Reading Round-up: July 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 get the full review treatment. 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 were a few books that I didn’t get round to reviewing in July…

The Horse With My Name ~ Colin Bateman

thehorseDan Starkey – international man of inaction – rides again. How far can he fall this time?

Ex-journalist Dan Starkey is stuck in a grimy Belfast bedsit. His life is a disaster, and his only solace is the pub round the corner. He needs to get out more, particularly since the sessions at Relate with his wife Patricia have been cancelled and she’s hooked up with new man Clive. Fellow ex-journalist Mark Corkery, whose secret persona is The Horse Whisperer, an internet horse-racing gossip, wants him to investigate Geordie McClean, the man behind Irish American Racing. Simple enough for a man with Dan’s experience, surely? But Trouble is Dan’s middle name. And trouble is what he finds…

The fifth book in Bateman’s Dan Starkey series is another mad-cap investigation by the loveable sarcastic, cynical, journalist. It had been a long time since I’d caught up with Starkey and it was a welcome return. It made me laugh out loud and I finished it just a couple of sittings. If you haven’t read any Bateman’s books, I highly recommend you do!

unicorn rating 4

White Cat ~ Holly Black

whitecatCassel comes from a family of curse workers: people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn’t got magic, so he’s an outsider; the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail – he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to outcon the conmen.

I love Holly Black’s writing, and her imagination. White Cat was no exception. I’ve wanted to read it for years and it was totally worth the wait. Cassel was an interesting protagonist, with a complicated family and I was rooting for him the whole way through. I definitely want to read the next book in the series ASAP. 

unicorn rating 4

thehauntingSome curses grow stronger with time…
People say that all Cornish inns are haunted, but the Waterwitch’s history is particularly chilling. Built from the salvaged timber of a cursed ship, the guest house’s dark secrets go further back than anyone can remember.
Emma is permanently confined to a wheelchair after an accident at the Waterwitch which took place when she was ten. Seven years later, she decides to return to the place where the awful event occurred. But the ancient inn still has its ghosts, and one particular spirit is more vengeful than ever…


A chilling new title in the Red Eye horror series from the author of Frozen Charlotte.
 

I’m loving this Red Eye series of books which is a YA Horror imprint. I don’t think there’s enough YA Horror out there. The Haunting was a fun, quick read incorporated lots of old Cornish myths and ghost stories which I thought set it apart from other ghost stories I’ve read. It was quite clichéd in places but it didn’t dampen my enjoyment of it. It’s a very traditional horror but the unique characters, especially protagonist Emma who is a wheelchair user, made it more interesting and diverse. A great read. 

unicorn rating 4

 

AOB

{that’s any other business for those of you that’ve never had the misfortune of having a job where people say that all the time}

 

Well, that’s a wrap on July, folks! How did you get on?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top books recently added to the dreaded TBR pile. #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… Top ten books recently added to your TBR pile.

Well, this is a nice, easy topic, although I have been buying more books recently so it’ll be hard to choose just 10.

Added from Netgalley:

The Silent Songbird ~ Melanie Dickerson: I shouldn’t have requested this book because I knew I wouldn’t be able to get it read and reviewed by the pub date (today!) but I just couldn’t resist. I really fancy an epic historical YA. The opening line of the synopsis had me instantly…I mean castles =  DONE. “Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost”

The Girl Who Saved Christmas ~ Matt Haig: You should all know by now that I love Christmas, and festive reads. I’ve wanted to read Matt Haig’s books for ages so this one was also impossible to resist.

The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily ~ Rachel Cohn & David Levithan: I didn’t even know this book was on the cards until I saw it on Netgalley. I loved Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares so I’m thrilled that these authors have got together once again for a sequel. This time, Dash and Lily’s brother have just 12 days until Christmas to cheer Lily up after her grandfather became seriously ill. Can they recapture the magic of Christmas in New York for her?

Shock and Awe ~ Simon Reynolds: This book chronicles the legacy of glam rock from the seventies to today and as such will heavily feature my hero, David Bowie. I don’t often read non-fiction, but I’m really looking forward to this one.

Recently Bought:

The Red Eye Box Set ~ Various: This set of four YA Horror books from Stripes Publishing arrived at the beginning of October. I’ve already read one of the books, Frozen Charlotte and really loved it so I hope the others are as good too.

