eBay Book Haul!

I like buying books on eBay, I find that the prices are often cheaper than Amazon and I found a shop that had all four Princess Diaries books I was after that was also doing a buy one, get one half price deal. So I did some browsing and found two other books that were on my wishlist- so I picked those up too.

Pile of books with the title eBay book haul

I have since bought two more books on eBay but they haven’t arrived yet. My book buying ban may need to get harsher in the coming months…

Books 7, 8, 9, and 10 of the Princess Diaries series.

I’ve been re-reading The Princess Diaries books over the past year. I’m definitely older than the target audience but sometimes I think it’s nice to delve into something you enjoyed when you were younger. Like Disney movies and kids shows. I never finished the series when I was a teen so I’m actually really looking forward to finishing these off and finding out what happens to Mia.

Picture of Jennifer Government by Max Barry and The Nixie

I’ve had Jennifer Government by Max Barry on my wishlist since April 2014 when I read Lexicon, my favourite book of last year. I repeatedly said both on the blog and in real life, I really must get more of Max Barry’s writing but never got around to it until now. I don’t know much about this book but I’d put money on it being great.

And lastly, I recently read all five of the Spiderwick Chronicles books by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black but I never knew there was a sequel series until I browsed the eBay store and found this! There’s three books in the series so I just thought I’d pick up the first one; The Nixie’s Song since it was buy one get one half price and the rest of the books weren’t on there.

This is not going to be my last haul post, I actually have another one in my drafts so… Oops. I went a little over the top in Waterstones. Better get reading!

Have you ever bought books off eBay? Have you read any of these?

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#CrushYourTBR Readathon Round Up!

Three days, two hosts, one readathon. My plans for the #CrushYourTBR readathon were optimistic to the point of unrealistic but I made an attempt to crush! It was more a little dent in the end but still. It’s quite nice to have an excuse to yourself to do nothing but reading, even if I did find myself tidying and studying over the weekend. Either way, here’s my #CrushYourTBR readathon round up!

Stack of two books with bookmarks in

I just got new bookmarks. Thus enjoying matching my bookmarks to the books.

Picture of The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy and The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

On Friday I started by picking up The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy, it was a busy day with eye appointments and book shopping and to make it even harder, I didn’t really enjoy the book. I read 54 pages before calling it a loss. What I expected from the blurb, the description and the cover was a hard edged apocalyptic survival story. What I got was pretty much fantasy. There was human beings with black eyes, an mechanical owl that could record then project it’s recordings, and the skipping between characters was just too fast and confusing for me. It’s a shame because I was so looking forward to this and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. To the paused shelf it goes!

On Saturday I decided to start afresh even with the disheartening Friday and picked up The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice. I wanted to go for a book as opposite to The Dead Lands as I could. And a story about the 1950’s upper class seemed like a good change! This book is wonderful. I read 114 pages and was utterly enchanted. the characters, the setting, everything is just perfect.

I continued The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets on Sunday and got up to 274 pages. It’s a slow paced book, but by no means is that an insult. I just wanted to savour it so probably not the best pick for a readathon. I’m so pleased I started this book though, Miranda Hart was right with her quote on the cover, I really love it.

So overall I read 328 pages in all. A good double what I would normally read in three days and got two books off my six book TBR pile. I think next readathon I will pick more fast-paced books but the #CrushYourTBR readathon was great fun!

Did you #CrushYourTBR? What did you read?

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#CrushYourTBR Readathon TBR pile!

So I’m a bit late on this considering that the #CrushYourTBR readathon starts- well, today. But I’ve had a really busy week and I really just wanted to get this post up so I don’t have any excuses and back out because I really like the idea of this readathon. It’s run by Jacquelyn of YA Bookmark and Raeleen of Padfootandprongs07. I’m taking the opportunity to hopefully crush though my TBR pile of books I’ve been sent for review. I get behind on them because I’m a mood reader and it makes me feel bad seeing this pile of amazing books go unread. I don’t technically have to read and review any of them but I want to. So what is on the pile?

A pile of books including Gutenberg

Gutenberg’s Apprentice by Alix Christie*
I swear I was sent this last year and I feel so bad that I haven’t read it yet. Mood reader problems right there, historical fiction is just not something I reach for very often! But I’m in a rare mood for it lately, which is lucky because 4/6 of this pile is historical fiction. This is a novel about the invention of the printing press and the story behind the first printed bible. I’m fascinated with the origin of books so this has me intrigued.

