Mid Year Freak Out Tag

So I’ve been tagged by the lovely Emma-Louise over at Read Write Inspire in the Mid Year Freak Out tag. You can read Emma’s responses here.

1) Best books you’ve read so far in 2017

Trust Me

There have been so many this year, including most of the ones I’ve mentioned below but I would have to say that one of my favourite reads of 2017 that hasn’t been mentioned is Trust Me by Gemma Metcalfe. This fantastic debut thriller had me hooked from the first page.

2) Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017

IN YOUR NAME 2

This would have to be In Your Name by Rob Ashman. I read this book as part of a blog tour last month and really enjoyed it. My review of the final book of the trilogy is due on 13th August.

3) New release you haven’t read yet but want to

Lost Boy

Again there are quite a few books that fit this question but I would have to go for Lost Boy by Christina Henry. I read her Alice in Wonderland retellings last year and really enjoyed them so am hoping to get around to this Peter Pan retelling very soon.

4) Most anticipated release in the 2nd half of the year

The Good Daughter

For me this would have to be The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter. I haven’t read any of her books for a long time for a number of reasons but this new book is a standalone and I think it would be a perfect book to get me back into reading her books.

5) Biggest disappointment

The Roses of May

The Roses of May by Dot Hutchison is probably my biggest disappointment so far this year. After reading The Butterfly Garden I was really looking forward to the next book, however it wasn’t as good as I was hoping for.

6) Biggest surprise

Alice_ The Wanderland Chronicles

J M Sullivan’s debut novel, Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles. I’m not usually a big horror fan but I truly loved this book and am all but stalking the author for news of the sequel.

7) Fav new author

Without a doubt this has to be Conrad Jones. I have been part of two blog tours showcasing Conrad’s books and, although they are very dark and gruesome, there is something about his writing that I love. I am definitely adding some more books by Conrad to my upcoming reading pile.

8) Fav new crush

Oliver Tidy’s character David Booker from the Booker and Cash series is my current new crush. I have to be honest with you all here and say this has nothing to do with looks and everything to do with the fact he owns a coffee shop full of limited edition books.

9) Fav new characters

My new favourite character has to be Mechanic from Rob Ashman’s Mechanic Trilogy. Although a serial killer with a slightly sadistic streak there is just something about this character that has me liking them.

10) Book that made you cry

There are very few books that make me cry and so far this year I can’t think of a single one that has forced me to shed a tear.

11) Book that made you happy

Breathless

Since my preferred genre doesn’t really lend itself to ‘happy’ books I found this hard to answer initially. So much so that I had to take myself off to review my Goodreads challenge to see what I had actually read this year.

I soon spotted Breathless by Nicola Claire and knew this was the one. I love the the fact that the female protagonist in the book is forging a career in a male dominated environment during a time when women weren’t even allowed to vote. This is why the book makes me happy.

12) Most beautiful book you’ve bought this year

Wintersong

If we are going on cover alone, I think I would have to say Wintersong by S Jae-Jones. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the book itself I really do love the cover.

13) What books do you need to read before the end of the year

Far too many to list. Aside from the ever increasing NetGalley shelf and my upcoming blog tours here are a few books that will reach the top of my TBR pile: The Ressurector by Layton Green; Nemesis by Brendan Reichs and Two Nights by Kathy Reichs.

So there we have my mid year freak out. I’m not tagging anyone this time around, but if you want to have a go yourself, then please feel free. But don’t forget to let me know if you do, I’d love to read your answers.

Happy reading

Debbie x

Book Buying Habits Tag

I recently came across the “Book Buying Habits” tag over at An Infinite Book World, you can read Alaina’s post here. Since I haven’t done a book tag for ages, I thought I would give this one a go, so today I will be sharing with you my book buying habits.

Where do you buy your books?

Anywhere and everywhere! My main source of reading material is Amazon, but I have picked up books from car boot sales, charity shops and the usual bookstores such as, Waterstones and W H Smith. I also like The Book People and The Works.

