Friday Feature: Book Deals For Christmas!

Hi Guys,

As a member of the Waterstones affiliate program I’m thrilled to offer some extra deals as part of their Black Friday offers. I don’t like the idea of this whole Black Friday thing, nor do I like trying to convince people to spend money, but we all love a book deal, right!?

And sometimes these things are necessary. Without wanting you all to get the violins out, I was made redundant last month so every little helps at the moment. If any of my posts have inspired you buy a book, or buy one as a gift I’d really appreciate it if you’d consider buying from Waterstones via one of the banners on my blog. I get a teeny bit of commission and you get to buy a book at a good price, from an actual bookshop rather than Amazon!

Waterstones deliver worldwide, but offer free delivery to the UK.

And so to the deals (click on the banners to view to full ranges) :

Half Price Bestsellers

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For a limited time only

30% Off Paperbacks

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On-going Waterstones deal

PLUS An Extra 10% Off At Checkout

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Until December 2nd!

Terms:
Discount code is valid until 12pm, Tuesday 2nd December 2014.
Discount code can only be used on Waterstones.com and not in Waterstones bookshops.
Discount code cannot be used with Click & Collect.
Discount codes do not apply to Kindle, Kindle accessories, eBooks, eBook Reader accessories, audio downloads or gift cards.

Thanks in advance, happy reading/giving!!

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Festive Thursday: Pickled Onions, London Events & Tree Decorating!

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Every Thursday I’m going to be sharing with you all of my Christmas preparation, the books I’m reading, the films I’ve watched, gift ideas I’ve found, and the festive events I’ve attended. Because, well, I LOVE CHRISTMAS SO HARD.

Before I start, Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends & visitors! 🙂

This week, the festive season really kicked off for me. My mum came to visit at the weekend and we just couldn’t NOT spend the whole weekend doing Christmassy things. I also completed stage one of my Christmas Hampers and enjoyed a Christmas film or three.

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1. The Ideal Christmas Home Show: Thanks to a friend I managed to get two free tickets to the exhibition show at Earl’s Court. In theory it was beautiful and festive, full of Christmas gifts & decoration ideas and freebies. In practice, it was beautiful and festive, but it was also so rammed so you could hardly move through the stalls, never mind get your hands on the freebies. We still managed to have fun though. We hugged a snowman and drank many a mulled wine, so no real complaints here!

2. Southbank Christmas Market, London: My mum had never been to the Southbank so after I picked her up from Euston we had a wander along the Thames sampling the delights of the Christmas market they have there every year. They’ve changed it quite a lot this year, incorporating a huge cider lodge, a Christmas train (which looked quite pathetic to be honest), and also a Christmas tree maze which I was excited about, but it didn’t look worth £4! We tried some amazing toffee vodka, and enjoyed a steaming cup of mulled wine with brandy. Welcome to Christmas.

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3. Decorating: You may think it’s too early, but it’s not! 😉 I have great childhood memories of decorating the Christmas tree with my mum. Since I moved to London I always miss that part of Christmas, as by the time I get back home, the tree and everything is already up. So on Saturday we decided to do some shopping and decorate my flat. It’s still not finished, but the tree is looking great. Thanks to Mumsy! 🙂

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4. Too Many Festive Books?
While I was compiling my Top Ten Winter Reads for this year, I realised just how many festive books I’m planning on reading. And the list keeps growing thanks to you fellow bloggers! How many is too many??

5. Christmas Hampers: This year I’m buying very few presents, and instead have decided to give homemade hampers to family and friends. I thought about doing it last year too, but never got round to it and seeing as I got made redundant last month it makes sense to do it this year. But it’s not just about not having the money, I think spending time making something is a much nicer gift than anything I could buy. I just hope I can pull it off. The first stage was to pickle some onions, which I am now storing in a dark vault, to pickle away ready for Christmas. Find out what stage two consists of next week!

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How are your Christmas preparations going? Let me know!

Also, I’m not sharing these posts on FB as I don’t want my family to see what I’m putting in my Christmas Hampers, I’m hoping they don’t check my blog that often (if at all)…if you do, LOOK AWAY ON THURSDAYS!!!

WWW Wednesday 26.11.14

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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:
My mum was visiting at the weekend so I didn’t get any reading done. I’m therefore still reading Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen but hoping to blaze through it today, I’ve enjoyed it so far!

Recently Finished:
The last one I finished was Poison by Chris Wooding. Loved it! My review will be up on Saturday.

Up Next:
The Barefoot Queen by Ildefonso Falcones, and then I’m all over some cosy Christmas reads!

