27 October 2015

Reviewing Backlog: To Review Or Not To Review?

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As anyone who reads my blog will know, I’ve recently been a bit under the weather and my blog has born the brunt of my illness by being ignored. I had been doing quite well in reviewing books and then I got sick and didn’t touch my laptop for days on end and simply couldn’t work up the motivation to blog when all I wanted to do when coming back from work is sleep. This has meant I’ve fallen behind in all the books I want to review.

 

I’m Behind In My Reviews And Don’t Know If I Can Catch Up

 

I don’t read all that many review copies of books, but I always prioritise those books to review over other books I’ve read which I’ve bought myself. I do like to try and review all the books I’ve really enjoyed though, even if it’s just a short review, because I like to bring attention to those books I liked. Sadly, when I was sick I was still reading but I wasn’t writing anything up for review and I was already a few books behind for reviews in the first place, getting sick just put me way behind.

 

My question to all of you is simple, when you fall behind in your reviews (for whatever reason) do you carry on trying to review all the books you originally planned to on top of the new books you’re reading or do you forget those and start afresh?

 

I’m Thinking I May Have To Forget My Old Books

 

I am not the best about making sure I get posts written anyway, but to have to work on old reviews for books which have already drifted from my mind is a daunting task. Even my half written notes about a book are not always the best guide for what I should be writing, they are more spontaneous moments of inspiration that don’t make sense out of context.

 

I am not helpful to myself, and it seems my lack of order and method in writing reviews makes it even more difficult to know what I initially wanted to say. In some ways it’s good, my reviews end up taking a completely course than originally intended and I discover something I hadn’t realised about a book, but a lot of the time it is just confusing and unhelpful until I’ve edited things down.

 

As such, I now have a bunch of half written reviews and useless notes that don’t help me in writing reviews and leave me quite unmotivated to finish them. That lack of motivation means that any review I write will not be my best, and I don’t want to do that disservice to the books I want to review. I enjoyed them too much to not attempt to capture and explain my enjoyment of them to the best of my ability.

 

It’s OK, though, because isn’t it an excellent excuse for a reread?

 

I know I probably shouldn’t just abandon the books I wanted to review, but it’s the only thing which makes sense to me because I know how poorly I manage my time anyway, let alone creating time to write reviews for books that have faded slightly from my mind. I have vague notes written down so maybe I’ll go back and review them, but for now they are on the back burner. There are a couple of books I did really enjoy, and those are the books most likely to drive me to go back and write reviews, but this is also a perfect excise to go back and revisit the stories. Who doesn’t like an excuse for a reread?

 

As you can probably tell, I’ve already made my mind up on my course of action, but I do want to know your thoughts. How would you go about tackling a review backlog? Would you review your absolute must reads, work on getting all your reviews ready or simply just ignore them and move on?

25 October 2015

Sunday Summary: 25.10.2015

Sunday Summary
Yay, I’ve gained an extra hour this weekend! Don’t you just love when the clocks go back and you can spend an extra hour sleeping? Or, when they go back and you find yourself awake an hour earlier than usual and you can lots of extra things done with your day? Basically, the clocks changing is pretty awesome in some ways, and I know I’ll lose it again in March, but that’s ages away. In case you don’t know, it’s the end of British Summertime and Brits everywhere are rejoicing about the extra hour they will have on Sunday.

Now I have actually been out of the house shopping and being a busy little bee the past few hours of today, which is why I didn’t post this morning. I’ve gone and gotten food for next week and I treated myself to the Jurassic Park 4 disc collection, which would have been great, but my local Supermarket forgot to remove the red security tag from my discs. I have just spent the past hour raging about the incompetence of Tesco (last week they forgot to take the security tags off some pyjamas I bought), refusing to return to ask to have the security tags removed and finally begging my stepdad to help me figure out how on earth you are meant to remove these ridiculous things. It’s frustrating to say the least, but oh well.

This week has been far better than the past couple of weeks. Has my blog been lavished with attention? Not so much. I’ve started a couple of posts but I’m certainly not caught up. That said, I haven’t felt like death all week and I’ve managed to stay awake beyond 10 o’clock at night (an amazing feat for me recently) so I’ve had chance to read a few blog posts and I am catching up on things. I’ve also been able to read more books (yay for me) so I’m just building a long list of books to review.

What I’ve Been Reading

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New To Me

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My book buying ban was not as successful this week, but they were all books I intended to read immediately, well… apart from Everything Everything, that is the book which came in my Ravenpost subscription box. I’ve seen good reviews so I will be reading this soon, but it looks like a pretty different read for me.

Tell me about your week, has anything interesting happen or is your life as much of a thrill ride as mine has been? And am I the only one frustrated by stores forgetting to remove security tags from their shiny new things?