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice*
This is actually being republished after ten years with a new foreward by Miranda Hart! Set in the 1950’s, it’s a story about an 18 year old living in a world post-WW2 with her eccentric family. I’m looking forward to it, it seems like the kind of thing I read when I was younger, that whole family drama thing, and really enjoyed.

If You Go Away by Adele Parks*

Set in WW1, this is the story of a man who consciously objects to the war and a woman whose husband signs up and leaves her. It’s a historical romance and has the tag line; ‘Can he love her more than he hates war?’ Sounds good to me! It’s such a strange idea to me that such a huge amount of the population could be enlisted because of a world war and needing so many men, compared to now where being in the army is more of a career.

The Fatal Flame by Lyndsay Faye*

This is a book that showed up out of the blue one day and immediately drew me in. It’s set in New York in 1848, and from what I gather is about the newly founded NYPD, a serial killer, and an orphan. This isn’t at the tip-top of my pile as far as priorities but we’ll see how I feel as the readathon goes on!

The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy*
I need no persuasion to read this book, I’ve been dying to ever since I got my hands on it. It’s a post-apocalyptic story, which is a genre I love in TV shows (The Walking Dead, The 100, Z Nation, Defiance, etc.) so I think I’ll love this one. Small survival community? Check. Oppressive government? Check. Mutated creatures? Check. Sounds great!

A Song of Shadows by John Connolly*
John Connolly is one half of one of my favourite writing teams; he writes the Chronicles of the Invaders series with Jennie Ridyard so I’m excited to see the difference when it’s him alone. This is the thirteenth book in a crime series so I’m hoping I don’t have to have read the past books. In general with this genre, you don’t have to. 

A little ambitious but I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully I can smash though two or three and I won’t feel so bad about my new purchases- haul(s) coming soon!

Are you joining the readathon? What are you planning to read?

*I was sent these books for review. I am not obligated to talk about them.
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Independent Bookstore: Barter Books in Northumberland!

I love independent bookstores. I’ve talked about my favourite before on the blog; The Cut-Price Bookstore in Helmsley! But a close second is Barter Books in Northumberland. It’s slightly different as it’s a much larger, second hand bookstore in a building that used to be a railway station. Even if you’re on a book buying ban, if you’re near I recommend a visit just to have a look around and take in how booky and beautiful it is! … I did buy some books too though.

The outside of Barter Books with the opening times and bench

Toy train on track around top of bookshelves

There is a little train that goes over tracks around the top of bookshelves since it’s an old train station. It’s a lovely touch and it’s charming to be browsing, hear the train coming around and look up to see it pass.

Bookshelves with lines of poetry between them

Cafe inside of Barter Books bookstore with fire

There are two fires burning away that you can sit, read and relax in. And a little cafe in what used to be the waiting room where you can sit and get a cup of tea. 

Steel heart by Brandon Sanderson and Eleven by Mark Watson

Barter books is not the kind of store that you go in with a list. It’s a browsing store. But I thought I’d have a look for the second Mistbourne book by Brandon Sanderson and found Steelheart, the first book of the Reckoners series instead. I don’t think I’ll get around to reading it anytime soon but it was £2.20 and what’s another book on the TBR pile at this point? 

The other book I found was Eleven by Mark Watson. It was one of those free iBook of the week deals, probably about a year ago, and I read a chapter or two and loved it- it’s about a radio host and we all know I have a soft spot for radio host books- but I’m not a big fan of reading on my phone so I was glad to get a physical copy. Again, it was £2.20 and I’m thrilled to finally have this book. 

Barter Books mug with a stack of books, a cat and a train on it.

And a mug to join my collection. Cats and books are two of my favourite things so this was a given.

What do you think of Barter Books? Have you ever been?
*Amazon links are affiliate links.

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Book Review: The Silvered Heart by Katherine Clements!

Today is publication day for The Silvered Heart and I have a review for you! You may remember that just over half a year ago, I reviewed The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements and I’ve been impatiently waiting for a new book basically since that review went live. Of course, when I heard about her new book, The Silvered Heart*, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and was luckily sent a copy for review. 

