A Love Letter to Hardbacks…

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Booking Through Thursday asked an interesting question this morning. The question was:

All other things being equal, what is your favorite format for reading? Hardcover? Paperback? New book? Old book? Leather-bound first edition? E-book?

 

Many charity shops find it difficult to sell hardback fiction – a fact that I find quite shocking! I love my beautiful hardbacks and will always buy a hardback version of a book I already have if I find one. There’s something satisfying about sitting with a thick hardback book on your knee and getting absorbed into the story. One author I always love in hardback is Stephen King and I will happily pay the £25 rather than waiting for the £6.99 paperback! If people prefer to buy paperbacks in charity shops though then all the more for me.

What is your favourite format for reading?

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Review – Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson

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“Hanover falls hasn’t had a werewolf problem in over one hundred years, but when people suddenly start dying in Claire Benoit’s town, panic spreads fast. The gruesome killings are all anyone can talk about at Claire’s sixteenth birthday party, though the only thing on Claire’s mind is gorgeous Matthew Engle chatting and flirting with her as if she’s the only girl there. But that night, Claire discovers something that takes away all sense of normality: she’s a werewolf.

Claire knows she must keep her changing identity a secret, especially from Matthew, whose father is leading the werewolf hunt. But then a rogue werewolf threatens to put everyone she knows in danger. Struggling to feel comfortable in either skin, and with her lupine loyalty at odds with her human heart, Claire is forced to make a choice that will change her forever.”

 

Claire de Lune – Christine Johnson

It’s no secret that I love a young adult book and while vampires and werewolves are quickly becoming old news, the different angle in Claire de Lune definitely caught my attention.

Claire is your typical 16 year old girl – slightly self obsessed and always at odds with her mother. Like any other girl at that age she has her eyes on a cute guy who she is not really allowed to go anywhere near. Still, things are going well until she finds out that the werewolf gene runs in her family. As she struggles with her love life, her best friend leaving and her difficult family and home life, Claire also has to cope with her changing body and the painful process of transforming into a wolf. Add to this her rebellious attitude towards her mother and the constant threat of being discovered, Claire has much more on her plate than your average teenage girl.

Claire de Lune is a fast paced, un-put-downable novel which I think brings something new to the werewolf genre. It makes a change for the girl to be the supe and the guy to be an average joe! I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who is a supernatural fan!

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Are you bored of the vampire/werewolf genre yet or is it still going strong?

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NOTE – I am currently away at Leeds Festival but will answer all comments when I return!

Review – The Woman Who Went To Bed For a Year by Sue Townsend

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“The day her twins leave home, Eva climbs into bed and stays there. For seventeen years she’s wanted to yell at the world, “stop! I want to get off!” Finally, this is her chance.

Her husband Brian, an astronomer having an unsatisfactory affair, is upset. Who will cook his dinner? Eva, he complains, is attention seeking. But word of Eva’s defiance spreads.

Legions of fans, believing she is protesting, gather in the street, while her new friend Alexander the white-van man brings tea, toast and unexpected sympathy. And from this odd but comforting place, Eva begins to see both herself and the world very, very differently…”

The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year – Sue Townsend

I have been keeping an eye out for The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole in my local charity shops for a while now so when I saw The Woman Who Went to Bed For a Year by the same author I snapped it up.

Eva is the mother to Brian Junior and Brianne, seventeen year old twins who took up her entire life before they left to go to university. Once they have gone Eva gets into bed and refuses to get out again. Her not-so-loving husband, Brian, is confused and frustrated by her stubborness and has absolutely no idea how to make a meal for himself, nevermind run a house. As Eva’s family get used to fending for themselves and looking after her for a change, she starts to see the world in a totally different way. Alexander the local white van man becomes her closest friend and she starts giving advice to those who pop in and see her.

This novel is a brilliant and hilarious look at family life but it also has darker psychological themes as Eva is obviously having some kind of breakdown. She is an extremely likeable character though and you can’t help but cheer her on in her mission to think about herself for a change!

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Are you ever tempted to just give up on all your responsibilities and stay in bed? Would you feel liberated or just bored?

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NOTE – I am currently away at Leeds Festival but will answer all comments when I return!