23 October 2015

Bite Sized Books // Two Books I Had To Read as Soon as I Heard About Them

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Okay, so I read a few books some weeks back that I really wanted to review… but then I went through a bit of a blogging slump. As such, I plan to do a few mini reviews to get you caught up and hopefully persuade you they are worth a read. This time I’m sticking with a couple of fantasy reads, one a fantasy romance

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Release Date: 28th April 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
First in a new fantasy series from the author of the Novels of the Half-Light City.


Entangled in a court ruled by tradition and intrigue, a young witch must come to terms with newfound power and desire—and a choice between loyalty and survival.…

The royal witches of Anglion have bowed to tradition for centuries. If a woman of royal blood manifests powers, she is immediately bound by rites of marriage. She will serve her lord by practicing the tamer magics of the earth—ensuring good harvests and predicting the weather. Any magic more dangerous is forbidden.

Lady Sophia Kendall, thirty-second in line to the throne, is only days away from finding out if she will be blessed—or perhaps cursed—with magic. When a vicious attack by Anglion’s ancient enemies leaves the kingdom in chaos, Sophia is forced to flee the court. Her protector by happenstance is Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie, a member of the royal guard, raised all his life to be fiercely loyal to the Crown.

Then Sophia’s powers manifest stronger than she ever imagined they would, and Cameron and she are inextricably linked in the process. As a witch unbound by marriage rites, Sophia is not only a threat to the established order of her country, but is also a weapon for those who seek to destroy it. Faced with old secrets and new truths, she must decide if she will fight for her country or succumb to the delicious temptation of power.
I only read this book after listening to a podcast over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. In fact, I ordered it and eagerly waited for it to be delivered the next day because it had sounded so interesting on the podcast. I started reading as soon as I opened the packaging, I was that eager to read it.

I know I’ve seen a few mixed reviews about it, but I have to say I 100% loved it. It is a fantasy romance novel, and I can’t help but wonder why this is a genre I’ve not heard of before. It’s all about a woman who is days away from finding out if she will have magic, and if she does, how powerful she will be. The court is quite sexist (I know, why do fantasy novels always fall into the sexist trap, it’s a fantasy world so you can’t claim you’re sticking with the time period, you make the time period!) so women who do have great power, after being bound to the church, are then married off in political marriages. I know, how different and interesting right? A series of events leads Sophie to not being in the capital one she ascends and that leads to things getting a bit interesting for her because she’s just not done things right!

The story is filled with action, the romance did make me roll my eyes a bit, it felt a bit rushed, but then I kind of stopped caring because I was really getting into the story. The story is quite fast paced at times that I didn’t notice the things which bothered me all that much. Sure, the characters could have been fleshed out more, but I also didn’t feel they were two dimensional. Sophie could have also had more of her independent rebellious streak to her, I often felt they faded into the background, but she was still fun to read about. And did I want a bit more story in this first book? Sure, but enough of the story was given that I will be reading the next book, whenever it is it will get released.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy and romance. It’s a fun read, that’s what I went in expecting anyway. Some may have been expecting more fantasy than romance, I would definitely say it is the other way round, there is a whole lot more romance to this book, and I expected it, so I think that’s why I enjoyed it.

Release Date: 28th October 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…


Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.
This was a recommendation from the lovely Danya over at Fine Print and oh my God am I glad she recced it. We’d been discussing horrible book covers and this one is certainly one of the worst I’ve ever come across and it actually puts you off of the book a little bit, and that sucks because this book is amazing! I have never read a book like this one before, and I loved it. I’m just upset the next book looks to have been pushed back to the middle of 2016! I expected it so much sooner, and I need to so much sooner because the story!

I loved the story and the characters and the fact that I am a little bit in love with an actual sociopath after reading this book. I mean this is a crazy world where people have abilities (well, some do) and the stronger the powers the higher up in society. There are different houses (I know, very medieval) and they attempt to breed the most powerful offspring, and now one has gone off the rails and Nevada has been hired by the family to track him down, whilst Rogan has been asked by his family to help out as one of his family members has gotten mixed up with this crazy dude and they want him back safe. This would all be fine, but ‘Mad’ Rogan is considered one of the most powerful Prime’s out there, he took out an entire city once! So obviously, Nevada wants to avoid him at all costs… you know… until he kidnaps and wants to work with her as they have similar aims.

I think what made this book is both that it’s not very heavy on the romance, it is way more about the story. It is most definitely a slow burn one (which I like) so the romance doesn’t take over from the actual story, because the story itself is what makes this book good. The fact people may have abilities is fun and interesting, and the weird hierarchical power structure in the world is intriguing, I’m dying to know more about that, but it’s the rivalries between houses that’s the best. And the best part of this book? The Baylor family, they are hilarious! I wish may family were half as cool as this one, they are close knit and they look out for each other and it’s just perfect.

I am going to be checking out more books by Ilona Andrews and I need more books like this one, but then it wouldn’t be so special if there were more books like it. Don’t let the cover put you off, this book is perfect!

