This Week in Books 08.11.17 #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. 

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week…

Now: Heir of Locksley ~ N.B Dixon

I was sent this by the publisher and I’m very pleased so far, loving it! Gay Robin Hood – Yes!

Robin of Locksley is a rebel, more comfortable roaming Sherwood Forest with his longbow and courting the village girls than learning how to run a manor.

An innocent flirtation with a peasant girl soon lands Robin in trouble, and worse, he finds himself inexplicably attracted to Will Scathelock, his best friend since childhood. Robin must decide whether to follow the rules of society or his own conscience.

Meanwhile, his neighbour, Guy of Gisborne, is anxious to get his hands on the Locksley estate and he will do anything to make it happen—even murder.

Then: Alone ~ Cyn Balog

This book was great! I’ll be part of the blog tour early next week so will post my review then.

Next: ???

I honestly don’t know, but probably something Christmassy as I’m getting into the spirit already.

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

Apart from this post and any outstanding reviews, I’m taking the rest of the month off. Happy reading, Everyone!

Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

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Title: Mr. Miracle
Author: Debie Macomber
Series: Angelic Intervention #10
Edition: Digital ARC, 272 pages
Publication Details: November 20th 2014 by Cornerstone
Genre(s): Romance; Christmas/Holiday
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review. Many thanks to Cornerstone.

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Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help Addie Folsom to get her life back on track – and help her find love.

Creating a happy ending for Addie and her neighbour Erich doesn’t seem like much of a challenge. But soon after arriving in the town of Tacoma, Harry realises he might need some guidance. Addie and Erich can’t stand each other; growing up he was popular and outgoing, while she was rebellious and headstrong. Addie would now rather avoid Erich entirely, especially at Christmas.

Harry is going to need all the help he can get, and a bit of divine inspiration, to help Addie and Erich find their Christmas miracle.

Review

I was well and truly into my festive reads when I started on Mr. Miracle, and after reading and loving Starry Night by the same author the year before, I was looking forward to this one immensely.

I wasn’t aware that this (and a lot) of Macomber’s books are about angels, which isn’t my favourite theme, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

Mr. Miracle introduces us to Harry, an angel who is sent to earth on his first ever assignment: Addie Folsom. Harry’s ‘cover’ is that he’s a teacher and his subject, Addie, has just returned home after a failed career start to finish school which she skipped out on a few years previous.

Of course, Addie is in need of some guidance – hence the angelic intervention of Harry. She’s a bit lost. Her father died recently, her career never took off like she thought it would, she’s been pretty unlucky in love, and so she finds herself with very little to show for herself. With a heavy heart, Addie has to swallow her pride and move home.

Addie knows that the first Christmas without her father is going to be hard on her and her mother, but she’s glad they will be together….however, her mum has a different idea entirely and has booked a cruise with her neighbour in order to avoid Christmas altogether.

There’s just one problem. The neighbour’s son who happens to be a childhood enemy of Addie’s has been in an accident and can’t fend for himself. Will Addie step in and care for her school-day’s foe? Will she change he mind about him?

I’m sad to say that I was quite disappointed in this book. The story was very simple and predictable, but a lot of books in this genre are and I still end up getting sucked into the romance and silliness of them, but this one just didn’t win me over.

Addie’s initial hatred for Erich just seemed to disappear in a poof of smoke, and I didn’t find it heart-warming or very festive at all.

Some of the characters were interesting, such as the motley crew in Addie’s class, but they didn’t get enough page-space.

Maybe it’s because I enjoyed my previous festive reads so much that this one paled in comparison; I’m afraid I found it all a bit contrived.

Better luck next time, I guess!

unicorn rating 2

Mr. Miracle and other Debbie Macomber books are available in paperback from Waterstones now.

November 2014 on Lipsyy Lost & Found

I can’t believe November has been and gone and December is flying by, like it always does! I didn’t even get round to doing an October round-up…fail!

