This Week in Books 10.01.18 #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 everyone, I hope you’re all having a good week! Here’s what I’ve been reading…

Now:

Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha

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I’m about 1/3 through this and it so wasn’t what I was expecting…but it’s really interesting.

A charming memoir of one woman’s unexpected journey from country chic to backwoods barnyard.

Just as the Great Recession was easing in some parts of the country, Jennifer McGaha experienced an economic crisis of epic proportions. Her home was in foreclosure; she had $4.57 in the bank; and worst of all, she had recently discovered that she and her accountant husband owed four years of back taxes to the state of North Carolina and the IRS. And then things got really bad…

Flat Broke with Two Goats takes readers on a wild adventure from a Cape Cod-style home in the country to a hundred-year-old, mice-infested, snake-ridden cabin in a North Carolina holler. With self-effacing humor and unflinching honesty, Jennifer chronicles the joys and difficulties of living close to nature, and in the process she comes to discover the true meaning of home.

Then:

Renegades ~ Marissa Meyer

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I’m so pleased that I liked this! Meyer is back on form. Review to follow!

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Next:

 Veronica’s Bird ~ Veronica Bird & Richard Newman

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I will be part of this book tour at the end of the month, so I must start it ASAP. I’m intrigued to see what stories Veronica tells about prison as I also work in one. Should be interesting!

Veronica Bird was one of nine children living in a tiny house in Barnsley with a brutal coal miner for a father. Life was a despairing time in the Fifties as Veronica sought desperately to keep away from his cruelty. However, a glimmer of hope revealed itself as she, astonishingly to her and her mother, won a scholarship to Ackworth Boarding School where she began to shine above her class-mates.

A champion in all sports, Veronica at last found some happiness. That was until her brother-in-law came into her life. It was as if she had stepped from the frying pan into the fire.

He soon began to take control over her life removing her from the school she adored, two terms before she was due to take her GCEs, so he could put her to work as cheap labour on his market stall. Abused for many years by these two men, Veronica eventually ran away from him and applied to the Prison Service, intuiting that it was the only safe place she could trust.

Accepted into the Prison Service at a time when there were few women working in the industry, Veronica applied herself every day to learning her new craft even training in Holloway Prison where Myra Hindley was an inmate. With no wish to go outside the prison, Veronica remained inside on-duty. While her colleagues went out to the pub, the theatre or to dine she didn’t feel able to join them.

Her dedication was recognised and she rose rapidly in the Service moving from looking after dangerous women prisoners on long-term sentences to violent men and coming up against such infamous names as The Price sisters, Mary Bell and Charles Bronson. The threat of riots was always very close and escapes had to be dealt with quickly.

After becoming a Governor, Veronica was tasked with what was known within the Service as a ‘basket case’ of a prison. However, with her diligence and enthusiasm Veronica managed to turn it around whereupon it became a model example to the country and she was recognised with an honour from the Queen. With this recognition the EU invited her to lead a team to Russia and her time in Ivanovo Prison, north east of Moscow, provides an illuminating and humorous insight into a different prison culture.

Through a series of interviews with Richard Newman —author of the bestselling A Nun’s Story— Veronica’s Bird reveals a deeply poignant story of eventual triumph, is filled with humour and compassion for those inside and will fascinate anyone interested in unique true life stories, social affairs and the prison system.

What have you been reading this week? Leave a comment/link and I’ll do my best to take a look 🙂

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This Week in Books 02.01.18 #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 new year to you all! I hope you had a lovely Christmas holiday and a great New Year.

I had a great time but didn’t manage to get any blogging or even much reading done despite having two weeks off work! It’s nice to be back, but I’ve decided that I’ll be taking a step back for the foreseeable future (after I get my backlog of reviews out).

I’m not quitting completely and hope to post at least once a week (as opposed to 3 or 4 like I used to). I just feel burnt out and want to enjoy reading again.

I hope you’ll enjoy being kept up to date on what I’m reading in this post.

Now

renegades

 

Renegades ~ Marissa Meyer

This has got off to an excellent start and I’m so relieved. The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favourite series, but I was pretty disappointed by Meyer’s last book, Heartless. This definitely seems like a return to form!

Then

 

The Polar Bear’s Explorer Club ~ Alex Bell // Little Women ~ Louisa May Alcott

These were the last two books I finished before Christmas. I absolutely loved The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club, it was such a fun, magical read that’s perfect for winter. I was also really surprised by how much I enjoyed Little Women. I tried reading it as a child but never got through it – I’ve never been very good with the classics – but I liked it. Hurrah!

