This Week in Books 18.01.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where I share what I’ve been up to in bookland this week

Hi guys, I’m enjoying a bit of a blog hiatus this month but I’m still posting this Wednesday post where I’ll simply be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now:  Heartless  ~ Marissa Meyer

Re-tellings can be very hit or miss for me but The Lunar Chronicles is one of my all-time favourite series so I’m hoping Meyer has struck gold again with this Wonderland re-imagining. We shall see…

Then:  Labyrinth – The Novelisation ~ A.C.H Smith

This book did exactly what I was hoping for – it got me out of my reading slump. Hurrah!!! Jareth never lets me down 🙂

Next: ??? 

Definitely Pagan Portals: Merlin by Elen Sentier. I should have reviewed this before the end of the year but y’know- life!

  

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

This Week in Books 11.01.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

 

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where I share what I’ve been up to in bookland this week

Hi guys, I’m enjoying a bit of a blog hiatus this month but I’m still posting this Wednesday post where I’ll simply be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now:  Labyrinth – The Novelisation

I’ve really not been reading much lately which is a bummer because I was hoping to spend my blog break reading ferociously to get a head start on the year. Hopefully this book will get me back into the groove. If anything can, this can!

Then:  A Mother’s Reckoning ~ Sue Klebold

This book was really interesting and I have so much I want to say about it!!! I won’t be posting a review until February though. Don’t worry, I have notes! It is being re-released Feb 9th.

I’ve also read one of the books I got for Christmas, Bowie: The Story of Rock’s Enduring Enigma by Mike Evans. The text itself wasn’t anything special (I’ve read quite a few Bowie books!) but the photographs and old posters in it were great.

Next: ??? 

Probably Heartless by Marissa Meyer which I got for my birthday and am verrrrry excited about. I do however need to read some ARCs…grr….we’ll see.

  

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

This Week in Books 04.01.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where I share what I’ve been up to in bookland this week

Happy New Year to you all! I hope you all had a wonderful end of year and all that jazz. I’m enjoying a bit of a blog hiatus this month but I’m still posting this Wednesday post where I’ll simply be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now: A Mother’s Reckoning ~ Sue Klebold

I barely got chance to read anything over Christmas due to being ill and being busy with family and … OK OK, I mainly didn’t get much reading done because I was drunk. I was ill as well, but mainly drunk. LOL.

But I’m back in action now and for some reason this was the first book on my list that I fancied picking up. It’s a true account of the Columbine High School shooting as told from the mother of one of the teenage gun-men. It’s really interesting so far.

Then:  Christmas Under a Starlit Sky ~ Holly Martin

I didn’t love this as much as the first book, but it was still a lovely read for just before Christmastime.

Next: ??? 

I have to make a start on some January ARCs but I’ll probably go for the best book I got for Christmas – the Labyrinth novelisation…which I’ve wanted for so long! I’m so happy it’s been reissued as I was never able to find a copy of the original version and, this one’s so pretty!

  

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

 

Festive Thursday: An Easy Christmas Craft & Recipe Ideas… #FestiveThursday

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Welcome to Festive Thursday where I’m going to be sharing with you all my Christmas endeavours, including the books I’m reading, the films I’ve watched, gift ideas I’ve found, and any festive events I’ve attended. Because, well, I LOVE CHRISTMAS SO HARD.

I’m not really a crafty person and get bored easily, but there is something about Christmas which compels me to make things. Or try to, at least. Here’s what I’ve been making in the last few weeks. They are both easy, and don’t require anything too complicated so if your Christmas spirit is waning, why not give one a go!?

Glitter Tree Decorations

I’ve made these a few times now, and they always come out great – and different every time. They are very simply glitter pony beads placed in cookie cutters and melted down n the oven for around 30-45 minutes, depending on the quality of the beads and how many you use. This year I used little zinc-plated nuts so you can thread them and hang them on your tree. Or in your window. Once cooled they pop out of the moulds pretty easily.

The beads do give off some fumes, so perhaps not suitable if small children are around. Simply use an extractor fan or open the back door for a while. And once your beads are melted, keep the oven on with the door open for a short while and bob’s yer uncle.

Cinnamon Shortbread

I’d never made shortbread before and didn’t realise how easy it is! Like ridiculously. And dangerously. I followed this traditional recipe but added some ginger too. And I made a cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top (simply mix brown sugar with ground cinnamon).

They were seriously delicious and they will be the first thing a make when I get to my parents house tomorrow, too. I think this time I’ll decorate with icing instead.