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter Reads!

toptentuesday 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 Books On My Winter To Be Read List

Winter is my favourite reading season. Most people love Summer reading, propped up against a tree, or on a beach. But I prefer a cosy open fire (a radiator), an afghan throw (a snuggie) and steaming cup of hot chocolate (mulled wine).

Here are the top ten books I’m looking forward to reading this winter. They fall into two categories, advanced copies I have queued up, and a few stragglers that either I didn’t get through last year, or have on the top of my TBR pile.

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The Darkest Part of the Forest – Holly Black: I hope this is a bit more adult than Doll Bones was. I love Holly Black though, so have high hopes for this! Released January 13th

Mr Miracle – Debbie Macomber: Last Christmas I read my first Debbie Macomber in Starry Night and really liked it. Hoping for more great festive trash in this one.

Snow Angels, Secrets & Christmas Cake – Sue Watson: You may sense a theme here.

A Christmas to Remember – Jenny Hale: All the festive reads!

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard: I can’t tell you how happy I was when I got approved for this. It looks amazing. Released Feb 10th.

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An English Ghost Story – Kim Newman: This was the only book I didn’t get round to reading on my Horror October list. It looks perfect for a dark and dreary night!

Last Stand of Dead Men (Skulduggery Pleasant #8)- Derek Landy: I’ve had this book on my TBR pile all year. I am determined to finish this series. This is the penultimate book, and the last one was released recently.

A Christmas Visitor – Anne Perry: I’ve never read any Anne Perry before. I bought this one last year but didn’t get round to reading it, so I’ve been saving it for the festive season. 🙂

The Magic of Christmas – Trisha Ashley: I fell in love with Trisha’s The Twelve Days of Christmas and have read it the past three Christmasses running, so when I saw this one in a charity shop I couldn’t resist. I’ll give this one a go this year instead.

The Maze Runner – James Dashner: I did the bad thing of watching the movie before reading the book. I actually really liked the movie though and now I neeeeeeeed to know what happens next. I’ll probably try and get through this one as quickly as possible just to get to book 2!

I look forward to seeing what’s on your lists. My bookshelves are groaning at the thought though.

Printer’s Devil Court by Susan Hill

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Title: Printer’s Devil Court
Author: Susan Hill
Series: N/A
Edition: Hardback, 128 pages
Publication Details: September 25th 2014 by Profile Books
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Nope! I bought it.

Goodreads
Purchase

A mysterious manuscript lands on the desk of the step-son of the late Dr Hugh Meredith, a country doctor with a prosperous and peaceful practice in a small English town. From the written account he has left behind, however, we learn that Meredith was haunted by events that took place years before, during his training as a junior doctor near London’s Fleet Street, in a neighbourhood virtually unchanged since Dickens’s times.

Living then in rented digs, Meredith gets to know two other young medics, who have been carrying out audacious and terrifying research and experiments. Now they need the help of another who must be a doctor capable of total discretion and strong nerves.

‘Remember that what you know you can never un-know. If you are afraid, then…’

Review

Printer’s Devil Court is a short novella from acclaimed horror writer Susan Hill. I’ve enjoyed a lot of Susan Hill’s books over the years, and this one was no exception, but I can’t help just wanting to talk about how pretty this edition is. It’s really stunning with its embossed dark red dust jacket. I love it!

The story is deserving of such a beautiful cover too, which is always good.

As with many of Susan Hill’s ghost stories, this one is set in the Victorian era and is instantly chilling and atmospheric.

It follows an ambitious young doctor and his medical student friends who share a house in Printer’s Devil Court. Unbeknownst to our protagonist-and all-round-good-guy Hugh Meredith, he swears himself to secrecy and is embroiled in some unsavoury experiments on the dead. In turn, he finds himself being haunted by one of the experiments gone wrong.

I love the way Susan Hill creates spooky atmospheres in her books, and in this one we are taken through dark, isolated streets and foggy cemeteries as we weave our way through the nitty-gritty of the story.

I’m not usually a huge fan of stories as short as this, but I think it really works for ghost stories. They don’t need to be drawn out so much as long as the spooky elements are built up well, and Susan Hill is a genius at that.

I thought this was an absolute perfect read for a dark and stormy night.

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Printer’s Devil Court is available to buy here from Waterstones where you can also download a preview.

Festive Thursdays are Back!

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If you missed the memo, IT’SSSSSSSSSSSSS CHRISSSSSSSSSSSTMASSSSS! Or at least it’s fast approaching!

If you can’t tell, I’m already as excited as a 6 year old on Christmas morning, and I’m so pleased I can do these posts again.