And there you have my first batch of reviews, they’re good books, right? Let me know your thoughts below, have you read anything similar? Also, what’s the best book you’ve read with a terrible cover?


20 October 2015

Ten Wishes I'd Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me

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I’m back for another Top Ten Tuesday, which is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week’s theme is what I’d wish for from the bookish genie. Now, I am going to tell you now, most of the things I would want from the bookish genie is for certain bookish things to be real… or basically for me to have gotten my Harry Potter acceptance letter when I was eleven and for all to be right with the world.

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I would obviously wish for Hogwarts and the entire Harry Potter series to be real and for me to have gotten my acceptance letter. Or… if that is no longer possible, for my future children (purely hypothetical children which I don’t actually have) to receive their acceptance letters because at least than I can live vicariously through them to get to the wizarding world. I can’t be the only one who has that tiny hope for any children they may have.

 

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And I would want to actually be sorted by the sorting hat, I know Hogwarts houses in no way define you as you can have traits which represent all the houses, but I want to know dammit! I obviously signed up for Pottermore (before the fancy redesign) and got sorted on there (I’m a Slytherin, in case you’re interested… no I am not planning on turning evil so stop asking) but it’s not the same as a magical hat having access to your mind and deciding for you based on what it can see from your mind, as opposed to you answering a bunch of random questions online.

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Moving away from Harry Potter and onto my other bookish wishes… I really wish the Simon Snow series from Fangirl was real. I know that Carry On is the fanfiction Cath was writing for the Simon Snow series, and Simon Snow is very loosely based upon Harry Potter, but how could I not want the fictional books the fanfiction is based upon to have the full experience?

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Any library ever from any book I’ve read would be appreciated, I mean, thinking about it, I would love to find out what my favourite characters are reading… because it is perfectly acceptable to judge people from the books they read.

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Also… a chance to talk to a few bookish characters would also be great. I mean Cath would be an ideal bookish friend for me, did you see her passion for the Simon Snow books in Fangirl? I need a friend who gets that excited about reading!

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And back to the library topic, I would really really like to have more book shelves. This isn't even a genie worthy wish, but it's what I would like. I need more bookshelves and I need the book genie to grant this wish because in reality I have absolutely nowhere to but them, so I need the book genie to create shelves that take up no space for my ever growing collection of books.

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Why do books not come with pullout maps. Or a mini atlas? I can't be the only one who reads fantasy novels and wants a detailed map to understand where everything is. I'm still waiting for Marauder's Map of Hogwarts and I want a map of wizarding England as well.

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I would like a perfect book memory. I am forever forgetting what's happened in a series when the next book is released so have to reread and whilst I love rereading it would be nice to remember stuff so I don't always have to.

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I want someone to create books that don’t get battered in your bag and don’t weigh that much. I know, you’re all going to say that ereaders are a thing, and I know this and love my Kindle, but I love reading actual books as well. Sometimes you want to read a physical book (especially if said book has pictures or any maps so you can flick back and forth) and that’s just not convenient on an ereader. But then books take up space and I now hate nothing more than letting my books get battered on my journey to work.

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And my final wish from the book genie? Well, it’s difficult, but I want a bookish road trip of sorts. I would love to visit the places in my favourite books, to go to Paris and Prague and Australia and all across America, but also to Hogwarts and The Old Kingdom and various other fictional places. I would love to have a gap year of sorts visiting all these places (24 isn’t too old for a gap year, right?) because wouldn’t that be a once in a lifetime kind of journey? Although, I would like to visit my fictional places during peacetime, of course, it wouldn’t be as fun if I killed on my travels.

 

How about you guys, what have you been asking the book genie for? Tell me your thoughts about my wishes below.

18 October 2015

Sunday Summary: 18.10.2015

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So it turns out whatever I came down with last week was a little more draining than I initially thought. I literally wrote no posts last week and managed to get up one scheduled book review. Pretty poor all things considered. I’ve still powered through at work, but it’s very debatable whether or not I should have gone. Everyone in the office seems to have one ailment or another, though, so at least I can’t feel guilty about infecting others. It’s a case of everyone complaining together, I think other departments have treated us a bit like we’re in quarantine because a lot less people have stopped by to chat. All I seem to have done this week is worked and slept, not very exciting.

 

Sadly, my illness has meant I’ve barely touched my books as well this week, so not only has my poor blog been left neglected, but I haven’t even managed to read a bunch of books to make up for it! It’s probably for the best, though, because it means I also haven’t indulged in a bunch more books I haven’t had time to review. My backlog is getting a bit ridiculous, but I don’t want to not review any of these books.

 

What I’ve Been Reading

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And you will all be so proud… I have successfully bought no books this week! I know, crazy right? It helps that I’ve barely touched a computer, so no browsing book sites, and the single time I went near a bookshop I managed to ignore the call from the books and didn’t enter (it was hard, but I managed). The only book that is new to me is Visions of Heat, but that was borrowed from the library so I can hardly count it.

