Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR #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…Ten books on my to-be-read list for Spring 2016

I’m not always great at looking ahead as far as new releases are concerned, but there are a few on my radar that I hope to get to. My list is also made up of older books on my TBR that I want to read this Spring. 

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What are you looking forward to this Spring?

This Week in Books 09.03.16 #TWIB

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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 guys, I’m slowly clawing my way out of a reading slump so I’m afraid my answers aren’t much different to last week! I did manage to finish one little book though (I just didn’t bother to change the image – lazy). See below for more details.

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Now: The Amber Fury ~ Natalie Haynes // My Kind of Crazy ~ Robin Reul

The Amber Fury is going well now I’m back to reading a bit more. I started My Kind of Crazy but it didn’t grip me so I’ll stick to the first and then give this another go. 

Then: Goth Girl and the Pirate Queen ~ Chris Riddell

Other than last week’s books all I managed to finish was this cute World Book Day book, which is in my New to the Shelves section below.

Next: ??? 

I think I need to tackle The Crow Girl which sounds amazing and dark but I’ve only just realised it’s over 700 pages long. Gah! It’s out early April. 

New on the Shelves

(Linking up with Stacking the Shelves)

I didn’t request or buy and books this week. My friend Dora did buy me this though:

Goth Girl and the Pirate Queen

 

gothgirlwbdWhen Ada travels to the seaside resort of Brighton on holiday, she is very excited to meet leading followers of fashion Lady Vivienne Dashwood and her rival, the fashionable shepherd, Beau Peeps. They are there preparing for World Frock Night – a lavish ball where everyone dresses up in their finest costumes to compete for the grand prize.

Ada has been given money by her father to buy a spectacular outfit for the ball, and she’s excited to be in with a chance of winning the prize. But, as usual, nothing goes to plan, and becoming the belle of the ball will prove to be Ada’s biggest challenge yet . . .

Full of intricate black and white illustrations, Goth Girl and the Pirate Queen is a gorgeous World Book Day book from Chris Riddell, award-winning author of Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse.

  I’m Waiting On…

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

Of Fire & Stars

NEED! But it’s so far away!

offireBetrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses before her coronation—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine (called Mare), sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two work together, each discovers there’s more to the other than she thought. Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. Soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

Expected publication: November 22nd 2016 by Balzer + Bray

So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours? If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂

This (last) Month in Books: February 2016 #TMIB

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February was another busy month. My mum came to visit to come to a ‘celebration of the music and life of David Bowie’ night which was amazing, but of course bitter sweet. He was a legend, and my hero, something which my mum and I both shared so it was really lovely that she came to London for the occasion.

My brother also came to visit at the end of the month as he bought us tickets to the UFC at the O2 for my birthday, which was awesome. Yes, my interests are diverse and sometimes bloody. LOL. So, it’s been a bit of a family affair this month. 🙂

I also read some really excellent books, and had a great blogging month in general so let’s take a look…

February 2016 Stats

Total Posts: 18 (+8 from previous month)

Books Read: 4 (-3)
Only Ever Yours ~ Louise O’Neill
The Glass Castle ~ Trisha White Priebe
Into the Dim ~ Janet B. Taylor
The Madwoman Upstairs ~ Catherine Lowell

The Breakdown:
Genres: YA (2/4); Literary Fiction (1/4); Children’s Fiction (1/4); Sci-Fi (2/4)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (3/4); Digital (3/4); Hardback (0/4); Paperback (1/4); Owned (1/4); Borrowed (0/4); For Review (3/4)

Most Surprising: The Madwoman Upstairs
Most Disappointing: Only Ever Yours
Most Exciting: Into the Dim
Most Swoon-worthy:  The Madwoman Upstairs
Most Beautifully Written: Into the Dim

Reviews: 6 (+3)

    • The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, 4/5 (View)
    • Angel of Vengeance by Trevor Munson, 3/5 (View)
    • The Merciless by Danielle Vega, 4/5 (View)
    • Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill, 3/5 (View)
    • The Glass Castle by Trisha Priebe, 3/5 (View)
    • Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor, 4/5 (View)

Most Viewed Posts

  1. We Need to Talk About…ARCs
  2. This Week in Books 10.02.16
  3. Last Months in Books: January 2016

Promos, Guest Posts and other Highlights

Awards

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The Murder at 42nd Street Library is actually out in April but I’m hoping to get to it in March

TBR Shelf Update

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Earlier this year I decided I HAD to do something about my TBR shelves. Each month I’ll be doing a quick update to see how I’ve done. See my original post here, and my updated TBR list here. 

