WWW Wednesday 30.07.14

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

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Currently Reading:
I’m just about to start One of Us by Tawni O’Dell which is an ARC review. It sounds pretty creepy.

Recently Finished:
This week I finished The Princess Bride by William Goldman which was great, and The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas which I have mixed feelings about because I’m not a huge fan of novellas…but it was good a collection. Review to follow.

Up Next:
After taking a quick ARC break I’m back to the TBR pile to try and catch up on the TBR Reading Pile challenge. It could be Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides, or Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon…or let’s face it, about a hundred others.

What about you lot?

Top Ten Tuesday: Battle of the Authors

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: The Top Ten Authors You Own the Most Books By.

Ooooh I liked this one! There’s something really satisfying about having multiple books by the same author. I particularly enjoy my Derek Landy shelf because I have them all in hardback and they’re beautiful!

Firstly, here is my main bookshelf in all its glory. It’s actually quite tidy at the moment.

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1. Darren Shan (16)

  • The Saga of Darren Shan (12)
  • The City Trilogy (as D.B Shan, 3)
  • Lady of the Shades

2. Derek Landy (10)

  • Skulduggery Pleasant (9)
  • The Maleficent Seven

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3. William Shakespeare (9)

  • Hamlet
  • Othello (2)
  • King Lear
  • Twelfth Night
  • The Tempest
  • The Complete works of… (2)
  • Tales from Shakespeare

4. C.S Lewis (8)

  • The Chronicles of Narnia (7)
  • That Hideous Strength

5. Scarlett Thomas (7)

  • Dead Clever
  • Bright Young Things
  • Going Out
  • PopCo
  • The End of Mr Y
  • Our Tragic Universe
  • Monkeys with Typewriters

6. Rachel Caine (7)

  • The Morganville Vampires (7)

 

7. R .L Stine (6)

  • Assorted Point Horror (6)

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= Philip Pullman (6)

  • His Dark Materials (3)
  • Sally Lockhart (2)
  • Clockwork 

=Stephenie Meyer (6)

  • Twilight (4)
  • The Host

8. Stephen King (5)

  • The Shining/Doctor Sleep (2)
  • Needful Things
  • Cujo
  • Under the Dome

9. James Frey (4)

  • A Million Little Pieces/ My Friend Leonard (2)
  • Bright Shiny Morning
  • The Final Testament of the Holy Bible

10. Bateman (4)

  • Mystery Man (4)

I could keep going with the 4’s for a while  but I won’t. I also felt like I should have included Alice Hoffman and Susan Hill because I’ve read so many books by them, but for one reason or another I haven’t kept them all.

I’m especially interested to see everyone else’s list this week – feel free to leave a link to yours :)

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

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Title: The Princess Bride
Author: William Goldman
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 399 Pages
Published: October 20th 1999 by Bloomsbury (first published 1973)
Genre(s): Fantasy; Adventure; Classics
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads
Purchase

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be…well…a lot less than the man of her dreams?

As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad’s recitation, and only the “good parts” reached his ears.

Now Goldman does Dad one better. He’s reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.

What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it’s about everything.

I feel like this is quite a hard book to review because the story is so iconic, thanks in the most part to the cult film. Whether you grew up with the film like I did or not, I’m sure most people are at least aware of it.

The Princess Bride is mainly about the strong-willed and beautiful Buttercup and her one true love Westley, who have to overcome all odds to be together.

It’s not very often that I see the film before reading the book either, and in this case I’d seen the film a lot. But I needn’t have worried, because I loved the book just as much.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the introduction and commentary from Goldman, but I really did. I found it fascinating to hear about his love of the original book despite never having actually read it himself, all of the issues in getting the book to the big screen, and the conversations between him and his editor and lawyer.

But clearly, the best thing about the book is the adventure story. There’s plenty of action, close escapes and sword fights, all wrapped-up in a slightly bizarre satirical package. You get a bit more of a back story to the main characters too, and I totally fell in love with Inigo Montoya, much more than I did in the film.

