think too much about any of these, and have gone with my first thought.


hp-flagrateA book whose theme you found interesting but would like to re-write:

the-life-of-elves

The Life of Elves by Murial Barbery

I loved The Elegance of the Hedgehog so I was really excited about this novel, but it just didn’t work for me.  The theme was great – two foundlings with unusual talents who don’t know each other, yet will soon be connected by a war that they don’t fully understand.

Whilst I liked the idea, I found this to be too disjointed, and it had some unnecessarily long paragraphs.

 


hp-alohamoraThe first book in a series that got you hooked:

the-lies-of-locke-lamoraThe Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

There were a couple fo novels that sprang to mind for this one, but I absolutely loved The Lies of Locke Lamora – the first in the Gentleman Bastards series by Scott Lynch.

Not your typical fantasy novels, this is an amazing series about a group of confidence tricksters.

 


hp-accioA book you wish you could have right now:

waking-godsWaking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

I loved Sleeping Giants, and so I’m absolutely desperate to read the next novel in this series – Waking Gods.  Only 3 more months to wait…

 

 

 


hp-avadaA killer book:

oryx-and-crakeOryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

I wasn’t entirely sure how to interpret this one, but I decided to interpret this as a book that I absolutely loved.  In that case, it has to be Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, which is probably my favourite book.

 

 


hp-confundoA book that was really confusing:

this-census-taker

This Census-Taker by China Mieville

I’ll be honest, I’ve still got absolutely no idea what this was about.  I don’t know if I was distracted at the time of reading it, but I just didn’t get it.

 

 

 


hp-sectumsempraA dark and twisted book:

alex

Alex by Pierre Lemaitre

This is another category that I thought of a few options for, but Alex by Pierre Lemaitre definitely fits the bill.  I loved how it played with the reader’s sympathies and how everything you thought you knew was turned on it’s head without warning.  A brilliant book.

 

 


hp-apareciumA book that surprised you in a great way:

anatomy-of-a-soldier

Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker

This turned out to be my (possibly joint) favourite book of 2016.  I didn’t expect this to be anywhere near as enjoyable as it was, and I was surprised and delighted by it.

 

 

 


I’m not going to tag anyone into doing this, but do have a go if you feel like it – I think it’s quite a lot of fun 🙂

 

…and Looking Ahead to 2017

But enough about 2016 – that’s so last year!

Let’s take a look at what 2017 has in store for us (purely in a bookish sense, of course!)

I think that this will be another amazing year for books.  I’ve been lucky enough to have already read some of the great novels that will be published this year, and the standouts for me so far are:

  1. The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin – 12 January
  2. The Book of Mirrors by E. O. Chirovici – 26 January
  3. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough – 26 January
  4. The Good People by Hannah Kent – 9 February

And here are a few of the novels that I’m really looking forward to (this list is by no means exhaustive!):

  1. A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab – 21 February – picks up where A Gathering of Shadows finished and I really need to know what happens next!
  2. Skitter by Ezekiel Boone – 8 March – the sequel to The Hatching, one of my favourites of 2016
  3. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel – 6 April – book two of the Themis Files, following on from Sleeping Giants
  4. New Boy by Tracy Chevalier – 11 May – part of the Hogarth Shakespeare project, New Boy is a reworking of Othello, which I studied at A Level
  5. The Baltimore Boys by Joel Dicker – 18 May – I absolutely loved The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, and so I can’t wait to read this
  6. For the Winner by Emily Hauser – 15 June – I really enjoyed Hauser’s For the Most Beautiful, and I can’t wait to read her take on the tale of Jason and the Argonauts
  7. Early Riser by Jasper Fforde – 6 July – I love Fforde’s work, and I think that this sounds particularly interesting
  8. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown – 24 August – a Red Rising novel, so I have high expectations for this one

I’d love to hear from you, if you have books that you’re particularly forward to this year, or even if you just want to say hi! 🙂