Right now I'm reading...

Right now I'm reading... Taylor Swift: The Whole Story by Chas Newkey-Burden.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

50 Facts About Me...

I've never posted anything which isn't book related before but I saw this on the blog of @readinginpeace (see her answers here) and thought I would give it a go myself.... although I'm not sure if I'll be able to think of 50.

I'll warn you now, quite a few of them are book based...

  1. I love reading. (but that's probably obvious from my blog)
  2. I have two cats, Hugo and Anabelle who I think are totally fabulous.
  3. I'm 30 (which still freaks me out, I'm pretty sure I should still be about 19).
  4. I have one tattoo. A bat out of hell.
  5. I live in Manchester.
  6. I'm an only child.
  7. I'm a total chocoholic.
  8. My favourite genre of books is chick-lit but I also enjoy autobiographies, crime novels and general fiction.
  9. I don't drink tea or coffee which most people find bizarre.
  10. I love Meatloaf (the artist not the food) think he's awesome. Hence the Bat Out Of Hell tattoo.
  11. I live with my boyfriend of 5 years.
  12. The most magical book I have ever read is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
  13. My Mum is one of my best friends.
  14. I have about ten tropical fish.
  15. I love dancing around at my Zumba class.
  16. I think Malibu and Diet Coke is ace.
  17. I volunteer with Girl Guiding as a Brownie leader.
    In the fabulous Las Vegas.
  18. Last year I went to Las Vegas and absolutely loved it.  Really want to go back.
  19. My favourite Christmas book is With Love at Christmas by Carole Matthews.
  20. My Brownie leader name is Beauty Owl.
  21. I get really stressed if I miss the trailers before a film at the cinema.  I love seeing which films are coming soon.
  22. I'm not very good at riding my bike.
  23. I love Twitter (@flutterbybat)
  24. I don't enjoy cooking.
  25. I'm partial to a Cherry Coke.
  26. I'm left handed.
  27. The best thriller I've read is Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson. It's a real page turner.
  28. I'm a morning person.
    30. The syphnx cat.
  29. I really enjoy yoga classes.
  30. I think Syphnx cats are really cute (the ones with no fur)
  31. I'd happily be a vegetarian.  Not a big meat fan.
  32. I love photographs.
  33. My Grandad was one of my favourite people in the whole world.
  34. I don't like driving.
  35. I watch Friends every night when I get in bed.
  36. I never leave the house without painted nails.
  37. I went to Paris on my 30th birthday.
  38. I always have a pyramid of toilet rolls in the bathroom.
  39. Numbers confuse me.
    40. Blackpool Illuminations.
  40. I love going to Blackpool illuminations.
  41. I met my boyfriend at Salsa class.
  42. I'm terrified of moths.
  43. My favourite radio station is Capital FM.
  44. I love going to Will Young concerts with my Mum.
  45. I'm a civil servant by day.
  46. I love going to the theatre.  Particularly the Royal Exchange in Manchester.
  47. My favourite series of books is the 'I Heart' series by Lindsey Kelk.
  48. I current favourite programme is Nashville.
  49. I don't like horror films.
  50. I love breaking the spines of new books.
So now you now a bit more about me, whether you want to know or not! I'll be back to book blogs next time I promise!

Killer Queens by Rebecca Chance.

This was my first Rebecca Chance book and I'm happy to say I really enjoyed it.

I didn't know what to expect when I started reading but had heard so many good things about the book that I just had to give it a go.
I don't normally read 'bonkbusters' such as this one, but it was actually a lot of fun, and really good to have a change from my normal more fluffy chick-lit.

The British side of this story feels like it is strongly based on our very own royal family, but whilst it's fun to read making these comparisons the characters are so strong you get whisked into their very own story with them and forget all about what may or may not be our own reality.

I really liked the characters of Lori and Chloe, they were so normal and down-to-earth.  I could really relate to them despite the fact that they are about to become royalty and I am, well, not.

