WWW Wednesday: 17th October 2018

The WWW Wednesday meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently ReadingThe Twisted Tree

I started reading The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge on Monday and am almost finished it already. It’s not especially long (180 pages) but it’s so gripping and creepy I’m finding it difficult to put down. It’s primarily a ghost story but also brings in lots of Norse mythology and a little bit of romance. I do love a creepy ghost story set in a remote location, I just hope it manages to hold the tension till the very end.

As well as a spooky ghost story I’ve also been dipping in and out of non fiction book Have You Eaten Grandma? by Giles Brandreth. The title is a bit of a clue but it’s all about the proper use of grammar and the often unintended funny consequences of it’s misuse. So far I’ve covered full stops and commas and am just about to start the section on semi colons (have to confess I don’t really know what to do with a semi colon).Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)

On audio I’m still listening to Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare and have made reasonable progress. Still not sure I’ll get it finished before it’s due back (hopefully there aren’t any holds on it) but I think I’m actually preferring the audio to the books. I’ve never been as keen on the Infernal Devices as I was on the Mortal Instruments but this book could change my mind. The narrator has a lovely voice and his use of accents is really bringing the story to life.


Recently Finished

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls, #1)

Only one book finished again this week I’m afraid, but A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness was definitely worth the time. It’s pretty long (for me at any rate) and not necessarily the fastest of reads but I am hooked on this trilogy. It kind of reminds me a little of Anne Rice’s books which I haven’t read in years but used to absolutely love. Slow paced but with a lot of character development and, once you think about it, quite a lot of ground covered. I loved Diana as a character and the relationship with Mathew was just so good (albeit kinda Twilight-y).

I’ve now started binge watching the TV show which is pretty good but lacks the depth and detail of the book (and could maybe do with a bigger special effects budget).


Reading Next

It’s pretty much guaranteed I’m going to start the second book in the All Souls trilogy, Shadow of Night, next as I had to force myself not to read the whole trilogy in one sitting. I have tickets to go see Deborah Harkness on the 30th October so it would be good to have read the books before then. After that I suspect I may be looking for a break from witches, ghosts, vampires and demons so will likely pick up What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera.

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)What If It's Us

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤

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Teaser Tuesday: 16th October 2018

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker. If you want to join in grab your current read, flick to a random page, select two sentences (without spoilers) and share them in a blog post or in the comments of The Purple Booker.


This week my teaser comes from A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, which is the first book in the All Souls trilogy. I finished this at the weekend and while it’s a little on the long side I really enjoyed it. The fact I’ve now read it also means I can binge watch the TV show 🙂


My Teaser

‘A little book can hold a big secret – one that might change the world. You’re a witch. You know words have power. And if your vampire knew the secret, he wouldn’t need you.

loc 1209 A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness


BlurbA Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Review: Broken Things by Lauren Oliver

Broken Things by [Oliver, Lauren]
Broken Things
by Lauren Oliver

Not my favourite book by Oliver but it’s a very engaging and dark story that has some truly brilliant moments. Unfortunately, these moments were not quite frequent enough and while I was gripped at points there were other times where I’m afraid my attention wandered.


THE BLURB

It’s been five years since Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods. 

Everyone thinks Mia and Brynn killed their best friend. That driven by their obsession with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly.

The only thing is: they didn’t do it. 

On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as the lines begin to blur between past and present and fiction and reality, the girls must confront what really happened in the woods all those years ago—no matter how monstrous.


MY REVIEW

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Broken Things is a really dark read and I feel like I should say upfront there are some very disturbing scenes that could be triggering (pedophilia, violence against animals, murder of a child, fat shaming and homophobic slurs). I will confess these did bother me at times and I found myself deliberately distancing myself from what I was reading so it couldn’t upset me too much. The story is however intriguing and I really loved the way the author brought elements of fantasy and fairytale into what could be just another murder mystery.

The story is told from the point of view of Brynn and Mia, the girls believed to be responsible for killing their best friend Summer. It begins in the present as Mia discovers something that could be a clue to what happened back then and seeks out Brynn so they can start their own investigation. This is interspersed with flashbacks to five years previously to shed light on the relationship between the three girls.

