[Out Tomorrow!] A coffin and pleasant pheasant sandwiches: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce #6) by Alan Bradley

cover35827-mediumBishop’s Lacey is never short of two things: mysteries to solve and pre-adolescent detectives to solve them. In this New York Times bestselling series of cozy mysteries, young chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce once again brings her knowledge of poisons and her indefatigable spirit to solve the most dastardly crimes the English countryside has to offer, and in the process, she comes closer than ever to solving her life’s greatest mystery–her mother’s disappearance. . .

How have I never come across Alan Bradley or the Flavia de Luce books before now? Seriously, I have been missing out.

I’ll be honest, I knew nothing about this book when I requested it. I fell in love with the cover and was intrigued by the synopsis. I didn’t realise it was book 6 in a series, but it turns out that it really didn’t matter. (WIN!)

***Slight Spoiler Ahead***

Flavia de Luce is an 11 year old with an insatiable desire to solve mysteries and the strange going-ons in her picturesque English village of Bishop’s Lacey. I fell in love with her instantly. She’s witty, tenacious and doggedly independent with a fiery, yet caring spirit.

At the beginning of this installment, Flavia and her father are at the train station for the long-awaited return of her mother. Her mother has been missing for over 10 years, which was a mystery in itself. Unfortunately, it’s also a mystery that will remain unsolved for the time being as Harriett de Luce arrives home in a coffin. At the same time, a man is pushed onto the tracks and killed but no one seems to have witnessed anything, and Winston Churchill is whispering about liking pheasant sandwiches! Somehow these things are connected.

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches was such a fun read. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book with such great imagery and humour. She may be 11 years old, but Flavia can see the world ‘as a mixture of paints, or fluids, in a spinning centrifuge’, she can describe someone’s expression as ‘a photographic negative of his soul’ and when the shit hits the fan she just wants ‘to curl up like a salted slug and die.’ 😦 I get the feeling that Flavia feels isolated by her own age (or lack there of), and the stiff upper-lip of the middle-class life she was born into.

Despite not finding the actual mystery of the book all that thrilling, I couldn’t help getting swept away with the characters. I loved that Flavia has a chicken called Esmerelda and a bicycle called Gladys but could whip up a fatal poison in a matter of minutes.

Think Young Sherlock Holmes meets Veronica Mars and you’re there. I’m off to find the first 5 books now. Tally ho, jolly good show!

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from the Publisher/Author in exchange for an HONEST review. Many Thanks!
Title: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches (Flavia de Luce #6)
Author: Alan Bradley
Details: Hardback, 336 pages
Publication Date: January 14th 2014 by Delacorte Press
My Rating: 4/5
If you liked this try: Look into my Eyes by Lauren Child

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d recommend to reluctant readers.

toptentuesday
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (Click the image to visit them). This week the topic is Books you would recommend to X.

I have gone for books that I would recommend to reluctant readers and split them into boys and girls and narrowed it down to the 8 – 14 age bracket. Not that I think these books are limited to those demographics.. of course!

Boys:

Why don’t more boys read? Especially teenagers….is it just not cool? There are some great books aimed at boys though, of all ages.

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Girls:

When I was younger I was encouraged to read books like Little Women and Pride & Prejudice, and I’m not dissing them (I am a bit) but they’re not the most exciting are they. If I’d discovered books like these earlier, I think I would have been a prolific reader from an earlier age.

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Feel free leave a link to your TTT post and I’ll check them out!

Preview: The Hamstead & Highgate Literary Festival, Sept 15th-17th

The Hamstead & Highgate literary festival is now in its 5th year. I managed to catch a few events at last year and really enjoyed it so I thought I’d highlight some of the great things coming up this September. The festival takes place in Ivy House, London NW11 7SX and you can book online or call 020 8511 7900

Top authors and celebrities scheduled to appear include Ruby Wax, Nick Ross, Maggie O’Farrell, Tracy Chevalier, Sathnam Sanghera, Gill Hornby, Marcus Burkemann, Shelina Permalloo, Miles Jupp, Charlotte Mendelson, Mark Billingham, Countess of Carnarvon, Daisy Waugh, Kate Figes and Baroness Gillian Shephard, to name but a few.