 

I know very little of interest happened this week, but I wanted to show I’m still alive. But how has everyone else’s week gone? Has anyone else managed a small achievement like me, and why can there not be trophies in real life like there are in games?

16 October 2015

Red Queen // You Want Me To Pin The Entire Revolution On Some Teenaged Love Story?

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Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
Release Date: 12th February 2015
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating:
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living in the shadow of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from the Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Then Mare finds herself working at the Silver palace, in the midst of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
I am a bit late to the game when it comes to reading Red Queen and I’m quite glad I waited. I remember it being released and seeing largely positive reviews (actually, as I recall people raved about it) but the book largely past me by. I was intrigued by this book when it was released, but I was fatigued after the YA genre had been awash with these dystopian trilogies. I’m glad I waited to read this when I felt like reading it rather than because that is what’s cool to read because it meant I got to enjoy it.

The Premise


This book is all about social hierarchy, you’ve got your Silvers, who are the elite in society, who rule and control the land with an iron fist. They view themselves as lenient masters who allow the Reds to live as they do, preventing them from starving. The Reds are the lower class, the servants and the workers who claw and scrape to survive, eager for employment otherwise they face being conscripted at the age of 18 to fight a war they will probably never see any benefit from. It’s a hard life for the Reds, they are downtrodden and have no hope of overthrowing their elite masters as the Silvers possess terrifying powers which lead it to being practically impossible to defeat them.

Red Queen follows Mare Barrow, a Red girl who is fast approaching conscription age and has not hope of finding a job as she possesses few skills. A series of events, which I won’t reveal here because I hate to spoil things for you, leads her to working in the palace where she reveals to all she is far more than she seems. The Silvers are no longer the only ones with powers, she too possesses abilities and these abilities may be more powerful than she can ever hope. Obviously, no one can know of the abilities she possesses, the Reds might get ideas about themselves and it would destabilise the entire ruling system, so they disguise her as a long lost Silver noble and she is left to pretend and live amongst people who would happily kill her if they knew the truth.

Why I Liked Aforementioned Premise


It’s a really intriguing story, I mean I love a good book with a complex social hierarchy. The social structure within is very much based on the old class system which isn’t exactly unique, but I enjoyed reading the book. I would have liked to know more about the politics and the social structure within the two classes, but get why that couldn’t be expanded upon in a single book, especially when the book is told from the perspective of Mare, who is naive in many ways, and ignorant of political intrigue. I certainly hope it could be expanded upon in future books, but I know it’s far more likely we’ll be following something completely different in those books.

The various abilities the Silvers possessed intrigued me. Sure, this is probably because it’s reminiscent of X-Men and mutant abilities which I love, but I also found it interesting how the abilities worked and the limits upon them, demonstrating that even the Silvers had limits upon them. You needed that, because otherwise the Silvers would have appeared inhuman, and you would have alienated readers against them as you couldn’t sympathise with them. I found it interesting that the Silvers are initially demonstrated as being cruel and unfeeling until Mare became one of them and witnessed that they live with a similar illusion of freedom as the Reds, they just have greater comfort as they do so and it is easer to ignore the

So, Let’s Summarise


This book was not unique, but it was enjoyable. It did not redefine the dystopian genre, it didn’t even really even crack the mould, let alone break it, but what was within the book was enjoyable. It may have been more enjoyable if it hadn’t been released at the tail end of the dystopian fiction craze but instead towards the beginning, then what was within the book may have seemed more ground-breaking. Unfortunately, that was not the case. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it though. It was a good book, the characters were interesting and it was an enjoyable book, it was just upsetting it could not have been more.

Also, I feel I should clarify the post title for you, this was a quote from the book and I loved it because it completely summarises how so many YA dystopian books go, there is always some grand romance that is central to the books and the rebellion in some way. It’s basically ridiculous and it was nice for a book to acknowledge the absurdity.
“You want me to pin my entire operation, the entire revolution, on some teenage love story? I can’t believe this.”

Have you read any books that you felt have been published a bit too late for it to be able to claim originality and instead feel like they recycling old ideas? And have you read a book where the ideas aren’t original (it’s hard to claim originality nowadays) but the way they’re implemented are different and unique?

11 October 2015

Sunday Summary: 11.10.2015

Sunday Summary
This week has been a complete failure in terms of blogging. I went back to work and gave myself a couple of days away from my blog because I was feeling run down. But then I’ve not even really looked at my blog and barely responded to comments, I most certainly haven’t managed to successfully write a blog post. Part of it is that I’ve been busy. It was my nan’s birthday Wednesday so that was an extremely full and exhausting day after work, but lovely because it was her 80th birthday. She received one card which listed significant events which happened in 1935 and one of them is the creation of the Kit Kat, how cool is that? Then it was a cousin’s wedding on Saturday so that was another thing that took up most of my day Saturday, or certainly all of my evening. It was lovely seeing my family, but also completely exhausting because I never cope well in social situations.