What I really loved about this book was that it's a brilliant escape from real life.  The characters are so vibrant and busy living lives that are so far removed from my own that reading this book really did whisk me off to a royal fairytale land.  The locations in the book sound so exotic you just wish you were there with the characters.

All in all this was a really fun book to read.  I will definitely read more Rebecca Chance books in the future.

But be warned, if you read this book you will never look at a banana the same way again!

What it's all about:
Every little girl grows up dreaming of marrying a prince - but what if the fairy tale turns into a right royal nightmare? Scheming kings, killer queens, evil princes, far-from innocent princesses, secret weddings, runaway brides, illicit affairs, death plots and lashings of steamy sex - it's just another day in the lives of the world's most powerful families. Find out what REALLY goes on behind closed palace doors…

Title: Killer Queens
Author: Rebecca Chance

The Book Blogger Test.

I was tagged in the Book Blogger Test by the lovely @shoefiend1984 and immediately wanted to have a go.  So here are my answers...

1. What are your top three book hates?

  • I hate borrowing books off people who don't want me to bend the spines - it scares me - and I spend the entire time reading worried that I'll accidentally crack it open.
  • Not being able to lend people books I have bought on Kindle.  I love lending books out to other people once I've enjoyed them and although I know you can do this (somehow!) on Kindle its not the same as actually giving someone a book.
  • I don't like reading to a deadline.  I know this makes me a really bad reviewer for publishers/authors but I like to decide what I want to read next, and read it in my own time.  As soon as I HAVE to read a certain book by a certain time it takes all the fun away for me.

2. Describe your perfect reading spot...

Anywhere at home where I can cuddle up under a blanket with one of my cats curled up on my knee. 

3. Tell us three book confessions...
  • I love breaking the spine of a new book.
  • I won't buy anything on Kindle that costs more than a couple of pounds, I'd rather buy an 'actual' book.
  • I'm obsessed with updating my reading progress on Goodreads.

4. When was the last time you cried at a book?

When I sobbed my heart out to 'Love Anthony' by Lisa Genova.

5. How many books are on your bedside table?

When I'm reading a book I carry it with me everywhere, it lives in my handbag by day and then comes to sit next to me by my bed at night as I'll often read before I go to sleep. 
My Kindle often sit by my bed too.

6. What's your favourite snack whilst you're reading?

Chocolate.  Chocolate biscuits or chocolate.  Did I mention chocolate?

7. Name three books you'd recommend to everyone...

With Love At Christmas by Carole Matthews.
Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson.
Still Alice by Lisa Genova.

8. Show us a picture of your favourite shelf on your bookcase...

9. Write how much books mean to you in just 3 words...

Page turning obsession. 

10. What is your biggest reading secret?

I can't stand classics, I know I should love them but I just can't get into the language so it takes me too long to read them which means I get bored. Sorry Jane Austen.

I tag:

Sunday, 15 September 2013

I Heart London by Lindsey Kelk.

I absolutely love the I Heart series, it's one of my all time favourite book series.  And I think this is one of the best books in the series.

We see the fabulous Angela Clark return back home to London and in true Angela style nothing ever goes quite as planned. I loved how totally 'English' Angela's parents were and they seemed quite calm about the fact that their house was completely taken over by Americans. 

I love Angela; she is so clumsy, funny and insecure about so many things, so basically she's just wonderfully normal.  But mostly she's someone I would love to be friends with.  I can see us both enjoying a trip to the zoo with a bag full of Monster Munch to keep us going.

This book sees all of the favourite characters getting back together, from the ever so slightly neurotic Jenny, to the lovely laid back Alex.  

You could easily read this book on it's own if you have not read any of the other books in the I Heart series but I would strongly recommend that you start at I Heart New York and work your way through the series. You'll learn a bit about each country, get whisked away in romance and will become just a little bit obsessed with getting your very own Marc Jacobs handbag. Trust me.

If you read this book you will giggle, be shocked at some of the twists, but most of all you will get the warm fuzzy feeling that all I Heart books leave you with.  Thank goodness I know I Heart Christmas will be out before the end of the year... I will never tire of reading books about Angela.  Finger's crossed we can grow old together, can't wait to read how much havoc she could cause in an old folks home!

