Monday, 27 March 2017

On Reviewing Books...

Today I wanted to have a little discussion about reviewing books... Not an essential part of book blogging, but definitely a prevalent one.

Within the book blogging community we all have our own approaches to blogging, and in that our own approaches to the content we share. I know of bloggers who don't share book reviews at all, and others who review every single book they read - I think for the most part a happy medium of both of those is common in the community.

Personally, I don't review every single book I read... I write reviews of books I want to rave about and recommend, or discuss with others who have read it also. For the most part, the reviews I share are of books I have a positive reading experience of. That's not to say I only review books I rate five stars, or books I have nothing bad to say about, but just that the reading experience is one I want to remember.

I know some people would have a gripe with that... Why don't I talk about the books I didn't enjoy? Or the books I rate as 1 or 2 star reads? It isn't that I'm purposefully not reviewing these books because I don't want to offend or anything; I don't review these books as I don't want to spend more time on a book that didn't provide me with a positive reading experience. Also, if I'm not enjoying a book very much, chances are that I'll DNF it anyway.

This year, instead of entirely glazing over titles like that, I've decided to talk about them a little in my monthly wrap up posts. I think it's important to address books you didn't enjoy, and until recently I didn't know how to incorporate them in blog posts, however the solution of including them in my wrap up is working well for me so far.

Now you know how I approach reviewing books, I'd love to know how you go about reviewing the books you read.

Friday, 24 March 2017

BOOK HAUL | First Book Buys of 2017

This title is our book club pick for the month of March.

A must for any Harry Potter loving book collector. I've been meaning to pick this book up for a while now, and love the illustrations within this edition.

I'm slowly working my way through Shirley Jackson's writing.

If you want to read more about the books mentioned, then the title will take you to Goodreads

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

| I received by copy of Sometimes I Lie via Netgalley for review purposes |

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Wow! I don't even know where to start with this review - on the one hand I want to spew out all my thoughts and on the other I just want you to go and pick up the book yourself and discover the brilliance of it.

We meet Amber, the narrator of the story, in hospital. As the blurb indicates, she is in a coma, and a portion of the narrative is told via Amber's thoughts in her coma. This in itself makes for pretty eerie reading, add to that the unfolding mystery of how Amber ended up in a coma, as well as diary entries from many year priors and you've got yourself one serious page turner. 

The plot of Sometimes I Lie seemed pretty straight forward to begin with, but as with any good psychological thriller, you shouldn't get comfortable in your knowledge and what you think is happening, especially with an unreliable narrator.

I know some dislike an unreliable narrator, but in this book it totally makes the complex story that is unfolding. All of the characters within Sometimes I Lie have substance, however as you reader you do feel like you get to know Amber the most and connect with her even. You are lured in by her words, and you forget that third point from the blurb - 'sometimes I lie'.

The plot is amazing. The characters are so dark and deeply developed. Alice Feeney has a writing style that is not only detailed but also a beauty to read at times, lyrical even. I would definitely be on the look out for more work by Alice Feeney; it is kind of hard to believe that this is her debut novel!

The year is still quite young, but I expect to see this title in my top ten of the year.

If you're looking to get stuck into a good psychological thriller that'll keep you on your toes, then I highly recommend picking up Sometimes I Lie.


Friday, 17 March 2017

Spring Clean Your Bookshelves

I don't know about you, but I love a good spring clean. Whilst I have a regular cleaning routine, and try to consistently declutter my home, there is something very freeing about setting aside time in a season where new life surrounds us. Now you may be thinking, well that's nice Jade, but what does this have to do with books?

I have one question for you... Are your bookshelves on your spring cleaning list?


I think this is one of the things that definitely puts people off spring cleaning their bookshelves, as well as completing book inventories - you need to commit a solid chunk of time to undertake the task. If you're going to begin cleaning your shelves only to be distracted, needed elsewhere, or just plain fed up in an hour or so, then there isn't any point beginning. Spring cleaning your bookshelves is a lot easier when done all in one fell swoop.

Whether you have 50 books, 105, or even 550, you need to pull them all out. Every single one of them. The ones from your primary shelves, the ones sitting on your bedside table, the one you keep in your bag for those just in case moments. Every single book. If you have multiple bookshelves in various rooms, pick the one in which to complete this task, with all books coming together in one big pile. Whilst you're taking each book off, dust it... This is going to make the task easier in the long run.

Having dusted your books individually, it's now time to dust off your shelves. And just like your books, that's every single one of them.

Spring cleaning isn't just about the act of cleaning; it is also a time to look at what you have and evaluate what to keep and what not to keep - do you need everything you own? Of course, books aren't just something you measure by 'do you need it' and so I have a few helpful questions to ask yourself regarding your book collection.

How long have you owned the book?
If you've owned an unread book for more than two or three years... It's likely time you let go of it. Set up two piles of your unread books - those you've only owned a short period of time and those that have sat collecting dust longer. Place the unread books you've owned less time in your pile of keep books, and then come back to your other stack. You can either automatically place these books in a donate pile, or you can comb through them one more time and see if there are any titles you know you want to read, and soon.

If you find you have books in your unread pile that you've owned a good amount of time and still hold on hope of reading, then by all means keep them, but I'd recommend putting a time limit on them. Say, if they haven't been read in the next six months then there's a high chance you won't get round to reading them and it's time to let them go to someone else who may love and enjoy them.

