Top Ten Tuesday: Fish out of Water #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 I Enjoyed Recently That Weren’t My Typical Genre

We all know that my favourite genre is YA but I do think it’s completely necessary to read other genres too, especially adult fiction. As far as AF goes, my comfort zones are crime fiction, thrillers and horror. After that, things get a bit sporadic and I flail around like that titular fish up there.

I like reading out of my comfort zone, although I don’t do it nearly enough. Probably because my success rate hasn’t been so great. Here are ten ‘uncomfortable’ books I’ve read in the last year or so and how successful they were in making me more prone to read that genre.

  1. Bookishly Ever After ~ Isabel Bandeira (YA Contemporary)

    bookishlyThis book only confirmed why I fell out of love with contemporary YA. It was so whiny and will they/won’t they it made me want to do a little sick in my mouth

    Success Rate 0%

  2. Sixteen Sixty One ~ Natalie Lucas (Memoir)

    sixteen61
    I did enjoy this, in that I found it interesting. I was impressed by how it read a lot like fiction. That didn’t really help me believe it though… 

    Success Rate 60%

  3. The Frenchman ~ Lesley Young

  4.  Fearless ~ Devon Hartford

    (New Adult)

    frenchmanfearlessI was pretty surprised how much I enjoyed both of these steamy novels. We all need a bit of sexy trash in our reading now and again, right? And to be fair, they were a lot less trashy than I thought they would be.

    Success Rate 66%

  5. The Barefoot Queen ~  Ildefonso Falcones

  6. Rush of Shadows ~ Catherine Bell

  7. Burial Rites ~ Hannah Kent

    (Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction)

    barefootarc3burialIf these novels were anytting to go by (lesser so with The Barefoot Queen) then I should definitely read more historical fiction. It’s a genre that I always think I have to be in the right mood for, but I find that they are often more rewarding than other genres. 
    Success Rate 85% 

  8. You’re the One that I Want ~ Giovanna Fletcher

  9. After Wimbledon ~ Jennifer Gilby Roberts

  10. The Magic of Christmas ~ Trisha Ashley

    (Women’s Fiction)

    yourewimbwinter7I enjoyed all three of these books which I would class as ‘chick lit’ although I’m aware a lot of people don’t like that term. It’s another genre that I can’t read too much of as I feel like they can become quite samey. But I definitely enjoy the genre more than I let myself believe. Success Rate 80%

 

 

Guest Post: My Love of Murder and Mayhem by Cleo Bannister #HorrorOctober

I discovered Cleo’s blog, Cleopatra Loves Books relatively early on in my blogging life, and have been an avid reader ever since. I really enjoy crime fiction, especially a good, gritty, psychological thriller, but I still find myself only reading them sporadically.

Cleo however, has a seemingly insatiable appetite for all that involves death and murder, something we have joked about before in comments and such. As Horror October approached I thought it would be a great opportunity to find out more about Cleo, her blog, and where her love of crime fiction came from.

Huge thanks to Cleo for agreeing and sending over this great guest post. If you don’t follow her, head over there ASAP (she also covers more than just crime fic btw).

HorrorOct2015

My Love of Murder and Mayhem

by Cleo Bannister, Cleopatra Loves Books

I came to murder fairly late in life, although on reflection the seeds were sown earlier, but up until relatively recently you were more likely to find chick-lit or historical women’s fiction decking the shelves of my bookcase. These days they are dominated by black spines adorned with words such as death, murder or the darkly mysterious single word title!

My earliest introduction to murder stories came in the form of true-crime, more specifically the very trashy looking True Crime magazines with which I scared myself half to death before passing them onto my younger brother (something my more responsible adult self would say is probably not to be recommended).

Buying these magazines was a feat in itself, we lived in a rural town where everyone knew my mother, who certainly wouldn’t have approved, and they were kept on the top shelf. I’m not exactly tall now, and in those days top-shelves weren’t meant to be reached by under-sized teenagers so it was only on trips to the nearby city, Gloucester, that I was occasionally brave enough to get someone taller to pass me a copy.

Our local library didn’t stock YA fiction, it hadn’t been invented back in the 80s, and so once I’d finished the children’s section it was straight round the corner to adult fiction where I continued to read the classics fairly indiscriminately interspersed with the occasional bonk-buster as was required reading for every girl my age! Now either my library didn’t stock much in the way of crime fiction or I simply never really came across it, remember these were pre-internet days, you read what was available and unless you had a title and an author it really was pot-luck when pulling books out of the shelves.