 Currently Reading

I was really looking forward to Georgette Heyer’s A Christmas Party, but I couldn’t for the life on me get into it so I replaced it with this one, which I’m enjoying and almost finished.

christmasatrosieRosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton, buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweetshop is festooned with striped candy canes, large tempting piles of Turkish Delight, crinkling selection boxes and happy, sticky children. She’s going to be spending it with her boyfriend, Stephen, and her family, flying in from Australia. She can’t wait.

But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community, all of Rosie’s plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Lipton? And is what’s best for the sweetshop also what’s best for Rosie?

 

Recently Watched

I finally gave in and watched Elf…it’s got to be one of the best. I can’t stand Will Ferrell in anything else but he’s great in this! I also watched Gremlins and Home Alone. Christmas films are the best. I’m saving A Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Frozen and Santa Claus -the Movie though. They definitely need to be watched with the family. 🙂

Blog Break

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post I’ll be taking a break over Christmas and into the New Year. I’ll still be posting & hosting This Week in Books, and will probably do some yearly round-up posts because they’re always fun, but my usual schedule won’t be back in action until January sometime. Thanks for all the comments, shares on Social media and for generally being awesome. 

All that’s left to say is Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays…etc. I hope you all have a lovely time. And if that’s not possible, at least get through it unscathed 😉 

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This Week in Books 21.12.16 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

Hi everyone, happy Wednesday! I going to be taking some time off from the blog over Christmas and New Year. I’m still going to post this Wednesday post each week but the shorter version where I simply share what I’m reading now, then and next. I’ll also no doubt be posting some yearly round-up posts but other than that don’t worry if it gets a bit quiet around here.

Look out for my last festive post tomorrow where I’ll sign off properly. Happy Holidays!

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Now: Christmas Under a Starlit Sky ~ Holly Martin

I’ve only just started this. It’s the second in her ‘A Town Called Christmas’ series.

Then:  Christmas at Rosie Hopkin’s Sweet Shop Jenny Colgan

I enjoyed this heart-warming story. I’ll try and review it before I go off on my Christmas break.

Next: ??? 

I’m not sure again this time. It really depends on my mood. And maybe on what Santa brings me! 🙂

  

So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

The Ones that Got Away: Unreviewed Books read in 2016 #MiniReviews

I read 8 books this year that I failed to write reviews for, which I think is pretty good going actually. So as we come to the end of the year, in the spirit of tying things up, here are some very, very short reviews for them, or at the very least reasons for my lack of review!

A Christmas Party ~ Georgette Heyer: I only read about 50 pages of this before giving up. It’s a closed-house murder mystery that I was really looking forward to but I just couldn’t get into to it at all. There were lots of characters and none of them were remotely pleasant!

The Enchanted ~ Rene Denfield: This was a really strange book about a man on death row. I was trying to put my thoughts together for a review but I think it took so long I forgot. I’m still not sure how I felt about it. It was written in a very interesting way…

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ~ Ransom Riggs: I didn’t finish this book. I wanted to read it before  I saw the film, but didn’t end up seeing it anyway. I think I wasn’t in the mood for it. I’ll hopefully go back to it at some point.

The Seeing Stone ~ Kevin Crossley- Holland: This was one of those books that had been on my TBR list for years. I love Arthurian stuff so thought I would love it, but I didn’t get on with it at all. I just managed to finish it but I wasn’t in the mood to write a terrible review of it.

Glass Sword ~ Victoria Aveyard: The second book in the Red Queen series was great. I enjoyed it a lot. I have no idea why I didn’t write a review for it!

Deception ~ Naomi Chase: I have actually reviewed this but for our library newsletter that we put together at work. Maybe I’ll share it one day. Deception is an ‘Urban Fiction’ book which are popular in the prison where I work. It wasn’t as bad as I was expecting!

The Colour of Milk ~ Nell Leyshon: This was a simple, short-but-sweet novel about a poor farm- servant who teaches herself to read. I liked it. Not sure why I didn’t review it at the time.

Goth Girl and the Pirate Queen ~ Chris Riddell: This was a short World Book Day story. I don’t remember much about it to be honest. I gave it 3 unicorns though so I must have liked it enough.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Early 2017 Releases #TTT

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

This week the topic is… Top Ten books I’m looking forward to in the first half of 2017.

It feels a bit premature to be looking to 2017 releases (especially considering I haven’t even done my November round-up yet), but we all know that it’s actually not!

Here are ten books that I hope to read in the first half of the year. They are not all necessarily released then.

