Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Books of 2017 So Far #TTT #2017Books

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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.

TTT has been on hiatus over the summer and now it’s back. Whoop. Welcome back! I wanted to join in to celebrate this, however I wasn’t very inspired by the topic (Ten book recommendations for ______________), so I’m going to do one of the ones I missed.

This week my topic is… Top Ten Books That I’ve Read So Far This Year (they were not all published this year). Links go to my review, or the Goodreads page if I haven’t reviewed it yet.

10. Spectacles ~ Sue Perkins

spectaclesWhen I began writing this book, I went home to see if my mum had kept some of my stuff. What I found was that she hadn’t kept some of it. She had kept all of it – every bus ticket, postcard, school report – from the moment I was born to the moment I finally had the confidence to turn round and say ‘Why is our house full of this shit?’

Sadly, a recycling ‘incident’ destroyed the bulk of this archive. This has meant two things: firstly, Dear Reader, you will never get to see countless drawings of wizards, read a poem about corn on the cob, or marvel at the kilos of brown flowers I so lovingly pressed as a child. Secondly, it’s left me with no choice but to actually write this thing myself.

This, my first ever book, will answer questions such as ‘Is Mary Berry real?’, ‘Is it true you wear a surgical truss?’ and ‘Is a non-spherically symmetric gravitational pull from outside the observable universe responsible for some of the observed motion of large objects such as galactic clusters in the universe?’

Most of this book is true. I have, of course, amplified my more positive characteristics in an effort to make you like me. 

Thank you for reading.

Published July 28th 2016 by Penguin

 

9. Broken Branches ~ M. Jonathan Lee

 

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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. 

Published July 27th 2017 by Hideaway Fall

 

8. Calling Major Tom ~ David M. Barnett

 

callingmtCALLING MAJOR TOM is a heart-warming and ultimately life-affirming story of a man who has given up on the world… but discovers in the most unlikely way that it might not have given up on him.

We all know someone like Thomas.

The grumpy next-door-neighbour who complains to the Residents’ Committee about the state of your front lawn. The man who tuts when you don’t have the correct change at the checkout. The colleague who sends an all-company email when you accidentally use the last drop of milk.

Thomas is very happy to be on his own, far away from other people and their problems.

But beneath his cranky exterior lies a story and a sadness that is familiar to us all. And he’s about to encounter a family who will change his view of the world. 

Published June 18th 2017 by Trapeze

 

7. The Inexplicable Logic of my Life ~ Benjamin Alire Saenz

theinexplicThe first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he? 

Published March 7th 2017 by Clarion Books

6. All the Good Things ~ Clare Fisher

 

allthegoodTwenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve to ever feel good again.

But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head.

But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.

What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone-even a 100% bad person-deserve a chance to be good?

Published June 1st 2017 by Viking, Penguin UK

5. The Last Act of Love ~ Cathy Rentzenbrink 

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In the summer of 1990 – two weeks before his GCSE results, which turned out to be the best in his school – Cathy Rentzenbrink’s brother Matty was knocked down by a car on the way home from a night out, suffering serious head injuries.

He was left in a permanent vegetative state. Over the following years, Cathy and her parents took care of Matty – they built an extension onto the village pub where they lived and worked; they talked to him, fed him, bathed him, loved him. But there came a point at which it seemed the best thing they could do for Matty – and for themselves – was let him go.

With unflinching honesty and raw emotional power, Cathy describes the unimaginable pain of losing her brother and the decision that changed her family’s lives forever. As she delves into the past and reclaims memories that have lain buried for many years, Cathy reconnects with the bright, funny, adoring brother she lost and is finally able to see the end of his life as it really was – a last act of love.

Powerful, intimate and intensely moving, this is a personal journey with universal resonance – a story of unconditional love, of grief, survival and the strength of the ties that bind. It’s a story that will speak to anyone who has lost someone close to them, to anyone who has fiercely loved a sibling, and to anyone who has ever wondered whether prolonging a loved one’s life might be more heartbreaking than saying goodbye.

Published July 2nd 2015 by Pan Macmillan

 

4. Labyrinth ~ Jim Henson/ ACH Smith

 

labyrinth1Finally back in print and for the first time in hardcover, the novelization of LABYRINTH written by A.C.H. Smith and personally overseen by Jim Henson, is the first in a series of novels from the Jim Henson Archives.

This beautiful hardcover features unpublished goblin illustrations by legendary illustrator and concept artist Brian Froud and an exclusive peek into Jim Henson’s creative process with 50 never-before-seen pages from his personal journal, detailing the initial conception of his ideas for LABYRINTH.

Published April 22nd 2014 by Archaia

 

3. The Rest of Us Just Live Here ~ Patrick Ness

therestofusWhat if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions. 

Published August 27th 2015 by Walker Books

2. The Marsh King’s Daughter ~ Karen Dionne

 

marshking‘I was born two years into my mother’s captivity. She was three weeks shy of seventeen. If I had known then what I do now, things would have been a lot different. I wouldn’t have adored my father.’

When notorious child abductor – known as the Marsh King – escapes from a maximum security prison, Helena immediately suspects that she and her two young daughters are in danger.

No one, not even her husband, knows the truth about Helena’s past: they don’t know that she was born into captivity, that she had no contact with the outside world before the age of twelve – or that her father raised her to be a killer.

