WWW Wednesday: 23rd August 2017

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 Reading

The FiremanI’m kind of juggling three books at the moment which is not going particularly well as I almost always focus on one and completely neglect at least one of the other two but the physical book I’m reading, The Fireman by Joe Hill, is such a big book I can’t face carting it around with me (my bag is heavy enough).

I started it on Friday last week and have only managed around 100 pages so far but what I’ve read has been really good. It takes the usual typical apocalypse type story and flips it around to ask the question what if you were one of the “bad guys”, the one who is infected with the horrible highly contagious disease that’s going to kill you? What would you do to stay alive, and what if you found out you were pregnant?

Charlotte Says (Red Eye)The ebook I’m making a lot more progress on is another horror,  Charlotte Says by Alex Bell. I’ve just been in the mood for a good creepy horror story so when I spotted this on NetGalley I couldn’t resist requesting (I’m saying nothing about the number of books on my shelf). I only read the author’s previous book in the series during the week (more below) but thought I’d take a chance and I’m so glad I did as it’s just the creepy type of horror story I love.

The third book I have on the go is the audio of the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay. I’ve been gradually working my way through the series this year and started on this last week. It’s been a long time since I read the books so it’s been great to listen to them. My memory of the films is fresher so I’ve been surprised by all of the little differences.


Recently Finished

The Accident

I had a bit of a busy weekend (Edinburgh Book Festival!!!) but did end up spending quite a lot of time on trains or hanging around stations so I managed to finish three books this week. The first of these was The Accident by S.D. Monaghan which I’d received from NetGalley. It’s a thriller about a man who catches his wife cheating on him and decides to confront the other man, leading to “The Accident”.

I haven’t had a chance to write a proper review but thought this was a really good thriller. It certainly starts incredibly well and really hooks you in (yep I shouted at the characters for doing silly things) but I did feel like it dipped in the middle with one or two too many flashbacks slowing the pace down. There are plenty of cliffhanger chapter endings which do keep you reading and it does pick up again towards the end so definitely an enjoyable read.

The TreatmentThe second book finished this week was also a thriller but this time of the YA variety. Another NetGalley pick, The Treatment by C.L. Taylor is about a girl who receives a note from her brother that suggests the reform school he has been sent to is less about reform and more about brainwashing. When no one believes her she’s forced to take matters into her own hands and infiltrate the school to get to her brother.

I think this is Taylor’s first YA story and it’s a pretty good attempt. It’s definitely very readable and I finished the whole story in a few hours. I would have liked something a bit more invasion of the body snatchers and I do think some things were a little too convenient but it certainly kept me engrossed.

Frozen Charlotte

The third and final book finished this week was Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell. It’s a very creepy YA horror story about a girl, Sophie, who goes to stay with distant relatives who live in an old schoolhouse on the Isle of Skye. There are some tiny little dolls that might be evil, characters with issues, strange noises and visions and just lots of general spookiness. I do think there were some issues with the writing (it’s lacking a little subtlety and depth) but it did creep me out which is probably the most important thing.


Reading Next

I have a few more book events coming up over the next week so may not have a lot of reading time but if I manage to finish my current reads I think I’m going to try and pick up either The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey or ARC of Invictus by Ryan Graudin. There is a possibility I will be looking for something completely different so may end up picking up The Break by Marian Keyes or A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland.

The Boy on the BridgeThe BreakInvictusA Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

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 Wednesday Everyone!!!

My Top Ten Reads in the 80’s and 90’s

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten list. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post and, if you want to, add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s posts (typically put up midnight EST on Tuesday) so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists!

The theme for this weeks Top Ten is a back to school freebie which, given I haven’t actually been at school for around 20 years (yep I am that old), seemed like it might be a bit of a challenge. Originally I was thinking I could go for 10 books I read in school and would like to reread but I could only think of about three (Animal Farm, The Stranger and Sunset Song) so instead I’ve decided to go with the books I chose to read during my school years.


The Worst Witch Series by Jill Murphy

The Worst Witch (Worst Witch, #1)The Worst Witch Strikes Again (Worst Witch, #2)A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch (Worst Witch, #3)

I think I probably read this series about trainee witch Mildred Hubble who seems to get everything wrong when I was around middle grade age (although I’m not positive). It’s set in a school, has magic, adventure and friendships so what more could you possibly want.