It’s a classic fantasy story that appeals to all ages, which I think is quite rare these days. I could literally recommend it to anyone and everyone.

unicorn rating 4

The Princess Bride is available in paperback from Waterstones now. See how you can get 10% off here!

YALC UK 2014 Book Haul

I meant to post this like two weeks ago. Better late than never, right?

Here are the books I picked up at the Young Adult Literature Convention & London Comic Con earlier this month.

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These books were all free. Girl done good. I’ve already read and reviewed Immortal Beloved. The Mission is the second in a series, so I need to find the first one, The Hit first. I love the vivid yellow pages though. I’m also really intrigued by the new Scott Westerfeld book. I was lucky enough to grab the last proof copy they had.

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These two were from Hot Key Books’ genius bookswap. I’ve been meaning to read Ally Condie’s series for ages so I was really pleased to pick up a copy. Embers was a good find too, there was a tag in the book to tweet about finding it, and the author got in touch to say that she will send me the other two books in the trilogy if I like this one. YAY thanks, Amy!

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There was also a free sci-fi book stand at LFCC to spread the work about the 72nd World Science Fiction convention held in London next month. These ones took my fancy!

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After attending the Going Graphic talk, I had to buy this Manga Shakespeare Hamlet, and got it signed by the lovely Emma.

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This was my own copy of my favourite Sedgwick book which I took to get signed. He was so lovely. And I love that he drew me a coffin.

You can read my YALC experience in full here, if you so wish.

Friday Feature: Man Booker Prize Time Again

I’m pretty sure that last year I decided that no one really cares about the Man Booker Prize, but I still can’t help being intrigued as to what’s made the list.

Following last year’s controversy when it was announced that the prize was being opened up to International authors (with UK Publisher) after 46 years, it seems the longlist is not quite as overrun by American authors as some feared, although they do make up a third of the entries.

The most interesting thing about the nominees this year though, I think, is that one of the novels was funded entirely by its readers. The Wake, by Paul Kingsnorth is the first crowdfunded novel to ever be nominated for such a prestigious literary prize. And I must say, it sounds like one of the more interesting reads on the list.

thewakeEveryone knows the date of the Battle of Hastings. Far fewer people know what happened next…Set in the three years after the Norman invasion, The Wake tells the story of a fractured band of guerilla fighters who take up arms against the invaders. Carefully hung on the known historical facts about the almost forgotten war of resistance that spread across England in the decade after 1066, it is a story of the brutal shattering of lives, a tale of lost gods and haunted visions, narrated by a man of the Lincolnshire fens bearing witness to the end of his world. Written in what the author describes as ‘a shadow tongue’ – a version of Old English updated so as to be understandable for the modern reader – The Wake renders the inner life of an Anglo-Saxon man with an accuracy and immediacy rare in historical fiction. To enter Buccmaster’s world is to feel powerfully the sheer strangeness of the past.

The Longlist in Full

Joshua Ferris (American) – To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)

Richard Flanagan (Australian) – The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)

Karen Joy Fowler (American) – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent’s Tail)

Siri Hustvedt (American) – The Blazing World (Sceptre)

Howard Jacobson (British) – J (Jonathan Cape)

Paul Kingsnorth (British) – The Wake (Unbound)

David Mitchell (British) – The Bone Clocks (Sceptre)

Neel Mukherjee (British) – The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)

David Nicholls (British) – Us (Hodder & Stoughton)

Joseph O’Neill (Irish/American) – The Dog (Fourth Estate)

Richard Powers (American) – Orfeo (Atlantic Books)

Ali Smith (British) – How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)

Niall Williams (Irish) – History of the Rain (Bloomsbury)

The Shortlist will be announced 9th Sept

More info on the nominees and titles

Thoughts?

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #6

This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

It’s been a while since I did one of these posts so there should be lots to talk about but….

1. Why is it that every time I come to write this post I completely forget about all the things I wanted say? It’s like a curse. I even leave links to things I wanted to mention in a draft post, but by the time I come to write it, I’ve forgotten what I had to say about it. Must try harder.

