Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Flow (Clare Littlemore)

Littlemore, Clare - Flow

★★★★★★☆

Title: Flow
Author:  Clare Littlemore
Genre: Fiction / Young Adult / Dystopian
First published: 2017
Edition: E-book, provided by author (self-published)

I sped through this novel, written from the point of view of a sixteen-year-old girl growing up in a community called The Beck. Her world is constantly threatened by floods and she has never known anything else but the Lower Beck, the area she works in. Until she gets reassigned.

This is a very well written gripping story. I got into it very quickly and was with Quin every part of the way as she learned more about The Beck. The author’s writing style is perfect for this tale; clear and to the point. Yet, this book gave me so many feels. I felt sad, angry, frustrated and heartbroken by the end, but man, was it worth it.

If you have enjoyed dystopian YA novels like The Hunger Games and Divergent, you are sure to love this one. It is well written, has an excellent plot and engaging characters. I kept thinking it would make a great movie as well.

The author provided me with an e-copy of this book, but this does not in any way influence my review. As it is, I thoroughly recommend checking this book out. It is awesome and I am looking forward to reading the sequel Break.

6 out of 7 stars

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Books · Tags

Liebster Award

Thank you to Emily at her wonderful blog Reaching While Rooted for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Check out Emily’s blog, read her insightful reviews and fun tags and all that jazz. Follow her if you do not do so already!

(Apologies, Emily, that it has taken me an age to get round to answering your questions!)

Rules for Accepting the Award:

  1. Write about it on your blog and thank the person who nominated you. Write a bit about their blog.
  2. Display the ward on your blog
  3. Nominate 5 or 10 blogs which you feel deserve it
  4. Let the nominees know you nominated them.

Don’t forget to to create 10 new questions for the nominees to answer. Notify your nominees and provide a link to your post so that they will know what to do. Once you are done, come back here and post the link so I can check your answers!

Emily’s questions and my answers:

1. What inspired you to create a blog.

A friend asked me whether I had read a certain book (I can’t remember which one) to which I replied, “Yes.” Friend: “When?” Me: “Ummmm.” Friend: “What did you think of it?” Me: “I can’t quite remember…”

Basically to avoid the above, I thought it would be fun to document the books I read and what I thought of them.

2. If you could quit your day job, what would you do instead?

Well, I quite my day job four years ago (has it really been four years???!!!! Maybe three and a half…) when I decided I simply wanted to enjoy being a mum to my (now) five-year-old daughter for a while. After childcare costs I really was not earning enough to make it worth it. We are about to open a holiday cottage though, which I will be taking care of. I thought I would spend lots of time reading and I do spend some time doing just that, but my time tends to fill up anyway with all sorts of nonsense. I kind of like it that way. 🙂

3. A portal opens up to another land or time in your room. Where does it go?

Oh dead, I don’t know. Maybe Australia. I spent ten months there about fifteen years ago and fell in love with the country. There are areas I would love to explore a bit more.

4. What is your least favourite genre?

Horror. I get nightmares easily and don’t really like gore.

5. What is your favourite animal?

Horse – no contest!

6. What’s your favourite hobby when you are not reading?

I love writing, even if I am not that great at it. I love horse riding, but have not done it much in recent years. I do love watching a bit of telly of an evening too. Well, that’s about the gist of my terribly exciting life.

7. It’s time for a vacation. Who is your travel partner?

My husband and my daughter of course!

8. Do you have a life philosophy? If so, what is it?

Be yourself and and do listen to others, but don’t let them live your life for you. Be strong and don’t be afraid to say no!

9. You find a time machine and travel ten years back in time. What advice or life affirmation would you give yourself?

See question 8. It took me long enough.

10. What is one thing you love about yourself?

Oh, yeah, sure, go in with the hard question last! I love that I have learned to simply love myself. That single thing has changed so much. When you love yourself and allow yourself to make mistakes, you can be a far better support to others. No, I am not perfect, but neither as anyone else and actually, I am pretty all right 🙂 Deep, right!