Sweet Valley High Series by Francine Pascal

Double Love (Sweet Valley High, #1)Secrets (Sweet Valley High, #2)Playing with Fire (Sweet Valley High, #3)

Even when I first read this series about twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield I’m fairly certain I knew it was rubbish but there was just something about it I found weirdly addictive. Almost every story is the same, evil twin Jessica does something nasty to Elizabeth or gets herself in trouble (there’s usually a boy involved) and good twin Elizabeth has to rescue her or forgive her (there may be one where Elizabeth goes evil but I don’t remember).

Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene

The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew, #1)Password to Larkspur Lane (Nancy Drew, #10)The Clue in the Crumbling Wall (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, #22)

I’ve just discovered that these were first published in 1930 which has kind of freaked me out but I promise I wasn’t reading them when the first came out (I’m not that old). I’ve also just discovered that Carolyn Keene was a pen name for a few different authors which I had no idea about but probably explains why there seem to be about 175 books in the series published over multiple decades 🙂

Anyway, I absolutely loved this series about a teenage girl who investigates mysteries. Definitely much better than those Hardy Boys. I have a sneaking suspicion if I re read them now I’d find them horribly sexist but at the time I loved the idea of a girl out finding clues and solving mysteries.

The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin

Kristy's Great Idea (The Baby-Sitters Club, #1)Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls (The Baby-sitters Club, #2)The Truth About Stacey (The Baby-Sitters Club, #3)

This series is about a group of friends who’re looking to make a bit of money so decide to set up a Baby-Sitters club. It’s mostly a story of their friendship and the various issues they face growing up but there’s the odd mystery thrown in to keep it interesting.

The Famous Five by Enid Blyton

Five on a Treasure Island (Famous Five, #1)Five Go Adventuring Again (Famous Five, #2)Five Go On A Strategy Away Day

These were pretty much the only books by Enid Blyton I actually read. I wasn’t a fan of the Secret Seven (there were too many of them to remember) but I really enjoyed this series about a group of four friends and their dog who go on adventures and solve mysteries. I suspect it’s another series that’s horribly dated and I would hate if I tried to pick it up now but I have been kind of tempted by the recent Enid Blyton for grown up books (one of which you may have noticed I snuck in above).

Point Horror by Various

The Lifeguard (Point Horror, #3) April Fools (Point Horror, #7)Blind Date (Point Horror, #1)

I’m pretty sure this collection of horror stories was what led to my more general love of the genre. I’d actually forgotten about this series until I started looking up books for this post but now that I’ve remembered I kind of want to read them again. I do remember that I absolutely loved The Lifeguard and I’m pretty sure I read it more than once.

Christopher Pike

MonsterChain Letter (Chain Letter #1)Remember Me (Remember Me #1)

I have to confess I can’t remember which Christopher Pike books I’ve actually read (I think the covers are throwing me off) but I do remember being a fan. At that point though I loved pretty much any spooky story.

The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice

Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #2)The Queen of the Damned (The Vampire Chronicles, #3)

I pretty much loved all things Anne Rice when I was in my teens but I had a very definite soft spot for anything to do with the vampire Lestat. He was just such a brilliant character and so much more interesting than that boring Louis. Lestat at least seemed to quite like being a vampire and made the most of it rather than moaning all the time.

Dean Koontz

WatchersLightningHideaway

Another horror author I absolutely loved in the 90’s (although I suspect his books would be classed as thrillers or sci-fi these days). I think I read just about every Dean Koontz book I could get my hands on. Of all of them though my absolute favorite was Lightning. I mean it has time travel and one of my all time favorite love interests. It’s very Terminator-y with the whole I traveled through time to save you vibe (although I’m fairly certain there are no killer robots).

James Herbert

The Rats (Rats, #1)The Secret Of Crickley HallHaunted (David Ash, #1)

Rats who begin preying on the human population, haunted houses, ghosts and various other monsters and things that go bump in the night, James Herbert was the absolute master of the horror story for me. I used to beg my parents to get them from the library for me.


