This Week in Books 11.11.2015 #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.

Hope you guys are having a good week!

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Now: The Winter Place ~ Alexander Yates

I’m enjoying this a lot! Bears, Finland, a cabin in the woods…perfect!!!

Then: Behind Closed Doors ~ Elizabeth Haynes

Another winning book for me by Haynes! My Review will be up on Saturday.

Next: ???

If Winter arrives, then that! If not The Light that gets Lost by Natasha Carthew which published today (I’m a bit behind on ARCs, sorry!)

New on the Shelves

I’ve been approved for the following title via Netgalley:

The Christmas we Met ~ Kate Lord Brown

I’m mega happy I got approved for this…I can’t wait to get started on some festive reads!

christmaswemetA gorgeous winter tale about the secrets revealed by a collection of family jewels.

A talented young jewellery designer fights to rebuild her life and family by solving the mystery surrounding a diamond brooch given to her by her grandmother.

When Grace Manners takes up residence on the Wittering Manor estate in Sussex, she little realizes working alongside eccentric Fraser Stratton will change her life.

Since her husband disappeared, along with most of their money, Grace has struggled to make ends meet and the little cottage on the estate is both a refuge and a workshop for her jewellery business. It’s only when Grace begins to uncover the story behind a beautiful diamond brooch she inherited that she becomes drawn into a family secret that threatens to destroy what little she has left…

Purchased: I broke my book-buying ban and ordered these MUST HAVES!

I also bought a copy of How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff from a charity shop. I’ve read it before, but I borrowed it from my friend Di and I wanted my own copy.

I’m Waiting On…

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine)

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) ~ Victoria Aveyard

I got really excited about this, this week! Come onnnnnnnn February!

glassswordMare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

Expected Publication: February 9th 2016 by HarperTeen

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!

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell (out on Wednesday!)

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Title: The Wolf Wilder
Author: Katherine Rundell
Series: N/A
Edition: Digital ARC, 256 pages
Publication Details: September 9th 2015 by Bloomsbury Children’s
Genre(s): Children’s Fiction
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Purchase

Feodora and her mother live in the snowbound woods of Russia, in a house full of food and fireplaces. Ten minutes away, in a ruined chapel, lives a pack of wolves. Feodora’s mother is a wolf wilder, and Feo is a wolf wilder in training. A wolf wilder is the opposite of an animal tamer: it is a person who teaches tamed animals to fend for themselves, and to fight and to run, and to be wary of humans.

When the murderous hostility of the Russian Army threatens her very existence, Feo is left with no option but to go on the run. What follows is a story of revolution and adventure, about standing up for the things you love and fighting back. And, of course, wolves.

Review

From appearance alone, The Wolf Wilder is everything I want in a book. The Wintery setting, a pack of wolves, revolution, and adventure…like, seriously everything, so I was pretty eager to start this.

But I’m sad to say it wasn’t quite everything I imagined.

It’s a really adorable story about Feo, who along with her mother is a Wolf Wilder out in the snowy wilderness of Russia. Wolf Wilders are almost like people of folklore, it is in their nature to help discarded domesticated wolves to revert back to their true nature, wild.

There was definitely a lot to like about this book. The setting was beautiful, and the writing matched it perfectly. It was also a really quick read, which is nice, but it just wasn’t very exciting.

If it wasn’t for the pretty setting and beautiful way Rundell has with words, I would have been truly bored. Such a shame! I also didn’t really get the whole Wolf Wilder thing. For one, the book wasn’t really about that at all, and secondly, Feo obviously wasn’t that great at it because her pack of wolves were tame to point where she and her new friend Illya (who has no experience with wolves) can even ride them.

And I guess that was my main problem with this book – it just wasn’t believable in the slightest. I’d love to believe a 12 year old girl could start a revolution because the Tsar asked her to shoot her wolves, and that the Tsar would then become obsessed on finding her, this little girl. Bit weird.

However, I did like the whimsical nature of The Wolf Wilder, and how strong Feo was as a protagonist; I think young girls will love her and she’s definitely a good character to look up to.

It might work for the age-group it’s aimed at, but for cynical adults like me (apparently) the plot was just too far fetched. This book tries to give a real, important voice to children though, which I found wonderful.

I’d love to see the illustrations as well, as they weren’t included in the advance copy – I’m sure they will make the book even more beautiful than it already is.

unicorn rating 3

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.

WWW Wednesday 17.12.2014

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

Happy Wednesday, Guys!

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Currently Reading:
I’m reading Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake by Sue Watson and I also picked up The Girl With the Glass Feet by Ali Shaw which I’ve had sitting on my shelf for a couple of years. Oh boy is it pretentious. Not sure if I’ll get through it at this stage!

Recently Finished:
The last one I finished was A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale which I really liked. My review is here.

Up Next:
Definitely Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber! 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter Reads!

toptentuesday Top 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 Books On My Winter To Be Read List

Winter is my favourite reading season. Most people love Summer reading, propped up against a tree, or on a beach. But I prefer a cosy open fire (a radiator), an afghan throw (a snuggie) and steaming cup of hot chocolate (mulled wine).

