Sunday, 30 June 2013

This Week's Books

The Poison Boy         Untitled         Storybook Favourites In Cross Stitch        New England Rocks (New England Rocks #1)
 
Midsummer Magic       Love Virtually         Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)       Under A Blood Red Sky 
 
 
Maggie's Tree         The Color Purple         The King of Vodka: The Story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheaval of an Empire
 
 
Well, what a week for books!
 
The Poison Boy by Fletcher Moss I won. It is the winner of the Times Children's Fiction competition 2012. Published by Chicken House. It sounds awesome! I've already done CH's "Try it! Read page 22" - hooked!
 
Girl Least Likely To by Liz Jones. Published by Simon and Schuster. "30 years of fashion, fasting and Fleet Street." This was a surprise review copy. Liz is like Marmite. I will give it a go so look out for a review.
 
Storybook Favourites in Cross-Stitch by Gillian Souter is delightful. Published by Little, Brown it is chock full of the cutest cross stitch patterns for Beatrix Potter characters, Rupert, Babar, Paddington Bear, Angelina Ballerina, Spot, Blinky Bill, Miffy, Duck, Peter Pan and Apple Tree Farm. Before I moved house I used to cross stitch often. The kit is still in a box somewhere so I'm saving the book for when I dig that out. The best part? Got this from a charity shop - £1.50 *happy dance*.
 
New England Rocks by Christina Courtenay is very exciting! It is the first in a YA series from Choc Lit called Choc Lit Rocks and I really hope it does.
 
I won the copy of Midsummer Magic by Julia Williams. Published by Avon books it looks the perfect Summer read.
 
I was THRILLED to find Love Virtually by Daniel Glattauer sitting on a shelf in Poundland - yes, Poundland! I have already read it and LOVED it SO MUCH I bought its sequel Every Seventh Wave so I had the second but not the first...until now. Published by Maclehose Press its a fantastic romantic e-mail novel. Review being posted shortly.
 
I cannot wait to read Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo published by Indigo. Somehow I missed out on the whole Grisha thing and after admitting so on Twitter a very kind soul took pity on me and sent me this!
 
Under a Blood Red Sky by Kate Furnivall was another Poundland purchase. I have a bit of a thing for books set in Russia and at that price I thought why not?
 
Maggie's Tree by Julie Walters is an audiobook that was kindly sent out after a Twitter lucky dip! How lucky was that?! Its even read by Julie Walters (Mrs. Weasley for you Potter fans). Am looking forward to being read to for a change!
 
I have never read The Colour Purple by Alice Walker and so thought it was about time to buy a copy. Its a classic.
 
The King of Vodka by Linda Himelstein is Poundland's fault but - as I said earlier, I have a bit of a thing for books set in Russia. It is the story of Pyotr Smirnov and the upheaval of an Empire. "A man comes from the dust and in the dust he will end - and in the meantime, it is good to drink a sip of vodka." Old Russian proverb.
 
That's all for today so cin cin! I'm going to settle back in my garden chair with a Crabbies Ginger Beer and Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas.
 


Saturday, 29 June 2013

The Library of Unrequited Love

The Library of Unrequited Love
 
The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry
Published 14 February 2013 Maclehose Press
 
 
I work in a library and so upon seeing this book I had to read it. Now I have read it, I have to own it.
 
Its a quirky little novel - a one-way conversation really, between the mature female Librarian in charge of Geography in the basement of a French Public Library, and a member of the public who happened to be locked in overnight (yes it can happen so please leave when we ask you to!). We get to explore all of her unrequited loves.
 
I laughed aloud many times (shhh!) whilst reading this literary short - it is delicious! -but perhaps only for those of us lucky to work in libraries? It describes a view of libraries few experience and includes some interesting historical detail about French libraries.
 
Well done to all involved in bringing us this little treasure.
 
Sophie Divry lives in Lyon, France. The Library of Unrequited Love is her first novel.
 


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Gone Girl

Gone Girl
 
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Published 24 May 2012 Phoenix
 
 
Read this thriller whilst under the weather which may have impaired my opinion of the book.
 
Good story with an intricate plot, strong characters and well-paced narrative. I found it clever. Intelligent.
 
The Observer newspaper describes Gone Girl as "Thriller of the Year". Well, it will not be making one of my best books lists. I remember hearing good things when the hardback was published and there was a loooooong reserve list for it at work so I waited for the paperback (as the hype continued to grow) and I have to admit, I was disappointed. I needed something...more.
 
