This Week in Books 28.06.17 #TWIB

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Happy Wednesday, blog friends! I’ve had a really nice chilled-out week so far (probably jinxed it now), hope yours has been good too. Here’s what my week in books has looked like…

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Now: The Horse with My Name ~ Colin Bateman

It’s been a long time since I read any of Bateman’s books and it’s like having a reunion with an old friend. I still prefer the Mystery Man books, but the Dan Starkey series is great too. This is the 5th Starkey novel.

Then:  Fear ~ Dirk Kurbjuweit 

This was a really interesting and tense thriller but I found it a little on the slow side. Definitely worth a read though. My review will up next week.

Next: ???

Definitely White Cat by Holly Black. Promise.

New on the Shelves

I didn’t buy or borrow any books this week. Well done, me! 🙂

 

I’m Waiting On…

…The Silent Companion, because… it sounds great. Susan Hill, check. Gothic ghost story, check. Crumbling estate, CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!

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Inspired by the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill and set in a crumbling country mansion, The Silent Companions is an unsettling gothic ghost story to send a shiver down the spine…

Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. But inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself..

Expected Publication:  October 5th 2017 by Raven Books

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

Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee #BookReview #JulyReleases

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Title: Broken Branches
Author: M. Jonathan Lee
Series: n/a
Format: Paperback ARC, 294 pages
Publication Details: July 27th 2017 by Hideaway Fall
Genre(s): Thriller/Mystery; Horror
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads 

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‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

Review

The cover of this book is so perfect it’s hard to put into words. It’s dark, beautiful and mysterious, which is exactly how I’d describe the story within.

Broken Branches is about the Perkins family, in particular Ian and his wife Rachel, who move into the cottage where Ian grew up. The cottage with the huge, ominous looking tree outside; the cottage where bad things happen.

I found the book a little slow to start with but before I knew it couldn’t put it down. It’s one of those stories that never quite gives you the answers you want. You know the type; the type of story that drives you mad in the best possible way.

There had been talk of ‘the curse’ since Ian’s childhood when his uncle died, but he never truly believed it until he inherited the cottage himself. This threw up many questions in itself – why would he move into a house with such a bad history? Other curiosities in the story (and believe me when I say it’s full of them), surrounded Rachel who is extremely distant and aloof from the start – was she depressed? Mentally ill? We’re not quite sure.

Ian delves deeper into his family history, and that of the cottage, in order to learn more about the curse, thinking that proving the existence of it will solve everything including whatever it is that’s wrong with Rachel and his marriage. But of course it only drives them further apart as Ian get more and more obsessed. He loses his job and sinks into a frenzied, isolated existence where the tree is always lurking in the background, and someone keeps moving his research around.

I think Broken Branches’ success comes from the masterfully layered atmosphere that just gets creepier and creepier as the story goes on. M. Jonathan Lee has done a wonderful job in creating suspense and intrigue, and there are some great horror elements in it too. I’m not sure I’d even want to read this on a stormy night…

unicorn rating 4

An Adventure in Book Hunting #3: Summer of Love…? #BookSelling #BuyVintage

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As some of you may know I sell antique and vintage books on Etsy. It’s a hobby that allows me to do one of my favourite things – buy old books – without feeling too guilty. It’s not really about making money (although that’s nice too), it’s about the joy of finding beautiful old / rare books, researching their history and giving them a new home. In this new feature I will be sharing some of my finds with you!

This is a little a bit different to my regular book-hunting post because the books I’m talking about are a secret. No, I haven’t gone completely mad, honest, I have just implemented an idea I’ve been wanting to do for ages in my Etsy bookshop. Read on, and all will become clear.

Blind Date with a Vintage Book

I’ve seen book lucky-dips at various book fairs & shops and have always loved the idea of it. So I finally took the bull by the horns and chose four of the vintage books in my stock and created a dating profile for each one which has clues to the books- but essentially, the idea is that people buy a secret book.

All books are vintage, so would have been published between 20-99 years ago. They are all in good, readable condition and I list the exact condition and flaws of each book, but nothing about the book’s content.

I think it’s a really fun idea, and hope people are willing to take a chance on an unknown book. If you (or someone you are buying a gift for) collect old books, then you can’t go wrong. All of these books will look good on your vintage bookshelf!

I’ll also be throwing in one of my handmade bookmarks and other bookish goodies (pens, badges, notebooks, postcards,ETC) so if the book is sadly not to your liking, all is not lost! I have listed these first four books at an introductory offer of £5 which is a bargain, if i do say so myself.

LLF (2)

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Who would you choose as your hot date this summer? 

Visit my Etsy Store to view in full

This Week in Books 21.06.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Happy Wednesday, blog friends! It’s been a scorcher of a week over here. I’m looking forward to Winter already, LOL. I don’t deal well in the heat! Anyway, I hope you’ve all had a good week.