Historical Fiction English Civil War reccomendation

The legendary figure of Kate Ferrars, the infamous highwaywoman, is brought gloriously to life in this gripping tale of infatuation, betrayal and survival. 
1648: Civil war is devastating England. The privileged world Katherine Ferrars knows is crumbling under Cromwell’s army, and as an orphaned heiress, she has no choice but to do her duty and marry for the sake of family.
But as her marriage turns into a prison, and her fortune is decimated by the war, Kate becomes increasingly desperate. So when she meets the enigmatic Ralph Chaplin, she seizes the chance he offers. Their plan is daring and brutal, but it’s an escape from poverty and the shackles of convention. They both know if they’re caught, there’s only one way it can end…

I’m going to start by saying that my history knowledge is murky at best. School didn’t teach me history in order so it took me way too long to realise this started just two years after The Crimson Ribbon did, although continues on much longer- from 1648 to 1660. The contrast between the two books and the experiences of the two protagonists is incredible and I’d recommend both books for a interesting juxtaposition of the time. 

This book definitely didn’t grip me immediately the way The Crimson Ribbon did, it took longer to get it’s claws in but once they were in- they were in. Katherine Clements writing is the kind of writing that gets under your skin, the first person narrative meant the feelings of the character became my own to the point of being furious, hurt, jealous and devastated to a really unnerving degree. 

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I love a good female character. And Katherine Clements has created just that in Katherine Ferrars. She’s an aristocrat, she wants to stay that way and the Civil war is preventing that. She wants her home, an understandable urge, but she is married to a man who is a bit of a loser. She has to step up beyond what she thought possible to keep the family and his house afloat- becoming the highwaywoman, a criminal, and finding allies in the most unusual places. This book shows a side of the Civil War that I’ve never really thought about before and makes a character that isn’t hugely relatable- an heiress who believes her family name gives her a right to wealth- relatable. 

440 pages of fantastic twists and turns, emotional writing, and an ending that’ll stick with you for long after you close the book. The twelve year span gives such a length to this story, that you can see how this was not a quick problem/solution but a struggle that lasted over a decade. 

“In a war where both sides claim to fight for God, it is no longer a matter of right or wrong- it’s a question of which side is most determined.”

The Silvered Heart came out today and you can buy a copy here! Do you think you’ll pick up a copy?
*I was sent this book for review. It hasn’t changed my opinion. Amazon links are affiliate links.

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Loot Crate: April 2015: Fantasy!

This months Loot Crate theme was Fantasy and despite being a fan of fantasy books and TV shows, it really wasn’t my favourite. It’s getting a bit annoying considering that last months crate was my favourite so far. It seems like every time there’s a good crate, my loyalty gets tested the month after. There was enough good in this one to equal out the disappointing though.

Unboxing Loot Crate: April 2015: Fantasy

Bit of an ‘eh’ box to me!

Loot Crate unboxing Dungeon & Dragons shirt bowtie

I don’t personally play Dungeons & Dragons although I really really want to. A buddy of mine and I are trying to sort something out but we’re total newbs. At least I will look the part with this new t-shirt!
Again with the slightly gendered products. I’m sure some ladies will get use out of this bowtie but it’s just something that is definitely aimed at men. Loot Crate could put in some nerdy nail polish or makeup and it would be the same, one gender would get more use out of it than the other. And that just isn’t really something I’m a fan of. 

Harry Potter luggage tags Loot Crate

It’s probably a little bit embarrassing how long I spent wearing this crown after inflating it. Just walking around my house wearing a crown. I kind of need one of my friends of have a fancy dress party so I can wear this outside!

It’s also pretty embarrassing that I’ve never seen The Princess Bride. I know, I know- I need too. But a pack of cards is always welcome in my house where cards disappear of the regular.
My favourite item in this months Loot Crate and the one that makes it kind of worth it is this Platform 9 3/4 luggage tag that I’ve already filled out with my address and attached to my suitcase. It’s really sturdy and just the thing I needed to separate my suitcase from the rest when I go travelling. Unless I mix up my bag with another Looter!

Game of Thrones magnets Stark USB

With the theme; Fantasy, it was pretty obvious that Game of Thrones was going to make an appearance. And it did! Twice. The magnets are pretty basic and useless for someone like me that doesn’t have a magnetic fridge. But the Stark Sigil USB, oh the Stark Sigil 4GB USB. Firstly, it’s so awesome and useful. I’ve already backed up all of my documents onto it. But also, to get to the USB you have to take the head off. Too soon. Too soon.

Magazine badge Fantasy Loot Crate

And the usual magazine and badge! Yeah, it was a bit of a disappointing crate for me. But the crown and USB are definitely getting some use daily. Next month is ‘Unite’ so I’m hopeful. Want to sign up to Loot Crate? You can do so here!

What do you think of this months Loot Crate?

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Books I Read in April!