Previous TBR Count: 81

Books Added: 1

Books Read: 5

Remaining: 77

How did you guys do last month?

All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage (#DNF #review) #OutToday

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Title: All Things Cease to Appear
Author: Elizabeth Brundage
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 384 pages
Publication Details: March 8th 2016 by Knopf
Genre(s): Thriller; Mystery
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advanced copy in exchange for an HONEST review

Goodreads // Waterstones

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Late one winter afternoon in upstate New York, George Clare comes home to find his wife murdered and their three-year-old daughter alone–for how many hours?–in her room down the hall.

He had recently, begrudgingly, taken a position at the private college nearby teaching art history, and moved his family into this tight-knit, impoverished town. And he is the immediate suspect–the question of his guilt echoing in a story shot through with secrets both personal and professional.

While his parents rescue him from suspicion, a persistent cop is stymied at every turn in proving Clare a heartless murderer. The pall of death is ongoing, and relentless; behind one crime are others, and more than twenty years will pass before a hard kind of justice is finally served.

At once a classic “who-dun-it” that morphs into a “why-and-how-dun-it,” this is also a rich and complex portrait of a psychopath and a marriage, and an astute study of the various taints that can scar very different families, and even an entire community.

Review

What came first…the book, or the book slump? Now there’s a question! I stopped reading this book at around the 35% mark, which I really try not to do for ARCs as I like to fulfil my end of the bargain as much as possible, but I just couldn’t. 

I’m not sure why, as it wasn’t badly written, or even overly dull, I just couldn’t muster the motivation to keep going. It may be nothing to do with the book, and everything to do with the fact that I read two really amazing books in a row and was a bit burnt out…who knows!?

All Things Cease to Appear has the makings of a really great mystery/thriller. George comes home to find his wife dead, brutally-murdered-dead, and his little girl alone and scared. George is instantly the prime suspect and his reaction to his wife’s death is quite strange, so he is always a suspect in the reader’s mind too. 

I think the main reason I couldn’t get into this book was because I didn’t like any of the characters in it. George is aloof and strange, even his parents are a bit – bland. Yes, bland is how I would describe most of the characters. 

I do think that if I was in the mood for this book it could have gone differently. I’m sure it would become clear why the characters were dubious, but I just wasn’t in the mood to get to the endgame. 

ATCTA may not have worked for me, but it might for you. I thought the lack of quotation marks for dialogue was interesting, and it actually didn’t bother me at all, I think it was just a mixture of bad timing and ambiguous characters that turned me off. 

I DNF at 35% and therefore won’t be giving it a rating.  

Book Blitz: Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicole Taylor #BookBlitz #XpressoBookTours

 

 

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Welcome to another book promo on Lipsyy Lost & Found. This time it’s thanks to Xpresso book tours for arranging the blitz and giveaway for this intriguing Peter Pan-inspired YA Historical Novel.

Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

norakettlePublished by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: February 29th 2016
Genres: Historical, Young Adult

What if Peter Pan was a homeless kid just trying to survive, and Wendy flew away for a really good reason?

Seventeen-year-old Kettle has had his share of adversity. As an orphaned Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of an event in history not often referred to—the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the removal of children from orphanages for having “one drop of Japanese blood in them”—things are finally looking up. He has his hideout in an abandoned subway tunnel, a job, and his gang of Lost Boys.

Desperate to run away, the world outside her oppressive brownstone calls to naïve, eighteen-year-old Nora—the privileged daughter of a controlling and violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the interned Japanese Americans. But she is trapped, enduring abuse to protect her younger sister Frankie and wishing on the stars every night for things to change.

For months, they’ve lived side by side, their paths crossing yet never meeting. But when Nora is nearly killed and her sister taken away, their worlds collide as Kettle, grief stricken at the loss of a friend, angrily pulls Nora from her window.

In her honeyed eyes, Kettle sees sadness and suffering. In his, Nora sees the chance to take to the window and fly away.

Set in 1953, NORA AND KETTLE explores the collision of two teenagers facing extraordinary hardship. Their meeting is inevitable, devastating, and ultimately healing.

Their stories, a collection of events, are each on their own harmless. But together, one after the other, they change the world.