If I’m honest I’m a bit of a tight arse when it comes to buying books and will more often than not try to avoid paying full price for them, unless it’s something I really want to read or if I’m looking for a specific edition.

Do you ever pre-order books and if so, do you do this in-store or online?

Since I review quite a lot of ARC’s before they are published I don’t really need to pre-order. However, if I really like a book and want to keep a copy I will pre-order it. One such book was my most recent pre-order Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles.

On average, how many books do you buy a month?

This varies from month to month. It also depends on the format of the book. I do have a tendency to download any free books that I think I might enjoy, which can sometimes mean I’m downloading a book a day. However most of these are usually free.

As for books I actually pay for this would probably average out at between 1-3 books every month unless I come across any bargains or deals.

Do you use your local library?

Nope. I don’t even have a library card, although I think the kids might have one somewhere. They downsized our local library years ago and the atmosphere just wasn’t the same so I stopped going.

What is your opinion on library books?

I think they are brilliant! I love that they make books so accessible for everyone.

How do you feel about second-hand books?

Second hand books are fantastic. You can get some really great bargains for next to nothing. I can often be found scouring the local charity shops for some book bargains, although some of the previous owners can be page folders and spine benders which upsets me a little bit.

Do you keep your TBR pile on your main bookshelf, or no?

Yes and no. I read a lot of books on my kindle so I have several collections on there for my TBR books. Other than than all my other books are on my main bookshelf. They have their own shelf solely for books I have yet to read.

Do you plan to read all of the books you own?

Definitely! I never buy a book that I have no intention of reading one day. That said I do find myself wondering why I’ve purchased/downloaded some of them if I don’t read them quite soon after purchasing. I usually keep hold of them though as my reading tastes change. My TBR list has everything from classics to YA; horror to historical romance and everything in between.

What do you do with books you feel you will never read/did not enjoy?

I usually pass them on to someone else to read if they are hard copies. Kindle books usually just get deleted from my device.

Have you ever donated books?

Regularly. I only have a small bookshelf, hence the kindle, so I have to regularly cull my books. Ones that haven’t made the cut to remain get donated to charity shops, friends, relatives or sometimes sold on.

I also have regular clear outs of the kids books these usually get donated to the school.

Have you ever been on a book buying ban?

Never, and I can’t see me ever putting myself on one. I do try to restrict my purchases, especially of paperbacks due to lack of space but other than that I’m free to buy as and when I please.

Do you feel that you buy too many books?

Most definitely! In fact I don’t think there is a reader out there who doesn’t.

 

I really enjoyed this tag and in the interest of sharing the love I tag the following people.

Emma at Read Write Inspire

Debbie at My Random Musings

Emma at Devon Mum

Stephanie at Our Cherry Tree

Laura at Edinburgh with Kids

Plus anyone who reads this post and wants to join in.

I hope you enjoyed today’s tag. Don’t forget to comment, like and follow for more posts!

Happy Reading

Debbie x

Mythical Creatures: The End of an Era

It’s a very sad day for book lovers as the The Stationery Geekette has closed the pages on her Bookclub Box. So today I will be sharing with you the contents of the very final box.

Mythical Creatures

I’ve loved my monthly box goodies from Emma and this month has been no different. She has definitely gone out on a high!

This months book choice was The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent. It’s a YA fantasy/paranormal story and looks really good. I’ll be adding it to my August TBR assuming I can find the time to read anything with the kids being off school.

2017-07-18 19.51.15

Moving on we have a gorgeous candle, made by the amazing Emma herself under her new guise of Geekette Creations. The Dragon Blood candle smells amazing and has a gorgeous glittery coating. I’ve currently got it in my office with the lid off as I don’t want to light it just yet but love the smell. I believe these will still be available over on the group.

2017-07-18 20.05.45

Next up we have a selection of planner stickers from Mix and Match Planner’s Something Magical range. The stickers are beautiful and will be finding their way to my planners in the coming weeks. As usual there is a really good selection of stickers and there will definitely enough for several weeks worth of spreads.

Mythical Creatures - Stickers

Keeping with the stationery aspect there is a super cute little dragon paperclip by Little Dragon Jewellery.

