Showcase Sunday #74

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Hello everyone! How are you all? Are you having a nice weekend? I’m having a lazy day for a change. I went into town yesterday and ended up going shopping (I fell in love with a cute little dress) but today is all about reading. I might have to go and buy some snacks but other than that, I’m staying in bed with my book and my cup of tea, thank you. :D

Incoming

Showcase Sunday #74Sleepyhead | Looking for Alaska

Both of this week’s books are charity shop finds: I went to Stratford-upon-Avon with a friend last weekend and we went into one of the local charity shops on Sunday, where I found a copy of Mark Billingham’s Sleepyhead. It was only £1.45 and I’ve been meaning to check out his books for a while, so I couldn’t leave it there.

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Leigh Russell on Female Detectives on Television

Hi everyone! Today I have a special guest for you. To celebrate the release of her new novel, Fatal Act (to be published at the end of May), Leigh Russell stopped by the blog to talk about her thoughts on female detectives on television. 

Leigh Russell on Female Detectives on Television

Judging by the number of emails I receive asking when my detective Geraldine Steel is going to appear on the small screen, I might be forgiven for thinking there aren’t enough female detectives on television. Yet there are currently roughly the same number of female detectives as male ones on television these days. Starting as genteel private sleuths like Jane Marple and Jessica Fletcher, female police detectives have developed from sergeants to male inspectors, as in Linley and Rebus, to emerge as powerful protagonists in their own right: Jane Tennison, Vera, Rizzoli and Isles, Scott and Bailey, to name just a few.

On reflection, it isn’t hard to find a reason for the rise in the number of female detectives on television. In fictional detectives viewers encounter the vast variety of human life. Holmes, sharp-eyed and logical, poetic Dalgleish, dour Dalziel, brusque Taggart, twee Miss Marple, harrassed Rizzoli and Isles, plodding Vera, clumsy Goodman, widowed Foyle, witty gambler Cracker, ovuncular Frost… they each bring their own unique character to the genre. Because crime fiction not only satisfies our need for moral order, it also gives us a snapshot of society. Today, female officers occupy over thirty per cent of senior posts in the police force. This hasn’t always been the case. The evolution in gender representation in crime fiction is a reflection of cultural norms in society. Can you imagine Inspector Lestrade as a female officer? Even omniscient Sherlock Holmes would be surprised by the cultural shift towards gender equality in the workplace that we now rightly assume should exist.

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Bloggiesta Spring 2014 – Goals

Bloggiesta 2014

Bloggiesta is back! If you haven’t seen my Bloggiesta posts some time last year and are wondering what it is exactly, it’s a blogging marathon between 27 and 30 March, 2014 revolving around ticking off those items on your to-do list and improving your blog while in the good company of other awesome bloggers doing the same thing.” Basically, four days of blogging and improving your blog (or writing those reviews you were supposed to finish weeks ago) in the virtual company of many other bloggers. It’s fun and it’s a great way to catch up on blogging tasks you’ve been meaning to do for a while.

I haven’t had as much time for my blog as I would have wanted recently so I decided to dedicate this weekend to Bloggiesta and FINALLY getting back on track.

My goals for this year’s Bloggiesta:

  • write all my unwritten reviews (about 3, I think)
  • update my contact and about me page
  • comment on other blogs
  • schedule blog posts for the next two weeks. That should give me some time to catch up on reading!
  • put together a media kit
  • come up with discussion and/or new feature ideas
  • try and think about a new blog template. I’m thinking about giving my blog a new look – not a complete makeover (I really like the colours and my header), just a new template maybe.
  • make my blog mobile friendly
  • participate in at least one Twitter chat

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London Book Fair: The Ultimate Guide

The London Book Fair 2014

Hi everyone! With only two weeks left until this year’s London Book Fair, I thought I’d write a short list with a handful of tips to help you get the most out of your experience in case you’re thinking of visiting. This time last year I, along with my bookish friend Celine, was heading off to London to experience what the fair had to offer for the first time. I’ve read one or two people’s short recaps of the 2012 event but the enormity of it all still took me by surprise.

Why visit?

Despite what I thought (and I’m sure I’m not the only one), LBF is not the British equivalent of BEA. They are, in fact, very different. What I soon found out is that the London Book Fair is not about author signings, lots of freebies and buying tons of books. LBF seemed a bit more serious, more focused on business and sharing knowledge. As a blogger (unless you know people who work in publishing and don’t feel intimidated by all these important-looking people and actually pluck up the courage and go talk to them), you’ll probably feel small. Most of these people are there for business and, despite what we all want to believe, we’re not part of this industry. Not really.