So that’s it, my Top Ten authors/series from the 80’s and 90’s. I have to admit this post has brought back some fantastic memories and I’m kind of tempted to try and track some of these books down and re read them (probably not Sweet Valley High).

Do you remember or have you come across any of these?

Feel free to leave comments and links to your posts below.

Teaser Tuesday: 22nd August 2017

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 Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell, a rather creepy YA horror story about the dangers of spending the holidays with distant relatives (just kidding 😀 ). There’s a creepy old house near the edge of a cliff, strange noises, little dolls that may be evil and some very suspicious behavior from pretty much everyone. All the ingredients you need for the perfect scary story.

I should add my teaser isn’t part of the main story but a little bit of a song that’s used at the start of each chapter.


My Teaser

He took her hand in his,

Oh God! Twas cold and hard as stone,

He tore the mantle from her face,

Cold stars upon it shone.

~ 70% Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell


Blurb

Frozen Charlotte

We’re waiting for you to come and play.

Dunvegan School for Girls has been closed for many years. Converted into a family home, the teachers and students are long gone. But they left something behind…

Sophie arrives at the old schoolhouse to spend the summer with her cousins. Brooding Cameron with his scarred hand, strange Lilias with a fear of bones and Piper, who seems just a bit too good to be true. And then there’s her other cousin. The girl with a room full of antique dolls. The girl that shouldn’t be there. The girl that died.

WWW Wednesday: 16th August 2017

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 Accident

I just started reading The Accident by S.D. Monaghan yesterday and I’m already around a third of the way through and absolutely loving it. Despite supposedly having a NetGalley request ban in place I couldn’t really resist this one. It’s a thriller about a man who discovers his wife cheating on him and accidentally kills the other man (it’s in the blurb so not a spoiler). It’s one of those books where I really want to shout at the characters for doing silly things (as obv’s I know better how you go about covering up a murder).


Recently Finished

Yesterday: The thriller of the summer

I managed to get myself back on track with my reading this week and finished three of the books on my TBR. First up was Yesterday by Felicia Yap which I’d received from NetGalley. I was really excited about this story set in an alternate reality where the majority of the population can’t remember any further back than yesterday. I’ve always been fascinated by stories about memory and I liked the idea that this was building in a murder mystery. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work for me and I found it a bit of a struggle. I almost gave up on it a few times but managed to stick with it and it did pick up towards the end. You can read my full review here.

Maresi (The Red Abbey Chronicles, #1)The second book read was Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff. I have to confess I hadn’t heard of this book or even the author until I saw that she was coming to the Edinburgh Book Festival and doing a session with Alwyn Hamilton on strong female characters in YA. Needless to say I couldn’t resist buying this, the first book in her Red Abbey trilogy.

It’s a YA fantasy about a girl named Maresi who is a novice in the Red Abbey. The Red Abbey is a kind of sanctuary for girls and men are forbidden from setting foot on the Island where it’s based. When a new novice arrives however she is pursued by the men who abused her and the Sisters and novices have to stand together against them.

It’s a great story (albeit a little slow in the beginning), with a very strong feminist message but the real highlight for me was definitely the world building.Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant, #1)

The third and final book finished was Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. Landy is another author I’m hoping to see at the book festival so I wanted to read at least one of his books and given I feel like I’m heading for a slump this seemed perfect. It’s probably more middle grade (it’s about a 12 year old girl who teams up with a sorcerer/detective/skeleton) but it’s easy reading and really funny. I found myself giggling away as I was reading so I doubt this’ll be the last book in the series I read.


Reading Next

This coming weekend I’m going to a few events at the book festival (have I mentioned that 🙂 ) so there are a few final books I’m hoping to squeeze in if I get a chance, The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey and either The Fireman or NOS 4R2 by Joe Hill. I also managed to get my hands on ARCs of Charlotte Says by Alex Bell and Invictus by Ryan Graudin so may try to at least start one of them.

NOS4R2The Boy on the BridgeCharlotte Says (Red Eye)Invictus

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 Wednesday Everyone!!!

Teaser Tuesday: 15th August 2017

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 Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy. I’m hoping to go see Landy at the Edinburgh Book Festival this week so thought I really should read one of his books and this seemed like a great place to start. It’s probably aimed more at middle grade or young, young adults but I’ve been absolutely loving it.