Did you enjoy your reading experience of the book?
If the answer to this question is no, then what are you even holding on to the book for?! If you didn't enjoy the book the first time, then you certainly aren't going to revisit the book in the future. Give the book a new home.

Am I going to reread it?
This is my number one question. After I've read any book, I ask myself this question before placing it into my book collection. If I don't see myself rereading a book in the future, then it gets placed in my donations bag... And the key here is to not look back. If you answer this question with a no, then place it in your very own donation pile.

But it has sentimental value you say. So and so gave me this book as a gift, I met the author at an event, I have a signed edition. Whilst this task is about being honest with yourself and decreasing the amount of books you own, we aren't being ruthless! Whilst the examples I mentioned are valid and true points, don't be trying to find excuses for each and every book.

You'll now have either two or three stacks of books: one pile of books to keep, one pile of books to donate, and one pile of unread books you aren't sure about. I would recommend going over that last pile of books just the once more before fully committing to all the titles there.

Now it's time to replace all those books you intend to keep. You may be tired at this point, so over seeing books upon books upon books, but have fun with this step. Take a book inventory, switch up the way in which you previously stored your books, look to Pinterest for ideas and inspiration. If you have that third pile, a collection of unread books that you aren't ready to donate yet, then I recommend keeping these books to one side as opposed to interspersing them with the rest of your collection - not only are you more likely to read them sooner, but you'll also be reminded to get rid of them after your chosen period of time has passed.

Last, but by no means least, is the task of donating your books - the sooner you get these books out of your house, the better. There are a multitude of places that'll happily take your unwanted books: friends and family, your local library or even school, charity shops / thrift stores, book swap or even give them away on social media. If you'd rather make a little extra cash from your books as opposed to donating them, then you can always sell them on eBay or other market place sites.

Now you can step back and admire your hard work and dedication, feeling lighter for it.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

TUESDAY INTROS | The Passenger

Tanya DuBois doesn't exist. At least not after an accident leaves her husband dead and thrusts her into the uncomfortably familiar position of Suspect No. 1. She has only one choice: Run.

As "Tanya" watches her life recede in the rearview mirror, we realize she was never real to begin with. And neither is Amelia Keen, Debra Maze, Emma Lark, Sonia Lubovich, or a girl called only Jo. Or almost any of the things she tells us about herself, her past or where she is going next. She is "Amelia" when she meets Blue, another woman with a life she'd rather not discuss, and thinks she's found a kindred spirit. But their pasts and futures clash as the body count rises around them.

Shedding identities like snakeskins, it becomes impossible for the people in Tanya's life - and even herself - to know exactly who they're dealing with. It's only as she comes closer to facing her past that she can start to piece together the truth about not only who she was but who she can still be. THE PASSENGER inverts the traditional thriller, bypassing whodunit for the larger mysteries of who are you, and what is forgivable, and what is not?

When I found my husband at the bottom of the stairs, I tried to resuscitate him before I ever considered disposing of the body. I pumped his barrel chest and blew into his purple lips. It was the first time in years that our lips had touched and I didn't recoil.



Monday, 6 March 2017


Putting it plain and simply, last week happened to be my worst reading week of the year so far - I barely picked up my books at all. There wasn't a particularly stand out reason for this, I wasn't busy or otherwise occupied, my attention wasn't elsewhere, and the books I'm reading are of an enjoyable nature. I just didn't read. This picked up a little over the weekend and I dipped in and out of my February reread, having completely finished it just this morning.

I have missed reading. I'm hoping to pull it back this week.

I'm starting the week with a fresh read, opting for a go to genre, in the hopes that I'm pulled into the story and ultimately back into reading.

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz is a library borrow for me, but a book I've been keen to read. I love the fast paced nature of thrillers, especially when in a reading slump of sorts, so I'm hoping this is a good one. I'm also hoping to pick up another of my library borrows this week (can you tell my lending deadline is coming up?): Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith. I've been wanting to try out Ali Smith's writing for a while now, and a short story collection is always a good way to get a feel for the writing style of a new author.

I'm also reading a non fiction title about books - The Secret Library by Oliver Tearle - which is proving to be a really insightful read.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Favourite Words From Lost In Translation

Back in December I shared a list of Six Non-Fiction Books I'd Gift, and in that post I mentioned my love of Lost In Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders. In that same post, I mentioned sharing a separate post on a few of my favourite words from the book, and here that is.

And by a few words, I mean ten.

Italian verb
To be moved in a heartwarming way, usually relating to a story that moved you to tears.

Tagalog noun
The feeling of butterflies in your stomach, usually when something romantic or cute takes place.

Swedish verb
Gathering together to talk and take a break from everyday routines, usually drinking coffee and eating pastries - either at a café or at home - often for hours on end.

Japanese noun
The sunlight that filters through the leaves of the trees.

German noun
Literally mean 'grief-bacon', this word refers to the excess weight we can gain from emotional overeating.

Japanese noun
Gazing vacantly into the distance without really thinking about anything specific.

Japanese noun
Finding beauty in the imperfections, an acceptance of the cycle of life and death.

Farsi noun
The twinkle in your eye when you first meet someone.

Arabic noun
Meaning 'you bury me', a beautifully morbid declaration of one's hope that they will die before another person, as it would be too difficult living without them.

Japanese noun
Leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with other unread books.

This isn't a review of the book, however if it were, I'd highly recommend having this charming little book on your shelves.
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