Murder on the Orient ExpressI do remember one holiday home we stayed in, I want to say it was Wales but maybe that is my adult self, superimposing the stereotypical rainy weather on an entirely innocent region, which contained a huge stack of readers digest magazines and a good stock of Agatha Christie books which I devoured with relish and then I returned home and they became the one highlight in a very wet, windy and quite frankly miserable holiday.

In no time at all I left home, joined a library in every place that I called home still without any real structure to my reading, except for an overwhelming need to have a constant supply of books and it was only when I moved to Jersey that I became reacquainted with Agatha Christie with Poirot being played by the marvellous David Suchet which was required Sunday evening viewing for an entire winter, as well as settling down more than happily to watch Inspector Wexford do his stuff in a gentler contrast to Poirot’s more flamboyant manner. I sought out Ruth Rendell’s books featuring the detective and fortunately not only was Jersey library better stocked, it was better structured, books were shelved traditionally but some shelves were designated genres, paperbacks or recently published books, although I found my best bet of getting the choicest picks was to peruse the trolley which had the recently returned books on it. There I picked up a book by Barbara Vine, A Fatal Inversion, and having worked out this was Ruth Rendell whose Inspector Wexford books had filled my need for police procedurals, who used the pen name Barbara Vine when she wrote about crime from a psychological view-point.

Happy Like Murderers - Fred and Rose WestIn 1994 Fred West, an odd-job man in Gloucester had his garden dug up and the bones of his daughter who had been missing for eight years were located, I was in hospital giving birth to my son when the news came through that more bodies had been found, twelve in total. When Fred’s wife Rose was arrested, and later found guilty, I wanted to understand how such a large number of murders could take place under the noses of the residents in Cromwell Street, a road that I had walked along the end of many times while living in Gloucester.

I also wanted to understand why? Particularly in the case of Rose; what sort of woman kills for pleasure? In short this case reawakened my interest in true crime, although I now accept that the answers to the why part of my question will probably never be clear since Rose has refused to say anything at all in the intervening years.

Jersey library had a fairly good stock of the books that spring up after a particularly sensational crime so for a while my days were filled with caring for my young children while my nights were spent looking into some of the most depraved minds to grace the earth. It will relieve all those close to me that I wasn’t particularly interested in the methods used, I was interested in the make-up of these men and women.

The Scolds BridleAt about the same time I came across Minette Waters who wrote in a new style, one which combined my interest in the psychological but felt far more modern than Barbara Vine, whose novels were often, but not always, set in a bygone era. Minette Waters used transcripts and newspaper articles as part of her stories, which were without exception incredibly powerful. In The Scold’s Bridle, Mathilda Gillespie is found dead in her bath, flowers in her hair and wearing just us to a medieval torture implement, the scold’s bridle – absolute genius, no crazed serial killer needed just a deeply disturbing (and it still disturbs me now twenty years later) image.

In many ways my crime fiction reading continued with those books picked up for TV serialisation so I came across the marvellous Dalziel and Pascoe, Inspector Frost and of course the wonderful Morse and true to form proceeded to read the entire series of each – people the books are so much better than the TV series! There is far more to these books than cosy Sunday night viewing, the depth in the Dalziel and Pascoe books whilst brilliantly portrayed on screen, is lost when reduced to a two hour show.

As the years rolled by although I picked up any new books by these now much loved authors, plus a few more favourites found along the way, most notably Gillian White who wrote brilliant psychological thrillers with P.D. James, Peter James and Gill McGown for the more classic police procedurals, my reading was more concentrated on the books of the moment, I loved Bridget Jones, Dorothy Koomson, Lisa Jewell and Jodi Picoult. At the same time I love history and have a particular weakness for dual time-line stories so Kate Morton, Rachel Hore and Lucinda Riley also have book that still grace my shelves today.

In 2010, with far more time on my hands, I decided to start reviewing the books I was reading on Amazon, and was lucky enough to be invited onto their Amazon Vine program which offered me free books in return for a review. I was in heaven and here was an opportunity to read books not only before publication but to check out those that I probably wouldn’t pick up in a bookstore.