A Christmas Party ~ Georgette Heyer: I picked this up from a charity shop recently. ‘Tis’ the season for…Murder‘ is the perfect tagline that enticed me.

City of Dark Magic ~ Magnus Flyte: I bought this book in an English bookshop I found in Prague. It sounds amazing.

“Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.”

Six of Crows ~ Leigh Bardugo: This arrived just this week. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

Borrowed:

The Rest of Us Just Live Here ~ Patrick Ness: It’s Ness. I don’t have to say much more. Other than perhaps my shame that I haven’t read it yet.

Koko Takes a Holiday ~ Kieran Shea: I think I can safely say that this will be my first ever Cyberpunk book. It sounds mad, in a good way. My friend Dora enjoyed it and passed it on to me.

Have you read any of these? What should I go for first?

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday:Unread yet highly recommended horror books #TTT #HorrorOctober

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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… all about recommendations. 

I’m going to tweak this week’s topic a tad and go for books I haven’t read yet but have been recommended to me, whether it’s by fellow bloggers, friends, websites or the ‘if you liked this try this…’ type of thing. As I’m in the midst of Horror October, I will of course be narrowing it down to realm of horror and its close affiliates. 

NOS4A2 ~ Joe Hill: I’ve only read Horns by Joe Hill and really enjoyed it. I was recently recommended this by a fellow blogger who said it was one of the scariest books she’s read. That’s pretty high expectations to live up to.

Misery ~ Stephen King: I loved the movie but haven’t read the book, and so many people have told me I have to. I’ve heard a few of the differences already too, so I pretty much know what to expect, which is probably why I haven’t got round to it yet.

Phantoms ~ Dean Koontz: Again, I’ve seen the film and loved it. I imagine the book is better though.

Heart-shaped Box ~ Joe Hill: Another Joe Hill book I’ve been told I must read. This time by my friend who really enjoyed this book.

Battle Royale ~ Koushun Takami: I’m not sure about this one. I’m usually the one recommending this to the Hunger Games fans out there, but I’ve only seen the movie which is amazingly brutal! I’m a fraud, I really should read it. But I’ve been put off by people saying it’s hard going because of the translation.

The Funhouse ~ Dean Koontz: I haven’t actually read any Dean Koontz which is quite shocking really. I’ve been told to read this one because of my fear of clowns. Aren’t my friends so nice.

Live Girls ~ Ray Garton: I have no idea who recommended this book to me, but I do remember that the conversation was about underrated vampire novels.

Anno Dracula ~ Kim Newman: Lots of blogs and people have recommended this to me and I really want to. I just haven’t got round to it yet.

The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray ~ Chris Wooding: I was recommended this after enjoying his book Poison. I’d love to read more by this author, and this one sounds great.

Sleepless ~ Lou Morgan : I read Frozen Charlotte and loved it so I’ve been told I must read the other Red Eye titles. I recently bought a 4 book set of them and Sleepless sounds the best.

What books have you been recommended but still haven’t read!?

Join in and leave a comment!

Up Next on Horror October: This Week in Books 12.10.16

This Week in Books 5.10.16 #TWIB #HorrorOctober

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

The first week of Horror October has been a blast! I hope you guys are enjoying it as much as I am. Here’s what I’ve been reading…

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Now:  Reckless ~ Cornelia Funke // The EnchantedRene Denfeld

I kept putting Reckless off, simply because Netgalley only had a pdf file for it, but I’ve started it now…so far so good. I’m also still in the beginning stages of The Enchanted which started off great but then Horror October got in the way. *shakes fist*

Then:  Self-Made Man ~ Poppy Z. Brite // The Merciless II ~ Danielle Vega // The Daemoniac ~ Kat Ross

I had a bit of a Horror October is coming panic and ploughed through these last week. On the most part I  enjoyed them a lot. Expect my reviews soon!

Next: ??? 

Oooh I’m going to let my mood decide but either The Travelling Bag (see below) by Susan Hill or Hunter of the Dead by Stephen Kozeniewski.