November wasn’t the best month for me in real life terms. I lost my job, and started working in my friend’s pub to keep me going until I find something more substantial (it’s like going back in time 8 years – very odd!). Therefore my schedule has been all out of whack and with job hunting – gahhh, it’s taken its toll on my reading and blogging, but I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I’m posting when I can!

Here’s what did happen on the blog in November though! I’ve included October reviews too.

Total Posts: 15
Books Read: 4

Reviews (Nov / Oct): 4 / 5

  • Dying For Christmas by Tammy Cohen, 3/5 (View)
  • Back to Blackbrick by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, 4/5 (View)
  • Printer’s Devil Court by Susan Hill, 4/5 (View)
  • Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory, 3/5 (View)
  • Killer Spiders by Lex Sinclair, 2/5 (View)
  • Dark Satanic Mills by Marcus & Julian Sedgwick, 5/5 (View)
  • Doll Bones by Holly Black, 3/5 (View)
  • Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner, 4/5 (View)
  • Needful Things by Stephen King, 3/5 (View)

Read But Not Yet Reviewed:
Poison by Chris Wooding
The Barefoot Queen by Ildefonso Falcones

The Breakdown

Most Surprising: Back to Blackbrick
Most Disappointing: Doll Bones
Most Exciting: Dark Satanic Mills
Most Swoon-worthy: Uhm none of them actually. How depressing.
Most Beautifully Written: Printer’s Devil Court

Genres: YA (4/9); Thriller/Mystery (2/9); Supernatural/Paranormal (3/9); Fantasy (2/9); Horror (4/9); Graphic Novel (1/9)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (3/9); Paperback (4/9); Hardback (2/9); Owned (4/9); Borrowed (2/9)

Friday Features:

These kind of fell by the wayside this month. Must try harder!

Guest Posts, Promos and Other Highlights:

    • The Goth Girl Series by Chris Riddell (View Post)
    • Horror October, The Finale: You’re Next by Graeme Reid (View Post)

Most Viewed Posts:

          1. This is Endgame (for the second month running)(View Post)
          2. Top Ten Tuesday: Winter Reads (View Post)
          3. Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels to Read (View Post)

 

Added to the Shelves:

After lifting my book buying ban to buy some books for Horror October, I’ve gone back to being good (broke) and didn’t buy any books in the last two months. I did go a bit mad in the virtual aisles of Netgalley though to make up for it.

Netgalley Approvals:

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Awards:

botm-oct14

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mlft-dec14

All available to buy from Waterstones.

Frighteningly Festive: Dying For Christmas by Tammy Cohen

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Title: Dying For Christmas
Author: Tammy Cohen
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC, 274 pages
Publication Details: November 20th 2014 by Transworld Digital
Genre(s): Thriller, Crime
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads
Purchase.

I am missing. Held captive by a blue-eyed stranger. To mark the twelve days of Christmas, he gives me a gift every day, each more horrible than the last. The twelfth day is getting closer. After that, there’ll be no more Christmas cheer for me. No mince pies, no carols. No way out …

…But I have a secret. No-one has guessed it. Will you?

Review

This was my first read of Tammy Cohen, who has also published books under her full name Tamar Cohen. The name stood out to me and I only realised after finishing the book that she teaches at the local university here. How weird is that?

Anyway, Dying For Christmas is a psychological thriller/Crime drama with more twists and turns than Alton Towers. And to carry on the theme park analogy, my enjoyment of it rollercoastered a lot too.

The story is told in two halves, the first detailing Jessica Gold’s kidnapping and captivity, and the second following the case after her release.

This is one of those books that is difficult to discuss without giving away spoilers and ruining the enjoyment for others, so forgive me for not going into detail here. What I can say though, is that Dying for Christmas was a quick, enjoyable read but not without its flaws.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the constant switching of perspective from Jessica and Kim, the detective leading the investigation into Jessica’s disappearance. I found myself skipping the parts about Kim and the strain her job is putting on her home life – I didn’t warm to her for some reason, and didn’t really care what was happening outside of the investigation.

