Confessions of a Reader

'Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.' – Mason Cooley


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Library Haulin’ #3

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Hello!

I have slipped a little with my book buying ban – but I’m not too cut up about it. I’m still loving the library – here are my recent finds.

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Charm by Sarah Pinborough
Charm is a beautifully illustrated re-telling of the Cinderella story which takes all the much-loved elements of the classic fairytale (the handsome prince, the fairy godmother, the enchanted mouse, the beautiful girl and, of course, the iconic balls) and puts a modern spin on the characters, their motives and their desires. This is fun, contemporary, sexy, and perfect for fans of ONCE UPON A TIME, GRIMM, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN and more.This edition contains 15 original pen and ink illustrations by Les Edwards.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
This is the diary of Cassandra Mortmain, which tells of her extraordinary family and their crumbling castle home. Cassandra’s father was once a famous writer, but now he mainly reads detective novels while his family slide into genteel poverty. Her sister Rose is bored and beautiful, and desperate to marry riches. Their step-mother Topaz has habit of striding through the countryside wearing only her wellington boots. But all their lives will be soon be transformed by the arrival of new neighbours from America, and Cassandra finds herself falling in love.

IMG_2046Baby Play for Every Day – 365 activities for the first year
I got this one obviously for Little P. After quickly flicking through it is a great little book, with tonnes of fun ideas and activities for less boring play with your baby.

Banish boredom, encourage your baby’s development and have fun being a parent with this treasure trove of ideas

This irresistible book contains an inspiring, age-appropriate activity for every single day of your baby’s first year, with baby games and beneficial activities for babies from newborn to 12 months.

Don’t buy expensive toys which are soon forgotten, use everyday objects to stimulate your baby’s growing imagination. No matter your budget, there are activities ranging from indoor and outdoor, to craft and messy play, to nutrition and pampering, to memory making and music. Follow it through day-by-day or dip in and out when the mood takes you. Featuring great advice and creative ideas for mums and dads.

With creative ideas and fun colours, Baby Play for Every Day is the perfect companion for parents and child carers with a new baby.

IMG_2045Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie
“I swore an oath to be avenged on the killers of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi’s path may end as it began – in twists, and traps and tragedy.


I’m loving the sound of all of these books – I picked up Charm for my 2015 Reading Challenge, to finish a trilogy. You can read my review of Poison here.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

 

 

 

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Library Haulin’ #2

Library

Hello!

My book buying ban is still going strong – I have purchased two books (ones that I wanted, and treated myself too after reading 5 from my TBR pile). This is good for me, I normally buy more than 5 a month!

The library is helping to feed my book addiction. Although I do worry that this may become out of control – at least it’s free though, right?

First on the pile is Poison by Sarah Pinborough. I recently hauled Beauty by the same author and then released that was #3 in a trilogy. Oops! Reserved this online and it will be my next read.

Next up is The Door that led to Where by Sally Gardner. I have been intrigued by this book for a while now, read the synopsis again in the library and immediately added it to my pile.

The Wonder Weeks is a parent/baby book. I have heard mummy bloggers talk about this book and thought I would have a read. It is very expensive to buy so I’m really glad I found it in the library! I have flicked through the first few chapters and it seems pretty spot on.

Lastly, Lockwood & Co. – The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. Every time I go to the library this book is sat staring at me from the shelf. I haven’t picked it up until today – the cover really intrigued me. When I read the synopsis and realised it was about ghosts, I added it to my pile. I believe this also has a sequel/is part of a series.

Have you read any of these? I just want to devour them all NOW.

Happy Reading,

Stacie and Grant

 

 

 


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Library Haulin’ #1

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Hello!

As I have been on a slight book-buying ban — not spending money on books I don’t actually need and reading what I already have — I decided to visit the library. It was lovely to spend some time browsing the shelves, whilst picking up some books that I had already reserved.

I just wanted to share my finds with you, some of these I have got with challenges in mind.

I first saw The Apothecary by Maile Meloy in a haul from my favourite booktuber – MercysBookishMusings. A middle grade novel with magic, potions and spies. The book itself is wonderful – it has gorgeous illustrations throughout, I cannot wait to delve into this one.

I picked up Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro on a whim. I saw it on the YA shelf and thought it sounded interesting. A teen detective novel, with a female protagonist – awesome!

I reserved Beauty by Sarah Pinborough, this is counting towards my 2015 Reading Challenge. It wasn’t until I got home that I realised this is the third in the ‘Tales from the Kingdoms’ trilogy, so have now reserved the first one — Poison. These are fairytale retellings with a twist, I love a good fairytale.

I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw Vendetta by Catherine Doyle on the new books shelf. I have been wanting to read this after seeing so many great reviews for it. A debut novel that supposedly gives a twist on the classic Romeo & Juliet tale, I am interested to see where this one goes. This will go towards my British Book Challenge.