The other reason for my lack of blogging enthusiasm? Turns out I’ve been coming down with something. On Friday, I got to work and felt sick and spent the entire day making sure I didn’t throw up (fun day was had by all, obviously) so that probably explains my exhaustion. I probably shouldn’t have gone to my cousin’s wedding the next day, but I don’t cope well with doing nothing, and I am the worst person for being ill. I just try and function as normal until I literally can’t anymore. Whatever it is I have (knowing me, probably a cold I’m being overly dramatic about) I mostly just want to sleep all day, or drug myself up with paracetamol and ibuprofen and pretend I’m alright. Both are viable options, but the latter is probably more accurate of what I’ll do because I need to go to work tomorrow.

Basically, it has been a very looooooong week and I am exhausted. I will try to blog again next week. I have a few half written up reviews and I will respond to my comments soon. I miss reading what people have to say. And I am so behind on my blog reading and I want to comment but there aren’t enough hours in the day!

What I’ve Been Reading

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New To Me

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Anyway, I know I said I would be going on a book buying ban, but it hasn’t been in anyway successful. The first four books I ordered from World of Books, which sells used books, and hopefully I will read those soon. Then my preorder of Carry On arrived (I’m extremely excited about) and it looks stunning. Everything about the book makes me happy, now I just need to begin reading. I treated myself to a couple of kindle books, The Emperor’s Edge (which was free) and The Young Elites (which wasn’t). And my final book I got this week? I was going to buy it, I saw everyone’s instagram pictures of the book and decided I would treat myself for Christmas. I had no intention of buying the illustrated edition of Harry Potter… but then it was for sale half price at Tesco and I would be stupid to say no to that wouldn’t I?

How does everyone cope when they’re feeling a bit under the weather? Am I the only one who pretends they’re alright during the day and then spends hours sleeping to recover? And has anyone else gotten copy of the illustrated edition of Harry Potter? Isn’t it just stunning?

08 October 2015

A Thousand Nights–E.K. Johnston

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A Thousand Nights – E.K. Johnston
Release Date: 8th October 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling, Young Adult
My Rating:
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village, looking for a wife.

When Lo-Melkhiin - a formidable king - arrives at her desert home, she knows that he will take her beautiful sister for a wife. Desperate to save her sister from certain death, she makes the ultimate sacrifice - leaving home and family behind to live with a fearful man.

But it seems that a strange magic flows between her and Lo-Melkhiin, and night after night, she survives. Finding power in storytelling, the words she speaks are given strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. But she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king . . . if only she can stop her heart from falling for a monster.

Set against a harsh desert backdrop, A Thousand Nights by E K Johnston is an evocative tale of love, mystery and magic that would not feel out of place if Scheherazade herself were telling it.
And perhaps she is...

I received a copy of this book off of Netgalley what feels like ages ago, it is a book I had been eagerly anticipating so had to request it. None of this affected my opinion in anyway and this is a totally honest review.
This is not a book which is easy to review, or to even describe. It has so many things going on and is so original in its approach that it makes it difficult to find the right words to properly describe it. This book is a slower paced novel with a strong magical quality to it. The writing was stunning and really drew me in to this book. The skill of the writing wraps you in this story until you are fully submersed in the world and it somehow keeps you there, even though the pace is slow and the story is different. It is just an amazing book.

You are all probably aware that another 1001 Nights retelling has been released this year, The Wrath & The Dawn, and you are also probably concerned this book will be a similar read, you will be thrilled to hear this is not the case. The two cannot even be compared as their approaches to the tale differ so completely. A Thousand Nights very much follows the magical path and keeps true to the original fairytale, expanding upon it and altering it to tell a tale which feels real and genuine. The world created within the words is magical, mystical, and feels very real. Whilst the two books are based upon the same fairytale, you would never be able to compare them as the stories they tell are completely different. For that, I am glad.

It is a slower paced book, but it is not boring. I often complain about the slow pace in books, but this isn’t one of those times. If this book moved too fast you would lose some of the wonder in the writing. This is not a huge action-packed adventure where you jump from one significant event to another, it is a slow book filled with magical stories, quiet courtly intrigue and excellent characterisation with a complex belief system. This book is all about the beautiful writing and realistic world, if it wasn’t written at a greater pace or with more action involved it would not create the same awe in the tale being told. It won’t be a book everyone can appreciate, but I certainly did.

I also loved that the entire story is told from the perspective of one young girl. You get occasional glimpses from a different perspective, but the main story is told from one voice and that really makes the book for me. Often this can make or break a book, the voice it is told from, but the entire tale is told from the viewpoint of Scheherazade, at least you assume that because you never in fact get told the name of your main character (I didn’t realise this until I finished and began writing this review, I am bad with character names at times, but no so bad I can’t remember her name). Scheherazade’s voice makes the entire story a bit more personal and real, and this connection you get with her from the start helps add to the book. I think if I had not enjoyed her thoughts and perspective in this book I would not have enjoyed it. She is not necessarily the strongest of characters, nor is she without flaws, but she is easy to connect to. I think this is from her connection to her family and the very intelligent thoughts she has on the world she inhabits, despite her more humble upbringing.