The back page blurb:
Angela’s back on home turf – and in her biggest romantic scrape yet…
Angela Clark has fallen in love with New York – and it’s starting to love her back.
But when she’s summoned home to London, she’s at risk of losing her shiny new life to never-ending English rain, warm beer and bad memories. Talk about stepping back in time
There’s Mark, the ex-boyfriend – who she ran to New York to get away from.
There’s Louisa, her best friend, with her terrifying new baby.
And there’s her mum, still talking to her as though she’s fifteen.
Now there’s a wedding in the offing – and everyone remembers how well Angela behaved at the last one. . . Can the arrival of boyfriend Alex and best friend Jenny save her from a re-run of her old self?

Title: I Heart London
Author: Lindsey Kelk
I Heart Series #5

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.

If you would have told me I would like a book about the earth slowing down I would have laughed.  I'm not a fan of science based books or books based on complex theories as to be honest, I just get confused too easily! But I loved this book.  Yes, it is based on the slowing of the earth and the affect this has on the planet and the people on it.  But it is explained in a very clear and easy to understand way.  Plus, the story told is that of a young girl living through all the changes, but also living an ordinary young life, full of school and first-time boyfriends. All these things together make this book a very engaging and thought-provoking read.

The slowing of the earth affects so many things and with each one explained in the book I would find myself gripped to the explanations and I really felt like I understood why changes would happen so what could seem like a hugely theoretical situation became a realistic prospect by the end of the book.  I was left thinking that the slowing really could happen, and if it did I can imaging things happened just as described in the book.

I was drawn towards Julia, the main character in the book, as she struggled with the changing dynamics in her world: not only the earth but within the foundations of her friends and family also.

This was a very easy book to read.  I didn't expect this at all, I really thought I would be stumbling over explanations of the science, but it's really just a story of a girl, her parents and the shifts in friendships caused by growing up.

I would highly recommend this book.  I found it refreshing, totally original and very easy to read.  I flew through the pages desperate to find out what would happen at the end of the book.  Or should I say the end of the world?

The back page blurb:
'It is never what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophies are always different - unimagined, unprepared for, unknown…' One morning, Julia and her parents wake up in their suburban home in California to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth is noticeably slowing. The enormity of this is almost beyond comprehension. And yet, even if the world is, in fact, coming to an end, as some assert, day-to-day life must go on. Julia, facing the loneliness and despair of an awkward adolescence, witnesses the impact of this phenomenon on the world, on the community, on her family and on herself.

Title: The Age of Miracles
Author: Karen Thompson Walker

Me & You by Claudia Carroll.

When I started reading this book I had 
no idea what it was about, and this was part of how much I enjoyed it so I don't want to give anything away.  Let's just say that the book begins with Kitty's disappearance and I had no idea whether this would be resolved as easily as a quick 'Ooops sorry I'm late' or if it would develop into a more sinister storyline.  The not knowing was great and the beginning of the book really keeps your interest.

I loved the two main characters of Angie and Kitty.  There relationship was so strong it was lovely to read about, and each of them on their own were such likeable, quirky characters.    I particularly loved the characters of Jack Crown, reading about him I picture a very hunky man indeed and I like the strong name.

If I had to criticise this book I would say that I did find the story a bit long, there was a point in the book when I felt it could have finished and it would have ended well but instead the story continued for about another hundred pages.

It was a lovely read though; entertaining and interesting all the way through and packed full of very likeable characters.  Despite dealing at times with some difficult topics, the book had a very positive feel and the characters empowered themselves making this a very enjoyable and positive book to read.