Every Thursday I’m going to be sharing with you all of my Christmas preparation, the books I’m reading, the films I’ve watched, gift ideas I’ve found, and the festive events I’ve attended. Because, well, I LOVE CHRISTMAS SO HARD.

This was only meant as an introductory post, but I’ve already got so many things to talk about, so I’ll leave you with a small taster of things to come:

The Christmas Lights Switch On: The lights were switched on where I live last week, (too early some might say). There were real reindeer and a real-life snow globe with ballet dancers and glitter. It was magical. But more on that next week!

The German Christmas Market: The German Christmas market is back in town and I’ve already sampled the mulled wine (average) and tried on the animal hats (standard). But I am yet devour a bratwurst. Nothing says Christmas like bratwurst, right?

Dying For Christmas: I am, obviously. But I’m talking about my current read. Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen is out today, so I need to get a move on. It’s not the most Christmassy-looking book to kick of my festive reading but I think it’s going to be a great read.

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I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. After that, there’ll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out .

But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you?”

WWW Wednesday 19.11.2014

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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?

I’m back with another WWW Wednesday post after missing last week. Things have just been a bit hectic around here, and I’ve been working weird hours so my schedule was thrown all out of whack. But anyhoo, I’m hoping to catch up and get back on track ASAP.

Here’s what I’ve been up to since the last post – reading has been slow but I’m working on it.

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Currently Reading:
I’m almost done with Poison by Chris Wooding which is kind of a dark and twisted mish-mash of fairy tale stories meets Alice in Wonderland. I also started Dying For Christmas by Tammy Cohen, which is released tomorrow. Review will be up ASAP.

Recently Finished:
The last book I finished was Back to Blackbrick by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald which was great. Click on the title to read my review.

Up Next:
I need to get a move on with some ARCs, including The Barefoot Queen, and Mr Miracle by Debbie Macomber. I’m so excited to start some festive reading!!!

What about you guys?

Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels to Read!

toptentuesday 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 Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get

As most of you know, I’m terrible at finishing series, so I limited the ones I started this year, but, there are still some I’m dying to get my hands on. Therefore this week, I’m doing the top ten sequels that I need to read, whether I already own or need to get.

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1. Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) – OMG March needs to hurry the hell up! I Need This! The second Seraphina book is due for release March 10th, and promises to be ‘an epic battle between humans and dragons.’ Eeeek.

2. Endgame: The Training Diaries – I really liked Endgame: The Calling and I’m intrigued to read these prequels. I think focusing on one player at a time will really help us get to know them better than we did in the first book. The first novella is released December 16th, e-book only.

3. Dark Satanic Mills – I don’t know if this graphic novel is going to have a sequel, BUT IT NEEDS TO. I loved it, but I wasn’t at all satisfied with the ending. It was definitely left open for more, so fingers crossed. I reviewed it here.

4. Knife Edge (Noughts & Crosses #2) – OK so ‘can’t wait’ clearly doesn’t apply here as I read the first book, Noughts & Crosses, years ago. I gave it 5/5 and always intended on carrying on with the series, but you know how it is. I will get a copy of this. I WILL!

5. Fairest & Winter (The Lunar Chronicles 3.5 & #4 – All of the Lunar Chronicles, I need it all! Favourite series of the year…may it continue to reign! The novella, Fairest is due for release Feb 15th, and Winter is expected November 2015. SOB!

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6. The Bane Chronicles – Yes I’m counting this as a sequel. It’s a spin-off from The Mortal Instruments series, in which I only got up to book 3. But, Magnus Bane and Alec, or Malec as all the cool kids like to call them were my favourite characters (totally hot, right?), and now they have their own book. Ahhhh me, me me!

7. Heir of Fire (Throne of glass #3) – This is another one that I fully intended to read straight away but just haven’t got round to. I love this series though so I need to make time ASAP!

8. The Heir (The Selection #4) – I did a whole fangirling post on this here. I am obsessed with The Selection Series, but worried this new incarnation of it might be taking it too far. Some things should end when they are at their peak…no? That’s just the cynic in me talking. Move along. The Heir is expected to be released in May 2015.

9. Last Stand of Dead Men (Skulduggery Pleasant #8) – I’ve totally fallen behind with this series, but there are only two books left. I’ve had the penultimate one sitting on my shelf since the start of year. I need a slap.

10. Empire of Shadows #2: I really loved Daughter of Camelot and have been waiting patiently for details of the next book ever since. Please hurry!