Mythical Creatures

The other items in the box included a bookmark by Jessica Scissorhands, a mermaid postcard by Papiopress, a feather card and a gorgeous dragon necklace.

Everything in the box is amazing and this is definitely one of my favourite boxes. It’s a shame to see them go, but I believe there will be special edition box in time for Christmas.

Thanks for reading,

Debbie x

mystical creatures book box review.png

Book Review: The Poisoned Rose

The Poisoned RoseSynopsis

To a corrupt chief of police intent on maintaining his power at all costs, part-time PI Declan “Mac” MacManus is a problem that must finally be addressed. Cursed with an unwavering sense of right and wrong, and a fierce loyalty to his few friends, Mac has become known as someone the working class of Southampton can turn to in times of desperate need. On a rain-swept night in October, Mac witnesses to a brutal homicide, but he has learned that nothing on the East End is ever what it seems. Determined to hunt down an elusive hired killer before he can strike again, Mac is reunited with what is left of a prominent family he once knew well. But something more—something darker than Mac could have possibly foreseen—is at play here, and as a long-hidden secret threatens to emerge, Mac once again becomes the only hope for justice in a town that all too clearly belongs to the rich and powerful.

There comes a point in a man’s life when he has to take control of things. Otherwise, things will just keep controlling him.

Review

Firstly, I must make reference to the fact that the synopsis doesn’t quite match the story itself, yes there is a corrupt police chief but he’s only a small part of a very entwined plot.

The lead protagonist, Mac, is an extremely flawed character who is regularly referred to throughout the story as a good guy who feels compelled to help people out of difficult situations although the reason for this is never fully explained.

There is a lot of violence, some quite graphic, and the overall mood of the book is quite dark and gloomy, but the writing is extremely descriptive and very well put together, even if some of the plot lines are a little unbelievable at times.

One thing I did like about the story is that most of the time I’ve come across the The Hamptons in books or on TV, they are portrayed as full of mega rich people who own summer homes, whereas this portrayal was more like film noir/gangster movie and showed a completely different side to the area.

At times I struggled to keep up with all the players but overall I enjoyed the story enough to add the remaining books in the Gin Palace Trilogy to my TBR list.


Details

Title: The Poisoned Rose (The Gin Palace Trilogy #1)

Author: Daniel Judson

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Page Count: 320

Publication Date: 1st October 2002

Format: Kindle

Add it: Goodreads

Buy it: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Book Review: Stealing Snow

Stealing SnowSynopsis

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

One of the reasons I love the TSG Bookclub Box is that you receive books that are sometimes outside of your usual reading zone, this was one such book. However one of my reading challenges is to broaden my horizons so as soon as I had the chance I started reading it.

Although, as I understand it, this is a modern retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, to begin with I was getting flashbacks to an earlier bookclub book, Alice by Christina Henry, as the setting at the beginning was very similar which the leading characters locked in an asylum/mental hospital for their own safety. By by Chapter 10 I began seeing similarities with the C S Lewis classic, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

There are a couple of aspects that I don’t like about the book, the first is the fact that Snow travelled to Algin to save the boy she loved, yet she ends up in a kind of love square with two other boys she meets on her travels. I suppose this could be explained by her only ‘real-life’ experience comes from a soap opera where the lead character is on lover #10. The second is the fact that despite a gut feeling of unease about certain situations, she just’s shrugs it off and naively goes along with things.

I didn’t find the main protagonist in the story, Snow, overly likeable and towards the end of the book I wasn’t all that bothered about what happened to her. On the other hand, I found myself cheering for Jagger and the Robber Girls but again, would like to have seen their characters develop more.

There were several twists in the story, some of which I anticipated, some I didn’t but that did mean parts of the story lost a little of the shock factor.

