What do you Want Most in the World?

HorrorOct2014

Needful Things by Stephen King

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Title: Needful Things
Author: Stephen King
Series: N/A
Edition: Hardback, 698 pages
Publication Details:1991 by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Nope, I bought a secondhand copy.

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A new store has opened in the town of Castle Rock, Maine. It has whatever your heart desires…if you’re willing to pay the price. In this chilling novel by one of the most potent imaginations of our time, evil is on a shopping spree and out to scare you witless.

Despite having some new releases on the list, I wanted this to be my first Horror October read…but that may have been a bit of a mistake.

I love Stephen King. I have issues with his endings a lot of the time, but no one can argue with his craftmanship or imagination. Needful Things however, was a massive struggle.

In this book, King makes a return to Castle Rock, Maine, which I first heard about from his previous novels, It (shudder) and Pet Sematary, and he’s right, I did feel like I’d been there before.

From the off, King works his magic in introducing you to a location and its inhabitants, making it feel instantly real and ominous. We meet Leland Gaunt, owner of the eponymous new shop with its mysterious name and strange products. In a small town like Castle Rock, this is understandably big news, and the townsfolk are full of gossip and speculation.

There is something for everyone in Needful Things, you just have to think about what you want most of all, and Leland Gaunt can find it. But he doesn’t want your money, he wants something else altogether…begging the question, how far will you go for the thing you want most?

I did love certain parts of this book. I loved the prologue most of all, where we get a tour of town from an anonymous narrator who gives it a sinister Carnie sort of feel. And as with most of King’s work to date, he slowly introduces a large cast of characters, all of them unique and intriguing.

But after the good start, my heart really wasn’t it. I found Needful Things so hard to get through. It probably didn’t help that I only manged to find thirty minutes at a time to read it, and that the font was so small every page seemed to take an age…and I just wanted it to speed up, or end.

A few of the characters did keep me reading though. Brian Rusk for one, and also the relationship between Alan Pangborn and Polly was interesting, but ultimately it wasn’t enough for me to love this book. I loved the idea of it, and appreciated the whole materialistic message, but it didn’t excite me, or creep me out like I was expecting.

I think this is one of those cases where I just wasn’t in the right mindset to read a slow-burning tome, so hopefully one day I’ll return to Castle Rock and have an altogether different experience. I live in hope.

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Needful Things is available in paperback from Waterstones now.

It’s a Love or Hate Kinda Thing: Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon

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Title: Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story
Author: Carolyn Turgeon
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 288 pages
Published: March 3rd 2009 by Broadway Books
Genre(s): YA; Fairy Tale Retellings
Disclosure? Nope, it was a gift.

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Turgeon’s shockingly original and magical novel advises you to be careful what you wish for, because fairy tales come true – whether they should or not. The tiny figure making its way to the book shop in Manhattan’s West Village every day looks just like another sweet little old lady. But Lilian has a secret.

Oh, where to start.

I was all set to love this book and was totally in the mood for a dark, gritty retelling of Cinderella but unfortunately that wasn’t what I got in Godmother.

Godmother is centered around Lil, a seemingly normal, lonely old lady with a penchant for cheeseburgers. Lil, lives by herself in Manhattan and works hard in a book shop downtown.

An encounter with a vivacious young girl reminds Lil of her past, bringing the world of fae back into her life and we learn that she was one of Cinderella’s fairy Godmothers.

Sigh. I don’t know whether it was just not what I was expecting, but I couldn’t get on with this book at all. I found it pretty painful to read to be honest. I couldn’t find anything new or exciting about this retelling. Turgeon even managed to make working in a beautiful bookshop sound dull, and that’s like my dream job – if only it paid more.

***Spoilers lie ahead, but they’re quite early on in the book***

I gather that the whole crux of this book was that Lil fell in love with the Prince rather than help Cinderella get to the ball, and then she spends her old age trying to set up her boss with the young girl she meets to make up for it, but honestly I was lost by then. Away with the actual fairies, if you will.

I did like that the protagonist was a pensioner, as that’s hardly ever something you see in YA, and think there was potential here but I was more interested in the betrayal of Cinderella than the present day and I felt like that was just glossed over. I didn’t care about the present day story at all.

Godmother is quite a small book, but I just couldn’t make myself finish it. I had about 50 pages left before I went away for the weekend and when I got back I knew I wouldn’t pick it up again.

From the look of Goodreads, Godmother is the Marmite of the book world so you may well enjoy it if you give it a go, don’t just take my word for it.

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I read this book as part of the TBR Pile Reading Challenge and the Once Upon A Time VIII Challenge.