I liked Nick from the start and found myself rooting for him throughout the book (which I doubt is the idea). I could never warm to Amazing Amy - there was just something...off. Can't say too much as I will give the game away!
 
The novel left me wondering just how well do you ever know someone?
 
This thriller would be great for readers groups. There could be plenty of discussion over pop and biscuits.
 
Gillian Flynn lives in Chicago. Gone Girl is her third novel.

The Messenger Bird

The Messenger Bird
 
 
The Messenger Bird by Ruth Eastham
Published 3 May 2012 Scholastic
 
"The truth can be a dangerous thing."
 
Nathan's father is arrested for selling Government information and breaking the Official Secrets Act. As police drag him away, he shouts back at Nathan to "follow Lily's trail". The trail leads Nathan to Bletchley Park during World War II. How will this help him save his father? Read it and find out!
 
Ruth Eastham, of 'The Memory Cage' fame, has written another wonderful junior fiction novel full of adventure and mystery. i love the strong bond between Nathan and his dad. Look out for the tense explosive ending!
 
The book is fascinatingly linked to Bletchley, the Enigma code and the Coventry Blitz - Coventry Cathedral's ruin is featured on the cover. Nice web links included for those wishing to know more about Bletchley.


Monday, 24 June 2013

The Potter's Hand

The Potter's Hand

The Potter's Hand by A. N. Wilson
Published 1 September 2012 Atlantic Books

Historical literary saga of the Wedgwood family. Begins at the height of Josiah Wedgwood's career as he is completing the thousand piece Frog Service for Catherine the Great of Russia.
 
This is a hefty tome (502 pages). I found it tough, especially towards the end but persevered. Do watch out for the passages in dialect!
 
It is an illustration of eighteenth-century English family life, from the bargee to the new-monied toff. Sprinkled with illustrious Georgians such as Erasmus, Darwin and Coleridge.
 
An extraordinary tale.
 
The author's father was Managing Director of Josiah Wedgwood and Sons.
A. N. Wilson describes the book as "...an act of homage to one of the great men of our history.", and it is.

A Breakthrough

So, I am blogging from my own home! This may not be surprising, however, I have been without the internet for 9 years posting in wi-fi spots and from work. That is now over!!! *celebration party poppers*
This now means I shall be able to blog and review more regularly >.<

Speak soon!

Tiff

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Red Sparrow

Red Sparrow
 
Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews
Published 4 June 2013 Simon & Schuster
 
 
Red Sparrow is Jason Matthews' debut novel - and it is brilliant! I instantly wanted to read it all over again the second I finished it. It is a USA-v-Russia spy thriller. A fast paced, adrenaline building, edge-of-your-seat read. I LOVED it!
I've never read a book like it and I wouldn't have picked it up from a bookshelf so have discovered a fabulous new genre to read.
 
CIA operative Nate Nash is undercover in Moscow. He is young, eager to get on and handling one of the CIA's prize double agents - MARBLE.
Dominika Ergorov, former prima ballerina, is a fledgling of spy school and sparrow school as so doubly dangerous. What no-one knows is that she can see the colours of emotions in people - a triple threat. It is Dominika's task to honeytrap the American Nash and discover the identity of the double-agent traitor. So begins a cat and mouse chase. Who will uncover the other's secrets first? 
 
I am not sure if it is usual for spy thrillers to have strong female leads - perhaps more recently due to the Larsson effect. However, I feel Dominika is a great character. Hard, unflinching, sultry, lonely - she's wonderful.
 
Red Sparrow being a Russian spy thriller contains much Russian language and culture which added to the authenticity and therefore my enjoyment of the book. The character traits were also fascinating and from my experience accurate - well done Mr. Matthews.
 
A fun aside to this thriller is that it contains recipes - yes, that's right - the recipe for something the characters eat appears at the end of each chapter and as I read I found myself guessing what it would be. I plan to try several of the recipes...delicious!
 
Red Sparrow is a real page turner - a fabulous debut from Jason Matthews, an ex CIA operative. His knowledge and experience gives the novel an honesty and depth that I'd imagine would be difficult to achieve unless you've been there.
 
I would recommend Red Sparrow to everyone. Its not typical male adventure thriller genre so ladies, do not be put off, but its publishing date does make it a great Father's Day gift.
 
I will be looking out for more Jason Matthews books in the future.
 
A huge thankyou to @Dark_pages for the ARC.

AWOL

I'm sorry i've not posted for so long - been a bit under the weather