A Thousand Nights is one of those books that sounded realistic and genuine and was simply astounding. It is difficult to fully describe it you without revealing too much and spoiling it, but I can confirm it is utterly unique. I felt like I was reading a fairytale, but it was more than that, it felt like a genuine story from history. Whilst reading, you felt like this was a folktale told around a campfire whilst you travelled across the desert, one of those stories passed down to each generation. The world created felt so real and I don’t think I have ever said this about a book before, but the belief system described in this book was utterly fantastic. Johnston creates a religious system centred around what they call ‘smallgods’  which were peoples ancestors who were worshipped for different feats they did in life. They gave power to these ancestors celebrating them for their achievements. I loved that the religious system was explained so well, I mean it is a part of the story so if you read you will understand why, but it is nice to have the religious beliefs explained so well with it very much being a woman’s role in the family to honour the ancestors of her husbands family.

I think the greatest part of this book, for me, was the fact that women and their roles were looked over so quickly by men, but this entire book is about the strength of women and what they can achieve even though men would look past them. It was amazing, again I won’t reveal too much, but I definitely got a strong sense that women were important in this book. It has a strong feminist vein to it, but it is not overwhelming, I know some people can be turned off by the word feminism (I would ask why, but this is not what my review is about) but you definitely not get put off in this book. You will want to stand up and celebrate the strength of women after reading this, it is amazing.

Overall, I love this book. No, it is not the most thrilling when broken down to the basic story, but it doesn’t need to be. You do not need action and adventure to make a good book, and Johnston demonstrates this in A Thousand Nights. Instead, you need strong characters, a very believable world to be created, and a tale which invokes a strong connection to this world and characters. Johnston invokes a sense of wonderment and power with the words written and I adored it. I will say now, not everyone will enjoy this book, but I hope you will be willing to give it a chance, because you may find something really beautiful in it.

Have you read A Thousand Nights, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Has anyone else read a book that they want to recommend, but know not everyone will enjoy? It’s hard, because it is fantastic, but books can often be an individual experience, especially those that are not gripping tales.

06 October 2015

Ten Bookish Bad Habits I Want to Quit

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week’s theme is bookish things I want to or have quit doing. This was a vary open topic (very open) and I decided to list the bookish habits I want to quit doing, because I have a lot of bookish bad habits.

 

I Will Stop Impulse Buying Books When I Don’t Have Time to Read Them

 

I think everyone who has ever read a Sunday Summary post by me can attest to my bad book buying habit. It’s only been getting worse, so I vow to try and calm it down a bit.

 

I Will Treat My Books Better

 

No more shall I dog-ear the pages of books when I can’t find a book mark. I will stop cracking the spines of my books. I will stop dropping my book in the bath (this happens more than you would think). And I will absolutely stop losing the dust jacket for me hardback books (it gets in the way when I’m reading them, but then I always forget where I put it).

 

The Library is a Good Thing – I Will Start Embracing It

 

I suppose this is less quitting something and more taking up something else. I like owning my books, but it’s an expensive habit. I will start borrowing a few books from the library, books I’m unsure about rather than committing to a more expensive books I end up not liking.

 

I Will Stop Pre-ordering Books I Have No Intention of Picking Up Immediately

 

This is me giving into the hype with books more than anything. I am terrible for it and I don’t know why. I am very suggestible at times, I see an advert on TV and for a good half an hour I will want whatever was advertised. I don’t know why I’m like that. The same is true for books. I will read something about a book and want it immediately, falling into the draw of the hype. But that fades and my pre-order of that book still arrives. I must stop.

 

I Will Stop Abandoning Series Partway Through and Not Going Back to Them

 

I sometimes get series fatigue. It isn’t that I’m not enjoying the book and is more I’m eager for a standalone story so I’m not heavily invested in a long intense series. Problem is, this happens when I’m reading a series and so I take a break… but then I don’t end up going back to that series as I’m intimidated by the catch up.

 

I Will Stop Skim Reading Books To Get To The Good Bit

 

I am a reader who wants to know everything instantly (but not really because that would be boring) and so I will sometimes find myself skim reading a book when the story has gotten really intense. That’s great, but it means I miss some of the detail and nuance of a book with my rushing so I must stop and smell the roses when it comes to reading. I don’t need to get everything all at once.

 

I Will Stop Being Intimidated by Big Books

 

I can’t be alone on this one, but I am intimidated by long reads. It makes no sense because I normally really enjoy them, but looking at a physical copy can leave me afraid to get started. And when I try reading long books on my Kindle I sometimes get upset when the percentage read doesn’t increase as fast as I would like. I often have the issue that if I spend too many days reading a book I will think there is something wrong with the book and risk abandoning it (no one said I made sense) and so big books are always risky if I spend too long reading I may end up abandoning. I think it’s because I start thinking of all the books I could be reading and feel bad. I don’t know.