Returning author Tracy Chevalier said; ‘Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival has the feeling of a local event, yet with national players. I am very pleased to be returning.’

Here is my pick of events:

Sunday 15th Sept:
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Like Mother Like Daughter
Deborah and Lottie Moggach talk to John Crace
£7

Deborah Moggach’s new book, Heartbreak Hotel is a warm, wise and funny romp in the Welsh countryside, which will appeal to the legions of fans who enjoyed the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Lottie Moggach’s Kiss Me First is a moving coming of age story hidden within a harrowing mystery. While Lottie explores a lot of dark territory-suicide, alienation, innocence betrayed–she has also written an unexpectedly warm-hearted novel.

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Almost English
Charlotte Mendelson talks to Claire Armitstead
£7

In a tiny flat in West London, sixteen year-old Marina lives with her emotionally delicate mother and three ancient Hungarian relatives. Imprisoned by her family’s crushing expectations, traditions and un-English pride, she knows she must escape. But at Combe Abbey, an English public school, she realises she has made a terrible mistake. Man Booker nominee Charlotte Mendelson talks about her perfectly balanced observations of human nature captured in all its hideous glories to Guardian Books and News Editor, Claire Armitstead.

Monday 16th Sept
Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath & life before Ted
Andrew Wilson talks to Henry Kelly

£7
Fifty years after her death, Andrew Wilson explores the life of Sylvia Plath before her marriage to Ted Hughes, in an intimate portrait of the brilliant and tragic literary enigma based on her early poems, letters and diaries. Drawing on exclusive interviews with friends and lovers and using previously unavailable archives and papers, this is the first book to focus on the early life of the twentieth century’s most popular and enduring female poet.

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The Complexities of Motherhood and Family Life
Gill Hornby & Hilary Boyd talk to Lisa Jewell

£7
Gill Hornby’s The Hive is wickedly funny, but is also a fascinating and subtle story about group politics and female friendship. In Hilary Boyd’s Tangled Lives a happily married woman in her early 50s, with three grown children, guards a dark secret. And in Lisa Jewell’s new novel, a tragedy tears a family apart but something happens that calls them back to The House They Grew Up In …

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The Detective
Mark Billingham & Robert Ryan

£10
Complex individuals both alienate and inspire those around them. In the Sunday Times, best-selling author Billingham’s, The Dying Hours, Detective Tom Thorne, having stepped out of line once too often, is back in uniform and he hates it. Patronised and abused by his new colleagues, he is forced to investigate alone. In Robert Ryan’s new book Dead Man’s Land, Dr John Watson, Sherlock Holmes’ sidekick, is finally forced to take centre stage. Ryan’s Watson must for once step out of the shadows and into the limelight if he’s to solve the mystery behind inexplicable deaths.

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This year the organisers, the London Jewish Cultural Centre in partnership with the Ham&High, have also added a Kidsfest on Sunday 15th September with a host of ‘kid for a quid’ events and activities designed to engage and entrance young readers from 6+.

Here’s my pick:.

Ruby Redfort and Other Friends
With Lauren Child

Kid For A Quid – £1
Adults – £5
Age range: all ages
Bestselling author Lauren Child talks about her latest creation – Ruby Redfort, the thirteen year-old, super smart secret agent who is always cool in a crisis, as well as some of her other favourite characters, including Charlie and Lola as well as Clarice Bean.

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Horrible Histories Paradoxical Panel
with Neal Forster, Laura Crowe & Ben Willbond

Kid For A Quid – £1
Adults – £5
Age range: 7+

Meet the producer and performers of both the stage and screen shows of Terry Deary’s much loved Horrible Histories. Hear how these stories are brought to life; the challenges of turning facts into fun and the different techniques used in adapting them for screen and stage.