The Chalk Pit – Elly Griffiths (23/2/17)

A Mother’s Reckoning – Sue Klebold (09/02/17)

Calling Major Tom – David M. Barnett (29/06/17)

Mercy of the Tide – Keith Rosson (21/02/17)

Girl in Disguise – Greer Macallister (21/03/17)

The Wingsnatcher’s – Sarah Jean Horowitz (25/04/17)

The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness (35/08/2015)

Wintersong – S. Jae-Jones (07/02/17)

The Chemist – Stephenie Meyer (08/11/16)

Heartless – Marissa Meyer (08/11/16)

 

 

 

The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson #BookReview #YA

silentsongbirdTitle: The Silent Songbird
Author: Melanie Dickerson
Series: Hagenheim #7
Format: Digital ARC, 304 pages
Publication Details: November 8th 2016 by Thomas Nelson
Genre(s): YA; Historical Fiction
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost.

Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.

To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage.

Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn’t even a servant.

Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England’s monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?

Review

My request-happy trigger finger strikes again and I requested this book based on the cover alone. What I didn’t realise was that it’s number 7 (SEVEN!) in a series, and that Melanie Dickerson is a popular Christian author. Oh dear.

Thankfully, the books in the  Hagenheim series can be read as stand-alones. Some characters do seem to crossover but each book follows a different protagonist. So no disasters so far.

The whole Christian thing however, was slightly more of an issue for me. I’m not religious at all, but I like to think I have an open mind so I didn’t let it put me off. And to be fair, I still enjoyed the story, but I did get a bit bored with all the praying. As the story progressed it got more and more preachy.

However, let’s go back to basics. The Silent Songbird is a gentle story about Evangeline, a sheltered princess-type who feels stifled living in the King’s castle. When the King insists she marry his conniving but trusted adviser, it’s the last straw and Evangeline runs away.

In a bid to hide her identity, she becomes Eva, and claims to be mute. She ends up working as a (pretty terrible) servant and falling in love with a handsome farm-boy.

There was definitely a lot to like in this book. I enjoyed the romance and that Evangeline could be feisty. I liked that she was willing to fight for what she wanted and that she wouldn’t settle for what most girls of her stature usually would. I thought she was a good role model.

Lord Shiveley, the man whom Evangeline has been promised to was a great villain who left a bad taste in my mouth and I was rooting for our protagonist and Westley the whole time.

I did however find the story pretty predictable, and as I said earlier, the praying and god-talk got a bit much at times. It was also supposed to be a retelling of  The Little Mermaid and other than the protagonist having red hair and a beautiful singing voice, I don’t think that came through much. There did seem to be lots of nods to The Princess Bride though, which I loved.

This was a nice introduction to Melanie Dickerson, and despite the Christian theme, I’d be interested to read more of her work; it was a very readable, enjoyable YA historical fiction romance.

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This Week in Books 07.12.16 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

Happy Wednesday to you all! I hope you’re all enjoying the beginning of December!

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

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Now: The Christmas Party ~ Georgette Heyer

I’ve only just started this so not much to report yet.

Then:  The Silent Songbird ~ Melanie Dickerson

I enjoyed this quick read but it was all a bit too Christian for me! My review will be up on Monday.

Next: ??? 

I’m not entirely sure this time. It really depends on my mood.

 

Waiting on Wednesday

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

I really hope I get approved for a copy of this as I really loved the first book, Into the Dim. It’s a long wait until its release. 

 

Expected publication: August 1st 2017 by HMH Books for Young Readers

New on the Shelves

(Linking up with Stacking the Shelves)

The only books I bought this week were presents so I won’t share those.

From Netgalley: 

The cover of this book is pure LOLS. I’m a bit obsessed with Scotland and men in kilts so I couldn’t help but click the ‘request’ button when i saw it. It’ll be good for a laugh if nothing else!

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So that’s my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

Leave your answers or the link to your post in the comments and I’ll take a look 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Best new-to-me authors read in 2016 #TTT

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

This week the topic is… Top Ten new-to-me authors in 2016!

I discovered so many great authors again this year, and finally got round to reading some of those that had been on my TBR for way too long.

Here are my top ten authors that I discovered or first read this year, (and the books of theirs I read). Links go to my reviews.

10. Holly Martin (Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky)

9. Liz Kessler (Haunt Me)

8. Leigh Bardugo (Shadow & Bone)

7. Natalie Haynes (The Amber Fury)

6. Nina LaCour (You Know Me Well – with David Levithan)

5. Janet B. Taylor (Into the Dim)

4. Danielle Vega (The Merciless)

3. Catherine Lowell (The Madwoman Upstairs)

2. Madeline Miller (The Song of Achilles)

1. Jason Arnopp (The Last Days of Jack Sparks)

Did you try any of these this year?