2. Does anyone remember Jim Henson’s The Storyteller? I loved it so much. My memory of it was jogged because it’s being made into a graphic novel and it looks stunning. I’m kind of on a graphic novel kick since Comic Con a few weekends back. But more on that later.

Archaia, the official publisher of Jim Henson comics and graphic novels, is launching a new comics miniseries based on one of Henson’s franchises. The Storyteller: Witches will focus on different folk tales just like the television series from the late ’80s. The Storyteller featured a narrator sitting in a cozy chair by the fireplace; he told viewers about magical creatures and happenings. As the Storyteller wove his tales, you watched them come to life before your eyes.

More info and photos here!

3. How have I only just discovered Gay of Thrones?????. It’s brilliant.


 
4. I was thinking about publisher websites the other day. I rarely go on them and wonder if maybe I should? I know some publishers have their own reading groups and forums, and some seem to have their own reading services for bloggers. I only really use NetGalley, but now I’m starting to think maybe I’m missing out..Am I…AM I?

5. Two really good things (and one potentially bad thing) came out of my weekend spent at the first YA Lit Convention (YALC) which took place at London Comic Con a couple of weeks ago:

5.1 It definitely seemed to start a buzz about YA in this country and hopefully the genre will continue to go from strength to strength and maybe even gain some credibility – stranger things have happened.

In the News:
The Guardian – Why You Should YA

The Telegraph – YALC Review

Grown-Ups: You can read YA!

5.2. It inspired me to dust off my unfinished YA manuscript which I’ve been ‘working’ on for YEARS. I hadn’t even looked at it for about 18 months, and it was pretty much as bad as I feared, but I’m enjoying the puzzle that is a complete rewrite. For now!

5.3. My slight obsession over Peter Petrelli Milo ventimiglia has come back with a vengeance after seeing him in all his bearded glory at Comic Con. My friend Dora and I had a film night at the weekend consisting of the classic that is Pathology (hot) and this HILARIOUSLY bad Hammer Horror-esque vampire porn. Hello.


 
My review of YALC and LFCC can be found here: Part 1 / Part 2

6. I went to see Begin Again, the new Kiera Knightley film and I actually quite liked it (the trailer looked pretty awful). There’s just something I love about films about musicians. Maybe it’s because I wish I was musical, but I’m so far from it – I barely know what an instrument is. I quite like music-based books too and found this list of YA Music-Based Books on MTV.com the other day. Oh look, my wishlist just expanded.

7. I’ve been back on a healthy eating & more exercise mission the last few weeks. It’s going pretty well. I made THE best tuna burgers the other day. Seriously, THE BEST!

8. I’m kinda over the summer already. I want it to be Winter. I love Winter! I want cosy nights in, hot chocolate, mulled wine and fairy lights, and I want it now. I’m sick of getting sunburnt, I’m sick of hayfever and my constantly itchy face and I got biten all over my legs the other weekend so I’ve had to cover them up. It’s too hot for that. Roll on Christmas.

9. I can’t shake the idea of moving somewhere new. I’ve been wanting to do it for ages but it’s hard to know where to start. I think I need a new adventure.

10. I’ve been using Pinterest for a while and I really like it. It took me a while to figure out what the point of it was, but I think I have now. I’ve started using it to post about my blog too, not many seem to do it, and I wonder why…

Well, that’s what’s been on my mind lately. You should join the fun and tell us what’s on yours!

Of River & Reyn: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

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Title: Immortal Beloved
Series: Immortal Beloved #1
Author: Cate Tiernan
Edition: Paperback, 400 Pages
Published: September 1st 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genre(s): YA; Paranormal
Disclosure? Not really, I got it for free from YALC UK

Goodreads
Purchase

Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something’s got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.

Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe–until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with this book. It started off pretty dire to be honest and I was just about to give up on it when I glanced at some of the reviews on Goodreads. Most of them said the same – a terrible start but that it gets much better. So I persevered.

I guess I am glad that I did, because it did get much better, but I’m still not entirely convinced.