The books I chose became increasingly dominated by murder and mayhem so that in 2015 out of the 111 books read and reviewed so far 67 are shelved under crime fiction or psychological thriller with a high percentage of non-fiction category also being books about murderous intent. My love of history, and particularly women’s history hasn’t dimmed, but now I enjoy books about Victorian Murderesses, women committed to lunatic asylums and suffragettes instead of love stories.

In 2013 Cleopatra Loves Books was launched primarily so that I had control of the books I’d reviewed and since then, the list of books I’ve found and been recommended that fit into this preferred genre has grown totally out of control. I thank you fellow bloggers for some absolute cracking reviews that has widened my reading to include such a variety of murderers from the domestic to the sadistic serial killer, I simply can’t get enough!

As you can probably tell, I have read loads of books about murder and mayhem so far so I’ll just leave you with a few suggestions from my bookshelves but if you want more detailed advice you can always contact me on my blog – I don’t even bite!

Police Procedural Series
Police Procedural

Roy Grace Series – Peter James
Lewis Trilogy – Peter May
Dalziel and Pascoe – Reginald Hill

Psychological Thriller
Psychological
Just What Kind of Mother Are You? – Paula Daly
Disclaimer – Renee Knight
Copycat – Gillian White

Historical Crime Fiction
Historical Crime

The Anatomy of Death – Felicity Young
Out of the Silence – Wendy James
Caversham Lock – Peter Conway

Non-Fiction
Non Fiction
A Very British Murder – Lucy Worsley
The Magnificent Spilsbury and the Case of the Brides in the Bath – Jane Robbins
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher – Kate Summerscale

Thanks again to Cleo! I hope this post has inspired you to pick up a murder mystery or two this Autumn, it certainly has for me! 🙂

Book Promo: Little Sacrifices by Jamie Scott (including a free download)

Welcome to another book promo on Lipsyy Lost & Found, where I’m always thrilled to support independent authors and publishers.

This promo comes from Jamie Scott who is better known as chick-Lit author Michele Gorman of Curvy Girls fame!

Established in her own right, Gorman, writing here as Jamie Scott has turned her hand at Literary Fiction, and launches Little Sacrifices, an atmospheric coming-of-age women’s fiction novel set in the 1940s American South.

Keep reading to claim your free download!

About the book

littlesac
Title: Little Sacrifices
Author: Jamies Scott
Editions: Paperback/Kindle/e-Book
Publication Details: First published March 2012 (relaunched June 2015)
Genre(s): Historical Fiction

Goodreads // Amazon UK // Amazon US // Amazon Australia // Amazon Canada

How much would you risk to stand up for your beliefs?

When Duncan and Sarah Powell move with their daughter, May, to Savannah Georgia in 1947, they hope against hope that they’ll be welcomed. But they’re Yankees and worse, they’re civil rights advocates almost a decade too early.

At first May can pretend they’re the same as everyone else. It means keeping quiet when she knows she should speak up, but it’s worth the sacrifice to win friends. Unfortunately her parents are soon putting their beliefs into action. And when they wake to find that they’re the only family on the block with a Ku Klux Klan cross blazing on their front lawn, the time comes for them to finally decide between what’s easy and what’s right.

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a Rom Com like Michele Gorman’s books under her own name, Little Sacrifices contains adult themes that some readers may find uncomfortable.

Meet the Author

gorman
I write romantic comedy, including SINGLE IN THE CITY (the first in The Expat Diaries series) and BELLA SUMMER TAKES A CHANCE. Born and raised in the US, I lost my heart to London 16 years ago, where I’ve lived ever since. I’ve also turned my hand to upmarket commercial fiction under the pen name Jamie Scott.

I spend way too much time on twitter and facebook when I should be writing, so please come say hello there. I’m @michelegormanUK on twitter, and we can connect on facebook through https://www.facebook.com/MicheleGorman

Secret Free Download (Shhh)!

Michele has been kind enough to let me (and therefore you) in on a little secret. If you go on Amazon’s Little Sacrifices page (see the above links) and click on “Look Inside”, you can download her book Single in the City for free, and be sure to check out Little Sacrifices too, of course!

If you are an author, publisher or agent and would like to be featured on Lipsyy Lost & Found, drop me message on lipsyylostnfound[at]gmail[dot]com

This Month in Books (May 2015) & June Releases

I really enjoyed May!