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Judith Kerr’s Creatures
Judith Kerr celebrates her life & work with Julia Eccleshare, tea & jam sandwiches!

Kid For A Quid – £1
Adults – £10
Age range: 8+
In celebration of her 90th birthday, Judith Kerr, author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and many other iconic books, talks about her life and work with Guardian children’s book editor, Julia Eccleshare.

Through her lavishly illustrated new retrospective, Judith tells her own story, and of the ‘creatures’, that spring to life from the pages of her books.

All of that and loads of creative writing workshops to boot. If you live in London I highly recommend it. Visit the website here.

Thanks to Sara Miller at the LJCC

July 2013 on Lipsyy Lost & Found

I’ve been blogging for just over two months now and it’s really fun if not time consuming; definitely worth every second though. Now I’m all settled in I thought it would be good to do a proper monthly round-up. So here is My Monthly Activity in one handy post. Thanks to everyone who has followed me, liked posts and commented. I’m really enjoying getting to know you all!

July 2013

Total Posts: 19

New Followers: 29

Books Read & Reviewed (6):

  • Poison – Sarah Pinborough, 3/5 (Review)
  • The Maleficent Seven – Derek Landy,  A reluctant 4/5 (Review)
  • Take Your Last Breath (Ruby Redfort #2) – Lauren Child, 4/5 (Review)
  • Specials (Uglies #3) – Scott Westerfeld, 4/5 (Review)
  • Tristan & Iseult – J.D Smith, 3/5 (Review)
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch, 3/5 (Review)

Favourites Fridays:
Most Fridays I have been posting about my favourite books or authors

  • #7 Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson (View Post)
  • #6 Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babbit (View Post)
  • #5 Silly Verse for Kids – Spike Milligan (View Post)

Most Viewed Posts:

  1. WWW Wednesday 24/07/2013 (View Post)
  2. Best Post Day! (New Arrivals) (View Post)
  3. WWW Wednesday 10/07/2013 (View Post)

Books Purchased: 
1. Tristan & Iseult by J.D Smith (Kindle Edition) I got this when it was free but it is still only £1.98

Available from Amazon
Available from Amazon

2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Paperback). Currently only £3.85 on Amazon

3. Poison by Sarah Pinborough (Hardback)

4. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (Paperback)
July - random 022

5. Deer in Headlights (Good Gods Series) by Stacci Hart (Kindle Edition) This is still free on Amazon

View On Amazon
View On Amazon

6. Water (The Aksasha Series) by Terra Harmony. (Kindle Edition) Also free on Amazon.

View on Amazon
View on Amazon

Books Swapped: I am a huge fan of bookswap website Read it Swap it and did some great swaps this month. Check out the site here. (UK based) My username is lipsyp1 if you ever want to see what books I have up for swap.

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Swap #1: Tell me no Lies by Malorie Blackman for Being by Kevin Brooks.

Swap#2: On the Road by Jack Kerouac for Extras (Uglies #4) by Scott Westerfeld

Swap #3: Second Nature by Alice Hoffman for A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

ARCs/Giveaways:
I received Julian Sedgwick’s The Black Dragon (The Mysterium #1) courtesy of Hodder Children’s Books via World Book Day.

*BOOK OF THE MONTH*

Click for my review
Click for my review

*COVER OF THE MONTH*

View my Review
View my Review

*MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH*
Due for Release 20th August – NEEDED for the cover alone.

View on Goodreads
View on Goodreads

What else would you like to see on my monthly round-up? I’m sure I’m missing things. 

Teen Girls Make Good Spies Too, Buster: Take Your Last Breath by Lauren Child (Ruby Redfort #2)

I’m a bit behind on reviews so I thought I’d try and get them out today instead of a Favourites Friday post. But Happy Friday regardless!