Overall I felt the book fell a bit flat, while there was great potential for the story to be amazing, the characters didn’t really development and the world building wasn’t sufficient for me to create a place I felt like I was part of. That said, I may be tempted to read the prequel novella, Queen Rising, to see the story of Margot and the Robbers unfold.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Debbie x

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Searching Saturday: Covers with Veggies/Plants/Green Stuff

Searching Saturday is a bookish scavenger hunt hosted by Nikki from The Night Is Dark And Full Of Books. The aim is to find a book (or books) that are new to you and fit in with the weekly theme.  This week’s topic is books with veggies/plants/green stuff on the cover.

Searching Saturday

Happy National Eat Your Vegetable day! YES, another exciting national day to celebrate and inspire my topics. I Quote “National Eat Your Vegetable Day is one more opportunity to remind everyone to continue with this part of a healthy diet”. Because doesn’t everyone just love being reminded to eat healthy foods? I’m absolutely terrible with eating veggies, hence I don’t actually encounter them that often. So in my mind vegetables = some green leafy stuff. Boom, this topic was created. Search for books with actual vegetables, plants or any type of green stuff on the cover. Decide for yourself how difficult you want to make it. Oh and NO COOKBOOKS ALLOWED!


This week we are looking at books with veggies/plants/green stuff on the cover. My initial thought at this topic was “I don’t think I’ve ever seen any”, and a quick glance over my bookshelves came to a similar conclusion, although I did find one.

Following my failure with my own books I turned to Goodreads to help me out and even then I struggled. There were loads of books with trees on the cover which I tried to avoid as well as lots of gardening and cookery books. However I was trying to find fiction books only, let’s take a look at I got on.

The Books I Found

The Lake House by Kate Morton

This was the only book  I came across on my shelves that almost matched this week’s criteria. This cover shows plants/greenery, although I’m aware that the other editions of this book don’t.

Carrots (Shelby Nichols #1) by Colleen Helme

I really like the sound of this book and I would never have found it if it hadn’t been for me searching for vegetables on Goodreads!

The Cauliflower by Nicola Barker

Don’t think this will be a book I will read, however I like the cover.

Of Cabbages and Kings by Randa M. Chance

This book sounds intriguing and I have to admit that the cover made me smile.

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Moving on from the vegetables I came across this which, although not my preferred genre looks good. May make it to my TBR list one I’ve read The Raven Boys.

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

This isn’t a book that will make it to my TBR list, however the cover just about meets the criteria, so it s in!

What do you think of my selection? Have you read any of them?

TBR Thursday #2: Gold Coast

I’m back again this week with another TBR Thursday hosted by Kimberly over at Kimberleyfaye Reads.

TBR Thursday

This weekly feature is a great way to spotlight a title that’s been sitting on your shelves (virtual or otherwise) for some time for various reasons. I’m also going to ask for you input on whether or not I should read it or just stick it back on the shelf. Sometimes it seems like everyone is reading the same books at the same time and older titles have a way of just fading from the radar. I love the idea of featuring an older title and, of course, getting a chance to talk about it with other bloggers and readers.


Gold Coast

Gold Coast by Nelson DeMille

Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense

Publication date: 1990

637 pages

Add it: Goodreads

Buy it: Amazon

The upmarket and salubrious area of Long Island is the stamping ground for a dying breed of America’s super-rich. It is also the residence of John Sutter, lawyer – very top-drawer, old money, right clubs – and his sensual wife, Susan. Their lives are about to be turned dramatically upside down by their new ‘next-door’ neighbour – a certain Mr Frank Bellarosa, top Mafia don and master manipulator. It is he who will impress upon them a rule much older than the archaic etiquette of the old-money set: a favour accepted is a favour owed.

I’ve just recently found this in a box of books hidden in the back of my wardrobe. I can’t remember how long it has been there, but I remember packing the box up when we redecorated a few years ago. As to why it didn’t make it back to the shelf when we finished is anyone’s guess.

Nevertheless the box has been rescued and all the books have been returned to their rightful place on the shelf ready for me to begin reading (or re-reading) when the time permits.

I’m looking forward to reading this eventually. The author was recommended to me by a friend was recommended to me by a work colleague. So when this and two other of his books came up in an offer I snatched them up, I just never got around to reading them.

Have you read Marking Time? Do you think it’s worth my time? Would you read it?