Sunday, 26 November 2017

Blog Posts I've Enjoyed Lately (4)


With so much content being shared within the blogging community - bookish and otherwise - it is impossible to keep up with everything (even your favourites), so with no fixed regularity I'll be compiling a list of links sharing a number of blog posts I've enjoyed lately.

BOOKISH
So Obsessed With | 5 Ways To Find Time To Read (I have no idea how I've only just discovered Hannah's blog, but I LOVE it!)
The Book Review Cafe | A Day in the Life of Author Peter James (Lorraine has a few 'Day in the Life' author posts, so if you're a nosy parker like me then head on over there)
Modern Mrs Darcy | 7 Favorite Jane Austen Retellings
Book Riot | 15 Tips for Tempering Book Buying Addiction
The Bandar Blog | Let's Talk About DNF-ing Books (Infographic) (some interesting insights into DNFing)
The Simple Things | Reading Mindfully: How To Quiet Your Butterfly Mind
Book Riot | Literary Tourism: Hay-on-Wye, The Town of Books (I've mentioned before how much I want to go to Hay-on-Wye, and love reading the accounts of others who have visited)
Library Mice | Guest Post: A Day in the Life of Jane Ray (I told you I'm a nosy parker!)
Paper Fury | Why The Bookworm Life Is Exhausting
The Book Castle | Bookish Gift Guide 2017
Read Brightly | 8 Enlightening and Empathetic YA Novels About Mental Illness
My Shelf & Myself | Why Don't People Read? | Discussion
Parchment Girl | 48 Amazing New Books You Need to Read This Winter (LOTS of new releases that I was unaware of until reading this)

*I have no 'NON-BOOKISH' posts this time round, but an abundance of book related goodness - I'm actually sharing this post earlier than intended because of how many links I have saved already!*

Happy perusing!
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Friday, 24 November 2017

My Winter Reading List


Today I thought I'd sit down and share with you the reading list I've curated for the winter months - with these titles being books I'll read over the next three months. If you want to read more about my seasonal reading lists, then I recommend checking out this post.

This winter is only the second season I've done this for, however autumn was a great success and I'm keen to carry on with reading lists for the foreseeable future. I will talk more in depth about my experience once I've completed them for a longer period of time.

So without further ado, here are the books I hope to read during December, January & February.

All titles below have been linked via Goodreads

BOOKS FROM MY SHELVES

BOOKS FROM MY KINDLE LIBRARY

BOOKS FOR REVIEW
(My review books may increase over the course of my winter reading list)

LIBRARY BORROWS
At the time of writing this I have no books borrowed from the library - this is an open category

So that concludes my winter reading list... I'd love to know what books you're looking forward to reading over the next few months.
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Monday, 20 November 2017

READING WITH MY FOUR YEAR OLD | A Week of Bedtime Stories (November)


Today I'm back with a post as part of my 'Reading with my Son' series, and am sharing seven bedtime stories we've read of late.

The titles I'm talking about today very much represent a lot of Alexander's likes - dinosaurs, animals in general and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Also, eagle eyed readers may have noticed that the title of the series has changed slightly... I'm no longer reading with a three year old, but a four year old - we've recently celebrated Alexander's birthday.

MONDAY

When Little Miss Curious comes across a large footprint, the Mr & Miss characters go on an adventure discovering a number of dinosaurs whilst getting up to their typical antics - i.e. Mr Tickle tickling a T. Rex.

TUESDAY

In the interest of honesty, I'm not a fan of this book, however Nathan and Alexander really enjoy it, and thankfully for me, Nathan was at home when Alexander wanted to read this.

A slightly longer picture book, The Bravest Ever Bear has stories within a story including elements of fairy tales. There is a lot going on, and I just don't get it, but clearly a winner with little ones as Alexander has asked to read it multiple times since being gifted it late summer.

WEDNESDAY

Going from one of my least favourite books to read with Alexander, to one of my all time favourites... Monkey Puzzle follows a little lost monkey in search of his mum. In the true style of this classic children's book duo, Donaldson & Scheffler combine wonderful rhyme with bright & beautiful illustrations to create an engaging story that is sure to be enjoyed by all.