Here’s what mine has looked like…

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Now: Fear ~ Dirk Kurbjuweit 

I’ve only just started this thriller; so far, so good!

Then:  Broken Branches ~ M. Jonathan Lee

I really enjoyed this creepy tale about a family curse. My review will be up ASAP.

Next: ???

I’ve been saying White Cat by Holly Black for ages but still haven’t picked it up, so hopefully that!

New on the Shelves

Borrowed from the Library: 

We just bought all of Bateman’s Dan Starkey and Mystery Man books at work, on my recommendation (yay!) and I haven’t read this one yet so had to borrow it!

thehorseDan Starkey – international man of inaction – rides again. How far can he fall this time?

Ex-journalist Dan Starkey is stuck in a grimy Belfast bedsit. His life is a disaster, and his only solace is the pub round the corner. He needs to get out more, particularly since the sessions at Relate with his wife Patricia have been cancelled and she’s hooked up with new man Clive.

Fellow ex-journalist Mark Corkery, whose secret persona is The Horse Whisperer, an internet horse-racing gossip, wants him to investigate Geordie McClean, the man behind Irish American Racing.

Simple enough for a man with Dan’s experience, surely? But Trouble is Dan’s middle name. And trouble is what he finds…

I’m Waiting On…

…Shadowsong, because uhmmm… I’m not sure really. Wintersong was strange but I’m not sure how enjoyable it was. I think I need to give the second book a go though. Goblin Kinnnnng!

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The conclusion to the gorgeous and lush Wintersong duology.

Six months after the end of Wintersong, Liesl is working toward furthering both her brother’s and her own musical careers. Although she is determined to look forward and not behind, life in the world above is not as easy as Liesl had hoped. Her younger brother Josef is cold, distant, and withdrawn, while Liesl can’t forget the austere young man she left beneath the earth, and the music he inspired in her.

When troubling signs arise that the barrier between worlds is crumbling, Liesl must return to the Underground to unravel the mystery of life, death, and the Goblin King—who he was, who he is, and who he will be. What will it take to break the old laws once and for all? What is the true meaning of sacrifice when the fate of the world—or the ones Liesl loves—is in her hands?

Expected Publication: January 30th 2018 by Wednesday Books

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

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus #BookReview #YA #Mystery

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oneofusislyingTitle: One of Us is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Series: n/a
Format: Digital ARC, 370 pages
Publication Details: June 1st 2017 by Penguin
Genre(s): YA; Contemporary, Mystery
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads 

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Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive.

On Thursday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the bad boy, is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the jock, is the all-star baseball pitcher. And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app. Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investi­gators, his death wasn’t an accident.

On Thursday, he died. But on Friday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they just the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Review

One of Us is Lying is a super-fun, light read, perfect for the summer holidays.

Full of everyone’s favourite high school stereotypes, the story centres around five students who end up in detention for something they apparently didn’t do. Were they set up? During the detention, the “geek”, Simon, drinks a cup of water and dies. He’s severely allergic to nuts and it appears that someone spiked his water with nut oil.

And so, the four remaining students are suddenly murder suspects. There’s the pretty, goody-two-shoes, Bronwyn, the jock, Cooper, the bad boy, Nate, and Addy the insecure beauty. They all have reasons to hate Simon, as he had dirt on all of them and wasn’t afraid to post it online for all to see.

One of Us is Lying is written from the perspectives of all four suspects. Multiple narrative stories usually annoy me, but I think it was necessary in this novel, and it worked really well. Each character had their own, very different reasons to want Simon dead, and their own problems aside from that too, which brought a nice element of realism to the story.

I thought it was a really fun, quick read that kept me intrigued most of the way through. The only let down was that I guessed the outcome from about half-way through, but it was still enjoyable.

It has a bit of everything; mystery, romance and action all rolled into one. 

unicorn rating 4

 

This Week in Books 14.6.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Hi guys! Sorry I’ve been a bit AWOL lately. I missed this post last week because I just didn’t get the time and I also had no new answers for you anyway. And this week has been annoying because the one day I set aside to catch up, my internet went down. Rage! Anyway, I’m back, so here’s what my week has looked like…better late than never, right!?

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Now: Broken Branches ~ M. Jonathan Lee

I’m about a third of the way through this intriguing and creepy book about a family curse. Liking it so far!

Then:  One of Us is Lying ~ Karen McManus

This was a good, quick contemporary YA read. My review (which is late-sorry!!!!) will be up ASAP.

Next: ???

Either Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit which is an ARC looking for early reviews as it’s not out until Janurary 2018, or something from my TBR pile – White Cat by Holly Black perhaps.