Things That Make Blogging and Reading Easier (Top Ten Tuesday)

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book themed meme held over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week we are listing the top ten things that make life as a reader/blogger easier. This is a different one as it doesn’t involve actual books! Here’s my list:

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1) Goodreads

I’ve been using this website for longer than I’ve been blogging but it’s an excellent help. It helps me to keep track of what I’ve read as well as books I want to read. It’s also a brilliant social site with lots of interesting book clubs to join for inspiration. You can find my Goodreads profile here. Feel free to add me!

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2) Bloglovin

I’ve always used this rather than google reader so it didn’t effect me as much when everyone changed over. It’s a really useful way of subscribing to a huge number of blogs so you never miss a post. I also love how you can categorise the blogs so I can easily keep up with all the latest vegan blog posts as well as Friday Fictioneers and Top Ten Tuesdays.

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3) Top Ten Tuesdays

Is it odd to include the meme in a list for the meme? Top Ten Tuesdays is a really fun weekly community to take part in. I love seeing other people’s lists and I often feel challenged when making my own!

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4) You Are Here Bookmarks

I’ve only had these for a couple of weeks but they’re really useful when you want to make notes about the books you’re reading so it’s easy to review them when you get to the end. They were only £3.95 from Waterstones!

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5) Planning

It might seem boring but the only way I can keep on top of posting on both of my blogs is my fortnightly blog planner. I print a few copies off at a time and when I think of an idea I mark it on the planner. That way I always know my blog will be updated!

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6) Charity Shops

I buy most of my books second hand. It means I can impulse buy any books that look remotely interesting without having to worry about the cost. I get some good bargains!

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7) Waterstones

This is my favourite bookshop. As much as I love second hand books, there’s nothing like the feel of a brand new one!

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8) WordPress

I previously dabbled in blogging and used Blogger. I much prefer WordPress though as it’s easier to use and you have more control.

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9) Pinterest

I get a lot of inspiration and ideas from pinterest as well as being able to pin books I want to check out. I also use it to keep a lot of writing prompts and tips which can be useful. Follow me here.

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10) Friday Fictioneers

I’d never written short stories before this time last year. Friday Fictioneers is a really fun way of writing. Every week a photo is posted and the challenge is to write 100 words of fiction using it as inspiration. It’s good practice and can be the beginning of further ideas!

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What tools/websites make your blogging life easier?

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NOTE – I am currently away at Leeds Festival but I will answer all comments when I return!

Top Ten Tuesday – Books That Don’t Fit In!

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme held over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week is a “freebie” week which means we can choose whatever subject we like for our top ten list! As exciting as that is, it took me a long time to think of what I’d like to choose! I’ve decided to focus on books that don’t tend to fit in on the other top ten lists I usually write. I mostly focus on novels for my Top Ten Tuesday posts so this is a list of books that I love that are not novels.

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1) The Mighty Book of Boosh by Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt and others

Last week I posted about Noel Fielding’s 40th birthday and that should have been your clue that I’m a huge Mighty Boosh fan! This book was a brilliant companion to the tv series with parts from all of our favourite characters including Old Gregg’s watercolours and Bob Fossil’s dance moves.

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2) The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories by Tim Burton

I’m a big Tim Burton fan and have always loved his gothic style of humour. This book is hilarious and includes stories, poetry and illustrations with some amazing characters. The humour is dark and has some disturbing roots in reality. Stick boy and match girl, for example, shows just how dangerous love can be.

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3) The Art of Tim Burton

This has to be the most beautiful book I own. It’s full of original drawings and artwork by the wonderful Tim Burton. A lot of these images go with the movies he created and give an insight into where the characters came from. Many of the illustrations don’t relate to the movies but are beautiful nonetheless. A truly unique artist.

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4) The Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton by Noel Fielding

Another Noel Fielding book! This book gives an amazing insight into Noel’s bright and imaginative mind. It’s mainly full of his artwork but also includes short stories and quotes. This is one of my favourite books on my non-fiction shelf.

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5) Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith

I was never any good at art but always wanted to be. This book is a brilliant source of inspiration and a lot of fun! It encourages you to draw all over it, doodle in it and just be as creative as you can be. An amazing book.

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6) The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins

I bought this book as soon as it came out and it was a brilliant read. It’s aimed at children but is perfect for adults who don’t know much about physics! I really enjoyed reading this.

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7) Life Stories by David Attenborough

I’m a big David Attenborough fan and his books helped me a lot when I was doing my degree! This book is partly about natural history but it also gives some insight into David Attenborough’s thoughts and experiences. A rewarding read!