Image from Amazon
View on Amazon

Everyone’s favorite girl detective is back for a second mind-blowing installment, packed with all the off-the-wall humor, action, and friendship of the first book. This time, though, it’s an adventure on the wide-open ocean, and Ruby is all at sea. . . . Can she crack the case of the Twinford pirates while evading the clutches of a vile sea monster as well as the evil Count von Viscount? Well, you wouldn’t want to bet against her.

I should have written this review when the book was fresh in my mind but hey ho, better late than never right? I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first book in this series Look Into my Eyes and Take Your Last Breath was more of the same; it didn’t disappoint.

Ruby is a great character with her sarcky, feisty wit and quick thinking. She makes these book extremely fun to read, you can’t help but cheer her on the whole way through, even if she calls people ‘Buster’ too much, and has a penchant for t-shirts with annoying slogans on them, it all adds to her unique character.

The book starts with Ruby on a deep-sea-diving training course with Spectrum, the Secret Agency that head-hunted her in the first book, which is pretty convenient considering the mission she is later assigned to happens to be about a body found dead at sea (coincidence?). This leads to all manner of crazy oceanic occurrences such as sharks in the harbour, dead turtles, ships being kidnapped by pirates, confused cargo shipping including some missing elephants and the strange whispering of the sea that only kids can hear. Oh not to mention the old legend of the sea monster which may or may not be currently strangling people.

With codes to crack and the many pieces of the puzzle to piece together, Ruby is a busy a girl and the story just flies by. It’s a perfectly entertaining, light summer read.

But, I hear you cry, but you do have to just go with it and take it with a pinch of salt. Don’t expect much realism here. I mean, I know it’s aimed at a MUCH (sob) younger audience than me but Lauren Child doesn’t even try to make the unbelievable believable. Ruby as a teenage secret agent didn’t manage to convince me enough this time round, she just didn’t seem clever, or serious enough and a lot of time she just sat around thinking but not actually doing anything. Surely the ‘real’ secret agents wouldn’t just wait for her to solve it? but they didn’t seem to really care that people were turning up dead.

Despite those things, I’m really glad this series exists. There are a lot of YA novels out there the moment featuring kick-ass girls with real personalities but not so much for the 8-12 age group which I think this falls into, and definitely not when it comes to spy novels. Comparisons to the Stormbreaker series are endless and it’s pretty cool that Ruby Redfort is out there doing it for the girls. Even if Alex Rider would totally kick her arse.

I gave Ruby#2 4/5 unicorns. My copy is published by Harper Collins Children’s Books.

WWW Wednesday!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

www_wednesdays4

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?

Currently Reading:
Tristan and Iseult by J.D Smith
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Recently Finished:
Take Your Last Breath by Lauren Child. Review to follow!

Image from Amazon
Images from Amazon

Up Next
Hmm either Storm Glass which I mentioned last week or, Poison if it arrives in time…I’m waiting for a delivery…EXCITING.

Click to view on Goodreads.
Click to view on Goodreads.

A beautiful, sexy, contemporary retelling of the classic Snow White fairy tale, illustrated by Les Edwards.

Poison is a beautifully illustrated retelling of the Snow White story which takes all the elements of the classic fairy tale that we love (the handsome prince, the jealous queen, the beautiful girl and, of course, the poisoning) and puts a modern spin on the characters, their motives and their desires. It’s fun, contemporary, sexy, and perfect for fans of Once Upon a Time, Grimm, Snow White and the Huntsman and more. Synopsis & image from Goodreads

It’s WWW Wednesday (But feels like Monday!)

www_wednesdays4

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?

Just a quick one today as I’m ill and really behind on work and other boring life stuff! Get the violins out!

Currently Reading: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
I kind of stopped reading this as I wanted to take something light (in both mind and actual weight) with me when I was travelling this weekend. I didn’t really get into the first 100 pages and have no idea what was going on, but I’ll give it another go.

Recently Read:

Image from Goodreads
Image from Goodreads
This is what I ended up taking home with me. It was good! Review to follow.

Next Up: Take Your Last Breath by Lauren Child
I’ve been saying this for like 3 weeks now, but I really WILL read it next. Promise.