I also didn’t like how cynical Kim was about the disappearance. All of the evidence suggests that the kidnapper is psychotic, but all of a sudden Kim seems to have doubts after obsessing over finding her. It didn’t ring true to me.

All of that aside, this book was full of twists and turns which makes a great read, even if I did feel a little cheated in a way. I never knew what to expect and the surprises kept on coming right through to the end. Dying for Christmas is not your average festive read, but certainly an interesting and clever one.

unicorn rating 3

Dying for Christmas is available in paperback now from Waterstones. Click here for details of 30% off!

A Vestry, Edgar Allan Poe, and a Mischievous Crow…

Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory

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Title: Wakening the Crow
Author: Stephen Gregory
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 256 pages
Publication Details: November 11th 2014 by Solaris
Genre(s): Horror; Gothic
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads
Purchase

With the looming shadow of Edgar Allan Poe falling over one family, Gregory takes the reader into a world of uncertainty and fear.

Oliver Gooch comes across a tooth, in a velvet box, with a handwritten note from 1888 to say it’s a tooth from the boy Edgar Allan Poe. He displays it in his new bookshop, and names the store Poe’s Tooth Books.

Oliver took the money from his small daughter Chloe’s accident insurance and bought a converted church to live in with his altered child and wife. Rosie hopes Chloe will came back to herself but Oliver is secretly relieved to have this new easy-to-manage child, and holds at bay the guilt that the accident was a result of his negligence. On a freezing night he and Chloe come across the crow, a raggedy skeletal wretch of a bird, and it refuses to leave. It infiltrates their lives, it alters Oliver’s relationship with Rosie, it changes Chloe. It’s a dangerous presence in the firelit, shadowy old vestry, in Poe’s Tooth Books.

Inexorably the family, the tooth, the crow, the church and their story will draw to a terrifying climax.

 Review

Everything about this synopsis intrigued me; the bizarreness of basing a story – and indeed a horror bookshop – on the discovery of Poe’s tooth, the idea that a manky crow can have an impact on the character’s relationships, and the gothic setting. Sounds good right?

Well, I’m pleased to say that it was…for the most part.

Oliver Gooch is a very strange protagonist and narrator. From the start it’s evident that he’s not altogether what you would call a loving father and husband, or even a good, decent person. Honest maybe, but loving, no.

He frequently refers to his daughter as fat, disgusting and petulant, and his wife as not much better, but all of this adds to a growing unease.

Previously a mobile library driver, Oliver is now about to open his own horror bookshop in the church they have recently bought to also live in. The money came out of a tragic accident when Chloe got stung by a wasp in the mobile library, ran out into the road and suffered a head injury which changed her completely.

Now mute and compliant, with a constant sweet smile upon her face, Chloe is a different daughter entirely, and Oliver is relieved. So much so that he fears the day that she might actually recover.

Stephen Gregory does a great job of creating suspense here. The more we are led through this story by Oliver, the more disturbing it gets. He sees himself as becoming the Poe-like character he dreams of; he stops washing;  he drinks constantly, and tries to ‘write’. He seems to think that the more dishevelled he becomes, and the more grim the bookshop appears, the better. But all of this is at the expense of his family.

The only problem I had with this book was that I couldn’t understand Oliver as a character. I almost felt sorry for him at times, but it’s hard to empathise with someone who laughed at their daughter when she got stung by a wasp, resulting in her being brain damaged. I always felt like there was a good person trying to get out of him, but it never came.

I also expected more of a climax to the story, but overall this was a great read for a dark and stormy night, filled with gothic imagery and a overriding sense of unease.

unicorn rating 3

Wakening the Crow is available from November 11th, or to pre-order now at Waterstones