And they don’t know that the Marsh King can survive and hunt in the wilderness better than anyone… except, perhaps his own daughter.

Published June 13th 2017 by Sphere

1. The Hate U Give ~ Angie Thomas

 

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. 

Published April 6th 2017 by Walker Books

 

Did any of these make your Top Ten of the year so far??

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 

bookdepo

‘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

This Week in Books 22.03.17 #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. 

I’m afraid my answers are pretty much the same as last week as I’ve just not been feeling it. Hope you’re all having a better week!  Here’s what I’m still reading…

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Now: King’s Cage ~ Victoria Aveyard // The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

I’ve been choosing TV over reading lately for some reason , but I have at least got about a third of the way through King’s Cage. It’s OK, but it hasn’t managed to pull me out of my slump yet. I’m also stiiiiiiiiiiill going on The Time Machine at lunch-times.

Then:  The Invisible Hand ~ James Hartley // Girl in Disguise ~ Greer Macallister

I haven’t finished anything new so here is my response from last week: I really enjoyed both of these. I’ve just finished The Invisible Hand which is part of a new series with each book based on a different Shakespeare play. I think it’s a great way to get kids and young adults interested in Shakespeare. My review will be up soon. Girl in Disguise was a fun book about the first female Pinkerton detective. My review went up yesterday.

Next: ??? 

Still something from my physical TBR shelf again. Six of Crows and The Chemist are at the top of my pile or I might go for something completely different like Misery by Stephen King.

New on the Shelves

I bought these two Alan Bradley books from a charity shop at the weekend but that’s it!

I’m Waiting On…

Nothing has caught my eye yet this so I’ll lazily stick with last week’s answer…soz!

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

 

Because, the cover is so stunning, and it sounds great too. A bit similar to The Space Between Us perhaps, but I only saw the movie!? There’s quite a wait til September though…boo!

theloniestgirl

 Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . .

Expected Publication: September 7th 2017 by Walker Books

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

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

This Week in Books 15.02.17 #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

Happy Wednesday everyone ! I hope you’re all having a good week so far.

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

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Now: The Chalk Pit ~ Elly Griffiths // The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells

I’m almost half-way through The Chalk Pit. It’s the 9th book in the Ruth Galloway series and I haven’t read any of the previous ones but that’s not really been a problem so far.  I’m still going on The Time Machine at lunch-times too.

Then:   The Rest of Us Just Live Here ~ Patrick Ness

For some reason I was slightly worried that the mighty Ness was going to let me down with this – but he bloody well didn’t! Loved! I will have more faith next time. Oww, Todd!

Next: ??? 

I’d like to get my next ARC Mercy of the Tide out of the way and then I’m going to enjoy something random on my TBR – quite possibly one of these below…

New on the Shelves

My TBR pile is out of control but I felt so happy about my decision to request/accept less ARCs and review books that I felt the need to celebrate…by buying some new books instead. LOL! Very excited about both of these!


I’m Waiting on…

Release ~ Patrick Ness

I just want ALL THE NESS now.

releaseInspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17.

It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

Expected Publication: May 4th 2017 by Walker Books

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

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

Calling Major Tom by David M. Barnett #BookReview

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callingmtTitle: Calling Major Tom
Author: David M. Barnett
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 304 pages
Publication Details: June 18th 2017 by Trapeze
Genre(s): General Fiction; Science Fiction
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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CALLING MAJOR TOM is a heart-warming and ultimately life-affirming story of a man who has given up on the world… but discovers in the most unlikely way that it might not have given up on him.

We all know someone like Thomas.

The grumpy next-door-neighbour who complains to the Residents’ Committee about the state of your front lawn. The man who tuts when you don’t have the correct change at the checkout. The colleague who sends an all-company email when you accidentally use the last drop of milk.

Thomas is very happy to be on his own, far away from other people and their problems.

But beneath his cranky exterior lies a story and a sadness that is familiar to us all. And he’s about to encounter a family who will change his view of the world.

Review

Calling Major Tom is a story about family and friendship, and more importantly about losing your way.

Thomas Major is an extremely grumpy scientist who partly by chance and partly by his own stupidity becomes the first man to be sent to Mars. It’s basically a suicide mission but that doesn’t bother Thomas. He’s just happy that he’ll be alone. For a really, really long time, if not forever.

Thinking he’s calling his ex-wife from space, Thomas actually gets through to Gladys, a grandmother suffering from dementia and he’s unwittingly thrown into the lives of a family with some very real problems.

Despite his best efforts to be alone, Thomas Major finds himself trying to help the family from space, and in helping them he learns that maybe he’s not quite the lost cause he thought he was.

Calling Major Tom is wonderfully odd. It’s one of those genuine heart-warming stories that just makes you smile. It’s far-fetched; not at all realistic in plot, but each and every character stands out providing a good injection of realness to bring us back down to earth.

That’s not to say that I didn’t find some faults in it. There seemed a  tendency to jump from one scene or thought to the next without any transition, but that may have just been the pre-proof format to be fair. However, it did put me off at first until I got into the erratic rhythm of it.

I am always impressed by anyone who can create a wonderful story like this, but what impressed me the most was how current it was. There are references to David Bowie’s death and Brexit which makes me wonder when Barnett started writing it and how long it took him. I loved all the Bowie references, naturally, and its crazy quirkiness and undeniable charm made it a perfect tribute to the great man.

 

unicorn rating 4