The back page blurb:
“I’m fine. I’m sorry. Please take care of him for me. And maybe one day I’ll get to explain.”
Angie knows a lot about her best friend Kitty. She knows Kitty is mad and wild and loves to wear clashing colours. She knows she’s incredibly funny and generous but also very unreliable. And she knows that there is a perfect explanation for Kitty standing her up on her birthday. She thinks she knows everything about Kitty, except she doesn’t.
Kitty knows that she is the happiest she has ever been. She knows she’s so lucky to have a lovely boyfriend, Simon and a best friend like Angie. But what she doesn’t know is that on this night, her past is finally going to catch up with her and change everything.

Title: Me & You
Author: Claudia Carroll

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.

I fell in love with the cover of this book and couldn't wait to start reading it, despite it not being my usual type of book.

I don't normally read books that centre around time-travel as I often get confused by it, and this book was no different.  I found it hard to keep up with all the characters and the fact that each chapter was based in a different time period.  I was constantly flicking back to the previous chapter to check what year it had been then.

I liked the crime-based part of the story and found it interesting how all the victims were linked together.  I've read a lot of crime books and am used to reading quite graphic descriptions of crime, but the description of the attack on Kirby really affected me to the point of making my cry.
I really liked the character Kirby, and her fellow reporter Dan.  She was very strong and I loved the way he pulled through for her at the end of the book.

I found myself disappointed by the end of the book, I would have liked to know what happened to the main characters after events came to a conclusion.  I would also like to have known how the police responded to events.

I really liked the photos taken during the author's research at the end of the book, it was interesting to see places as she would have done whilst creating the story. And when I saw the photo of her 'murder wall' I realised it wasn't surprising that the plot sometimes confused me.

The back page blurb:
“It’s not my fault. It’s yours. You shouldn’t shine. You shouldn’t make me do this.”
Chicago 1931. Harper Curtis, a violent drifter, stumbles on a house with a secret as shocking as his own twisted nature – it opens onto other times. He uses it to stalk his carefully chosen 'shining girls' through the decades – and cut the spark out of them.
He’s the perfect killer. Unstoppable. Untraceable. He thinks…
Chicago, 1992. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Tell that to Kirby Mazrachi, whose life was shattered after a brutal attempt to murder her. Still struggling to find her attacker, her only ally is Dan, an ex-homicide reporter who covered her case and now might be falling in love with her.
As Kirby investigates, she finds the other girls – the ones who didn’t make it. The evidence is … impossible. But for a girl who should be dead, impossible doesn’t mean it didn’t happen…

Title: The Shining Girls
Author: Lauren Beukes

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Three Little Words by Jessica Thompson.

I just have to start by saying I am totally in love with the cover of this book.  I just adore it, and if I'm not looking at it myself then I'm making other people look at it.  It's just so dreamy and fresh.

I really really enjoyed this book.  It's refreshingly different from other books I've read, and not like anything I was imagining the book to be. I think like most people may do I associated 'Three Little Words' with the classic 'I Love You', a fair assumption for a chick-lit read I reckon, but this story is so much more than that.  Right at the start of the book there is a very dramatic event which totally throws all ideas I had about the feel of the book out of the window, and straight away I was hooked.

I travelled with the characters on their emotional journeys, some parts of which were heart-warming, some of which were just heartbreaking but it was such a compelling read.  I loved how the three separate storylines came together at the end and I was shocked to learn how all the characters lives were woven together; I was not expecting what I read at all which is really refreshing in a book.

There are so many strong characters in 'Three Little Words', but my favourite is Bryony.  She is so strong and it is impossible to read this book without feeling so much compassion for her as she struggles through a terrible situation.

I adore books that make me think and this one did just that.  The conflicting points of view between 'offender' and 'victim' were so interesting; their perspective on events is so totally different yet you feel and relate to both parties.  Just how much you are drawn to both characters viewpoint I think this is a reflection of just how strong the writing is.  I've never read a Jessica Thompson book before, I was will definitely be doing so again.

The back page blurb:
They are just words but they mean so much.
As a dark evening draws in, the lives of three women are changed forever.
The worlds they have been living in, the people they thought they knew - in an instant it all changes.
But when everything seems to shatter around them, could three little words be enough to help put the pieces back together again? 

Title: Three Little Words
Author: Jessica Thompson