***

The blogs I want to nominate are:

Marta at The Cursed Books
Kat at Crazy Life with Doc and Bam
Megan at The Cozied Reader
Regina at Bookish In Bed
Abbey at Three Cats and a Girl

And these are your questions:

1. What is your one favourite book (no whole series, a single book!)?
2. What is the first book you remember loving as a child?
3. Do you have any pets? If so, do share!
4. Pink, purple or blue?
5. Favourite ever book cover?
6. Is there a popular book you did not like?
7. What is it you like most about blogging?
8. Do you use Goodreads, and if so, how many books are on your Goodreads TBR?
9. Fairies or unicorns?
10. Lord of the Rings or Jane Austen?

I know these questions are quite random, but I would love to see your answers, so let me know when you have gotten round to doing this one!

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Delivering Virtue (Brian Kindall)

Kindall, Brian - Delivering Virtue

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Delivering Virtue
Author:  Brian Kindall
Genre: Fiction / Historical Fiction
First published: 2015
Edition: Paperback, published by Diving Boy Books

I was not sure what to expect from this book. The premise sounded interesting, so I was happy to give it a go. I am so glad that I did. The first thing that struck me was the tone of the writing. It is quite dry and witty and a few pages in I was pulled in by Didier Rain, the narrator.

Rain is charged with delivering the infant Virtue to the Prophet Nehi to be his bride and is given a strict set of rules to abide by. The generous reward is enough to make him take this most unlikely of charges on.

Didier’s observations of his own actions and those of others feel really lighthearted and refreshing and make for an entertaining read. Even when serious events are broached, like rape and murder, they are glossed over by Rain’s whimsical version of affairs. With his carnal urges and defying of the rules he has been given it is clear he is not exactly a good man and yet it is hard to dislike him. He tries so hard to be a good man, but the rogue inside him always seems to win out.

Then there is Virtue, the infant, the bride of the Prophet. For a character that does so little, she has such a big impact on those that encounter her, and on the reader. Her story is handled so well, without any fanfare. Her extraordinariness is mentioned in passing, but never dwelt on.

The book is not perfect, and I am sure its dry wit and at times too lighthearted a tone, may not be for everyone, but Delivering Virtue a cleverly written novel that I found very easy to read and enjoy.

5 out of 7 stars 

 

Books · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – 14 February 2018

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That time of the week again! Time for WWW Wednesday, hosted by Sam at Taking on A World of Words.

So you just have to answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you will read next?

So, this is my lot:

1801 January Haul5What am I currently reading?

Well, I am currently reading Brian Kindall’s Delivering Virtue. I am quite enjoying it. Although it is a very different book from Nevernight, which I finished a few days ago, it has a similar dry witty tone, which I am enjoying a lot. This is a historical novel, set in the US in 1851. The narrator takes on the task to deliver a bride to a prophet. Only, the bride is only a baby by the name of Virtue. So far, so good!

Rayner, Catherine - The Bronte SistersWhat did I recently finish reading?

I just finished reading The Brontë Sisters by Catherine Rayner today. I really enjoyed learning more about these famous writers, but the book really could have done with some editing. It ended up feeling a little muddled. I would recommend it though if you want to explore the Brontës lives.

What do I think I will read next?

I have a couple of buddy reads coming up, so I will be reading The Last Unicorn (Peter S Beagle) and Dreamer’s Pool (Juliet Marillier). I am excited to read both. The Last Unicorn has been on my TBR for way too long and I have never read anything by Juliet Marillier and I have been wanting to!

I have a couple more books I really want to read this month after these.

What have you been reading?

 

 

Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Brontë Sisters (Catherine Rayner)

Rayner, Catherine - The Bronte Sisters

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: The Brontë Sisters: Life, Loss and Literature
Author:  Catherine Rayner
Genre: Non-Fiction / Biography
First published: to be published 28 February 2018 by Pen & Sword
Edition: e-ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher

I am in two minds about this biography of the three Brontë sisters.

It was very interesting to get a wider context to the lives and works of Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and I enjoyed reading about the enigmatic sisters. The writer succeeds in painting a picture of their lives, their characters and the circumstances in which their works of literature came into being.