Whilst searching for his mum, Monkey is aided by Butterfly, however they have some misunderstandings along the way as Butterfly doesn't realise that Monkey and his mum of course look alike - because butterfly babies don't look like their mums!

THURSDAY

Another evening, and we're back to Julia Donaldson - her books are much loved in our household.

The Gruffalo is quite a classic children's book by now, so I'm sure many of you already know the plot. As mouse travels through the forest he scares away prey by telling them about the Gruffalo, a terrible creature that mouse has made up... Or has he?!

FRIDAY

Little Beaver is feeling lonely and after voicing these thoughts, he has a reply: the echo. Hearing another being in need of a friend, Little Beaver goes on a journey to the other side of the pond all the while making friends along the way. This is a lovely little story about friendship.

SATURDAY

As a whole, the Belle & Boo series contains a number of charming little stories, with this particular title being the one Alexander gravitates towards the most.

Belle is preparing a birthday surprise, but little does Boo know that the surprise is for him! These stories have so much love and kindness in them, with the most beautiful illustrations.

SUNDAY

We own the original Thomas the Tank Engine story collection, and although this more contemporary series is adapted from those, we also own a number from this collection too.

Wrapping up the week, Alexander opted to read the book that focuses on Emily - all the books within the series have one of the characters as a central figure. This particular story sees Emily arrive at Sodor on some bad footing, upsetting a few trains in the process, however friendships are soon formed.
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So there you have it, a week of bedtime reading with my four year old son.
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Friday, 17 November 2017

Lay Me To Rest by E.A. Clark (Blog Tour)

| I received my copy of Lay Me To Rest for review purposes as part of the blog tour |

BLURB
Some secrets never stay buried for long…
Devastated by the death of her husband, Annie Philips is shocked to discover she is pregnant with his unborn child. Hoping for a fresh start, she travels to a remote stone cottage in Anglesey, amidst the white-capped mountains of North Wales.

She settles in quickly, helped by her mysterious new neighbour, Peter. But everything changes when Annie discovers a small wooden box, inlaid with brass and mother-of-pearl. A box she was never supposed to find…

Annie soon realises that she isn’t alone in the cottage. And now she’s trapped. Can she escape the nightmare that she has awoken, or will the dark forces surrounding the house claim her life – and that of her baby?


MY THOUGHTS
Ghost story intertwined with mystery Lay Me To Rest presents the story of Annie, a recently widowed pregnant woman who finds herself in need of a break. A change of scenery can do wonders, and so Annie is recommended a lovely cottage in Anglesey, Wales... However, a restful holiday isn't in store for her.

Upon her arrival Annie finds herself greeted by welcoming hosts (Mr & Mrs Parry) and even finds herself relaxing a little, something she hasn't done for a long while, but after one night at the cottage she comes to learn that she isn't alone. Annie's arrival appears to have drawn out the ghost of a girl whose story has been passed down from generation to generation within the Parry family, but with a little guidance from those with supernatural powers, Annie learns there is a more menacing spirit at large and one that seems to have taken a real disliking to her.

In many ways Lay Me To Rest is a true to its word ghost story - atmospheric writing, things that go bump in the night, sinister goings on - and the added element of mystery only elevates the story that unfolds.

The characters within this debut novel are really well crafted, especially that of main character Annie - you're taken on a real journey of self discovery with her almost, and that in itself was a compelling part of the plot. She has a backstory - one that defines her in a way at the beginning of the story, but seeing her evolve is a lovely thing - and she feels really fleshed out.

I will say that I did enjoy the beginning and middle of this book more than that of the final ending - the story came off course a little there for me, leaving the conclusion open a little, and in general I am a fan of tying everything up in a neat bow at the end.

Having said that, I did enjoy E.A. Clark's overall writing style, and I would keep an eye out for more books by her.

I'm a part of the Lay Me To Rest blog tour - to keep up with the other stops on the tour, you can find them below.


LINKS
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Monday, 13 November 2017

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie


BLURB
"The murderer is with us - on the train now..."

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.

Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man's enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again...


