This Month in Books: September 2016 #TMIB #MonthlyRoundUp

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Hmm September, what happened to you!?

It went very fast. I’m not sure if I did anything interesting…I finally gave in and bought one of those unlimited cinema cards so I spent a lot of time at the cinema. Crime Writer of the Year, Clare Mackintosh came into my library for a talk and a workshop session. She was great. But other than that I have no idea what happened in September. I had another good reading month so maybe that’s all I did?

How do the years keep flying by faster and faster. It’s scary! I’m very happy Autumn has arrived though. I love this time of year.

September 2016 Stats

Total Posts: 18 (+ 4 from previous month)

Books Read: 6 (=) 
The Thousandth Floor ~ Katharine McGee
Labyrinth Lost ~ Zoraida Córdova
Siege and Storm ~ Leigh Bardugo
Stealing Snow ~ Danielle Page
Cut to the Bone ~ Alex Caan
Haunt Me ~ Liz Kessler

The Breakdown:
Genres: YA (5/6); Fantasy (4/6); Contemporary (1/6); Crime/Thriller (1/6)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (5/6); Digital (5/6); Hardback (0/6); Paperback (1/6) / Owned (0/6); Borrowed (1/6); For Review (5/6)

Most Surprising: Haunt Me
Most Disappointing: Stealing Snow
Most Exciting: Hmm Labyrinth Lost at a push
Most Swoon-worthy:  Siege and Storm
Most Beautifully Written: Haunt Me

Reviews: 6 (=)

    • The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee, 3/5 (View)
    • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdovs, 3/5 (View)
    • Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige, 2/5 (View)
    • Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo, 3/5 (View)
    • Picture Books by Various,  (View)
    • Cut to the Bone by Alex Caan, 3/5 (View)

Most Viewed Posts

  1. Top Ten Tuesday: Fairy-tale Inspired Books
  2. Bookshop Finds: Copperfields
  3. Ten Things About…Prague

Promos, Guest Posts and Highlights

Awards

 

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TBR Shelf Update

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Earlier this year I decided I HAD to do something about my TBR shelves. Each month I’ll be doing a quick update to see how I’ve done. See my original post here, and my updated TBR list here. 

Previous TBR Count: 68

Books Added: 6

Books Read: 2

Remaining: 72

Fail!

Heard about the Flash Fiction Battle I’m hosting? NO! Where have you been? It’s not too late to vote. See all the details here.

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige #YA #Bookreview

stealingsnowTitle: Stealing Snow
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Stealing Snow #1
Format: Digital ARC, 384 pages
Publication Details:  October 6th 2016 by Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy; Retellings
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave …


She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate …

Review

I read the original Snow Queen at the beginning of the year after getting it as a Christmas present. I enjoyed it a lot. It’s an odd little fairy-tale but totally compelling. I am also a huge fan of Frozen (which is very, very loosely based on Andersen’s tale) so I was really excited when I saw the premise of this book. 

Snow resides in a psychiatric hospital in New York. We’re not sure why she’s there but she seems to have accepted it. It’s all a bit of a mystery; she doesn’t seem ill enough to be in a secure hospital, although she does have one hell of a temper. Her best friend and part-time boyfriend Bale is also a permanent resident there. But he’s been kept away from Snow ever since he fractured her wrist the first time they kissed. 

But Snow knows he didn’t mean it, he’s just unwell. And she becomes convinced that he’s been kidnapped and taken into another world via a magic mirror.

OK, I know this all sounds a bit hokey but this was actually the most believable and exciting part of the story.

I loved the hospital setting. It was written well and full of intrigue. The characters – both the staff and the patients- were interesting and fleshed out, and the bond between Snow and Bale felt real. Paige seems to have taken a lot of care in building this world for it to be used in such a small part of the story. 

Snow manages to pass through the mirror to the other side – Algid. And this is where it all goes a bit wrong. I felt like Snow was just dumped there with no thought as to where the story should go. The world-building from here on out was almost non-existent, the characters she met were bland and one-dimensional, and quite frankly I had no idea what was going on.

All of a sudden, Snow is a princess who can summon ice and snow, and conjure these elements whenever she feels like it. There was no transition period at all. No fleshing out, no descriptions, it was all just a bit too fast and brief. WhamBamNoThankYouMam.

I felt really disappointed and let down by everyone involved in this book to be honest. Mainly because it had such great potential. It could have been this amazing Snow White / Snow Queen mash-up, but instead it was just painstakingly flat and messy.