My reading this month was quite good! Ten books is nothing to be sniffed at, don’t get me wrong. I’m just wondering if I’m really taking in everything I read, if I need to, and if I’m doing because I enjoy it or because I feel like I have to. Simple existential crisis is all. Either way, I read some really good books this month..

Book pile Jeffery Deaver Charlaine Harris Susan Hill Tennessee Williams Meg Cabot

The Bodies Left Behind by Jeffery Deaver
You can read my review of this book here!

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
This is the first of the Sookie Stackhouse/ Southern Mysteries/ True Blood series. I’ve read the first couple before when I was in my teens and remembered them fondly. So since I finished up the last Charlaine Harris book I had from the Aurora Teagarden series and I wanted more of her writing, I reached for these on my shelf.
I loved this book, it covers pretty much the entire of season one of the True Blood show and mixes all the great domestic fluff that Harris does so well with a really unique supernatural world. Personally I can’t think of another book I’ve read that deals with the vampires ‘coming out of the coffin’. Although a similar, and just as great series is the Kitty Norville series where Werewolves are made public.
The characters were fun and original. They’re so real, so ordinary that as all of the murders of ‘fangbangers’ and horrible things are happening- even with vampires- it’s believable that they react like they do. And they’re likeable to boot. Well, the ones that are supposed to be. Even some of the characters that are sarcastic and rude are kind of adorable.
Also, Sookie says ‘neat’ a lot like I do which makes me like her more.
“You may not think my job amounts to much, but it’s one I’m good at, and I like it. I am as worthy of respect as your sister, the lawyer, Andy Bellefleur, and don’t you forget it.”

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
This wasn’t as good as the first book for me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, maybe just the whole possessive vampire thing? Bill needs to take a step back and get a grip but also, it’s starting to get a bit obvious that Sookie deserves better. This covers pretty much season 2 of True Blood and it all felt a little rushed, but then again, Sookie probably feels the same about the developments in her life. Being made to go to Dallas to help out vampires is probably not her dream job. Bill just gets on my last nerve and it felt like Sookie was a little less defiant than the first book, but only a little. It’s still a great book that I really liked.
I also enjoyed the little looks into the vampire hierarchy and the integration into human life; for instance, the idea of a legislature bill for a vampire being Texas’s executioner of the state is just so amazing.
“I didn’t tell him I’d learned that from reading a mystery. Let him think I read ancient Greek Literature in the original language.”

The Julius House by Charlaine Harris
You can read my review of this book here!

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
You can read my review of this book here!

Othergirl by Nicole Burstein**
This was a great book! It’s a kids book but the premise really stood out to me as something I would want to read. Basically the protagonist is a superheroes best friend. And has to deal with jealousy, worry, the fine line between helping and controlling- all while dealing with her own problems like her upcoming GCSE’s and the boy she likes. And she deals with them like a real teenage girl would. So much of this was familiar to me from my own childhood that I was super impressed. But it wasn’t just another typical teenage drama problem because this is a world where superheroes are out and about. It tows the line of relatability so perfectly while letting it all be exciting because of the superpowers that I think it puts across the message of good friendship and good choices without being obvious and putting young readers off.
Nicole is clearly a comic book fan too, it shows and I love it. A character even makes a nod to the Golden Age of comic books by calling the past the ‘Golden Days’. As a fan myself, I love it and I think that the passion for superheroes shines through. This would be a great transition book for kids that don’t really read novels but love comic books. To be honest, it’s an all around great book for younger teens that I really recommend.
“I just want you to remind me, in case I ever become silly to the point of no return, that nobody cared what the amazing Clara looked like, OK?”

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
I mentioned in a past round up that I’m currently working on making my characters speak in my degree. Well, it came to working on accent so I pulled out my (stolen from my old school, whoops) copy of A Streetcar Named Desire because the accent differences with Blanche- the Southern Belle protagonist, and Stanley- the working class antagonist, is just amazing. You can see the accent without going to extreme measures- looking at you Trainspotting.
The story and development is strong too and seeing it performed is one of my favourite memories of my Theatre Studies A-level. Reading it isn’t quite as fun as other plays I’ve read but it’s a solid story and I think it’s one that most people should read/see at least once!
“Physical beauty is passing. A transitory possession. But beauty of the heart and richness of the spirit and tenderness of the heart- and I have all those things- aren’t taken away but grown”

The Princess Diaries: Give Me Five by Meg Cabot
You can read my review of this book here!

The Princess Diaries: Sixsational by Meg Cabot
You can read my review of this book here!

The Silvered Heart by Katherine Clements*
Full review here!

What did you read this month?

*I received this for review.

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