New on the Shelves

Netgalley: 

This looks so good!

thewayThere may be two sides to every story, but sometimes there’s only one way to set things right…

Music is Elijah’s life. His band plays loud and hard, and he’ll do anything to get them a big break. He needs that success to help take care of his sister, who has special needs. So he’d rather be practicing when his friends drag him to a musical in the next town…until the lead starts to sing.

Kristen dreams of a career on stage like her grandmother’s. She knows she needs an edge to get into a competitive theater program―and being the star in her high school musical isn’t going to cut it. The applause and the attention only encourage her to work harder.

Elijah can’t take his eyes off of Kristen’s performance, and his swooning face is captured on camera and posted with an out-of-context comment. It goes viral. Suddenly, Elijah and Kristen are in a new spotlight as the online backlash spins out of control. And the consequences are bigger than they both could have ever imagined because these threats don’t stay online…they follow them into real life.

I’m Waiting On…

…Jane, Unlimited because I loved Graceling so much! I’m super excited abut this one. And look at that cover…swoon!

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Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

Expected Publication: September 19th 2017 by Kathy Dawson Books

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

Top Ten Tuesday: It’s all about Dads! #TTT #HappyFathersDay

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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… Father’s Day related Freebiefavorite dads in literature, best father/daughter or son relationships, books to buy your dad, worst dads in literature, etc

I thought it was about time I joined in another TTT post. It’s always fun, but I don’t always find the time. I thought I’d make a special effort this week however, seeing how it’s Father’s Day this Sunday.

I’m going to split my list into two: Good Dads Vs Bad Dads!

Good Dads in Literature

  1. Vicente – The Inexplicable Logic of my Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: Sáenz writes such wonderful characters, and the dad in this novel is a new favourite. He’s kind, loving, strong, and cool. He’s always there for his son, Sal, but he doesn’t smother him. He’s a gay artist who gave up the man he loved for his adopted son, and he treats his son’s best friends as his own. He’s the best!
  2. Jack Peak – She is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick: I thought I’d be able to remember more about this book than I’ve just realised so forgive me for inaccuracies, but I do remember that I loved Laureth and her relationship with her semi-famous author Jack Peak who goes missing. Laureth is blind but she doesn’t let that stop her. Her father’s interest in seeing patterns and connections in things rubbed off on her and she uses those skills andsheer bravery to try and find him.
  3. Atticus Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: I really want to reread this book as I haven’t read it since I was at school. Atticus Finch is possibly the most recognised dad in fiction though and so it’s hard to forget about him. He’s a single father in a tough economic climate but he still manages to raise his two children as kind, loyal and accepting.
  4. Matt – The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lipton: I really loved this book, and for some reason, Matt -the father in this story- stood out. I say it like that, because I’m not sure how good a father he actually was. Matt is a wildlife photographer and was absent for a lot of the book (and his daughter’s life by the sounds of it). Similar to She is not Invisible, Matt goes missing, and his daughter Ruby goes in search of him. Ruby is deaf and loves that her dad doesn’t try to make her speak like her mum does, which brings them closer together. They have a unique bond that made the story as good as it was.
  5. Mo – The Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke: For my last pick of ‘good’ dads I was torn between Mo and Detective Swan from Twilight…they are both great dads! But Mo wins for his storytelling abilities and huge heart.

Bad Dads

  1. The Marsh King – The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne: This one is fresh in my mind because I finished it recently (and loved it!). The dad in this story is the worst kind of dad. He kidnapped, raped, and abused Helena’s mum, and Helena was born into captivity. The even worse part was that Helena didn’t know any different and almost idolised him because he taught her how to hunt and live in the wilderness. He also trapped her in a well when she did something he didn’t like, though. BAD DAD. 
  2. Humbert Humbert – Lolita by Vladimir Nabookov: I think this one speaks for itself. Humbert is the worst ‘step-father’ ever. A scheming, slimy, seductor. Eugh.
  3. Jack Torrence – The Shining by Stephen King: Alcoholic, unhinged and the worst taste in jobs; Jack was never gonna be in the running for Dad of the year.
  4. King Shreave- The Selection series by Kiera Cass: It’s not apparent at first but the King in this series is horrible. He’s controlling and violent and has lied to the entire country. Poor Maxon!
  5. Pastor Thorne – Release by Patrick Ness: Adam Thorne’s dad was pretty bad but to be honest I wanted him to be worse. I felt like this book need more drama and less subtlety, but that aside, he was still a dad who is close-minded, strict, and bigoted. So still not great. Especially for the lovely Adam who just wants another boy to love him.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s lists this week because there were so many others  I could have chosen. Who made your lists? Leave a link in the comments and I’ll be sure to check it out. 

Reading Round-up: May 2017 #MiniBookReviews

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Welcome to my new post where I discuss any books that I read in the month which for one reason or another didn’t get the full review treatment. This is a way for me to keep track of what I’ve read but without the pressure of having to write comprehensive reviews for them all. 

