Category Archives: Uncategorized

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! 🙂

Looking Back at 2016…

Happy New Year!!

Now that 2017 has arrived, I thought that it would be interesting to take a look back at 2016, before looking ahead to 2017.

I started blogging in May 2015, so 2016 was my first full calendar year as a blogger.  I think that my blog posts have improved over this time, and I’ve enjoyed the process more.  There were times, initially, when I found the whole blogging process to be quite stressful – particularly as I felt the need to blog more regularly.  Of course, the only person putting any pressure on me was me, and by accepting that I can’t blog as often as I might like, I’ve been able to relax and enjoy it more.

And traffic to my blog has increased, due in no small part to the wonderful bloggers and readers who visit, share my posts and come back for more.  You’re all wonderful, and it really is appreciated.

Thanks are also due to the wonderful authors and publishers who’ve provided copies of their novels for review – there’s no post quite as exciting as book post, and it has allowed me to discover new authors and novels that I might not have come across otherwise.

I’ve mentioned previously that I’m a data analyst by trade, and so I thought I’d incorporate some stats for the previous year.

In 2016, I read 111 books, totalling 38,444 pages.  To break it down further:

2016-stats

Of my blog posts, the most viewed were:

  1. The Brilliant & Forever by Kevin MacNeil
  2. 2016 Man Booker Prize Longlist Prediction
  3. The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
  4. Ninja Book Box Unboxing – Nov 2016
  5. Dark Water by Sara Bailey

So that was 2016!  Thanks again to everyone who stopped by!

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Many thanks to Annie at The Misstery for tagging me in to the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag, which is (as far as I can tell) an excuse to go over the highs (and lows) of 2016s reading.  So, without further ado:

Best book you’ve read in 2016:

Anatomy of a Soldier

It’s always hard to choose, but I think that my favourite book of 2016 (so far!) is Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker.  I found this to be a highly original novel, and one that I didn’t expect to enjoy anywhere near as much as I did.

 

 

 


Best Sequel you’ve read so far in 2016:

Morning Star

This was an easy choice, and goes to Morning Star by Pierce Brown – the stunning conclusion to the Red Rising trilogy.

 

 

 

 


New release you haven’t read yet but want to:

snakewoodAgain, there are lots to choose from here, but looking at my recent purchases, the one that stood out is Snakewood by Adrian Selby.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

A LIFETIME OF ENEMIES HAS ITS OWN PRICE

Mercenaries who gave no quarter, they shook the pillars of the world through cunning, chemical brews, and cold steel.
Whoever met their price won.
Now, their glory days are behind them. Scattered to the wind and their genius leader in hiding, they are being hunted down and eliminated.
One by one.
A groundbreaking debut fantasy of betrayal, mystery, and bloody revenge.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

dark-made-dawnDark Made Dawn by J. P. Smythe – I loved the first instalment of the Australia trilogy – Way Down Dark – and I have the second novel (Long Dark Dusk) ready to go on my TBR pile.  I’m not posting a synopsis, as I think it would spoil the first novel somewhat.

 

 

 


Biggest disappointment:

the-life-of-elvesThe Life of Elves by Muriel Barbery – I loved The Elegance of the Hedgehog, so I had really high expectations of this, but it just didn’t do it for me.

 

 

 


Biggest surprise:

Beatrice and Virgil

Probably Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel, which I read as part of Dewey’s Readathon in April.  I’d chosen a theme of books with names in the title (I can never decide if these should be referred to as eponymous novels or not), and I picked this largely because it fit the criteria, and because I’d read and enjoyed Life of Pi previously.  But this blew me away, and I enjoyed it so much more than I expected to (and it’s better than Life of Pi!)

 

 


Favourite new author:

Sleeping Giants

This is a tricky one, but I’m going to say Sylvain Neuvel, because I enjoyed Sleeping Giants so much!

 

 

 


Newest fictional crush:

Right, not wanting to be a killjoy, but I don’t really get the whole fictional crush thing.  There are characters that I like and plenty that I don’t, but I’m not sure I have a crush on any of them.


Book the made you cry:

The Empathy Problem

There aren’t many, but I may have shed a tear or two over The Empathy Problem by Gavin Extence.

