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?

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Lazy Saturday Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas #YA #MiniReview

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

thugTitle: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Series: N/A
Format: Paperback, 438 pages
Publication Details: April 6th 2017 by Walker Books
Genre(s): YA; Contemporary;
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it from Dora, thanks Dora!

Goodreads 

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Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

Review

I’m only doing a lazy review for this one because I honestly don’t think there’s a lot I can say that hasn’t been said already.

The Hate U Give is brilliant. It’s heart-wrenching. It’s funny. It’s completely compelling. And it’s a book that we needed. Everyone should read it. It should put on the high school curriculum. There, I got it off my chest.

In case you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what THUG is about, in a nutshell it’s about Starr, a girl who struggles with her identity because she’s living two different lives. The one where she lives – in a poor black neighbourhood where Ganglords rule- and the posh, predominately white high school she attends. Starr’s two lives don’t mesh well with one another, but when her oldest friend Khalil is shot by a police officer for no reason whatsoever, Starr has to make a choice. Stay a silent witness or come forward and risk her two worlds colliding.

THUG was really hyped up in the book-world and that always worries me, but this time it was completely deserved. It’s a great read that isn’t just powerful and important but also a genuinely gripping, enjoyable read.

It was my book of month.

unicorn rating

 

 

This Week in Books 02.08.17 #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 missed last weeks’ post (soz) because I was just completely exhausted after going to Truck Festival and being wet, muddy and sleep deprived for 4 days – it was still fun though! I did at least get a bit of reading done since being back.

Here’s what my week looked like…

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Now: Retribution Rails ~ Erin Bowman // Spectacles ~ Sue Perkins

I’ve only just started Retribution Rails – a companion book to Vengeance Road which I loved. I picked up Spectacles from work in a rare quiet moment and was hooked so had to bring it home!

Then:  Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention ~ Mindy Hardwick // The Hate U Give ~ Angie Thomas // The Haunting ~ Alex Bell

These were all completely different, but all really good. The Hate You Give made me cry, The Haunted was totally creepy and Kids in Orange was so interesting. Reviews to follow!

Next: ???

Probably The Way it Hurts by Patty Blount, which is my next ARC review due.

New on the Shelves

Netgalley:

I thought this sounded interesting and fun!

flatbrokeA 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. 

I was also approved for the new Andy Weir book. Whoop!

 

artemis

Jazz Bashara is a criminal. 

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

I’m Waiting On…

…Charlotte Says, because… I loved Frozen Charlotte and this is a prequel to that.

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The much-anticipated prequel to the bestselling FROZEN CHARLOTTE, a Zoella Book Club title in Autumn 2016.

Following the death of her mother in a terrible fire, Jemima flees to the remote Isle of Skye, to take up a job at a school for girls. There she finds herself tormented by the mystery of what really happened that night.

Then Jemima receives a box of Frozen Charlotte dolls from a mystery sender and she begins to remember – a séance with the dolls, a violent argument with her step-father and the inferno that destroyed their home. And when it seems that the dolls are triggering a series of accidents at the school, Jemima realizes she must stop the demonic spirits possessing the dolls – whatever it takes.

Expected Publication: September 7th 2017 by Stripes Publishing

 So that’s been my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?

This Week in Books 19.07.17 #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. 

Another busy week this week – I went back to work after a week and half off, and I’m off to a festival at the weekend. I did, however manage to get lots of reading done last weekend which was great. So I feel like I’ve caught up again. Go me!

Here’s what my week looked like…

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Now: Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention ~ Mindy Hardwick // The Hate U Give ~ Angie Thomas

Kids in Orange is a memoir from a teacher/writer who did poetry workshops in juvenile detention centres in the U.S; about her time with the troubled children she worked with, the work they produced, and reflection on her life on the whole. It’s really interesting and relevant to my job so I’m enjoying it, but it’s not the kind of book I could read all in one go!

So I also picked up The Hate U Give which I loved by proxy before I’d even started it, and love it even more already. Can’t put it down.

Then:  White Cat ~ Holly Black // Strawberries at Wimbledon ~ Nikki Moore

I loved White Cat and definitely want to read the next book now. I also enjoyed cute little read, Strawberries at Wimbledon. I’ll try and review both in the next week or so.

Next: ???

Probably (still) Retribution Rails which isn’t out until November but I’m really eager to read it.

New on the Shelves

Netgalley: The only new book I added was The Silent Companions which I got approved for. It was my WoW pick last week. Sounds amazing so I’m chuffed with that one.  It’s also out in October so I’ll probably save it for my annual Horror October!

Thesilentcompanion

Inspired by the work of Shirley Jackson and Susan Hill and set in a crumbling country mansion, The Silent Companions is an unsettling gothic ghost story to send a shiver down the spine…

Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. But inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself

 

I’m Waiting On…

…Artemis, because… I enjoyed The Martian (but didn’t LOVE it) and I’m intrigued by what Weir has come up with next.

artemis

Jazz Bashara is a criminal. 

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

Expected Publication: November 14th 2017 by Crown 

 So that’s been my week in books, now why don’t you tell me about yours!?