It very quickly becomes clear that all three of them, and Summer’s boyfriend Owen, were somehow broken, escaping into a fantasy world that somehow became real. I’m not sure I would necessarily say I connected with or could relate to any of the characters but they are complex and make for some fascinating reading. Each was messed up back then and is even more messed up now that the whole country seems to be blaming them for the murder.

I thought the way in which the author showed the tendency for society to want to find someone responsible and then demonize them  was very cleverly done. These two girls, who were children at the time, are dehumanized and subject to unending abuse and threats including by adults who really should know better. It does make you empathize with Mia and Brynn and makes a lot of their actions understandable. It also explains why they have to turn detectives with the help of a couple of friends rather than involving the authorities.

Their investigation into the murder is for the most part engaging and while it does seem amateurish at times when you think about their age it is probably realistic. I did feel like it wandered off track a little in the middle and lost some of the tension and pace it needed to make it a truly unputdownable read but it did keep me guessing.

The highlight of the story was however Summer’s character. Troubled doesn’t even begin to cover it and my feelings toward her were all over the place. I swung back and forward between feeling sorry for her, hating her and finding her a little scary. It was difficult to remember just how young she was and I was glad of the frequent reminders within the narrative. One thing I would have loved to know though was more of her past and what was going on her head. She just seems to have this power over everyone around her. They either idolize her or are too terrified to cross her.

I also loved the story within the story and how this book the three girls were so obsessed with was such an important part of it. It brought an additional layer to the mystery and also the possibility that there could be something fantastical going on. I will admit I was not so convinced by the extracts from the book (or the girls fan fiction) that preceded each chapter. I’m not sure they added much to the story and I found myself skimming through them.

The writing is however what you would expect from Oliver and there are some genuinely creepy moments but also some that made me emotional. It’s not always easy to read but if you can stand the gruesome bits (or at least skim through them with your fingers over your eyes) it is a great story.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy. All thoughts are my own.

 

Review: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Love and Other Words
Love and Other Words
by Christina Lauren

This was a lot different from what I was expecting but I did kind of love it.


THE BLURB

Love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide in this first women’s fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.


MY REVIEW

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It took me a little while to process this book but it really was kind of wonderful. Different to what I was expecting but somehow more.

Told in two separate time lines, one the present and the other 10-15 years earlier, it really drew me in to the lives of Macy and Elliot and the relationship between them. I absolutely adored watching them first become friends at the age of 11, seeing them grow up together and for that friendship to turn into something more. It’s just so sweet and real and perfect. Also, I have to say how much I loved the way the author portrayed the relationship between Macy and her father, the closeness and understanding between them was beautiful to read and I loved how much he tried as a single parent to do what was best for his daughter despite not really understanding her. He’s such a strong and reassuring presence.

The present day I wasn’t so sure about. I found it fascinating watching Elliot and Macy meet again 11 years later and I still adored Elliot but there was something about Macy I couldn’t get. It is deliberate, she’s shut down, unemotional and distant and it does work but makes it difficult to connect with her or understand her actions.

The story itself focuses primarily on their relationship and is a lot more serious than I was expecting but it does flow along quite nicely. The author gets the pacing pretty much spot on and the mixture of past and present is perfect. There is just enough revealed to give you an idea of what happened but still keep you guessing. It is an emotional read in places and I will admit to crying more than once (including in my workplace on one occasion) but it also made me smile and just sigh with the cuteness of it all.

It really is a wonderful story and I did come to really care about the characters. If you’re a fan of CoHo I think you’ll love this.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own

WWW Wednesday: 10th October 2018

The WWW Wednesday meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently ReadingA Discovery of Witches (All Souls, #1)

I started reading A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness at the weekend but due to a binge watch of Vanity Fair (which was awesome) I have to confess I haven’t made a huge amount of progress. I am enjoying the writing style and I do want to read asap so I can start watching the TV adaptation. I always prefer reading something first so the show doesn’t influence the way I visualize the characters.