Back to Blackbrick by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

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Title: Back to Blackbrick
Author: Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 272 pages
Publication Details: February 7th 2013 by Orion Children’s Books
Genre(s): YA; Sci-Fi
Disclosure? Nope! I borrowed it from Dora. Thanks Dora.

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Purchase


Cosmo’s brother Brian died when he was ten years old. His mum hides her grief by working all the hours God sends and Cosmo lives with his grandparents. They’ve been carefree days as Granddad buys him a horse called John and teaches him all he knows about horses. But the good times have to come to an end and although he doesn’t want to admit it, Cosmo knows his Granddad is losing his mind. So on one of the rare occasions when Granddad seems to recognise him, Cosmo is bemused that he gives him a key to Blackbrick Abbey and urges him to go there. Cosmo shrugs it off, but gradually Blackbrick draws him in…

Cosmo arrives there, scared and lonely, and is dropped off at the crumbling gates of a huge house. As he goes in, the gates close, and when he turns to look, they’re rusty and padlocked as if they haven’t been opened in years. Cosmo finds himself face to face with his grandfather as a young man, and questions begin to form in his mind: can Cosmo change the course of his family’s future?

 Review

I really enjoyed Sarah’s second YA novel, The Apple Tart of Hope which I got through Netgalley, so I was eager to go back to her first offering, Back to Blackbrick.

Like The Apple Tart of Hope, Back to Blackbrick is a quirky read told in a unique voice. It seems to me that both of Sarah’s stories are full of juxtapositions; they are set in the real world yet have fantasy elements; they are humorous and light-hearted, yet also deal with serious subject matter.

I love that about Sarah’s writing. It feels real but magical at the same time.

Back to Blackbrick is narrated by Cosmo. He hates his name, the fact that his brother died in such a stupid manner (he fell out of a window), his mother for getting on a plane and never coming back, the school kids who call him Loser Boy, and that his granddad’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse by the day.

But Cosmo is a spirited boy. He doesn’t despair too much over these things and he definitely doesn’t dwell on them. Instead, he throws himself into helping his granddad to remember things.

When his granddad gives him a mysterious key, along with the name Blackbrick, and asks him to promise to go there, Cosmo sets off on his own adventure. Beyond his imagination, Cosmo opens the gates to Blackbrick and finds himself face-to-face with his granddad, only he’s 50 years younger….

Can Cosmo use this time lapse to his advantage? He wants to teach his granddad good mind practices, and stop his brother from falling out of the window, but that might not be so simple as it’s easy to get swept away with life at Blackbrick.

I thought this book was beautifully told, funny, and well, just cute. I can’t think of any better way to describe it than that. It was exciting in parts, sad in others, but Cosmo’s frank way of looking at the world really shone through and made the story what it is: Unique.

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Back to Blackbrick and The Apple Tart of Hope are available in paperback from Waterstones.

My Favourite Bedtime Story!

Today, in honour of National Young Readers Day, innovative mattress start-up Casper are encouraging everyone to share their favourite bedtime stories… and you know me, I didn’t need much encouraging!

I did have a hard time deciding what my favourite bedtime read was, though. So many to choose from! I almost went for Spike Milligan’s Silly Verse For Kids because I loved reciting all of his nonsense poems, and still know some of them off by heart. Then I almost went for The Chronicles of Narnia, but I don’t actually remember ever reading it at bedtime…

So, what was my favourite bedtime story when I was a Young Reader myself?

Adventures of the Wishing-Chair by Enid Blyton

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Once Mollie and Peter have discovered the Wishing-Chair, their lives are full of adventure. It takes them to all sorts of magical places, from the giant’s castle where they rescue Chinky the Pixie, to the amazing party at Magician Greatheart’s castle.

 

All these years later it seems like a unpopular opinion, but I actually remember loving these books more than Blyton’s Faraway Tree series; I  certainly remember reading this one with my parents more as well. I was totally gripped by Molly and Peter’s adventures, and rather than each book having a different adventure, in this book almost each chapter did.

As much as I enjoyed The Enchanted Wood in the Faraway Tree books, Fairyland was just as magical to me, if not more.

Just seeing the cover brings back great memories. I must pick up a copy again soon, and I think you should too!

Casper – ‘Because Bedtime is the Best Time’

Casper recently launched an innovative new mattress, because not only is bedtime the best time, but everyone deserves a great night’s sleep! They are celebrating Young Readers Day by sharing everyone’s favourite bedtime stories.

The Casper Team have already shared their own on their blog, here.

For more information, check out their website, and follow on Twitter and Facebook to see what bedtime stories have been shared so far!

Or why not share your own?