Next

Probably Flat Broke with Two Goats by Jennifer McGaha. I’m not a huge one for memoirs but love the sound of this one 🙂

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A charming memoir of one woman’s unexpected journey from country chic to backwoods barnyard

Just as the Great Recession was easing in some parts of the country, Jennifer McGaha experienced an economic crisis of epic proportions. Her home was in foreclosure; she had $4.57 in the bank; and worst of all, she had recently discovered that she and her accountant husband owed four years of back taxes to the state of North Carolina and the IRS. And then things got really bad…

Flat Broke with Two Goats takes readers on a wild adventure from a Cape Cod-style home in the country to a hundred-year-old, mice-infested, snake-ridden cabin in a North Carolina holler. With self-effacing humor and unflinching honesty, Jennifer chronicles the joys and difficulties of living close to nature, and in the process she comes to discover the true meaning of home.

 

What have you been reading this week? Leave a comment/link and I’ll do my best to take a look 🙂

 

 

This Week in Books 06.12.17 #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. 

Hi Everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying your December. I’m sorry I’ve not been interacting much of late, I’m finding it a bit hard to get back into the swing of things after having November off and I’m trying not to force myself to do it, you know!? I’m sure the motivation will come back eventually, but at the moment I’m just enjoying reading lots and spending time with friends.

I only have a week and a half left at work THIS YEAR (squeeeeeal), so I’m looking forward to having some time off, and hopefully I’ll feel like catching up on reviews and things then. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading…

Now

 

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The Polar Bear’s Explorer Club ~ Alex Bell

I’ve barely started this so not much to report so far. I’m very excited about it though!

Join Stella Starflake Pearl and her three fellow explorers as they trek across the snowy Icelands and come face-to-face with frost fairies, snow queens, outlaw hideouts, unicorns, pygmy dinosaurs and carnivorous cabbages . . .

When Stella and three other junior explorers get separated from their expedition can they cross the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale?

Then

 

Carnivalesque ~ Neil Jordan

Norse Mythology ~ Neil Gaiman

I enjoyed both of these, but the Neil Jordan book slightly less so.

Next???

 

I still might give Little Women a go, and I also have Artemis by Andy Weir. But Renegades (see below) also arrived and ahhh need to read nowww!

New on the Shelves

There’s too many to mention since the last time I did this feature (which was back in September!) so I’ll just share what arrived this week, and do a separate post for the others at some point.

I’m so excited about this new Marissa Meyer book. I hope it’s better than Heartless was. Eeeeek.

renegades

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments or leave your link.

Reading Round-Up: January 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 warrant a full review. 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 are quite a lot this month because I took January off from blogging and read anything I wanted. It was great!

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Bowie: The Story of Rock’s Enduring Enigma ~ Mike Evans

I got this book for Christmas and really enjoyed working my way through it. The text wasn’t anything spectacular but it was laid out well and the photographs and old gig posters/ticket stubs made it special. As a huge Bowie fan, I was surprised to see a few photos I didn’t recognise which is always a bonus.

unicorn rating 3

 

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: The Novelisation ~ A.C.H Smith

Another Christmas book and one I had wanted for so long! I’m so glad I wasn’t disappointed. There were some notable changes from the film which made it fresh, but without a doubt the best part of this book is Jim Henson’s notes at the back and Brian Froud’s original sketches. A must for any fan of the ultimate ‘kids’ fantasy film.

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Heartless ~ Marissa Meyer

I was really excited about this Alice in Wonderland tale (mainly because it looks so pretty tbh) but also quite apprehensive to start it. The Lunar Chronicles was amazing, and something that I thought shouldn’t work (Cyborg Cinderella), and I worried that maybe Meyer was churning out another retelling on the back of that success. I’m pleased to say that I was wrong and found Heartless to be an enjoyable origin story for the Queen of Hearts. There were some really great bits in it, but I felt it dragged in places. Not hugely exciting, but enjoyable enough.

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Ruin & Rising ~ Leigh Bardugo

It’s taken me a whole year to read this series. I was quite disappointed with the second book so I kept putting this one off but I’m glad I finally picked it up. The third and final book in The Grisha series was a vast improvement and I couldn’t put it down. I loved Alina’s character arc, and her complicated (and very different) relationships with Mal, Nikolai and The Darkling. It’s a vivid, dark fantasy world that Bardugo has created here using elements from Russian folklore, which is what sets it apart from other YA fantasy.