 

I Will Stop Buying an Entire Series Before I’ve Even Read the First Book

 

I often invest in entire series before even reading the first one. It’s stupid really, because I may not even like the series, but I hate the idea of finishing the one book and being left without the rest of the series to immediately start reading. I don’t know why I’m like that. I think it’s because when I was younger and only had my pocket money to spend on books and the library for further reading material I was frequently left hanging partway through a series because the library didn’t have the next book available or I couldn’t afford to buy it. Stuff like that stays with you it seems and leads you to develop some bad spending habits.

 

I Will Stop Reading Reviews For Books I Want to Read

 

This is actually something I’ve already started doing. I used to love finding out what others thought about books I was dying to read, but then I started getting put off books I was excited to get reading. I don’t want others to put me off reading something, I would rather make my mind up for myself, so I have started avoiding reviews for books I haven’t read yet. I do try and save them from my favourite bloggers so I can go back and comment later, but that’s a new thing I’m trying to stick with. It’s harder than it seems. I’m always eager to know others thoughts so I sometimes click on without thinking. I need to stop.

 

I Will Stop Being Tempted by Deals and Buying Books to Complete a Deal

 

I am a menace for finding cool, supposedly money saving deals, like the 6 for £10 deal at The Works and Amazon’s 3 for £10 deal and various other deals I’ve found across the internet. I inevitably end up buying at least one book in these deals that I have contemplated reading but have never been motivated enough to buy. There is normally a reason I haven’t bought it sooner, so it ends up gathering dust in my room until I force myself to read it. Sometimes I enjoy it, but other times there is a reason for me not buying it. I will stop giving into temptation.

 

What are your bookish bad habits that you’re trying to quit?

05 October 2015

Author Addiction: Jill Shalvis

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Author Addiction is a feature where Kaja at Of Dragons and Hearts and I talk about authors we love who may not have gotten the attention they deserve on our blogs. It is an opportunity to declare our love for them and basically fangirl over how great they are.

Now, we’ve been doing this Author Addiction feature for several months now and I was shocked when I discovered Kaja and I had yet to feature an author we both love a lot. I mean, she crops up a lot and although I was a bit late to the game in obsessively reading her books, and I’m still not caught up (she’s written so many!) on all her series, but she is definitely an author we both love. Who are we raving about this month? Jill Shalvis, of course.

I was excited to feature the lovely Jill Shalvis because she is an author who guarantees giving a good romance read. She is, basically, the queen of the smalltown romance, I have yet to find anyone who writes books in that genre quite as good as hers. Even the books I’ve complained about from Shalvis (her early Wilder series) are not terrible books, they are good books that frustrated me because there was obviously more potential in them that sadly didn’t get explored. I love authors like that, who even the books I didn’t like as much I still enjoyed them, and that takes a certain talent, and some really awesome characters.

My First Steps Into The World of Shalvis


23471955I can’t quite recall where I first stumbled across Shalvis’s books, I think I saw her name mentioned on a few blogs when I was searching for a good romance book and everyone seemed to be saying good things about her Lucky Harbor series. I decided to give her first book a read.

I enjoyed Simply Irresistible, but I was reading and buying on my Kindle and the rest of the series was £4 per book, I just could not justify spending that much to get reading a 12 book series, plus novellas. I am not made of money. It was upsetting because I was intrigued by this smalltown and these three sisters, I was dying to know what happened with Chloe, the youngest sister, and the town sheriff. I just knew that was going to be good, and then there was Tara and her ex, who wouldn’t want to read another second chance romance?

Sadly, as I wasn’t willing to invest Shalvis became an author who was on my radar for when her books dropped in price, but who I wasn’t planning to read anything else from. Then Kaja started reviewing some of Shalvis’s books and once more I was reminded this author wrote a book I loved and I still haven’t read the rest of that series… or anymore of it at all. And that felt wrong.

I don’t know if you know this, but I am both an obsessive and a dedicated reader. Once I decide I like an author I am committed to reading everything I can get my hands on by them, I will also keep reading even when they have written a book I don’t like. Luckily for me, Shalvis is a prolific author so I’m not likely to run out of books to read from her, and even better, she doesn’t write bad books.

Okay, So What About Favourites?


I always find it difficult to select just one book as a favourite from any author, I feel I’m doing them a disservice by saying there is one book I hold above the rest, and with Shalvis it’s even worse because I love all of her books. It’s difficult to say that just one is the best.
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I love the few books I’ve read of the Lucky Harbor series. I think the second book, The Sweetest Thing, is one of my favourites that I’ve read because I love a good second chance romance? But, then I loved Head Over Heels as well because I thought Chloe was fun and 23521998interesting, and who doesn’t love a sexy sheriff (that’s from the blurb, so it’s not even me that came up with that one. Doesn’t it sound like a bad Halloween costume?).