Here are the top ten books I’m looking forward to reading this winter. They fall into two categories, advanced copies I have queued up, and a few stragglers that either I didn’t get through last year, or have on the top of my TBR pile.

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The Darkest Part of the Forest – Holly Black: I hope this is a bit more adult than Doll Bones was. I love Holly Black though, so have high hopes for this! Released January 13th

Mr Miracle – Debbie Macomber: Last Christmas I read my first Debbie Macomber in Starry Night and really liked it. Hoping for more great festive trash in this one.

Snow Angels, Secrets & Christmas Cake – Sue Watson: You may sense a theme here.

A Christmas to Remember – Jenny Hale: All the festive reads!

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard: I can’t tell you how happy I was when I got approved for this. It looks amazing. Released Feb 10th.

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An English Ghost Story – Kim Newman: This was the only book I didn’t get round to reading on my Horror October list. It looks perfect for a dark and dreary night!

Last Stand of Dead Men (Skulduggery Pleasant #8)- Derek Landy: I’ve had this book on my TBR pile all year. I am determined to finish this series. This is the penultimate book, and the last one was released recently.

A Christmas Visitor – Anne Perry: I’ve never read any Anne Perry before. I bought this one last year but didn’t get round to reading it, so I’ve been saving it for the festive season. 🙂

The Magic of Christmas – Trisha Ashley: I fell in love with Trisha’s The Twelve Days of Christmas and have read it the past three Christmasses running, so when I saw this one in a charity shop I couldn’t resist. I’ll give this one a go this year instead.

The Maze Runner – James Dashner: I did the bad thing of watching the movie before reading the book. I actually really liked the movie though and now I neeeeeeeed to know what happens next. I’ll probably try and get through this one as quickly as possible just to get to book 2!

I look forward to seeing what’s on your lists. My bookshelves are groaning at the thought though.

Printer’s Devil Court by Susan Hill

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Title: Printer’s Devil Court
Author: Susan Hill
Series: N/A
Edition: Hardback, 128 pages
Publication Details: September 25th 2014 by Profile Books
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Nope! I bought it.

Goodreads
Purchase

A mysterious manuscript lands on the desk of the step-son of the late Dr Hugh Meredith, a country doctor with a prosperous and peaceful practice in a small English town. From the written account he has left behind, however, we learn that Meredith was haunted by events that took place years before, during his training as a junior doctor near London’s Fleet Street, in a neighbourhood virtually unchanged since Dickens’s times.

Living then in rented digs, Meredith gets to know two other young medics, who have been carrying out audacious and terrifying research and experiments. Now they need the help of another who must be a doctor capable of total discretion and strong nerves.

‘Remember that what you know you can never un-know. If you are afraid, then…’

Review

Printer’s Devil Court is a short novella from acclaimed horror writer Susan Hill. I’ve enjoyed a lot of Susan Hill’s books over the years, and this one was no exception, but I can’t help just wanting to talk about how pretty this edition is. It’s really stunning with its embossed dark red dust jacket. I love it!

The story is deserving of such a beautiful cover too, which is always good.

As with many of Susan Hill’s ghost stories, this one is set in the Victorian era and is instantly chilling and atmospheric.

It follows an ambitious young doctor and his medical student friends who share a house in Printer’s Devil Court. Unbeknownst to our protagonist-and all-round-good-guy Hugh Meredith, he swears himself to secrecy and is embroiled in some unsavoury experiments on the dead. In turn, he finds himself being haunted by one of the experiments gone wrong.

I love the way Susan Hill creates spooky atmospheres in her books, and in this one we are taken through dark, isolated streets and foggy cemeteries as we weave our way through the nitty-gritty of the story.

I’m not usually a huge fan of stories as short as this, but I think it really works for ghost stories. They don’t need to be drawn out so much as long as the spooky elements are built up well, and Susan Hill is a genius at that.

I thought this was an absolute perfect read for a dark and stormy night.

unicorn rating 4

Printer’s Devil Court is available to buy here from Waterstones where you can also download a preview.

Cherry-loving Wolves, Bloody Knives, and People Made of Magic…

Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah

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Title: Of Scars and Stardust
Author: Andrea Hannah
Series: N/A
Edition: ARC, 366 pages
Publication Details: October 8th 2014 by Flux
Genre(s): Mystery; Thriller; YA
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the Publisher/Author in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads
Purchase

After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she’s been dying to leave behind.

But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her “delusions,” Claire can’t seem to escape the wolf’s eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she’s ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella’s trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

Now Claire must deal with her attraction to Grant, the soft-spoken boy from her past that may hold the secret to solving her sister’s disappearance, while following the clues that Ella left for only her to find. Through a series of cryptic diary entries, Claire must unlock the keys to Ella’s past—and her own—in order to stop another tragedy in the making, while realizing that not all things that are lost are meant to be found.

Woah. This book.