There were only two books I read this month that I didn’t end up reviewing in full…

The Knife of Never Letting Go ~ Patrick Ness

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I loved this book the first time I read it and have wanted to reread it ever since but never seem to find the time to reread anything. I was therefore overjoyed when I got the audio book in my goodie bag at his new book launch. I enjoyed listening to it, but the narrator did annoy me a bit. He did a good job don’t get me wrong, but his voice was a bit irritating! This was my first ever audio book too, so it took a bit of getting used to. I haven’t been put off them, but I think I’ll stick to the books on this particular occasion.

The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

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This was one of those books that I thought I’d read when I was younger but it turns out I hadn’t. I liked it a lot, especially seeing how much it has influenced science-fiction over the years and paved the way for sub-genres like Steampunk and Time-Travel novels. A true classic!

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{that’s any other business for those of you that’ve never had the misfortune of having a job where people say that all the time}

Well, that’s a wrap on May, folks! How did you get on?

This Month in Books: May 2017 #TMIB #BookoftheMonth

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May was pretty busy IRL. Eurovision was a massive highlight, as was my blog turning four years old. 4!!! I didn’t even realise until WordPress kindly told me. Who would have thought it, eh!? I also went to the launch of Patrick Ness’ new book which was a great night, but unfortunately the book didn’t live up its greatness. I guess you can’t win them all.

May 2017 Stats

Total Posts: 13 (+4 from previous month)

Books Read: 6 (+1)
The Inexplicable Logic of my Life ~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Release ~ Patrick Ness
The Marsh King’s Daughter ~ Karen Dionne
The Knife of Never Letting Go (audio) ~ Patrick Ness
The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells
13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villains ~ Sacha Black

The Breakdown:
Genres: YA (3/6); Science-Fiction/ Fantasy (2/6); Crime/Thriller (1/6); Non-Fiction (1/6)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (2/6); Digital (2/6); Hardback (2/6); Paperback (1/6); Audiobook (1/6) // Owned (3/6); Borrowed (1/6); For Review/proofs (2/6)

Most Surprising: The Marsh King’s Daughter
Most Disappointing: Release
Most Exciting: The Marsh King’s Daughter
Most Swoon-worthy: The Inexplicable Logic of my Life
Most Beautifully Written: The Inexplicable Logic of my Life/ The Marsh King’s Daughter (too close to call!)

Reviews

Most Viewed Posts

  1. This Week in Books 17.05.17
  2. Review: The Marsh King’s Daughter
  3. This Week in Books 03.05.17

Promos, Guest Posts and other Highlights

Awards

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TBR Shelf Update

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Earlier this year I decided I HAD to do something about my physical 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: 83

Books Added: 4

Books Read: 2

Remaining: 85

That was my month, how was yours?

This Week in Books 31.05.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next. 

Happy Wednesday, Everyone. I hope you all had a nice long bank holiday, well, everyone who got one that it. I had a lovely time. I spent most of it sitting in the sun with friends, with cold beers in our hands 🙂

Anyway, here’s what my week has looked like…

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Now: The Winter King ~ Bernard Cornwell  

I’m still reading The Winter King but I did pause to read 13 Steps of Evil in time for the launch that happened on Monday. See below for more info. I’m enjoying The Winter King a lot, but it’s one that I feel like I have to concentrate on and so I’m reading it really slowly. It’s nice to drink in all the lovely descriptive language from Cornwell though, so slow is good.

Then:  13 Steps to Evil ~ Sacha Black // The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

I really enjoyed, and got a lot out of 13 Steps to Evil. It’s a great read for any writer. I reviewed it on Monday for the Publication day, which you can view here. I also finally finished The Time Machine, which is the smallest book ever, but took me three months of lunch-time reading to finish. Which shows how busy my work is. But busy is good, right? RIGHT?

Next: ???

It has to be my next ARC – One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus, which was out this week. Eeek!

New on the Shelves

Borrowed: 

I already know I will love this book from all the reviews and discussion about it in the news and blogosphere. My friend Dora has just finished it and loved it too, so she passed it to me. Thanks, Dora! I only hope I haven’t hyped it up too much…again.

thugSixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

I’m Waiting On…

…That Inevitable Victorian Thing because just look at the cover! So pretty. Plus, it sounds great, obvs.

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Set in a near-future world where the British Empire never fell and the United States never rose, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a novel of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.

Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendent of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history two centuries earlier. The imperial practice of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage like her mother before her, but before she does her duty, she’ll have one summer incognito in a far corner of empire.

In Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire’s greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir apparent to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an unusual bond and maybe a one in a million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process —just like the first Queen Victoria

Expected Publication: October 3rd 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers

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