Immortal Beloved starts with our protagonist Nastasya and her group of friends whose entire mission in life is to party all night and sleep all day. It’s all a bit cliched. We soon learn that they are immortal, and apparently the only way to spend their time is to get wasted and hook up with each other, or any willing mortals they can find.

I found the whole thing pretty boring and repetitive.

The point at which something worthwhile happens is when Nastasya’s best friend/sort-of boyfriend/immortal life partner, Incy uses ‘magick’ to break a cab driver’s back for no apparent reason. This, thankfully, doesn’t sit well with Nastasya. She develops a conscience overnight, realising what a terrible path she she is on with her terrible immortal friends, and she decides to leave.

She runs away to America to find River, an immortal she met a hundred-or-so- years earlier when she was involved in a car crash. River, a mysterious, hippy-type, had told Nastasya to seek her out at River’s Edge when she’s ready to be a better person.

I couldn’t help but think that this is where the book should had started – instead of the mess that was the first 70 pages – then as a reader we’d wonder what had driven her to this point, and the cab-driver incident could be revealed in a flashback. But it’s not my book, what do I know!?

River’s Edge turns out to be a working farm, which acts as a sort of rehab to immortals who want to be reminded to appreciate every day.

Because of the relative length of our lives, so many things lose importance or become lost themselves [...] we forget how to value things, how to feel things. We forget how to love. [...] What we start off doing here is to give you a crash course in relearning the significance of moments, of minutes.

I did kind of like that idea, but the constant descriptions of Natasya scrubbing vegetables and washing dishes in order to appreciate every moment was just way too dull. It was like she’d entered into the dullest cult on the planet.

However, there were a few saving graces in this book. Enter Reyn – the viking-esque, grumpy hottie whom Nastaya recognises but can’t place. Between Reyn and good magick classes, Nastasya starts having flashbacks to when she was growing up in Iceland (another saving grace) before she knew she was immortal.

Without giving away the whole plot, let’s just say that Reyn becomes Nastasya’s public enemy #1, but he’s just so damn hot! Can she resist him?

Thwooooarrrrr!

And that, my friends is the ONLY reason I have to continue with the series. Hot, Viking Reyn – a combination of Eric Northman and Hemsworth’s Thor in my mind. More please.

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Immortal Beloved is available in paperback from Waterstones. Click here to see how you can get 10% off.

WWW Wednesday 22.07.2014

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

Hope you’re all having a good Wednesday – the weekend will be here before we know it. Hurrah!

Here are my answers to those burning Ws this week…

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Currently Reading: The Princess Bride by William Goldman
I’m almost finished with this one, and I’ve loved every minute of it, as I knew I would. Any fans of the film will love it too.

Recently Finished: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan
I had a lot of issues with this book, but I’m kind of addicted to its badness. I’ve scheduled my review/rant to go out tomorrow so check back then :)

Up Next: ???
Probably Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3) or The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass Novellas) by Sarah J. Maas, but it should be A Midsummer Night’s Dream as I was supposed to read it in June for the Once Upon A Time challenge…but I failed.

Top Ten Tuesday: Desert Island Companions

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten characters you would want to be stranded on a desert island with.

I was really excited about this topic when I first saw it, but then I totally hit a blank. The only ones I could come up with were ones that surely everyone will choose (Katniss, Tris etc – everyone who could do all the hard work so I could sit back and relax on the beach), but after some brainstorming I came up with the following. And I still had to include Katniss – it’s impossible not to, SOZ.


Katniss (The Hunger Games)

Let’s just get it out of the way. She’d do all the hunting and cooking, and I’d make her bracelets out of foliage. Or something.

Let’s Break it down: 80% Skillz & Protection; 15% in the hope that Gale would come and rescue us; 5% for company


Katsa & Po (Graceling)

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I think they’d both be pretty handy on a desert island, and even though they’re a couple, they wouldn’t make you sick with loveydovey nonsense because they’re all about getting things done. They’re both pretty hot, and kick-ass (despite becoming blind in Po’s case).