Goodreads // Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Kobo // iBooks

EXCERPT

 

This is some medieval contest. Teeth gnash, men who smell much too much like men and… fish… grab at each other’s heads and hair, pull each other down and claw at each other’s necks. They are a desperate, scrabbling entity. I stand back from the jostling crowd, wondering whether I can do this. I bite my lip, lock my limbs, and decide it can’t be worse than anything else I’ve experienced. So I take a deep breath and await instruction.

“You don’t have to do this,” Kettle says as he edges into the throng from the western side.

Yes I do.

“I want to,” I say, trying to keep my voice low this time. Kettle chuckles at my attempt to sound like a boy, his blue eyes flashing with excitement.

Over the noise, he yells, ducking when a fist comes flying at his shoulder, “You’re small, fast, try to squeeze your way in.” He shoulders his way in and disappears. I hear him shouting underneath a tangle of arms, “If you don’t make it through, wait for me outside.”

He doesn’t think I’ll make it. It makes me more determined to prove him wrong. I test a foot on the edge. It instantly gets stepped on. I grimace.

Think.

I think about a slap coming toward me, my father’s palm aching to mark my cheek red. If I could have avoided it, ducked out of the way, what would I have done? How would I have done it?

Each man in this throe of clashing bodies becomes my father. And I’m surprised that instead of wanting to hurt them, all I want to do is get through, stand on the inside of the fence where he/they can’t get to me anymore.

There are small shadows of space opening up before my eyes, and I hurl toward them, I stop thinking, stop worrying, and just react. Under elbows, between bodies, over large legs trying to stomp on me. There are no walls to be thrown against. No one to protect. There is an escape, a way through for me to find.

The freedom tastes delicious, salty and hard-earned on my tongue.

I’m nearly there. The fence vibrates, ringing for me. Calling—You’re close, so close. My hand stretches to the wire and I grab at it, missing as my head suddenly jerks back. Someone’s fingers dig into my collar and pull me backward. The top button on my shirt presses into my neck and I can’t breathe, a strange cacking, gurgling noise coming from the back of my throat. I turn around to meet the owner of the hand. A small, twisted man, a skeleton almost. My cap tips back and he sees my face clearly, suddenly releasing me. “Sorry, ma’am,” he says. Then he’s scattered behind me like a spilled bag of bones, and I’m thrust forward.

The gate slides open and my feet don’t feel like they’re connected to the ground. I’m carried along, through the gap by a sea of muscled, grunting flesh and thrown into the clear, sea air.

The guard at the gate claps it shut and shouts at me, “Lucky last, eh?”

I made it. Me.

Meet the Author

noraauthorLauren Nicolle Taylor lives in the lush Adelaide Hills. The daughter of a Malaysian nuclear physicist and an Australian scientist, she was expected to follow a science career path, attending Adelaide University and completing a Health Science degree with Honours in obstetrics and gynaecology.

She then worked in health research for a short time before having her first child. Due to their extensive health issues, Lauren spent her twenties as a full-time mother/carer to her three children. When her family life settled down, she turned to writing.

She is a 2014 Kindle Book Awards Semi-finalist and a USA Best Book Awards Finalist.

Website // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter

 

GIVEAWAY!

Enter the Blitz-wide giveaway and you could win a Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box (INTL)! Huge thanks to the publishers and Xpresso Book Tours. 

 Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here

 Hosted by:

 

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The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell #OutThisWeek

madwomanTitle: The Madwoman Upstairs
Author: Catherine Lowell
Series: Into the Dim #1
Format: Digital ARC, 353 pages
Publication Details: March 1st 2016 by Touchstone
Genre(s): Literary Fiction; Mystery
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advanced copy in exchange for an HONEST review

Goodreads // Purchase

In this smart and enthralling debut in the spirit of The Weird Sisters and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family’s long-rumored secret estate, using clues her eccentric father left behind.

Samantha Whipple is used to stirring up speculation wherever she goes. As the last remaining descendant of the Brontë family, she’s rumored to have inherited a vital, mysterious portion of the Brontë’s literary estate; diaries, paintings, letters, and early novel drafts; a hidden fortune that’s never been shown outside of the family.

But Samantha has never seen this rumored estate, and as far as she knows, it doesn’t exist. She has no interest in acknowledging what the rest of the world has come to find so irresistible; namely, the sudden and untimely death of her eccentric father, or the cryptic estate he has bequeathed to her.