There are other books by Shalvis outside of the Lucky Harbor series, though, that just happens to be the most well known series of hers. I mean, there is her Animal Magnetism series (no, I’ve not read those 24928841yet, it’s on the list) and her new Cedar Ridge series. I do admit that Second Chance Summer is a favourite of mine, partially because this one I’ve discovered when it’s just beginning and there is nothing more fun than starting a new series from the beginning. My other reason for it being a favourite is that it’s a second chance romance, something I really didn’t realise I was a sucker for until I started thinking about my favourites here.

So Why Should You Be Reading Jill Shalvis’s Books?


I don’t want to tell you to read her books just because I said so (although you should) but she really is a fantastic author. I know I tend to mention an awful lot of romance authors but Jill Shalvis may be one that everyone can appreciate. Are some of her stories quite similar, sure, all romance is, I certainly wouldn’t suggest an all out binge of nothing but her books (unless you’re into that kind of thing) but I would suggest sampling a few of her better known works. She is the perfect cozy night in read. Her stories are very much typical for romance (not in a bad way) but the characters she creates and the places she writes about are so utterly unique and believable that you don’t care about something so mundane as if the story is original. I am a firm believer that a good writer can take an overused storyline or concept and create a fantastic story as long as they have strong characters to keep you interested and Shalvis certainly has some fun characters to keep you wanting to read.

She is an author who will appeal to a lot of people. If you like your smalltown romances, your contemporary romances with an alpha male with substance, and with heroines who know their own minds and are not going to put up with being rescued then she is an author for you. She is a fun author and she writes fun books and that’s why I love her, she guarantees you a good book to curl up with, and some fairly swoon worthy leading men as well, which no one can complain about.

Have I convinced you? I hope so, but if not tell me why and I will attempt to force her books on you some more (I’m only mostly joking on that one). If I have then please find out more about the fabulous Jill Shalvis at her website/Twitter/Instagram etc.


Also, don't forget to check out Kaja’s post over at Of Dragons and Hearts!

Who is your author who you know you are guaranteed an enjoyable read from so you commit to continually buying their books?

04 October 2015

Sunday Summary: 04.10.2015

Sunday Summary
Sadly, my week off has come to an end. I wish I could say I’ve done lots of interesting things, but I didn’t. I caught up on lots of sleep, stressed about my poor dog because he seems to be compulsively scratching (no, we thought fleas, but we’ve treated him and checked him and that’s not it, so we’ll wait and see how it goes for him) and I did boring things like housework. I discovered I am some kind of hoarder when clearing out rubbish from under my bed. I had 4 old phones under my bed, why would I keep them? And, I also binned all my uni notes, because it’s been three years and I’ve never looked at them, it’s stupid to keep them. It means I now have loads of extra room under my bed for storage, which is always good, I’m thinking of storing some of my lesser read books under there.

I didn’t get as much reading done as I thought I might, but I have read plenty so I’m not complaining. I also didn’t get anywhere near as many blog posts written up as I hoped (I’m still so behind on my reviews!) but I don’t care because I renewed my obsession with The Sims. I don’t know how a game can be so addictive, but it is. I spent an entire day just playing it in the middle of my week off, I’d feel bad that I didn’t leave the house, but screw that, it’s my holiday and I’ll be a recluse if I want to!

What I’ve Been Reading

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I know, you’re thinking she hasn’t read as much as she wanted, how many books did she want to read? I know it’s not like I haven’t been reading, but I wanted to make a greater dent in my own TBR pile yet both Slave to Sensation and On the Edge were books I got form the library, so it’s not like I’ve been reading my own books exclusively. I’m attempting to read more from my library, but it doesn’t have the best selection, so we shall see.

Also, isn’t it amazing how reading a short story can remind you why you love an author? I last experienced this reading the My True Love Gave To Me short story collection last Christmas, and when I got an ARC copy of Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie off of Netgalley I experienced that again. Maybe it’s something to do with Christmas short stories, who knows? It was amazing though, I love Jennifer Crusie.

New To Me

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And, as you can see, my spending ban has not gone well. These are all Kindle purchases, one is my Kindle First book (Life and Other Near-Death Experiences) even though they are the books that take me forever to read. A couple are currently free for Kindle, so I have an inability to not get them (Coming in From The Cold, Emerge, and Balanced on the Blade’s Edge). And so really I’ve only purchased 3 books… plus a few that are coming in the post, but they’re not here yet, so I’m not counting them.

I am officially, from this week forward, attempting to stop buying books! Just for a few weeks, so I can get a handle on my TBR pile. I’m being honest this time. It will happen, I just have to stop book browsing in my freetime, which is sad because it is one of my favourite things to do.

Am I the only one who finds themself cleaning on their week off? And does anyone else find themself hoarding things for no logical reason and then having a big clear out every so often (not including books, of course)?