However, I did feel at times the book was quite repetitive and jumbled, which especially the first half the narrative suffers from. Of course, the subject is three sisters, who were touched by much the same events in their lives, such as the loss of their mother at an early age, the death of their two older sisters and the demise of their brother. I just found the way their life story did not flow that well. The second half, in which the author talks about each sister in turn, felt a little more focused and I enjoyed learning about all three women.

I read Jane Eyre in November and was not the biggest fan. I do wonder how I would feel now I have read Charlotte’s own story. The same goes for Wuthering Heights, which is on my shelf still to be read. I think that knowing more about these extraordinary women who wrote novels that still endure today, will enrich my experience reading their works in the future.

This is a very comprehensive look at the life and times of the Brontë sisters and if you do feel inclined to pick up any of their books, I think reading this biography will help understand the authors better and through them, their books. I simply feel it would have been a stronger read if it had been a bit more condensed and edited.

4 out of 7 stars

Music · Music Monday

Music Monday: ‘Buzzkill’ by Ash

MusicMonday

Music Monday is a wonderful meme created by Drew The Tattooed Book Geek. Music is very important to me, so it’s a pleasure to share some of the tunes I like.

Let me present Ash. Northern Irish trio Ash have been around since my teens. They are pretty much my age and I feel I sort of grew up with them. They are one of those bands that are not really that well known these days (or outside of the UK), but they can’t do no wrong in my eyes. Plus they are a superb live band!

They announced their new tune ‘Buzzkill’ last week and it was insta-love for me. So punky, dumb and ridiculous, with too many unnecessary f-bombs to count, but oh so catchy like all good Ash songs are. I love it! Fun fact: the backing vocals are done by The Undertones.

Cannot wait for the release of new album Islands in May.

Books

Popular books I did not love…

Annemieke did a post on her 5* TBR predictions and one of them is a very popular book I did not love, which I thought was a perfect excuse to finally do this post. I have been wanting to for a while as there are a few popular books I just did not get on with, or did not get on with as well as I thought I would.

Get ready to gasp in horror!

The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss)

Rothfuss, Patrick - The Name of the WindThe big one. Yep, I know! Going into this book I fully expected to love it. It had a great title, I love fantasy, of the light and epic variety, and everybody else seemed to love it. I figured it was a dead cert I would love it too…. But I did not.  I found the protagonist way too annoying.  I did not hate this book, it just did not live up to my expectations and certainly did not captivate me enough to continue reading the series. I keep thinking I must have been reading a different book.  😉

This was pre-blog, but I rated it 3* on Goodreads – I kind of liked it, but definitely did not love it.

The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)

Coelho, Paulo - The AlchemistAgain, I did not hate this book, but I simply did not get what was so special about it. I mean, people called this book life changing and it really wasn’t. It was just sort of a nice story about a boy following omens to find his destiny. There was probably something I missed…

I rated it 3 out of 7 stars on my blog (2 stars on Goodreads)

Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë)

Bronte, Charlotte - Jane EyreWhen I started Jane Eyre I loved it at first. She was such a strong female character and I was really thinking this was going to be one of those amazing reads. Unfortunately,  Jane falls in love with Mr Rochester and gone are all the qualities I admired about Jane. It was still a good read, but not the amazing read I wanted it to be.

4 out of 7 stars on my blog (3 stars on Goodreads)

Galbraith, Robert - Cormoran Strike 1 The Cuckoo's CallingThe Cuckoo’s Calling (Robert Galbraith)

Of course everyone knows this was written by J K Rowling, and as such I did have half decent expectations. And it was half decent, but not better than that. It was a pretty average crime/mystery book. My friend I buddy read it with loved it.

4 out of 7 stars on my blog (3 stars on Goodreads)

***

Now I did not hate any of these books. I simply did not love them as much as other people seem to! And of course, if you loved these books (or the opposite) I would love to read about it in the comments.

What are popular books you did not love? Maybe Pride and Prejudice was not for you, Or A Game of Thrones was A Game of Yawn. Let me know!