A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond. Again, this was on the new books shelf — I don’t actually know much about it. This is another pot luck read for me.

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I also reserved The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. This will count towards my 2015 Reading Challenge too — ‘A book set in your home town’. This is apparently set in Kent, England – according to Goodreads. It is an absolute whopper of a read, I think it may take me a while to get through. I will give it a go and see if I like it or not.

I have SO many more books on reserve too – I just love the library. I definitely need to use it more.

Do you use your local library? Found any great reads lately?

Happy Reading,

Stacie and Grant

 

 

 


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Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Books I’d love to read if I had a book club!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted buy The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new topic and invite everyone to share their lists.

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Top Ten books I’d love to read if I had/was part of a book club.

The first five books on my list are ones that I have already read but would love to read again, with other people to discuss and enjoy all over again.

TheBookThief

1. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

TheColorPurple

2. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
Set in the deep American South between the wars, THE COLOR PURPLE is the classic tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.

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3. The Light between Oceans – M.L Stedman
Richard and Judy summer bookclub read 2013, Goodreads category winner, and longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013, stunning story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who face a life-changing moral dilemma. A boat washes up on the shore of a remote lighthouse keeper’s island. It holds a dead man – and a crying baby. The only two islanders, Tom and his wife Izzy, are about to make a devastating decision. They break the rules and follow their hearts. What happens next will break yours.

TheHungerGames

4. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live TV show called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

May the odds be ever in your favour.

HarryPotter

5. Harry Potter – J.K Rowling
Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

The next five novels are ones I haven’t read yet. I think these would be great for a book club.

AThousandSplendidSuns

6. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.

Wonder

7. Wonder – R J Palacio

‘My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

Speak

8. Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
From her first moment at Merryweather High, Melinda Sordino knows she’s an outcast. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops – a major infraction in high-school society – so her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t know glare at her. No one knows why she called the police, and she can’t get out the words to explain. So she retreats into her head, where the lies and hypocrisies of high school stand in stark relief to her own silence. But it’s not so comfortable in her head, either – there’s something banging around in there that she doesn’t want to think about. But, try as she might, it just won’t go away..

Room

9. Room – Emma Donoghue

Jack is five. He lives with his Ma. They live in a single, locked room. They don’t have the key.

Jack and Ma are prisoners.

Unbroken

10. Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand

In 1943 a bomber crashes into the Pacific Ocean. Against all odds, one young lieutenant survives. Louise Zamperini had already transformed himself from child delinquent to prodigious athlete, running in the Berlin Olympics. Now he must embark on one of the Second World War’s most extraordinary odysseys. Zamperini faces thousands of miles of open ocean on a failing raft. Beyond like only greater trials, in Japan’s prisoner-of-war camps.

Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini’s destiny, whether triumph or tragedy, depends on the strength of his will.

 

Have you read any of these?

Happy Reading,

Stacie and Grant


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Top Ten Tuesday – Favourite Kids Films!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted buy The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new topic and invite everyone to share their lists.

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This week is a freebie so I’ve decided to list my Top 10 favourite kids films – this was SO hard, I could make a list of 50 that I love – every Disney film, like, ever! These are in no particular order.

LionKing

The Lion King

Tangled

Tangled

MaryPoppins

Mary Poppins

DespicableMe

Despicable Me

Shrek

Shrek

TheWitches

The Witches

Matilda

 Matilda

HarryPotter

 Harry Potter

HocusPocus

Hocus Pocus

FreeWilly

Free Willy

What are your favourite kids films?

Stacie and Grant


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Top Ten 2014 Releases I wanted to read but didn’t get to…

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted buy The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new topic and invite everyone to share their lists.

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Top Ten 2014 Releases that I wanted to read but didn’t…

HeirOfFire

Heir of Fire – Sarah J Maas

HalfBad

Half Bad – Sally Green

Uninvited

Uninvited – Sophie Jordan

Fire&Flood

Fire & Flood – Victoria Scott

SnowLikeAshes

Snow Like Ashes – Sara Raasch

TheMurderComplex

The Murder Complex – Lindsay Cummings

TheWinnersCurse

The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski

PrisonerOfNight&Fog

Prisoner of Night & Fog – Anne Blankman

Cress

Cress – Marissa Meyer

TheMiniaturist

The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton

Did you read any of these? Which would you recommend?

Happy Reading,

S xx


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Top Ten Tuesday – 10 debut novels I can’t wait to read in 2015!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted buy The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new topic and invite everyone to share their lists.

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Top Ten Most Anticipated Debut Novels in 2015

These are in no particular order…

The Ship

1. The Ship – Antonia Honeywell
Oxford Street burned for three weeks. The British Museum is occupied by ragtag survivors. The Regent’s Park camps have been bombed. The Nazareth Act has come into force. If you can’t produce your identity card, you don’t exist.