I settled into my new job, the sun came out, Eurovision happened which is always SO MUCH FUN, and I generally just enjoyed spending time with friends and adjusting to getting up at 6 AM every weekday. Eeek! It did impact on my reading and blogging a little, and I fell behind in my Goodreads challenge, but no doubt I’ll catch up this month as I’m off on holiday this week. Yay!

May 2015 Stats

Total Posts: 17 (-1 from last month)

Books Read: 6 (-1)
The Silvered Heart ~ Katherine Clements
Heir of Fire ~ Sarah J. Maas
The Heir ~ Kiera Cass
Fairest ~ Marissa Meyer
Charlie, Presumed Dead~ Anne Heltzel
The Quality of Silence ~ Rosamund Lupton

The Breakdown:

Genres: YA (5/6); Fantasy (2/6); Thriller (2/6); Historical Fiction (1/6)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (3/6); Digital (3/6); Hardback (0/7); Paperback (3/6); Owned (6/6); Borrowed (0/7)

Most Surprising: Charlie, Presumed Dead (the ending!)
Most Disappointing: Charlie, Presumed Dead (the beginning!)
Most Exciting: The Quality of Silence
Most Swoon-worthy: Ahhh both The Heir & Heir of Fire
Most Beautifully Written: The Quality of Silence

Reviews (5)

  • Twisted Dark by Neil Gibson et al, 2/5 (View)
  • The Silvered Heart by Katherine Clements, 4/5 (View)
  • The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R Carey, 4/5 (View)
  • The Heir by Keira Cass, 4/5 (View)
  • Fairest by Marissa Meyer, 4/5 (View)

Friday Features

Guest Posts, Promos and Other Highlights

  • Book Blitz: The Violet Hour (View Post)
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Books I want to borrow from the library I work in (View Post)
  • Lipsyy Lost & Found Vintage Book Shop Update (View Post)

Most Viewed Posts

  1. This Week in Books 06.05.15 (View Post)
  2. This Week in Books 20.05.15 (View Post)
  3. Top Ten Tuesday: Holiday Reads (View Post)

Awards

botm-may15(I know this doesn’t come out until July but I couldn’t wait!)

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mlft-june15

June Releases

Here’s my pick of the top June releases:

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What are you looking forward to this month?

The Silvered Heart by Katherine Clements [Out Tomorrow]

silveredheart
Title: The Silvered Heart
Author: Katherine Clements
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC, 448 pages
Publication Details: May 7th 2015 by Headline
Genre(s): YA; Historical Fiction
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

The legendary figure of Kate Ferrars, the infamous highwaywoman, is brought gloriously to life in this gripping tale of infatuation, betrayal and survival.

‘The distant thrum of galloping hooves conjures nothing but doubt and fear these days.’

1648: Civil war is devastating England. The privileged world Katherine Ferrars knows is crumbling under Cromwell’s army, and as an orphaned heiress, she has no choice but to do her duty and marry for the sake of family.

But as her marriage turns into a prison, and her fortune is decimated by the war, Kate becomes increasingly desperate. So when she meets the enigmatic Ralph Chaplin, she seizes the chance he offers. Their plan is daring and brutal, but it’s an escape from poverty and the shackles of convention. They both know if they’re caught, there’s only one way it can end…

Review

The Silvered Heart was my first Katherine Clements read, and it certainly won’t be my last.

Lady Katherine is an intriguing character. She is an orphaned heiress who has been used to the finer things in life. But when it comes time to do her duty and marry for the sake of her family, everything she knows is taken from her.

She must leave her beloved mansion for Ware Park, where her husband Thomas, who appears cold and incapable of kindness, basically leaves her to rot. With the state of affairs as they are, Thomas is constantly away, and money is non-existent, turning Ware Park into a run-down, neglected palace, where workers go unpaid and starvation is just around the corner.

I felt for Katherine a lot, and found myself completely engrossed in her story. Her marriage was entirely love-less, and she goes from riches to rags and does it all alone, with the exception of friend and maid, Rachel.

I was very wary of Katherine as a heroine, though. She never seemed to know what she wanted, and a lot of the decisions she made drove me mad! I found her quite shallow and petulant at times, and it annoyed me that she thought she was cleverer than she actually was, but it made for a thrilling read.

I loved that she became this great, almost mythological figure of a cold-hearted highway woman, and all the excitement and danger that came along with it.

