Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

Is it mid-year already?  How did that happen?!

Many thanks to Tina at Reading Between the Pages for tagging me into this.  We, or at least I, so rarely get the time to pause and take stock, and it can be nice to look back over the last 6 months, as well as ahead to what’s coming up.

1) The best book you’ve read so far this year?

the-dry

Ask me on a different day and you’ll get a different answer, as I’ve read some amazing books this year, but the one that sprang to mind when I read the question was The Dry by Jane Harper.

I loved the setting, the characters, the writing, the twists in the plot.  Basically, this book has it all.

2) Your favourite sequel this year?

waking-gods

I adored Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel, and I was eagerly awaiting Waking Gods, which did not disappoint.

I love the epistolary format of both novels, and it was interesting to see what became of the characters a few years down the line, as well as finding out more about the nameless interviewer.

3) A new release that you haven’t read yet but really want to?

new boy

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier.  Part of the Hogarth Shakespeare Project, this is the first in that series that is based upon a play that I’m familiar with, telling as it does the story of Othello in a rather different setting.  I’m really looking forward to reading this!

4)  Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

godsgrave

There are so many releases that I’m looking forward to over the second half of the year, but the one that springs to mind is Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff.  I LOVED Nevernight, and I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.

5) Your biggest disappointment?

the-sellout

The Sellout by Paul Beatty.  This was a book chosen by my book group, and I was looking forward to it as it also fits in with my Booker Prize Challenge (yes, that is still going on, although I haven’t read a Booker winner for longer than I care to admit).  The main issue was that I couldn’t get into it – I found it to be extremely hard work.  Additionally, the humour is very American, and as such, I found that some of it went over my head.

6) Biggest surprise of the year?

a clockwork orange

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.  This was another book group read, and one that I enjoyed much more than I expected to.  It’s not an easy read, and the language is difficult to get to grips with, but it’s worth persevering with.

7) Favourite new to you or debut author?

defender

G. X. Todd, author of Defender.  I loved her debut novel, and I can’t wait to read the next instalment in this series.

8) Your new fiction crush?

Hmmmm… I always struggle with this one, as I don’t really do fictional crushes.  Nope, sorry – can’t think of any! ☹

9) New favourite character?

for the winner

This is another tough one, but I’ll go for Atalanta from For the Winner.  I loved her attitude to life, and her determination to be treated as an equal, despite the view that women were largely considered to be property at the time.

10) A book that made you cry?

Eleanor Oliphant

It doesn’t happen often, but Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine prompted a tear or two.  Whilst I didn’t take to her at first, Eleanor is a great character, and I was fully invested in her story by the end.

11) A book that made you happy?

I’m struggling with this one!  I genuinely cannot think of a good answer to this question.  I have a tendency towards books that are bleak in nature, and so happy isn’t usually a factor.

12) Your favourite book to movie adaptation that you’ve seen this year?

the girl on the train

I really enjoyed the adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train.  I loved the book, and thought that the film was really well done.

13) Favourite book post you’ve published this year?

I think that it’s nice to do the occasional post that isn’t a book review, and I do particularly like writing up by experiences at Hay Festival.  I also enjoyed putting together my Blogiversary Giveaway post, as it was a chance to give back something to everyone who has supported me over the last two years.

14) The most beautiful book you have bought/received this year?

The Wanderers by Meg Howrey.  I think that these pictures don’t quite do it justice, but the cover is lovely, and I love the little cut out detail, and the two little embossed people.  And those end papers!

15) What are some books that you need to read by the end of the year?

Here are a few of the books from my TBR that I REALLY want to read:

Skitter by Ezekial Boone – the follow up to The Hatching which I read last year and really enjoyed, despite the spiders!

The Ice by Laline Paull – I loved The Bees and can’t wait to read her second novel

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – a book I picked up this year’s Hay Festival.  I’m less familiar with Norse mythology, but I’m really looking forward to this

Yesterday by Felicia Yap – a debut novel that will be published in August, and that I’m lucky enough to have a proof of!


I’m tagging in:

Renee @ It’s book Talk

Laura @ Snazzy Books

Susan @ Books from Dusk Till Dawn

And anyone else that feels like taking part!

Blogiversary Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered my two year blogiversary giveaway to win this little bundle of goodies:

giveaway 1

Once again I was overwhelmed with the support and good wishes from you guys – book people really are the best people!

I’m thrilled to announce that the winner of the giveaway is:

Emma at damppebbles.com

Congratulations, Emma! I’ll be in touch shortly to get your details and will get your prize sent over to you in the next few days.  I hope you enjoy it!

Blogiversary Giveaway

At the weekend, I marked the two year anniversary of my blog, and said that I would do a giveaway to mark the occasion.  I have to say that I was overwhelmed by the good wishes I received – honestly, you guys are the best! 🙂

So, the giveaway – I’ve put together the following little package:

  • A signed copy of Paula Hawkins’ new novel, Into the Water
  • A Paperchase notebook
  • Some Hotel Chocolat goodies

To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on 8 June 2017 – the winner will be chosen at random after this date.  UK entrants only please!

It’s My Second Blogiversary!

Today, Jo’s Book Blog turns 2!

When I started this blog as a way of sharing my love of books with other like-minded people, I wasn’t sure whether it would work, whether I’d be able to put enough content together, whether anyone would actually give a monkey’s about my opinions.  I’ll be honest – two years in, I still have all these doubts, but what I have found is that the blogging community is absolutely wonderful, and I’ve “met” lots of wonderful people through running my blog, and it’s been worth it just for that!

So to celebrate, and as a little thank you, I’m going to put together a little giveaway, the details of which I’ll post in the next couple of days.

 

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