Let’s Break it down: 60% Skillz & Protection; 40 % Hotness & Company

Dimitri (Vampire Academy)

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He can be a bit of an idiot sometimes for sure, but I’m sure I could take his mind off Rose for a while. Let’s put it this way, I wouldn’t be frantically trying to make a raft out of my back hair if I was stuck on an island with him. Not that I have back hair, of course.

Let’s Break it down: 80% Hotness; 20% Skillz & Protection

Jeff (Dark Eden)

Jeff was the pretty much the only likeable character in Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden, and he’d be totally useful on a desert island. He’d make shoes out of leaves and find a bizarre species of animal to tame and breed. He’d probably figure out how to use a tree to catapult them home or something.

Let’s Break it down: 100 % Skillz & Intelligence

Captain Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles)

No doubt Captain Thorne would think he’d have all the answers but they probably wouldn’t quite work out so you’d be stuck there for a while. It wouldn’t really matter though, he’d keep you entertained.

Let’s Break it down: 100 % for the LOLZ & Company

Westley & Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride)

This is my current read and although I’m a huge fan of the film, it’s the first time I’ve read Goldman’s book – I love it. I think having both Westley (for the swoon) and Inigo (for protection and the lolz) stuck on an island with me would be swell. Both of them would be full of stories, and they know how to look after a lady. I can be that lady!

Let’s Break it down: 50% for the LOLZ & Company; 25% for the Skillz; 25% Hotness

Aslan (The Chronicles of Narnia)

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It’s usually pretty hard to pin Aslan down. He generally turns up just when you need him and disappears again straight after so you never get to ask all those burning questions for have for him. You’d definitely have time to do that on a deserted island. Plus, he could breathe on some fire wood to set it alight, or heal you if you chop your own hand off with a makeshift machete.

Let’s Break it down: 70% Company; 30% Skillz & Protection

Peter Pan

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He’s pretty cute and clever, and you know, he’s got that whole ‘never grow up’ thing going for him so when you’re getting old and can’t bend down to spear the fish anymore, he’ll be as spritely as the day you washed up on the beach. I would tell him stories and be his Wendy. Obviously.

Let’s Break it down: 50% Skillz; 50% Company

Out Now: Binds That Tie by Kate Moretti

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Title: Binds That Tie
Author: Kate Moretti
Series: N/A
Genre(s): Crime; Thriller
Format(s): Paperback; Kindle
Pages: 340
Published: March 2014 by Red Adept Publishing

Links:
Goodreads
Read an Excerpt
Purchase:
Amazon

Synopsis

Love ties. Murder binds.

Maggie never felt as though she belonged until Chris Stevens showed her what true happiness meant. Ten years into their marriage, miscarriages and infidelities have scarred them both. Despite their perfect-couple image, Maggie can’t look at Chris with anything but resentment. When a charismatic stranger offers the opportunity for a little harmless flirtation, she jumps into the game.

But charm soon turns to malice, and a deadly split-second decision forces Maggie and Chris onto a dangerous path fraught with secrets, lies, and guilt. With no one else to turn to—no one she dares trust—Maggie will ultimately learn just how binding marital ties can be.

Meet the Author

katieKate Moretti is the New York Times Bestselling author of the women’s fiction novel, Thought I Knew You. Her second novel Binds That Tie was released in March 2014. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and a dog. She’s worked in the pharmaceutical industry for ten years as a scientist, and has been an avid fiction reader her entire life.

She enjoys traveling and cooking, although with two kids, a day job, and writing, she doesn’t get to do those things as much as she’d like.

Her lifelong dream is to buy an old house with a secret passageway. (ME TOO!)

Website
Facebook
Twitter

Say Whaaaaaat?

“It was almost impossible to put this book down. The suspense was intense. The storyline powerful.” - Meghan, Goodreads

Binds That Tie is a page-turning, plot-twisting, gripping crime novel that will suck you in from the very first word and make your jaw drop at the end.”

-Sarah DiCello, Amazon

“I was hooked from the beginning….. Binds That Tie is a real page turner, full of sympathetic and flawed characters struggling to make their relationships work, but who end up being their own worst enemies.” -W.S Haggard, Goodreads