Introducing the Sony ReaderStore

the Sony ReaderStore
This time last month I introduced you to Headline’s new initiative and a brand new online resource for bloggers called Bookbridgr. Today I have something very similar in store for you guys. A few weeks ago I was offered to test and review the new Sony ReaderStore – a website offering a huge range of e-books for multiple devices and platforms, something like Amazon’s Kindle store – and of course I leapt at the chance. Since I know that, like me, most of you read e-books on a weekly basis and some of you even prefer reading e-books to physical ones, I thought it would be something you’d enjoy and (hopefully) find useful. :)

Overall look & signing up

The first thing I really like about the website is how simple it is and how easy it was to sign up. It literally took me a minute, perhaps even less. Everything is very straightforward. You go to gb.readerstore.sony.com, enter your email address and a password and you’re good to go. Once inside, you can start browsing the thousands of books on offer straight away. The feature I love the most is the wishlist option. If you’re as indecisive as I am when it comes to books and narrowing down those 35 books you instantly want to put in your basket, then you’ll probably love it. Putting all those books you’re interested in in one place so that you can go through them again and select the ones you’re dying to read the most is definitely a great idea. The books you put on your wishlist will stay there until you either buy or remove them, even if you log out and come back days or weeks later.

Sony ReaderStore
The books you actually decide to buy will all be saved to your library and can be accessed any time you need them. So even if you delete them from your reader, they can be re-downloaded later, any time you want to read them again.

Categories & variety

What took me by surprise when I was already registered and signed in is how many books they actually have. I don’t know why but I didn’t expect to see… so many of them. There are almost 15,000 books in the Young Adult fiction category alone and that’s only one of the 25 categories they have. Again, the categories are very similar to the Amazon Kindle store so if you’re a regular Kindle user, navigating your way through this store will be a piece of cake.

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Showcase Sunday #73

Inspired by Pop Culture Junkie and the Story Siren, the aim of Showcase Sunday is to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders each week. For more information about how this feature works and how to join in, click here.

Aloha! How are you all? Did you have a nice week? Mine seemed agonizingly slow for some reason. I don’t know if it’s the weather (unlike last week, we didn’t see much sunshine here) or something else but I thought this week would never end. The only thing that cheered me up was that a friend and I are on a weekend break. :D By the time you read this post I’ll be somewhere in rainy Warwickshire, probably in Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s birthplace) doing touristy things. I was hoping for a bit of sunshine but the weather forecast is looking pretty grim, to be honest. What are your weekend plans?

I actually only got one book this week but as soon as I posted last week’s Showcase Sunday, I realised I forgot to show you two books I got earlier that week. Oh well, better late than never!

Incoming

silentsaturday
apleasureandacalling2
Signed tote bag

Silent Saturday | A Pleasure and a Calling | The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules

The first book I forgot to show you is Silent Saturday by Helen Grant, which was a review copy from Pan Macmillan and which is the first book in the Forbidden Spaces trilogy. It’s a YA mystery/thriller, which is great because I don’t get to read YA crime fiction too often. The Goodreads reviews seem quite promising so I’m hoping it’s a good book.

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Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock – Matthew Quick

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Title: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Author: Matthew Quick
Publication date: 16 January 2014
Publisher: Headline
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781472208200
Length: 273 pages
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository

In a nutshell

Leonard Peacock is turning 18. And he wants to say goodbye.

Not to his former best friend, whose torments have driven him to consider committing something tragic and horrific. Nor to his mum who’s moved out and left him to fend for himself. But to his four friends.

A Humprey Bogart-obsessed neighbour
A teenage violin virtuoso
A pastor’s daughter
A teacher

Most of the time Leonard believes he’s weird and sad but these friends have made him think that maybe he’s not.

He wants to thank them and, and bid them farewell.

My thoughts

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock has been recommended to me by an increasing number of people in the past few months and after hearing so many great things about it, my expectations were very high. Since it left such a lasting impression on the book blogger community and all those people whose taste I absolutely trust, and since I generally like books dealing with suicide or mental illness, I decided to give it a go. Now, after reading the book, I can’t thank all these people enough for their constant nagging – because it was simply amazing.

I loved this book for so many different reasons, I don’t even know where to begin. Perhaps the best place to start is the narration and our main character, Leonard. On the surface, Leonard is your average eighteen-year-old secondary school student with an average life. Okay, maybe the fact that his mother abandoned him and, as it turns out later on, doesn’t have the faintest idea about what he’s going through and how tough his childhood has been isn’t so average. On the contrary. But other than that, he seems like any other guy his age. Until he starts talking. Through Leonard’s story we learn that, in fact, he couldn’t be any more different from everyone else. I loved his unique voice and his way of storytelling. And while he’s just a young guy trying to get through his school years, his attitude and his way of thinking, his thoughts about adulthood couldn’t be more mature. His anger and his thoughts about not wanting to grow up – because adults just don’t seem to remember how to be happy – reminded me of Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye (one of my favourite classics of all time) and I loved Leonard just as much as I loved him.

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