My Teaser

“Think of it as an adventure,” he said brightly.

“Why should I do that?”

“Because if you don’t you’ll just become really really depressed. Trust me.

~ 36% Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy


BlurbSkulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant, #1)

Meet Skulduggery Pleasant. Sure, he may lose his head now and again (in fact, he won his current skull in a poker match), but he is much more than he appears to be—which is good, considering that he is, basically, a skeleton. Skulduggery may be long dead, but he is also a mage who dodged the grave so that he could save the world from an ancient evil. But to defeat it, he’ll need the help of a new partner: a not so innocent twelve-year-old girl named Stephanie. That’s right, they’re the heroes.

Stephanie and Skulduggery are quickly caught up in a battle to stop evil forces from acquiring her recently deceased uncle’s most prized possession—the Sceptre of the Ancients. The Ancients were the good guys, an extinct race of uber-magicians from the early days of the earth, and the scepter is their most dangerous weapon, one capable of killing anyone and destroying anything. Back in the day, they used it to banish the bad guys, the evil Faceless Ones. Unfortunately, in the way of bad guys everywhere, the Faceless Ones are staging a comeback and no one besides our two heroes believes in the Faceless Ones, or even that the Sceptre is real.

So Stephanie and Skulduggery set off to find the Sceptre, fend off the minions of the bad guys, beat down vampires and the undead, prove the existence of the Ancients and the Faceless Ones, all while trading snappy, snippy banter worthy of the best screwball comedies.

Summer TBR Wipeout – Wrap Up Post

Sooo around 6 weeks ago I signed up for Candid Cover’s 2nd Annual Summer TBR Wipeout and wow time has really flown. I can’t believe it’s all over but unfortunately it is and it’s time for my wrap up post.

In my introductory post I set myself the target of reading 21 books over the period knowing it was unlikely I’d manage them all but willing to give it a go. So how did I do?


Read

I would definitely class myself as a mood reader so sticking to a plan is almost impossible for me (getting my excuses in early). Other than a couple of slips however I did manage to stick pretty close to it and finished 14 of the 21.

The Rome AffairDaughter of the Burning CityYesterday: The thriller of the summerThe Marriage PactEmma in the NightDon't Close Your EyesClose Enough to TouchMaresi (The Red Abbey Chronicles, #1)Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant, #1)Wing JonesWe Were LiarsThis Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, #2)Roar (Stormheart)

Out of these 14 I don’t think there were really any bad reads (well maybe one) and I enjoyed just about everything. The definite highlights however were The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond, The Rome Affair by Karen Swan and We Were Liars by E Lockhart but special mentions should also go to The Monsters of Verity series by V.E. Schwab and Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy (and maybe a few others too)

Outwith the list I also finished another 4 books taking my grand total read to 18

Big Sexy LoveArtemisBurn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1)White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2)

I’m really, really happy I deviated as Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood turned out to be my absolute favourite read of the summer and I suspect will be one of my favourite reads of the year. The title makes it sound a bit Fifty Shades but I promise it’s not (there’s almost no sex). It’s more of a Sophie Kinsella or The Hating Game type romcom but a really emotional read. The MC’s BFF is dying (this is in the blurb so not spoilery).

Artemis by Andy Weir I just couldn’t resist as soon as I received the ARC (and it’s brilliant) and Ilona Andrews was a bit of escapism (my list was lacking some paranormal romance).


Still to Read

So with 14 of my 21 done I should still have another 7 left but I decided to knock a book off the list (it was a book club read I didn’t fancy) so have 6 still left on my TBR.

Tall OaksThe ScandalNOS4R2The Boy on the BridgeThe Darkest Part of the ForestNow I Rise (The Conqueror's Saga, #2)

With the exception of The Scandal I think I’ve hit all of the release dates of my ARCs so there’s no mad panic on these (although I really want to read asap). I’m thinking I may do a Fall TBR Bingo 🙂


So that’s it, it’s officially over 😦 I want to say a big thank you to Candid Cover for hosting, I’ve absolutely loved it and sign me up for next year.

Happy reading everyone!