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Pagan Portals: Merlin ~ Elen Sentier

I’m not religious at all but I like to think I’m pretty open-minded and I’ve always been interested in alternative religions, especially those which worship nature rather than a person. I’m also a fan of Arthurian mythology so I figured this book would be an interesting read.

Unfortunately it wasn’t quite what I was expecting (which I guess was something along the lines of exploring Pagan values in the stories of Merlin and King Arthur). However, what I actually got was what seems to be an eccentric old lady who is frequently visited (in real life) by the wizard Merlin who guides her spiritually, and goes on describe how we too can befriend him if we try hard enough.

It just wasn’t for me and I couldn’t finish it.

DNF – no rating

January’s Spotlight Review was A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Week in Books 25.01.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where I share what I’ve been up to in bookland this week

Happy Wednesday, Everyone. I’ve started getting some posts ready after a blog hiatus this month so expect me back up and running next week. 🙂

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

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Now: Pagan Portals: Merlin ~ Elen Sentier.

I’m on a bit of a non-fiction kick at the moment which is strange for me. I’ve had this for a while though so it’s well overdue. Should be an interesting angle on the Arthurian era.

Then:   Heartless  ~ Marissa Meyer

I liked this a lot but was still slightly disappointed compared to how amazing The Lunar Chronicles is.

Next: ??? 

I’m not completely sure…too many to choose from. Maybe the final Grisha book, or a Patrick Ness. 

  

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 11.01.17 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

 

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Welcome to This Week in Books, where I share what I’ve been up to in bookland this week

Hi guys, I’m enjoying a bit of a blog hiatus this month but I’m still posting this Wednesday post where I’ll simply be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next.

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

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Now:  Labyrinth – The Novelisation

I’ve really not been reading much lately which is a bummer because I was hoping to spend my blog break reading ferociously to get a head start on the year. Hopefully this book will get me back into the groove. If anything can, this can!

Then:  A Mother’s Reckoning ~ Sue Klebold

This book was really interesting and I have so much I want to say about it!!! I won’t be posting a review until February though. Don’t worry, I have notes! It is being re-released Feb 9th.

I’ve also read one of the books I got for Christmas, Bowie: The Story of Rock’s Enduring Enigma by Mike Evans. The text itself wasn’t anything special (I’ve read quite a few Bowie books!) but the photographs and old posters in it were great.

Next: ??? 

Probably Heartless by Marissa Meyer which I got for my birthday and am verrrrry excited about. I do however need to read some ARCs…grr….we’ll see.

  

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 🙂

Winter by Marissa Meyer #BookReview #YA

wintermeyerTitle: Winter
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Format: paperback, 827 pages
Publication Details:  November 10th 2015 by Feiwel and Friends
Genre(s): YA; Fairy-tale retellings
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads // Purchase

 
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Review

Let me warn you now that is going to be more like a diarrhoea of emotions than it is a review…

OMG I cannot tell you how happy I felt reading this, and having all the amazing characters from the previous books finally brought together to defeat the evil Queen Levana! Insert fangirl squeal here.

Winter was everything I hoped for and more. Cinder kicked-ass, Scarlet was sassy and hilarious, Cress was adorably cute and Princess Winter…oh how I love her crazy ways.

And don’t even get me started on the guys. I mean, how are supposed to choose between Prince Kai, Captain Thorne and Wolf..? I just can’t even!

I don’t really want to give anything away plot-wise, but I’m just so happy that I wasn’t disappointed in this book. I was worried it was unnecessarily long (being over 800 pages) but it packed A LOT into those pages, and I think it both needed and deserved it. Also with this being the last book, I was worried that it wouldn’t have the ending I’d hoped for, but I think it ended in the only way it could without causing millions of readers to revolt!

I only had two (very small) gripes about this book, and it’s true for the whole series as well – I found it a bit annoying how each female protagonist was paired up with the man of their dreams. You know? It was all just a bit too perfect. And they got paired up pretty quickly as well. But I guess this is a fairy-tale after all. It would have been nice to have a gay character in there though…it was all very ‘traditional’ for a cyborg fairytale.

The second was Cress. Don’t get me wrong, I love her. But her constant insecurities in this book started to annoy me at times. I got over it though.

So there you have it. The Lunar Chronicles has been one of the most surprising, and amazing YA series I’ve read in recent years. A series that on paper sounds like it just shouldn’t work, but it’s a testament to Meyer how perfect it actually is.

I can’t wait to read more Marissa Meyer!

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This Week in Books 03.12.15 #TWIB

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week.