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8) Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

This is the best cookbook I own and is brilliant for recipes as well as in depth advice about veganism. You can read my review of this book here.

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9) Wicked The Musical Pop-up Compendium

This book is a must for all Wicked fans. It’s an amazing companion to the musical with pop up bits and interactive pull out bits. I love the letters from Glinda and Elphaba to their parents and the amazing pop up Defying Gravity scene.

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10) Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

I was recommended this book by my tutor when I started my Zoology degree. I bought the book but didn’t get around to reading it for a couple of years. I’m glad I got around to it though because it’s a fascinating read. You’ll never trust the media to report scientific stories again.

Do you tend to choose novels over non-fiction and coffee table books? What are your favourite books that often get overlooked?

Characters to Inspire You – Matilda Wormwood

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of Matilda by Roald Dahl. I reread this book last week when I was in bed ill and thought this would be the perfect chance to explain why I think it is one of the greatest children’s books of all time.

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When I was younger the character I connected with the most was Matilda Wormwood. I was a huge book fan and Roald Dahl was my favourite author. He had this remarkable ability to see the world from a child’s eyes and his books had a common theme of children winning over adults. In this case Matilda rebels against her parents by reading books rather than watching the TV like she is told. Not only that but she comes up with a number of schemes to get her own back on her father who treats her terribly. This includes swapping bleach for his hair tonic and applying superglue to his hat so he can’t remove it from his head. She also rebels against her horrible headteacher and makes a lifelong friend in the sweet Miss Honey.

Perhaps the most magical part of this book though is Matilda’s trips to the library and into the literary world.

“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.”

This is something I’ve always been able to relate to and it explains the magical properties of books perfectly. Matilda is an excellent role model for all bookworm type children and can perhaps serve as an inspiration for those who are not so inclined to pick up a book.

The film of Matilda was one of my favourites as a child and I still love it now. It’s extremely faithful to the book but, as always, is nowhere near as good.

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I’ve heard brilliant reviews of the musical and really want to go and see it! Here’s a clip I found and it looks truly amazing.

What are your favourite childhood books? Are there any characters you particularly related to?

Top Ten Tuesday – Books Dealing With Tough Subjects

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme held over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week we are looking at books that deal with tough subjects. This was a difficult list for me as I always avoid books that touch on subjects too close to my heart. My list therefore only contains seven books.

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1) Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

This is a brilliant book that everyone should read. Unlike a lot of animal rights books this one is not written in a biased way. It goes behind the scenes in factory farms and looks at the effect the meat industry is having on the world.

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2) When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman

This is a beautiful story which includes a lot of historical events including 9/11. Very moving.

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3) The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

An extremely emotional and moving novel which explores the loss of a child and the magical properties of snow.

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4) Room by Emma Donoghue

This book goes into the difficult subject of kidnapping and is told through the innocent eyes of a child who doesn’t have any idea what is going on.

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5) Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

This is so much more than a ghost story. It explores the death of a family member and mourning.

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6) The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I found this a very emotional read. Imagine what it’d be like to know that the end was coming but not know when.

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7) Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

This book deals with an abusive relationship and the darkness behind the lights of showbiz.

Which books would make your list?

A Quick Book Haul!

I found some real bargains this week when I was browsing charity shops! Here’s what I found:

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Fallen by Lauren Kate – I’ve been wanting to read this for a while and it was on offer in WHSmith’s for just 99p! I love the idea of a book about a fallen angel.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – Everyone seems to have read this but me. I think I’ll either love it or hate it but for 70p it’s worth a go!

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff – I’ve never heard of this book before but it looks interesting. Again.. 70p!

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr – A young adult book about fairies.. I needed it.

Untamed by P.C. and Kristin Cast – I loved the first House of Night novel and have been looking for the second one in charity shops ever since. It seems that once I’ve found it I’ll spend ages looking for the 3rd and so on. This is the 4th one and I picked it up for just £1.

The Long Song by Andrea Levy – This was only 20p! It’s about life in Jamaica during the years of slavery and sounds interesting!

Have you picked up any bargains lately?

Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Words That Make Me Pick Up A Book

040213_0955_TopTenTuesd1.jpgTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme held over at The Broke and the Bookish which invites us to make top ten lists of a bookish nature! This week the topic is “top ten words that instantly make me pick up a book”. An interesting topic! I always read the same types of books so this one isn’t too hard.