MY THOUGHTS
I love a good detective novel, and The Murder on the Orient Express was definitely that... I have fallen in love with Poirot, and once again Christie's writing. This is my second reading experience with Agatha Christie, and it only solidified my previous thoughts of wanting to read through her extensive backlist (quite the task, I think!).

As part of his travels back to London, Poirot finds himself on a sleeper train that soon becomes a murder crime scene... However stuck in snow, and with no police on hand, solving the crime falls to detective Poirot, naturally. And what a mystery it is, seriously, the ending was quite the surprise.

I really enjoyed the formatting of the story, with a proper beginning, middle and end. Part one sets the scene, briefly introduces the characters, and the major plot point of murder is discovered. In part two we see each of the passengers in the carriage being interviewed, and the investigation really gets underway. Concluding the story is part three, where Poirot gets to thinking and somehow solves this stumper of a case.

The setting, the cast of characters, and the sheer brilliance of Christie's plot lead me to thoroughly enjoy my time with this book, and be thankful that I purchased a copy for my shelf - I see myself returning to this title in the future as a cosy winter companion.

LINKS
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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Blog Posts I've Enjoyed Lately (3)


With so much content being shared within the blogging community - bookish and otherwise - it is impossible to keep up with everything (even your favourites), so with no fixed regularity I'll be compiling a list of links sharing a number of blog posts I've enjoyed lately.

BOOKISH
The Perpetual Page-Turner | The Books I've Read To Riley So Far (I love seeing what books other parents are reading with their children)
Modern Mrs Darcy | A Quick Overview of 11 Important Literary Awards (as someone who knows very little about bookish awards, this post provided a wealth of knowledge)
Outlandish Lit | 11 Books To Look For This November (I always find new to me titles in these monthly lists from Julianne)
National Book Tokens | Hidden Books Game (a whole load of fun - yet to complete myself)

NON BOOKISH
Every New Me | Smile (it might make someone's day)... (I totally agree with the sentiments of this post)

Happy perusing!
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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

WHAT I READ | October


I started the month of October by completing a short story collection that I was to take part in the blog tour of... I briefly mentioned Stories for Homes: Volume 2 in my wrap up last month as I did begin the book in September, however I finished the stories at the very beginning of October. I was left amazed at the standard of stories found in the book, and I'm pretty sure this is the first short story collection I've ever rated five stars. You can read my full review here.

The next title I completed was also one I began in September - End of Watch by Stephen King - which meant I had then read the entire Bill Hodges trilogy. I thoroughly enjoyed the series as a whole and I'm glad I waited until all three books had been released in order to delve in. I'm terrible at finishing series, and this is one well worth reading.

I was feeling a little finicky after these two titles and decided some stories short in length would be a good idea for my mind that wasn't ready to commit to a full novel. I was in need of some comfort reading, and so of course I turned to rereading.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was my first reread - I'm very much a Sherlock Holmes fan, but I had forgot just how much I love these stories... I definitely want to add to my shelf beyond the three Holmes books I own. A five star reread.

I followed this on with a fail safe reread for me - The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. I have a connection to this story that is hard to explain, although I did attempt to previously, and have returned to it at this time every year for over a handful of years now.

Having enjoyed my comfort reading, next I picked up a review book, but one that would slightly put me out of my comfort zone... So I thought. The Treatment by C.L. Taylor is a YA thriller, and if you know a little bit about my reading preferences then you'll know I do love a good thriller however YA and I don't always gel so well; that wasn't the case with this title. I really enjoyed my reading experience of this book, which you can read more about in my review.

Sticking with my Kindle - there's something about e-books; I just speed through them - I then started, and quickly finished, The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. Wow. Just wow. If you want to know more of my thoughts on this title then you can find my review here.

Ending the month of a slightly lighter note, I picked up a physical book in the form of Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll - this was another wonderful historical fiction adventure from this MG author.

So that wraps up my reading for the month of October. I just briefly wanted to mention how kind and lovely you all were as readers of my blog in October, showing so much love & support to two posts in particular - Reading Middle Grade Fiction as an Adult + First & Foremost, Be A Reader. Many thanks <3

Happy reading in November!
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