On audio I’ve started listening to Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. At 16+ hours it’s longer than I usually listen for (and I’m not sure I’ll get it done before it’s due back) but I’ve already listened to an hour and I think I may be preferring the audio to the book.


Recently Finished

Broken Things

I’m still spending far too much time on clearing my house (how did I end up with so much stuff?) so I’m reading a lot less. I did manage to finish Broken Things by Lauren Oliver however and really enjoyed it, although I’m not sure enjoyed is the right word as it’s pretty dark. The story is about three young girls who are best friends and then one is brutally murdered and the other two are blamed by everyone but it can’t be proved. A few years later, one of the two makes a discovery that brings them back together to try and discover who the real killer is. There’s a lot of potentially triggering things (paedophilia, animal abuse, fat shaming, and murder of a child) but I thought it was very well written and an intriguing story.

I also managed, at long last, to finish Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli. I don’t know why but I found this a bit of a struggle. There’s nothing bad about it, there was just nothing that made me care about Leah. So overall it was a bit meh. I also don’t really like it when authors muck about with characters so they’re different from how they were in a previous book.


Reading Next

I’ve been overdosing a little on YA contemporary reads at the moment so I think I need something a bit different. I do want to read What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera but I think I may switch to some spooky reads to get myself in the Halloween spirit.

The Twisted TreeA House of GhostsWhat If It's Us

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤

Teaser Tuesday: 9th October 2018

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker. If you want to join in grab your current read, flick to a random page, select two sentences (without spoilers) and share them in a blog post or in the comments of The Purple Booker.


This week my teaser comes from Broken Things by Lauren Oliver, which I received from NetGalley. I know I used this for last week’s post but I just finished it yesterday and loved the writing so wanted to pick something else from it.


My Teaser

He was right: all these people, these hundreds of thousands of people, have stories. Fascinating, ever-unwinding stories. I am just one of them. And I am still midsentence.

loc 3513 Broken Things by Lauren Oliver


BlurbBroken Things

It’s been five years since Summer Marks was brutally murdered in the woods. 

Everyone thinks Mia and Brynn killed their best friend. That driven by their obsession with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn the three girls had imagined themselves into the magical world where their fantasies became twisted, even deadly.

The only thing is: they didn’t do it. 

On the anniversary of Summer’s death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as the lines begin to blur between past and present and fiction and reality, the girls must confront what really happened in the woods all those years ago—no matter how monstrous.

WWW Wednesday: 3rd October 2018

The WWW Wednesday meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently ReadingBroken Things

I started reading Broken Things by Lauren Oliver on Monday but have to confess I haven’t had much reading time so not much progress. I am however travelling through to Edinburgh today for work which is around an hour on the train each way so that should help. I mean I could probably do some work stuff but feel like I should be grabbing every reading opportunity I can get.

I also started reading The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney at the weekend but only made it around a third of the way through before I had to return to the library. I’m not happy as I was starting to get into it and it’s going to be at least 3 months before I get it back. I may just cave and buy it, even if it is kind of expensive.

On audio I’m still listening to Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Abertalli and am now around the halfway point. It’s an easy enough listen and the narrator is good it’s just not grabbing me for some reason.


Recently Finished

Love and Other Words

I’m in the process of buying and selling houses at the moment, so not much reading over the last week. Partly because I haven’t had a lot of time and partly because I can’t concentrate on anything. I did however manage to finish one book,  Love And Other Words by Christina Lauren, and I really enjoyed it. I should probably pay more attention to blurbs as I hadn’t realized it was more literary fiction than romance. It is however a wonderful story about the relationship between Macy and Elliot and is told in two timelines, now and 11+ years earlier. It’s very sweet but a little bit heartbreaking.


Reading Next

Not sure what I’m going to be in the mood to read next but I’ve been kind of tempted to pick up one of the older books on my TBR rather than an ARC although I did get one ARC last week I’ve been desperate to read.

What If It's UsA Discovery of Witches (All Souls, #1)More Happy Than Not

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