 

 

 

 


Book that made you happy:

Falling

This is a difficult one!  I have a penchant for books that are bleak in nature, and happy doesn’t really go hand in hand with bleak!  I’d probably have to say Falling by Julie Cohen (which was under a working title of The Day of Second Chances when I received an ARC) though.

 

 

 


Favourite book to film adaptation:

It’s probably quite predictable, but of films I’ve seen recently, I’d probably have to say The Martian.  I loved the novel, and I thought that the adaptation was really well done.  I was a little surprised at some of the elements that were left out, although I appreciate that it’s hard to get everything from the page into a film.


Favourite post you have done this year:

I’m honestly not sure.  There are definitely posts that I think have been better than others, but I’m not sure I could pick a favourite.  I quite like doing posts that aren’t book reviews once in a while, so blogging about Hay Festival – 2016 and Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon are probably up there.


What books do you need to read by the end of the year:

flowers-for-algernon

Oh so many!  MY TBR currently stands at 37 books, and no matter what I do, it never seems to go down all that much.  If I have to pick one, it’s probably Flowers for Algernon, as I was given this as part of last year’s work Secret Santa, so I should probably try to get to it before Christmas comes around again!  It is also my only unread book from before 2016, so it would also bring my TBR a little more up to date!

 

 


I’m not going to tag in anyone specifically to do this tag, but I’d encourage all to get involved! 🙂

The Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Thank you to Jo at mychestnutreadingtree for nominating me for the Liebster Award!

The rules are:

  • Post the award on your blog
  • Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you
  • Answer the questions assigned to you
  • Give 10 random facts about yourself
  • Nominate 10 deserving bloggers for the award
  • Ask 10 questions of your nominees

1 – Dogs or cats?

Dogs.  100% dogs.

2 – Kindle or real book?

I flit between the two.  I love the convenience of my Kindle, particularly on holidays, but I like exploring book shops, and you can’t really beat the feel (and the smell!) of a physical book.

3 – Favourite drink?

Chocolate milkshake (I’m a child at heart!).

4 – What’s your favourite thing to cook?

I like cooking, although I’m not particularly creative in the kitchen.  I do make a mean chilli though, thanks to my two secret ingredients.

5 – What makes you cry?

Onions.  Every single time.

6 – What made you want to blog?

I started my blog as a way of connecting with other readers.  I like discovering new books through other people’s recommendations, as well as sharing my own views.

7 – Favourite cheese?

Ooooh – this is a tough one.  I love halloumi, and there isn’t much I won’t do for baked camembert.  Please don’t make me choose between them!

8 – Sandals or boots?

Sandals.  I’d walk around bare foot if I could get away with it.

9 – Last time you laughed?

I find something to laugh about most days, whether that’s with friends and family, at work, or from something I’ve seen on social media etc..  I’m easily amused 🙂

10 – Sunshine or snow?

Sunshine!  To go with those sandals…


10 random facts about me:

  1. Continuing on the cheese theme from above, I live in one of the few places that is allowed to make Stilton. Unfortunately for me, I don’t like it!
  2. I have a degree in maths
  3. I hate mushrooms
  4. I’m an only child
  5. My favourite book is Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  6. I’m an ice hockey fan, and I support my local team, the Nottingham Panthers
  7. I have a fairly extensive collection of Hard Rock Café bears from around the world. They used to make a series of bears that were dressed according to location e.g. from Nottingham, I have a Robin Hood and a Maid Marian
  8. I have walked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  9. I have a black belt in Karate
  10. My bucket list includes staying in an ice hotel

I nominate:

Natalie @ theowlonthebookshelf

Ajoobacats @ ajoobacatsblog

Dave @ espressococo

Drew @ thetattooedbookgeek

Nova @ confessionsofaliteraryaddict

Wendy @ littlebooknesslane

Charlotte @ crowdedbookshelfblog

Steph @ stephsbookblog

Deborah @ thereadingchick

Clair @ havebookswillread


And my ten questions are:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. Starter and main, or main and dessert?
  3. What was your favourite subject at school?
  4. What was the last album you bought?
  5. What is your favourite film / TV adaptation of a novel?
  6. If you could choose a superhero power, what would it be?
  7. What book to be published in the second half of 2016 are you most looking forward to?
  8. Beach holiday or city break?
  9. Hobbies, other than reading
  10. What was the last book you bought?