Archive for 2013

2013 Wrap Up and 2014 Resolutions

Hello everybody! I hope you had a lovely Christmas and are ready to bid farewell to 2013! *pats the sofa beside her* Come take a seat, help yourselves to biscuits and tea, and let’s all take a moment to look back on the past 365 days.

Life in general

Although this year has come and gone insanely quickly – for me, at least – and it had its ups and downs, all in all it was a brilliant year. It saw me graduate from uni, move to a new country, travel a lot and make new friends I’ll be keeping forever. I discovered some of the UK’s hidden travel destinations (something I’m determined to continue in 2014), I met the lovely Sarah Hadland which was a dream come true, did an internship with Simon & Schuster, attended the London Book Fair for the first time, went to Amsterdam and read lots of unforgettable books.

Books, books, books

With a crazy summer, moving around and frantically trying to find a job I didn’t manage to read and blog as much as I wanted to, but I still came across lots of amazing books and new favourite authors this year.

I read a total of 52 books and reviewed 32. Out of these 52,

13 (25%) were Young Adult and
39 (75%) were Adult books.

29 (55%) were written by female authors and
23 (45%) were written by male authors.

26 (50%) were review copies and
26 (50%) were books from my own TBR pile.

14 (27%) were e-books and
38 (73%) were physical books.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry ChristmasDear reader chums,

I’d like to wish you all a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – I hope you have a wonderful time with your loved ones!

Thank you for all your support, encouragement and lovely comments in 2013 and I hope you’ll continue to enjoy reading my posts in the new year. :) I’m spending the next couple of days with my family and friends but I’ll be back with lots of new reviews, a brand new competition, a gigantic book haul and fun bookish posts on 2 January.

See you in 2014! *group hug*

Vicky x

Showcase Sunday #64

I use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because I want to stand out from the crowd!

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.

Hi guys and welcome to my (probably) last Showcase Sunday post in December! I’m flying back to my hometown on Wednesday morning and will spend the next two weeks with my family, so even though I’m waiting for a gazillion parcels, I won’t get to open them until I get back in January. :( I’m still debating whether I should take a blogging break during the holidays or not but I guess we’ll see.

Incoming

Showcase Sunday #64
The Bunker Diary | The Engagement | Touching Distance | Mother, Mother

The Bunker Diary arrived two weeks ago when I posted my previous Showcase Sunday post but since I picked it up almost immediately and finished it by the time my post went live, I completely forgot about it. I STILL need to sit down and write my review but I absolutely loved it. The other three books were sent to me for review – thanks Vintage, Orion and HarperCollins!

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Festive Fiction for Only 99p

Christmas Twitter Chat

Christmas is less than two weeks away and what better way is there to get into the festive spirit than curling up with a mug of hot chocolate, a warm blanket and a nice, Christmassy book? If you’re still looking for some holiday reading inspiration – or if you simply like a bargain – look no further.

Three of HarperFiction’s following women’s fiction titles are currently 99p on Kindle:

Here’s Looking at You by Mhairi McFarlane
Goodreads | Download for Kindle

HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU by Mhairi McFarlane

Anna Alessi – history expert, possessor of a lot of hair and an occasionally filthy mouth – seeks nice man for intelligent conversation and Mills & Boon moments.

Despite the oddballs that keep turning up on her dates, Anna couldn’t be happier. As a 30-something with a job she loves, life has turned out better than she dared dream. However, things weren’t always this way, and her years spent as the ‘Italian Galleon’ of an East London comprehensive are ones she’d rather forget.

So when James Fraser – the architect of Anna’s final humiliation at school – walks back into her life, her world is turned upside down. But James seems a changed man. Polite. Mature. Funny, even. People can change, right? So why does Anna feel like she’s a fool to trust him?

The Best Thing I Never Had by Erin Lawless
Goodreads | Download for Kindle

best thingFive years ago they’d been seven friends at university that laughed hard and loved harder.

Nicky and Miles, the couple that were always meant to be… Leigha and Adam, maybe not.

So when Harriet and Adam grew close, during those endless days in the library and too many seminars they (well, Adam) hadn’t prepared for, they did the one thing that changed everything. They kept a secret. And when it came out, it all fell apart.

When the day comes for bridesmaids to be chosen and best men to fulfil drunken promises, Nicky and Miles’ wedding isn’t just a wedding, it’s a reunion – loaded with past hurts, past regrets, past loves…

The Best Thing I Never Had is in turns funny and sad, but always honest, about friendship in all its forms and the practicality of second chances.

Christmas at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown
Goodreads | Download for Kindle

Georgie Hart loves Christmas time at Carrington’s Department store. Running the luxury handbag department, Georgie adores helping customers in the hunt for the perfect gift for the perfect someone. And this year is no exception – now she has the hunky Tom, Mr Carrington himself, to spend the special day with.

But when Tom springs a surprise, Georgie’s plans are thrown into chaos. Carrington’s is getting a fresh lease of life in a hot new reality TV show, featuring formidable retail guru, Kelly Cooper.

As the first show airs, Georgie is shown in a far from flattering light. Worse is to come when Kelly’s vile daughter appears to get her claws into Tom. Georgie fears this will be the worst Christmas ever, but Santa still has a little surprise for her stocking this year – she’ll just have to wait until Christmas to find out…

The three authors will also be dropping in to the @W6BookCafe twitter to talk books, romantic heroines, lolz and all things writing related, so feel free to ask them anything you want using the hashtag #festivechat next Thursday 19th December, from 1-2pm!