New on the Shelves

(Bought:)

The Travelling Bag ~ Susan Hill

 

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Walter Craig was a clever scientist. As a young man he took away all the honours and prizes and some of his work was ground-breaking. But after he became seriously ill, his genius faded, and he needed the help of an assistant. When Silas Webb was appointed to the job he seemed the perfect choice, but he always preferred to work alone, even in secret. Then, quite suddenly, Webb disappeared.

Why ?

Later, Craig opens a prestigious scientific journal and finds a paper, containing his own work, in detail, together with the significant results he had worked out. The research is his and his alone. But the author of the paper is Dr Silas Webb. Craig determines that he will hunt Webb down and exact revenge.

Were it not for a terrifying twist of circumstance, he might have succeeded.

Red Eye YA Horror Book Set ~ Various

I’ve already read Frozen Charlotte and loved it so I have high hopes for the other books in this set too. I’m not sure if I’ll get round to any of these for Horror October, but I couldn’t resist anyway. 

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Featuring award-winning authors and rising stars, Red Eye is the killer new YA series from Stripes Publishing. A fusion of pop culture, violence and technology, Red Eye gives horror a frighteningly contemporary makeover that teen readers will love. For fans of all things gruesome and ghastly – prepare to be scared out of your wits..

OK, that’s it for this week. I’m not going to be taking part in Waiting on Wednesday during October because well, there enough going on around here. 😉
 
 

If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂

Don’t forget to vote in the Flash Fiction Battle!

Get Ready to Shudder: Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell

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Title: Frozen Charlotte
Author: Alex Bell
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC, 368 pages
Publication Details: January 5th 2015 by Stripes Publishing
Genre(s): Horror; YA
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

We’re waiting for you to come and play….Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind…Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lilias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died.

Review

This book actually gave me nightmares (well, it gave me one – it was pretty awesome).

For starters, creepy-ass miniture porcelain dolls with their hands outstretched like they died reaching for you. Dolls that are everywhere, even in the walls. Dolls that whisper. Dolls with needles… But more about them later…I’m getting ahead of myself.

For the purpose of context, I’m a huge horror fan, especially as far as films are concerned, and I’m constantly disappointed that I never find any of them scary any more. I must be desensitised or something. To a certain extent, it’s the same for books, but I do find it easier to get creeped out by a good horror book than a film…and oh my, this book creeped me the hell out, so major props for that!

And it wasn’t just the creep-factor that was good about this book, I literally could not put it down. I was sneakily reading it at work and stayed up wayyy past my bed time to finish it off!

Frozen Charlotte is centred around Sophie and the events which follow her best friend Jay’s sudden death (it’s right at the beginning so hardly a spoiler). Jay downloaded a Ouiji Board app on his phone and he and Sophie play around with it, mocking it, like you do. But when Sophie calls on the only person she knows who has passed away – her cousin Rebecca – things go a bit weird to say the least.

To cut a long (not that long to be fair) story short, the app tells Jay he will die that very night…and of course, he actually does. Cue devastated Sophie trying to make sense of it all through the grief. And what better place to go than to an old converted schoolhouse on the blustering and foggy Isle of Skye.

It is her Uncle James’ home, and the whole family are clearly still suffering the loss of Rebecca. Everything about the place is wrong. From a parrot called Dark Tom who literally screams bloody murder all night long and young Lilias who has a phobia of bones (even her own), who once tried to cut out her collar bone, to Cameron, the musical protégé who got burned during the death of his sister and has never been the same again, and Piper who is trying to hold the whole thing together but is strangely obsessed with the Frozen Charlotte dolls.

I really wish I’d read this book for Horror October instead of Doll Bones. This was exactly the thing I was looking for. It was so good, and so creepy, at one point I had to put it down because I was shuddering so much internally. I couldn’t keep away for long though, I HAD to find out what the hell was going on!

The only tiny grumble I had with it, was that I couldn’t decide how old the characters were. It seemed inconsistent a lot of the time. Sometimes they seemed older than they should be, and then I’d get thrown by talk of first kisses and such, and visa versa. In the same way I couldn’t decide if Frozen Charlotte was aimed at the YA market or just had young characters. But you know what, who cares! It was great!

unicorn rating 4

Frozen Charlotte is available in paperback from Waterstones now.