I did like that Paige preserved some of the original story, and the idea that Snow’s icy kiss was slowly killing Bale but I couldn’t see past the rest I’m afraid. 

If it wasn’t for the great first couple of chapters and the idea in itself, I’m not sure I would have been able to finish the book, never mind give it two unicorns, but I think it’s a fair rating for the potential alone. 

P.S Three love interests, really!? Sigh. 

unicorn rating 2

 

 

This Week in Books (14.09.16) #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. 

It’s Wednesday so you know what that means…time to share how our reading week is shaping up! Don’t forget to leave your link in the comments for everyone to see 🙂 

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Now:  Stealing SnowDanielle Paige

Not much to report on this so far but I’m enjoying the psychiatric ward setting! Looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Then:   Labyrinth Lost ~ Zoraida Cordova // Siege and Storm ~ Leigh Bardugo

I enjoyed both of these but Labyrinth Lost wasn’t quite as amazing as I was hoping. my review is here

Next: ??? 

Probably Reckless by Cornelia Funke, or Haunt Me by Liz Kessler. Both are  ARCs that I’ll be reading for Horror October. They’re both YA. 

New on the Shelves

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Charity Shop Find: 

A Christmas Party ~ Georgette Heyer

A Christmas Murder Mystery – yes please!

It is no ordinary Christmas at Lexham Manor. And the mood is anything but festive.

Six holiday guests find themselves the suspects in a murder inquiry when the old Scrooge who owns the substantial estate, Nathaniel Herriard, is found stabbed in the back.

Whilst the delicate matter of inheritance could be the key to this crime, the real conundrum is how any of the suspects could have entered the locked room to commit this atrocity.

For Inspector Hemingway of Scotland Yard, the investigation is complicated by the fact that every guest is hiding something – throwing all of their testimonies into question and casting suspicion far and wide…

 

Borrowed:

The Last Act of Love ~ Cathy Rentzenbrink

I’ve heard great things about this memoir. A genre I don’t read much so looking forward to the change. 

In the summer of 1990 – two weeks before his GCSE results, which turned out to be the best in his school – Cathy Rentzenbrink’s brother Matty was knocked down by a car on the way home from a night out, suffering serious head injuries. He was left in a permanent vegetative state. Over the following years, Cathy and her parents took care of Matty – they built an extension onto the village pub where they lived and worked; they talked to him, fed him, bathed him, loved him. But there came a point at which it seemed the best thing they could do for Matty – and for themselves – was let him go.

With unflinching honesty and raw emotional power, Cathy describes the unimaginable pain of losing her brother and the decision that changed her family’s lives forever. As she delves into the past and reclaims memories that have lain buried for many years, Cathy reconnects with the bright, funny, adoring brother she lost and is finally able to see the end of his life as it really was – a last act of love.

Powerful, intimate and intensely moving, this is a personal journey with universal resonance – a story of unconditional love, of grief, survival and the strength of the ties that bind. It’s a story that will speak to anyone who has lost someone close to them, to anyone who has fiercely loved a sibling, and to anyone who has ever wondered whether prolonging a loved one’s life might be more heartbreaking than saying goodbye.  

Waiting on Wednesday

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine

 The Daemoniac (A Dominion Mystery, #1) ~ Kat Ross

 Looking forward to reading this for Horror October!

thedaemoniacIt’s August of 1888, just three weeks before Jack the Ripper will begin his grisly spree in the London slum of Whitechapel, and another serial murderer is stalking the gas-lit streets of New York. With taunting messages in backwards Latin left at the crime scenes and even more inexplicable clues like the fingerprints that appear to have been burned into one victim’s throat, his handiwork bears all the hallmarks of a demonic possession.


But consulting detective Harrison Fearing Pell is convinced her quarry is a man of flesh and blood. Encouraged by her uncle, Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry hopes to make her reputation by solving the bizarre case before the man the press has dubbed Mr. Hyde strikes again.
From the squalor of the Five Points to the high-class gambling dens of the Tenderloin and the glittering mansions of Fifth Avenue, Harry and her best friend, John Weston, follow the trail of a remorseless killer, uncovering a few embarrassing secrets of New York’s richest High Society families along the way. Are the murders a case of black magic—or simple blackmail? And will the trail lead them closer to home than they ever imagined?

Expected Publication: October 12th 2016 by Acorn

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

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

And while I have you here I’m looking for guest posts/features/reviews/spotlights for Horror October. Get in touch if you’ d like to get involved.