But everything changes when Samantha enrolls at Oxford University and bits and pieces of her past start mysteriously arriving at her doorstep, beginning with an old novel annotated in her father’s handwriting. As more and more bizarre clues arrive, Samantha soon realizes that her father has left her an elaborate scavenger hunt using the world’s greatest literature. With the aid of a handsome and elusive Oxford professor, Samantha must plunge into a vast literary mystery and an untold family legacy, one that can only be solved by decoding the clues hidden within the Brontë’s own writing.

A fast-paced adventure from start to finish, this vibrant and original novel is a moving exploration of what it means when the greatest truth is, in fact, fiction.

Review

I’m not really sure why I requested this novel from Netgalley because I never got on with the classics at all and I couldn’t even differentiate between the Brontés (I can now though, whoop), but I can’t even express how happy I am that I gave it a go – I think it’s been my favourite of the year so far!

Samantha Whipple is the last living descendent of the Bronté family. She has been home-schooled by her father – with a heavy emphasis on literary criticism – and has a sharp mind as a result. She is also however, a bit strange and socially awkward, but adorably so.

Samantha has always lived with the Brontés legacy hanging over her like a cloud. It seems the more she tries to distance herself from them, the more they follow her around. Everyone assumes that she’s inherited a secret part of Bronté estate following from her father’s death but she has no idea what it could be or where.

When random Bronté books that belonged to her father start turning up she is both annoyed and intrigued about the whole thing. Luckily for Samantha she has a dashing tutor who may be willing to help her…

I loved everything about this book. The interactions between Samantha and Professor Orville were hilarious, and Samantha’s character in general (especially her hatred of all pretty much all fiction) just made me do actual LOLs. 

I loved the academic setting and the literary debates. It even made me want to revisit that world. Not that my time at uni was anything like this…but maybe it could have been! I loved that it was like a literary treasure hunt. I loved the debate about ‘is all good fiction actually the truth’. It was nice to read a book that actually made me think a bit.

It even made me want to try the classics again. Maybe. One day 😉

The Madwoman Upstairs is definitely a book for Lit nerds. Like me, you don’t have to enjoy the classics to enjoy this, but it would probably help if you’re interested in the study of literature in general. Oh, and did I mention how swoon-worthy the professor is? OK so yeah…unethical…but y’know…HOT. 

The Madwoman Upstairs gets ALL the unicorns from me!

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This Week in Books 02.03.16 #TWIB

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

Whoop it’s Wednesday again! I read two really amazing books in a row and then descended into a huge reading slump, which is annoying. I never DNF but I felt like I had to this week! :s

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Now: The Amber Fury ~ Natalie Haynes // My Kind of Crazy ~ Robin Reul

I’m really hoping one of these (or both) gets me out of my reading slump because I have lots of ARCs to read and review for April!

Then:  All Things Cease to Appear ~ Elizabeth Brundage // The Madwoman Upstairs ~ Catherine Lowell

I just could not get into All Things Cease to Appear and had to admit defeat at around 35%. It was an ARC so I’ll still be doing a mini-review which will be up next week. 

On the other end of the scale – I adored The Madwoman Upstairs! It was smart and funny, and just plain great. Look out for my review later today. 

Next: ??? 

I think I need to tackle The Crow Girl which sounds amazing and dark but I’ve only just realised it’s over 700 pages long. Gah! It’s out early April. 

 

New on the Shelves

(Linking up with Stacking the Shelves)

I was approved for this from Netgalley, which was my Waiting on Wednesday pick last week (hurrah!). but other than that I haven’t bought or borrowed any books this week. Go me!

Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet

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After Kitty Hayward’s mother vanishes from their Coney Island hotel in 1904, Kitty finds herself alone, hungry, penniless, and far away from her native England. The last people she’d expect to help her are the cast of characters at Magruder’s Curiosity Cabinet, a museum of oddities that is home to a handful of freaks. But even the unusual inhabitants of Magruder’s may not be a match for the insidious sickness that is plaguing Coney Island…

Expected Publication: June 1st 2016 by SOURCEBOOKS

 

 I’m Waiting On…

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

There Once Were Stars

I know we’re all a bit bored of this whole dystopia thang…but I really like the sound of this one. 

thereoncePeace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone? 

Expected publication: April 26th 2016 by Month9Books

 

 

So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours? If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