Friday Feature: 2014 Challenges Update

I’ve been putting off doing this post because I am failing SO HARD on all of the challenges I set myself at the beginning of the year. Crappola.

Here is the progress I’ve made so far this year (AUGUST…REALLY?):

The TBR Pile Reading Challenge

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I signed up for this challenge to get through all of the books that have been sitting on my shelves for ages, some for up to 5 years, but at the time I’d just received loads of books for Christmas and my birthday so I decided to make a rule that only the books that had been on my shelf for over 4 months would count towards it. What a mistake that was!

Obviously I read all my shiny new books first, hence my ridiculously bad start! But luckily I only went for the 11-20 level, so I can still make it, right?

TBR Pile Challenge Books Read: 4

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, 3/5
The Princess Bride by William Goldman, 4/5
The Prisoner of Brenda by Bateman, 3/5
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Mass, 4/5

Rereads Challenge

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Since I started blogging, one of main thing I miss doing is rereading my favourite books. I used to reread a lot, but it’s hard to find the time when there are so many new books coming out all the time. Hence, this challenge. I challenged myself to reread 10 books and I did a poll to decide.

I doubt I’m going to complete this challenge by the end of the year, but I’m going to pull my socks up, I promise!

Reread Books Read: 2
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, 4/5
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, 4/5 – I’ve just realised I STILL haven’t reviewed this.

Once Upon a Time VIII

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I signed up for this very loosely termed ‘challenge’ at some point because it sounded so much fun. Thankfully I went for the minimum participation which was to read one book that falls into the categories of Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy or Mythology, and to read (or watch) A Midsummer Night’s Dream in June. I kind of forgot about that, but I’m hoping if I read it while it’s still summer it won’t be held against me.

I am also currently reading Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon, which will fulfill the Fairy Tale requirement.

Must.Try.Harder

Goodreads Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Lauren has
read 44 books toward her goal of 70 books.
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In better news I am 3 books ahead on my overall book challenge for the year. Hurrah!

Lazy Saturday Review: The Assassin’s Blade

TBR

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Title: The Assassin’s Blade
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass (The Novellas, #0.1- #0.5)
Edition: Paperback, 437 pages
Published: March 13th 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!
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Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

This has been at the top of my TBR pile since it came out in March. I’m totally in love with the series, but something was putting me off reading it. I’m not really a fan of novellas. I feel the same way about them as I do about short stories – I just don’t see the point. I prefer something more substantial that I can sink my teeth into.

However, I really loved this collection. It was hard not to. Not only do we get to witness all the events leading up to Celaena’s incarceration in the salt mines where the first book begins, but we also get to see the more human side of her too – her first love, Sam.

I think the reason why I loved this so much was that it was basically just a novel. Each novella carries on where the last one left off so it didn’t feel like five short stories at all. That being said, there were a few I could give or take. The first novella, The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, was good for background and context, but I wasn’t hooked. And the second one, the shortest of them all at just 40 pages was entertaining enough but not really vital to the character arcs.

It’s when we get to The Assassin and the Desert that things get really interesting and there was no looking back after that.

Celaena is such a great, complex character, and although on the surface she might just seem like another kick-ass YA heroine, I think there is something unique about her. I can’t wait until the 3rd novel, Heir of Fire is released next month!

The Throne of Glass series is available in paperback from Waterstones. Click here to see how you can get 10% off.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

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

Goodreads
Purchase

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

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

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

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

In short, it’s about everything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

unicorn rating 4

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

Coming Up!

This month I’m going to be concentrating on books I’ve had on my TBR for quite some time. I decided that for a few reasons; firstly, I don’t have ANY ARC deadlines this month – for like the first time ever (woooo me!); and secondly, I’m well and truly failing at the TBR Pile Challenge that I signed up for at the beginning of the year.

It’s my own fault because I set a rule for myself that I’d only count the books that had been on my TBR shelf for over 4 months, in an attempt to read all of those books I’ve had forever (some up to 5 years!) but haven’t got round to yet. Well, that obviously didn’t happen because I kept buying new books and adding them to the pile and obviously reading them before the older ones. Sigh.

So, in a last attempt to get my TBR pile down, I am dedicating the rest of the month, and some of August to those dust-gathering TBR Pile books.

Here’s what you can expect to see on Lipsyy Lost & Found in the next month or so. Click on the image to go to the Goodreads page.

The Princess Bride – William Goldman

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Released: October 20th 1999 by Bloomsbury (first published 1973)
Genre(s): Classics; Fantasy; Adventure
Time on TBR Pile: About 1 year

A tale of true love and high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts – The Princess Bride is a modern storytelling classic.