The Silvered Heart is an epic tale of betrayal, double-crosses, plots and politics, and one that really gives us a vivid picture of that period in history. It’s also the story of one woman who will do anything to get what she thinks she deserves. A great read!

unicorn rating 4

The Silvered Heart is available in paperback from Waterstones tomorrow!

Blood Red, White Snow by Marcus Sedgwick

bloodredsnow
Title: Blood Red, Snow White
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 304 pages
Publication Details: July 6th 2007 by Orion Children’s Books
Genre(s): YA; Historical Fiction; Fairy-Tales
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it from Dora, thanks Dora!

Goodreads // Purchase


It is 1917, and the world is tearing itself to pieces in a dreadful war, but far to the east of the trenches, another battle is breaking out – the Russian Revolution has just begun…

Blood Red, Snow White captures the mood of this huge moment in history through the adventure of one man who was in the middle of it all; Arthur Ransome, a young British journalist who had first run away to Russia to collect fairy tales.

Review


Only Marcus Sedgwick could successfully write a spy-thriller-cum-fairy-tale-cum-love story written in the Russian Revolution. I mean seriously, I don’t know how he does it.

It’s no secret that I love Sedgwick. I’m currently trying to work my way through his books that I’ve missed and Blood Red, Snow White was at the top of my agenda.

The book is told in three parts, all of which are written beautifully yet different in styles. The first, is written as a fairy-tale and depicts the early days of the revolution, using a great bear as a metaphor for Russia.

The second, is based on the real life of Arthur Ransome, a writer who went to Russia to learn more about Russian fairy-tales but who ended up working as a journalist and getting unwittingly involved in the surrounding war, and seen as a potential spy. Here, the lyrical fairy-tale style of writing gives way to a more suspenseful spy-thriller.

In the final part, Ransome falls in love with Evgenia, Trotsky’s secretary, which presents all kinds of problems, not to mention his estranged wife and daughter at home. This part of the book raises more questions as to where Ransome’s allegiances lie. Should he choose the woman he loves, and turn his back on his own country? Or should he use his position to try and keep the peace?

I’m so glad I loved this book, because I was pretty dubious about how a book could be all of these things. But it is, and the way Sedgwick adapts his writing to the different parts is what makes it a success. I’m also glad because I don’t always find historical fiction that exciting, but mix in a fairy-tale and bam! So good!

I thought Blood Red, Snow White was such a clever book; using a relatively unknown historical figure who wrote fairy-tales, and turning his life into a fairy-tale itself is a genius idea, and Marcus Sedgwick pulls it off so well.

unicorn rating

Lazy Saturday Review: The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

ghosts
Title: The Ghosts of Heaven
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Series: N/A
Edition: Hardcover, 424 pages
Publication Details: October 2nd 2014 by Orion Books
Genre(s): YA; SciFi
Disclosure? Nope, it was a gift!

Goodreads // Purchase

The spiral has existed as long as time has existed.

It’s there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin. There centuries later in a pleasant greendale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch. There on the other side of the world as a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors the hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny.

Each takes their next step in life. None will ever go back to the same place. And so, their journeys begin…

Review


You should all know by now that Marcus Sedgwick has become one of my favourite authors in recent years. His books seem to fall into two categories; dark and foreboding, or beautifully poignant, but they all have one thing in common – they are written wonderfully.

The Ghosts of Heaven is no exception, but… sigh, I was quite disappointed. I think my main issue was the format. It was hailed as a book in which the four parts of it can be read in any order and still make sense. I thought the idea was pretty cool and wondered how he’d managed it.

Well, in my opinion, it can be read in any order because this is a book of four completely different stories. I mean sure, I get the spiral thing, and see the tenuous links between each of the stories, but they are essentially four short stories with one common element. It kind of reminded me of some of David Mitchell’s books – all of which I didn’t enjoy.

That being said, I was completely enthralled by the futuristic part involving Keir Bowman who is scheduled to wake up on a spaceship every ten years, and is journeying to a new earth-like planet to inhabit. Only every time he wakes up, more of the crew are dead…

This one was definitely my favourite of the four, it was dark and twisted and reminded me why I love Sedgwick – he can write in every genre – so I’ll try not to dwell on my disappointment of this one. You can’t win them all, right? And anyway, the book is very pretty!

unicorn rating 3

Available to buy in both paperback and hardback, from Waterstones now.