I have a total book hangover from this so please excuse my babbling review.

First of all, I didn’t even read the synopsis of this book before I picked it up. I requested it on the basis of the title and the cover alone, and went into it pretty blind and I’m so glad I did.

Not that I think it would have been any less amazing if I’d heard more about it, but I wasn’t expecting that.

Claire is living an average teenage existence in Ohio, going to bonfire parties where they drink cherry vodka and tell stories about the wolves that stalk the cornfields. Claire’s little sister, Ella is full of creativity and imagination and sees the world through magical eyes like only an eight year old can.

When Ella is asked to leave a party that she followed Claire to, she’s attacked on her way back. Her face will never be the same again, and Claire, now obsessed with the wolves that she believes attacked her is shipped off to New York. The only thing that brings her back to Ohio is when Ella disappears.

Of Scars and Stardust completely blew me away if you can’t tell already. It was a mystery, a psychological thriller, a romance, and it was written so beautifully it made me want to cry.

I loved how Claire saw her sister, and tried to make sense of the world as she saw it. She was terrified, damaged, and often alone, but she never felt like a victim. As the book went on it became clear that not only did Claire not know who to trust, but we as readers are not sure if we can trust her either.

I don’t think I even took a breath during the second half of this book, I was literally on the edge of my seat – which is pretty hard to do when you read in bed. If someone could come and pick my jaw up off the carpet, that would be great.

I loved setting, I loved the characters and I loved the uniqueness of this book, but I don’t want to say much more about it in case I ruin it for others.

What I will say, is that as soon as I finished it, I wanted to start over. Therefore, I give it all of the unicorns. Keep them all. And let them breed.

unicorn rating

Pre-order Of Scars and Stardust now, you won’t regret it!

Festive Reads Review: Starry Night by Debbie Macomber

starry’Tis the season for romance, second chances, and Christmas cheer with this new novel from Debbie Macomber.

Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a mega-bestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

Filled with all the comforts and joys of Christmastime, Starry Night is a delightful novel of finding happiness in the most surprising places.

Alaska, stargazing and a brooding man, what more could you want this Christmas?

Starry Night has everything I was looking for in a cozy Christmastime read. As soon as I picked it up, I just wanted to snuggle under a blanket with a mug of mulled wine in front of an open fire. I had to make do with a radiator but that’s beside the point.

Carrie is a headstrong, career-driven young woman who is grateful to be working for a respected newspaper but frustrated about her lack of progression. She’s bored of attending glitzy parties and charity events and writing about what people are wearing so when the opportunity comes up to prove to her worth to her boss she jumps at the chance.

But of course there are many obstacles in Carrie’s way. First she has to find reclusive Finn Dalton, and then she has to get him – a stubborn loner with trust issues when it comes to women – to agree to an interview. And then there’s Alaska itself, with snowstorms looming Carrie could easily get stuck in wilderness with a man who really doesn’t appreciate her imposing, and to top it all off, her deadline and Christmas is swiftly approaching.

There were things I really loved about this book. The writing is simple and flawless making it such a quick, easy read. I’ve wanted to go to Alaska my whole life so the setting is what appealed to me initially and it didn’t disappoint on that front.

With all of those things working for it, the romance had such great potential but I felt a bit let down by it in the end. I think Finn’s broody, damaged exterior melted away just a bit too quickly, as if he just changed overnight. I found it a bit hard to believe, but it didn’t stop my overall enjoyment.

I enjoyed the relationship between Carrie and her family, and also Finn’s dog, and I was happy that it was written from both Finn and Carrie’s point of view. It also reminded me a bit of How to Lose a Guy in 10 days and I love that film.

This is the first book I’ve read by Debbie Macomber, and it certainly won’t be the last. Locate an armchair, put it in front of a fire, and give Starry Night a whirl.

unicorn rating 4

Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it.
Title: Starry Night
Author: Debbie Macomber
Details: Paperback, 272 pages
Publication Date: October 8th 2013 by Arrow
My Rating: 4/5
Is it a Keeper? I think so…

WWW Wednesday (11/12/13!!)

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

Check out the pretty covers this week! ❤

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Currently Reading: A Breath of Frost – Alyxandra Harvey. I’m enjoying this, but not loving it yet. It  does keep getting better though.

Just Finished: The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness. Loved, loved, loved it. I attempted to put it into words here. Definitely in the running for favourite read of the year.

Up Next: Starry Night – Debbie Macomber. Let’s get festive!

Leave you link in the comments and I’ll come and visit! Happy Wednesday!

Also join my blog discussion: What is the average time-span of a book blogger?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books to-be-read this Winter

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (Click the image to visit them). This week the topic is Top Ten Books on my Winter TBR list.

Most of these books aren’t new, but they are the ones I’m most excited about reading over the next few months so I can then concentrate on all the awesome new books next year (see last week’s TTT for my most anticipated books of 2014) .

Also, I tried to get through a TTT post without mentioning The Selection books, but as you’ll see, I failed.

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What made your list?