Lalla, sixteen, has grown up sheltered from the new reality by her visionary father, Michael Paul. But now the chaos has reached their doorstep. Michael has promised to save them. His escape route is a ship big enough to save five hundred people. But only the worthy will be chosen.

Once on board, as day follows identical day, Lalla’s unease grows. Where are they going? What does her father really want?

The Girl in the Red Coat

2. The Girl in the Red Coat – Kate Hamer
Carmel has always been different. Carmel’s mother, Beth, newly single, worries about her daughter’s strangeness, especially as she is trying to rebuild a life for the two of them on her own. When she takes eight year-old Carmel to a local children’s festival, her worst fear is realised: Carmel disappears. Unable to accept the possibility that her daughter might be gone for good, Beth embarks on a mission to find her. Meanwhile, Carmel begins an extraordinary and terrifying journey of her own, with a man who believes she is a saviour.

The Sin Eaters Daughter

3. The Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury
Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court.

She’s the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

Red Queen

4. Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

Ember in the Ashes

5. An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir
Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

Conspiracy of Us

6. The Conspiracy of Us – Maggie Hall
To fight her destiny as the missing heir to a powerful and dangerous secret society, sixteen-year-old Avery West must solve an ancient puzzle in a deadly race across Europe. Forbidden love and code-breaking, masked balls and explosions, destiny and dark secrets collide in this romantic thriller, in the vein of a YA DaVinci Code.

Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada at the Champs-Elysees when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war.

They are part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle of Twelve, and Avery is their missing heir. If they discover who she is, some of them will want to use her as a pawn. Some will want her dead.

To thwart their plans, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the landmarks of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul and through a web of ancient legends and lies. And unless she can stay one step ahead of beautiful, volatile Stellan, who knows she’s more than she seems, and can decide whether to trust mysterious, magnetic Jack, she may be doomed after all.

City of Savages

7. City of Savages – Lee Kelly
It’s been nearly two decades since the Red Allies first attacked New York, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp, ruled by Warden Rolladin and her brutal, impulsive warlords. For 17-year-old Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders. But for Sky’s 16-year-old sister, Phee, the P.O.W. camp is a dangerous playground of possibility, and the only home she’d ever want.

When Sky and Phee discover their mom’s hidden journal from the outbreak of the war, they both realize there’s more to Manhattan—and their mother—than either of them had ever imagined. And after a group of strangers arrives at the annual P.O.W. census, the girls begin to uncover the island’s long-kept secrets. The strangers hail from England, a country supposedly destroyed by the Red Allies, and Rolladin’s lies about Manhattan’s captivity begin to unravel.

Hungry for the truth, the sisters set a series of events in motion that ends in the death of one of Rolladin’s guards. Now they’re outlaws, forced to join the strange Englishmen on an escape mission through Manhattan. Their flight takes them into subways haunted by cannibals, into the arms of a sadistic cult in the city’s Meatpacking District, and, through the pages of their mom’s old journal, into the island’s dark and shocking past. Sky and Phee are dependent on each other, and their ragged posse, for survival, but as their feelings grow toward the handsome English boy Ryder, love and jealousy threaten to break them apart.

Court of Fives

8. Court of Fives – Kate Elliott
Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But at night she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multi-level athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best competitors. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between a girl of mixed race and a Patron boy causes heads to turn. When a scheming lord tears Jes’s family apart, she’ll have to test Kal’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a powerful clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.

Material Girls

9. Material Girls – Elaine Dimopoulos
Told from the points of view of two characters – Ivy Wilde, a Miley Cyrus-type manufactured pop star, and Marla Klein, a talented fashionista who has been elevated to being an arbiter of taste and trends for the masses – the story explores high fashion and the cult of celebrity, in a world where staying young and trendy are the keys to success.

An Untamed State

10. An Untamed State – Roxane Gay
Mireille Duval Jameson is living a fairy tale. The strong-willed youngest daughter of one of Haiti’s richest sons, she has an adoring husband, a precocious infant son, by all appearances a perfect life. The fairy tale ends one day when Mireille is kidnapped in broad daylight by a gang of heavily armed men, in front of her father’s Port au Prince estate. Held captive by a man who calls himself The Commander, Mireille waits for her father to pay her ransom. As it becomes clear her father intends to resist the kidnappers, Mireille must endure the torments of a man who resents everything she represents.

An Untamed State is a novel of privilege in the face of crushing poverty, and of the lawless anger that corrupt governments produce. It is the story of a willful woman attempting to find her way back to the person she once was, and of how redemption is found in the most unexpected of places. An Untamed State establishes Roxane Gay as a writer of prodigious, arresting talent.

Have you heard of any of these? Are you looking forward to any of the novels I’ve mentioned?

Happy Reading,

S xx