Review: Yesterday by Felicia Yap

YesterdayYesterday by Felicia Yap

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Despite having very high hopes for this book I have to confess that I very nearly gave up on it on more than one occasion. I am happy that I continued on with it to the end but I must admit that I found it really hard going.

The premise of this story sounds so good, how do you solve a crime if you can’t remember anything other than the last 24 hours, but for me it was this central premise that just didn’t work. I absolutely love stories about amnesia and memory loss and some of my all time favourite reads feature this plot device. I’m fascinated by the question of how much of who you are is determined by your memories and experiences and how different you would be without them but I felt like this book never really touched on this.

The story is set in an alternate reality where everyone is split into two classes, Mono’s and Duo’s. Mono’s can remember only the day before while Duo’s can recall the last two days. As the famous saying goes “in the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king” and in this case it is the Duo’s with their additional day of memories who hold the positions of power while the Mono’s are considered second class citizens. Everyone however keeps track of the facts and major events of their lives in their iDiaries.

It is in this alternate reality that we are given a murder mystery. The body of a woman is found in the river and it is up to detective Hans, a mono masquerading as a duo, to solve the case before the day is out and his memories are lost.

The story is told from the points of view of Hans, the diary of the victim Sophie and mono/duo couple Mark and Claire who become involved in the investigation. These four points of view, some jumps back and forward in time combined with trying to understand this alternate reality is perhaps a bit much but you do eventually get into it.

In the beginning I did find the idea of this alternate reality fascinating but for me it quickly became frustrating and irritating. I think I found it difficult to accept that this world could be so similar to ours. There are the same companies (Apple), similar technological developments (the internet) and even the same type of society but everything just seems so cold and emotionless. The iDiaries are effectively used as a replacement for real memories and whenever anyone is asked a question about their past they simply refer to them (at one point I swore that if one more character said “let me just check that in my iDiary” I would scream). It seemed at times just a bit of a gimmick rather than a genuine attempt to create an alternate world (although I suppose it would probably be too much to try and create a completely different world and incorporate a murder mystery).

There is the interesting point over what constitutes a fact, which can be learned and remembered in this world, but I don’t think the author explored this enough and more could definitely be made of it. When is something really a fact and when is it just someone’s opinion? If you’re basing your “facts” on something someone wrote down is there not a danger they could be at best biased and at worst open to manipulation? If you could choose which facts you learn would you omit the ones you don’t like? I really would have loved more exploration of all of these questions.

The murder mystery element of the book is not particularly inspired either. There’s nothing much unique about it other than the detective having a limited time to complete his investigation. Even then a lot of the investigation seems to be reading the diary of the victim which reveals most of the events leading up to the murder and then just verifying whether they are true.

Detective Hans is probably the most likeable of the characters in the book and there are elements of his character and behaviour that felt a little bit Sherlock Holmes inspired, his determination to learn every fact, technique and other bit of knowledge he can for example. The other characters however, victim included, were not even remotely likeable something which I always struggle with and part of the reason I nearly gave up on this story on more than one occasion.

Husband Mark, is a cheat and a liar, a famous writer and wanna be politician. As a duo he sees himself as superior to everyone else. Wife Claire is a whiny, moany, emotional wreck who seriously needs to grow some back bone and victim Sophie comes across as nasty and vengeful. I genuinely couldn’t care less about any of them, never mind who the murderer was.

The split of the narrative between the characters is a little uneven and for some reason Mark and Claire seem to disappear for a big chunk in the middle of the book but actually this is when the story picked up for me. Sophie’s diary and Hans investigation were much more interesting and the book gathered a bit more pace. I found myself wondering whether the story would have been better if it had been wholly from Hans point of view.

When they did reappear however it turned out to be one of the most gripping and touching scenes of the novel before we reached the final twist which wasn’t a total surprise but made up for a lot of what came early on. I do wish the author had been a little briefer in the final exposition (I don’t want things explained to me in detail) but it did wrap everything up.

Overall, I’d probably rate it as an okay read rather than anything special but that may be down to my general dislike of unlikeable and unreliable narrators and complete inability to accept this parallel world. Certainly others have loved it so it may be worth a try.

Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing me with an ARC. I wish I could have given a more positive review.