Review: Bait – J. Kent Messum

Bait by J. Kent Messum

Title: Bait
Author: J. Kent Messum
Publication date: 27 August 2013
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780142180259
Length: 281 pages
Genre: Thriller
Age group: Adult
Source: Won
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository

In a nutshell

No one is coming to your aid. We have ensured this.

Six strangers wake up on a remote island in the Florida Keys with no memory of their arrival. They soon discover their common bond: all of them are heroin addicts. As the first excruciating pangs of withdrawal make themselves felt, the six notice a yacht anchored across open water. On it lurk four shadowy figures, protected by the hungry sharks that patrol the waves.

So begins a dangerous game. The six must undertake the impossible — swim to the next island where a cache of heroin awaits, or die trying. When alliances form, betrayal is inevitable. As the fight to survive intensifies, the stakes reach terrifying heights — and their captors’ motives finally begin to emerge.

My thoughts

I’ve been dying to read this book ever since it came out for so many different reasons. I love adrenaline-drenched thrillers. I’m strangely fascinated by the Agatha Christie-esque scenario of people being stranded on a deserted island (or any remote location there’s no way they would escape from) and having to survive. Add a deathly game and mysterious enemy and that’s my perfect night-time reading sorted right there. But despite the interesting premise, I just didn’t enjoy this book.

I suppose my main problem was the fact that I didn’t feel any sympathy for the characters. None of them. The story is basically a mixture of flashback episodes from the six strangers’ past and what they’re currently going through on the island. The flashbacks give readers a bit of insight into the (wasted) lives of these people, how desperate they all were for their next kick and how they were kidnapped before they ended up in the Florida Keys – which doesn’t really help you warm to them or feel any sympathy for them at all. And reading about a bunch of unlikeable people and their messed up past for a hundred pages is, let’s just say, not very entertaining.

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Chalky the Cat Needs Your Help!

Chalky and the New Sports Car

Belfast based company Little Thunder Co are looking for your help, in making their book series about an inquisitive cat come to life.

 

The series of books follows the adventures of young Chalky, a stray cat discovered by one of the creators behind the story. Chalky appeared in Tim Potter’s life in 2002 when he was found sleeping on a plastic bag in his friends shed. Tim ended up bringing the 6 month old tomcat home with him.

The first book of the series is called ‘Chalky and the New Sports Car‘ and follows the friendly and adventurous feline, as he encounters a new car whilst exploring the neighbourhood. The series is marketed for 6 months to 5 years old, when children are at their most inquisitive wondering the how’s and whys of life making this book ideal for a bedtime reading adventure.

The pages contain huge vibrant illustrations of Chalky stalking and lazing about whilst the short story, which is created by Tim’s father, Stanley is written in an array of large typography, all fun but importantly easy to consume for the young reader.

Chalky the Cat

“Chalky blinked as the morning sun filled the darkness of the garage”

The project is currently on Kickstarter and needs £10,000 for Chalky to happen and for each pound that you donate, you shall receive a little treat for your kind support. The lovely people at Little Thunder Co, are offering eBooks and hardback copies of Chalky as well as prints from the story.

Show your support and help out with this great idea, because we all know there are never enough readers in the world and reading as a child is a magical experience that we all remember. :)

If you’d like to see some of the (gorgeous) illustrations from the book, find out more about the project or if you’d like to donate, you can do so by clicking here.

Catalogue Highlights: Bloomsbury – January/February 2014

bloomsbury

Hello everyone!  Next up in my Catalogue Highlights series – a series of posts showcasing some of those 2014 book releases I’m really excited about and which I’ve added to my ever-growing to-be-read list – is Bloomsbury. Bloomsbury is one of my favourite publisher for Young Adult fiction, so I have really high hopes for the ones below. In no particular order, the top 5 books (published by Bloomsbury early next year) I’m looking forward to the most are…

When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan
Publication date: 16 January 2014
Age group: Young Adult
Format: Hardback
Goodreads | Pre-order
When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan

Dylan Mint has Tourette’s. For Dylan, life is a constant battle to keep the bad stuff in – the swearing, the tics, the howling dog that escapes whenever he gets stressed. And, as a sixteen-year-old virgin and pupil at Drumhill Special School, getting stressed is something of an occupational hazard.

But then a routine visit to the hospital changes everything. Overhearing a hushed conversation between the doctor and his mother, Dylan discovers that he’s going to die next March.

So he grants himself three parting wishes: three ‘Cool Things To Do Before I Cack It’.

It isn’t a long list, but it is ambitious, and he doesn’t have much time. But as Dylan sets out to make his wishes come true, he discovers that nothing – and no-one – is quite as he had previously supposed…

Terms & Conditions by Robert Glancy
Publication date: 13 February 2014
Age group: Adult
Format: Hardback
Goodreads | Pre-order
Terms and Conditions by Robert Glancy

Frank has been in a car accident*. The doctor tells him he lost his spleen, but Frank believes he has lost more. He is missing memories – of those around him, of the history they share and of how he came to be in the crash. All he remembers is that he is a lawyer who specialises in small print**.

In the wake of the accident Frank begins to piece together his former life – and his former self. But the picture that emerges, of his marriage, his family and the career he has devoted years to, is not necessarily a pretty one. Could it be that the terms and conditions by which Frank has been living are not entirely in his favour***?

In the process of unravelling the knots into which his life has been tied, he learns that the devil really does live in the detail and that it’s never too late to rewrite your own destiny.

*apparently quite a serious one
**words that no one ever reads
*** and perhaps never have been

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