Seriously guys, it’s DECEMBER….YAYYYYYYYYYYY! Best time of year 🙂

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Now: The Christmas We Met ~ Kate Lord Brown

I’ve only just started this, but I think I’m going to love it!

Then: Winter ~ Marissa Meyer

Ahhh I don’t even know what to say about Winter! I didn’t want it to end for starters…I’ll try and form some kind of review before the weekend.

Next: ???

I’ll be continuing the festiveness with The Magic of Christmas by Trisha Ashley.

New on the Shelves

The only books I bought this week are for gifts so shhhh! And I requested a few on Netgalley but they are still pending. :/

I’m Waiting On…

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

The Madwoman Upstairs ~ Catherine Lowell

This one caught my eye on Netgalley!

madwomanIn Catherine Lowell’s smart and original debut novel, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family’s long-rumored secret estate, using only the clues her eccentric father left behind, and the Brontës’ own novels.

Samantha Whipple is used to stirring up speculation wherever she goes. Since her father’s untimely death, she is the presumed heir to a long-rumored trove of diaries, paintings, letters, and early novel drafts passed down from the Brontë family—a hidden fortune never revealed to anyone outside of the family, but endlessly speculated about by Brontë scholars and fanatics. Samantha, however, has never seen this alleged estate and for all she knows, it’s just as fictional as Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights.

Yet everything changes when Samantha enrolls at Oxford University and long lost objects from the past begin rematerializing in her life. Her father’s distinctive copy of Jane Eyre, which should have perished in the fire that claimed his life, mysteriously appears on Samantha’s bed. Annotated in her father’s handwriting, the book is the first of many clues in an elaborate scavenger hunt derived from the world’s greatest literature. With the help of a handsome but inscrutable professor, Samantha must plunge into a vast literary mystery and an untold family legacy, one that can only be solved by decoding the clues hidden within the Brontës’ own writing.

For readers who devoured The Weird Sisters and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, The Madwoman Upstairs is a suspenseful, exhilarating debut by an exciting new talent who offers a moving exploration of what it means when the greatest truth is, in fact, fiction.

Expected Publication: March 1st 2016 by Touchstone

So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours?

If you still do a similar WWW post (or just want to join in, leave your link/answers in the comments, OR why not tweet using #TWIB, and I’ll come and visit!

Top Ten Tuesday: You gonna write it, I’m gonna buy it! #TTT

icon4-tttTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten Of Your Auto-buy Authors (no matter the genre or what it’s about…you’ll buy it from these authors!).

I actually don’t have that many auto-buy authors because I get books from so many different places – friends, Netgalley, etc. Even some of my favourite authors like Patrick Ness I don’t actually own many books by…terrible really!

Here are the few that I do count as Auto-buy authors…

Scarlett Thomas: I still haven’t got round to buying her latest novel, The Seed Collectors, though!

Marcus Sedgwick: I don’t own ALL of Sedgwick’s books, but I’m getting there!

Colin Bateman: I love both of his series, Mystery Man and the Dan Starkey novels. The only ones of his I haven’t tried yet are his kids books.

James Frey: I haven’t read any of the Pittacus Lore books, but I will buy any of Frey’s other books!

Marissa Meyer: OK so she’s only written the one series so far, but I love everything about her books and will now buy everything she writes.

Darren Shan: With the exception of his books aimed at the younger audience such as the Zom-B series, I’ll pretty much buy all of Shan’s books.

Lazy Saturday Review: Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Fairest
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Edition: Paperback, 272 pages
Publication Details: January 27th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
Genre(s): YA; Fairy-tale Retellings
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads // Purchase

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Review

I was reeeeeeeeeeeeally excited about this book just because I always NEED MORE LUNAR CHRONICLES, but I also wasn’t sure if I wanted Levana’s back story. She’s such a great villian, I was worried this spin-off book would endear me to her or at least feel sorry for her.

But, I glad that I didn’t. Yes, in Fairest we see Levana as a teen and the events that helped spark the madness in her, but Levana was well and truly messed up before her story starts in this book.

Fairest is a fast-paced, often uncomfortable read about a haunted, complex character who chooses to use her gifts for her own gain, to the detriment of those around her… and that’s an understatement. Levana is one batshit-crazy, evil madam, even at the age of fifteen. I loved it!

If you’ve enjoyed the series so far, I’m sure you’d love this one too. It also gives us more information on Winter, the eponymous character of book four, so I’d definitely recommend giving Fairest a go before the release of that one. Let’s face it, we have time. TOO MUCH TIME! 😦

unicorn rating 4

Fairest is available in paperback from Waterstones now.