As Florin and Guilder teeter on the verge of war, the reluctant Princess Buttercup is devastated by the loss of her true love, kidnapped by a mercenary and his henchmen, rescued by a pirate, forced to marry Prince Humperdinck, and rescued once again by the very crew who absconded with her in the first place. In the course of this dazzling adventure, she’ll meet Vizzini – the criminal philosopher who’ll do anything for a bag of gold; Fezzik – the gentle giant; Inigo – the Spaniard whose steel thirsts for revenge; and Count Rugen – the evil mastermind behind it all. Foiling all their plans and jumping into their stories is Westley, Princess Buttercup’s one true love and a very good friend of a very dangerous pirate.

The Foreshadowing – Marcus Sedgwick

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Released: May 23rd 2006 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published 2005)
Genre(s): Young Adult; Historical Fiction; Fantasy
Time on TBR Pile: Over 1 year, maybe 2.

It is 1915 and the First World War has only just begun.

17 year old Sasha is a well-to-do, sheltered-English girl. Just as her brother Thomas longs to be a doctor, she wants to nurse, yet girls of her class don’t do that kind of work. But as the war begins and the hospitals fill with young soldiers, she gets a chance to help. But working in the hospital confirms what Sasha has suspected–she can see when someone is going to die. Her premonitions show her the brutal horrors on the battlefields of the Somme, and the faces of the soldiers who will die. And one of them is her brother Thomas.

Pretending to be a real nurse, Sasha goes behind the front lines searching for Thomas, risking her own life as she races to find him, and somehow prevent his death.

The Assassin’s Blade – Sarah J.Maas

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Released: March 4th 2014 by Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre(s): Young Adult; Fantasy
Time on TBR Pile: Since its release, 4 months.

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides

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Released: September 16th 2003 by Picador (first published 2002)
Genre(s): Contemporary
Time on TBR Pile: About FIVE years!

“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver’s license…records my first name simply as Cal.”

So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of 1967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

Godmother – Caroline Turgeon

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Released: 2009
Genre(s): YA; Fairy Tale Retellings
Time on TBR Pile: 5 months

Lil is an old woman who spends her days shelving rare books in a tiny Manhattan bookstore and lonely nights at home in her apartment. But Lil has an intriguing secret. Tucked and bound behind her back are white feathery wings–the only key to who she once was: the fairy godmother responsible for getting Cinderella to the ball to unite with her Prince Charming.

But on that fateful night, something went terribly and beautifully wrong. Lil allowed herself the unthinkable: to feel the emotions of human beings and fall in love with the prince herself, going to the ball in place of Cinderella in her exquisitely gorgeous human guise. For her unforgivable mistake, she was banished to live among humans, far from her fairy sisters and their magical underwater world. But then one day she meets Veronica–a young, fair-skinned, flame-haired East Village beauty with a love of all things vintage and a penchant for falling in love with the wrong men–and suddenly it becomes clear to Lil that she’s been given a chance at redemption. If she can find a soul mate for Veronica, she may right her wrong and return to the fairy world she so deeply longs for. . . .

The Little White Horse – Elizabeth Goudge

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Released: December 31st 2001 by Puffin (first published 1946)
Genre(s): Classics; Children’s Fiction
Time on TBR Pile: About 1 year

A new-fashioned story that is as wonderful as the best fairy tales

When orphaned young Maria Merryweather arrives at Moonacre Manor, she feels as if she’s entered Paradise. Her new guardian, her uncle Sir Benjamin, is kind and funny; the Manor itself feels like home right away; and every person and animal she meets is like an old friend. But there is something incredibly sad beneath all of this beauty and comfort—a tragedy that happened years ago, shadowing Moonacre Manor and the town around it—and Maria is determined to learn about it, change it, and give her own life story a happy ending. But what can one solitary girl do?

WWW Wednesday 09.07.14

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

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

Happy Wednesday, Everyone! I’m back from a small blog-break, and wish I could tell you that I got loads of reading done, but I would be lying. I watched a lot of tennis and spent a lot of time in the pub with friends…but I’m feeling refreshed so that’s a bonus.

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Currently Reading: I’m still reading Cress, even though it’s amazing! I’m almost done though 🙂 I’m also making my way through Guilt-Free Baking which is an advanced copy from NetGalley.

Recently Finished: The last book I finished was Burial Rites by Hannah Kent which I still haven’t reviewed, but will!

Up Next: I’m dedicating the next two months to getting my TBR pile down as I’m massively failing to the TBR Pile Challenge I entered this year. Next will either be Shadow Kiss, or The Princess Bride.