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1) Witches

I’ve always loved stories about witches. I’ve got the obvious ones like Harry Potter and A Discovery of Witches but my to read shelves are also full of novels about the Pendle Witches and Witchfinders.

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2) Vampires

I think my love for vampires started with the likes of Dracula and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. I loved Twilight too and now pick up anything which involves vampires! Most recently I’ve loved Marked (the first in The House of Night series) and True Blood.

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3) Circus

My circus obsession started with Water For Elephants and then I found The Night Circus. I’ll read the back of any book that involves a circus of some kind.

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4) Coming of age

I write for young adults and so books from a teenage perspective really appeal to me. I only recently tried novels from a young child’s point of view and loved them! The words “coming of age” on a book definitely deserve a better look.

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5) Fairy

I’ve always loved fairies and I’m currently working on a big writing project involving them so I love reading books about them.

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6) Retelling

I love retellings of classic stories with a twist. Wicked was my first introduction to this and I’ve since enjoyed Splintered too.

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7) Time Travel

It’s always interesting when a novel includes time travel. Some brilliant examples of this are The Time Traveller’s Wife and 11.22.63.

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8) Movie

When I see a trailer for a film that looks good and find out there was a novel first then I always have to read the novel. It’s usually better! This is why I read The Hunger Games and it was 100% better than the film.

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9) Werewolf

Wolf books are working on being the next big thing I think! I usually check out a book if it contains werewolves.

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10) Gothic

My attention is always caught when a book is described as gothic, especially not so obvious gothic like Jane Eyre.

What catches your eye when book shopping?

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Books That Disappointed or Exceeded Expectations

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme held over at The Broke and the Bookish. This week we are listing our top ten books that we thought we would like more or less than we did. Interesting topic! Here are my picks:

Books I Was Expecting More From…

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1) The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

I am a huge Stephen King fan and bought this book a few years back. I took it with me on holiday as it’s only a thin book. However it took me ages to read it and I just found it boring! The ending I found really disappointing too. It’s the only King book I’ve ever read and not liked.

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2) The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

As a huge Potter fan I was disappointed with this book. It was probably my own fault though as it was never marketed as being similar to Harry Potter. My full review is here.

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3) Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch

I still don’t really understand what I didn’t like about this book. It has everything that I would like but I just couldn’t get into it!

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4) The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

I remember seeing the description of this and falling in love with it. I love stories that use food this adds magical properties. I think it was the writing style that got me this time. I just didn’t like it.

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5) The Somnambulist by Essie Fox

I rushed to the library to find this book. Victorian gothic? Yes please! The start of the novel was very slow going though and I ended up giving up.

 

Books That Exceeded Expectations…

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1) The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas

It’s difficult choosing a book to take to a festival. I have to take one for late night reading in my tent before I go to sleep. It has to be not too thick, interesting enough to keep me occupied on the train but not so interesting that it makes me want to sit on my own and read it all week! This book ticked the boxes. It was a brilliant read though and my train journey (from Liverpool to the Isle of Wight!) sped by.

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2) Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green

This was an impulse buy that sat on my shelf for a while before I read it. It’s not my usual kind of story at all. I adored it though. I’ve become a huge fan of novels written from a young child’s perspective.

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3) Room by Emma Donoghue

Similar to the one above really! Everyone raved about this book but I wasn’t sure. I got hold of a copy and it sat on my bookshelves for ages. When I did finally get to it, I read it within a couple of days.

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4) The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

The good thing about the library is that you can pick up books that you would probably never buy but look vaguely interesting. If you don’t like it you can take it back and you’ve not lost anything! I’ve always looked at Cecelia Ahern novels as boring chick lit. Let me tell you though that if this is chick lit then I’ve been misinformed about quality!

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5) When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman

Another library book! I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and used it in the recommendation  part of my interview for my Christmas job at Waterstones 2 years ago!

Thats all! I probably could have come up with a lot more than ten books here. Novels are constantly surprising me. The two things I’ve learnt are:

1) If you don’t like a book then stop reading it! I used to commit myself to struggle through a book if I’d started it. I now know not to!

2) Try anything. If there’s a book that looks interesting but you don’t usually like that genre/author then try it anyway!

Are there any novels that you thought you’d like more or were disappointed in?