Lisa's Book Life

Down the TBR Hole #2

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I get a lot of satisfaction from organising my book shelves, whether it’s my virtual ones on Goodreads or my jam-packed ones at home. I see this post LOTS and always read Zuky the Bookbum’s regular post so her decluttering has inspired me to do the same. I think this tag was first started by Lia @ Lost in a Story a year or so ago, and what a fab idea it is! Both these bloggers always have great posts, so go check them out 😁
There’s a few simple guidelines:
Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
Order on ascending date added.
Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
Read the synopses of the books.
Decide should it stay or go.

long-swirl-pattern-wall-art-sticker-56Now, last time I did this post wrong! I listed just the books getting dumped into the giant hole of oblivion and NOT the first ten on my TBR shelf. Dozy tart! 😂 So I’m getting it right this time! Here goes:

 

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Portent by James Herbert

O.M.G! It’s James Herbert, this isn’t going anywhere ok?! He is my favourite horror author of ALL TIME, so why haven’t I read this yet? I DO NOT KNOW. Suffice to say, it’s a keeper.

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The Jonah by James Herbert

What the…?? Hang on a minute, this is madness! Another Herbert one unread? No. No. No. This must stop.

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369135 Bright Young Things by Scarlett Thomas

After reading The End of Mr Y an age ago and loving it, then delving straight into Popco shortly after, I had a Scarlett Thomas bug! But looking at the synopsis and various mixed reviews, I think I’ll toss this one aside.

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3153114 Sepulchre by Kate Mosse

I have this on my bookshelf, it is beautiful, as is Labyrinth, the first one of this series. I’ve read #1 and loved it so much. Why is this still a TBR? One of life’s unanswered questions I guess. I also added Citadel (#3) to my TBR too. I’ll get there. Eventually. This ones staying put.

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Dissolution by C J Sansom 

Yeah, I’m struggling with this ones destiny. I really enjoy historical fiction, it is one of my favourite genres and this is #1 in the Matthew Shardlake series. And there’s a lot more of them. I’ve got so much history on my shelves, and so many I would choose over this. So I think I’ve decided. Soz to all the fans, I know I’m probably missing something great here but…

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Dark Fire by C J Sansom

Reasons for this; see previous book!

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1201301To the Devil a Daughter by Dennis Wheatley

*Does the Vintage Horror dance* Black Magic and Occulty stuff. Yes please. I’m reading this. Soon.

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The Haunting of Toby Jugg by Dennis Wheatley

Why do I buy two fabulous vintage horror stories and then not read them for ten years? Why? Someone tell me.

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358954 Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

Bloody hell, I give up! I bought this AT THE JAMAICA INN. I STAYED AT THE JAMAICA INN. TWICE. I LOVE CORNWALL AND THE JAMAICA INN. Obviously, I’ll read it. I’ll pack it when I next go stay at the JAMAICA INN😰😂

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James Herbert’s Dark Places

I know, I know, but there’s a bonafide reason I’ve not read this. I can’t find it. Anywhere. I saw it on Amazon ages ago and some marketplace seller wanted forty quid for it! I was like WHAT????? No way. But if I come across it, or anyone has a copy for sale (cheap!) let me know. I’m itching to get my hands on it. My Herbert collection has a deep, dark hole in it. So this one’s a BIG FAT KEEPER.

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So all done here for now, 3/10 being disposed of. Not bad. Just going off to my Goodreads to get shot of the three. Until next time folks, cheerio, and thanks for stopping by!

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Books about books, Goodreads Reviews

Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland (A 2017 top read)

Lost For WordsLost For Words by Stephanie Butland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say? I’m lost for words!

Loveday on her passion:

‘Anyone who’s worked in a bookshop for longer than an afternoon will tell you that people buy books for all sorts of reasons. There’s the simple love of books, of course: the knowledge that here is an escape, a chance to learn, a place for your heart and mind to romp and play’.

I read that statement, and I was sold. I knew I’d love this book.

Stephanie Butlands story started out as a quirky, cute little read. So bookish and perfect for anyone who has a penchant for books about books.

Lost for Words is the name of the book shop where our main protagonist works. Loveday (yes, that’s her wonderful name, and strangely my kindle auto corrects it to the word library, which pleases me) is a sweet, quiet soul, who has wonderful relationships with books and words, but humans, well, that’s a different matter altogether.

Loveday on people:

‘I don’t really do ‘nice until you prove you’re not’– I find it saves time to work it the other way around, in the normal way of things’.

She spends her days working in the second hand book shop, reluctantly dealing with customers and colleagues, just wanting to be left to immerse herself in books. They’re her escapism, for which I completely get. She’s so passionate about poetry and stories, her body is a canvas of book~quote tattoos. Wow, I just love that!

As the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that Lovedays introverted personality is the product of a childhood trauma, and she’s dealing with it. That’s until strange packages start to arrive at the shop, and Lovedays world is turned slowly upside down.

All the characters in Lost for Words are so convincingly real. Loveday has so many endearing qualities, she’s funny, dry and full of wit. But she doesn’t even realise it, she’s adorable. Archie, her book shop boss had me visualising Sir Ian McKellen playing the part. And Nathan. Lovely gorgeous, bonkers Nathan, with his DM’s laced up all wrong, he is a magical, mystical character. And rather bookishly good looking I’d imagine.

The chapters range from ‘Poetry’, ‘History’ and ‘Crime’, with various timelines that steadily combine to form the ‘bigger picture’ and pull the reader in with emotionally charged realism. I felt as though I was ‘people watching’ in this book. At times I was THAT ENGROSSED that I felt as though I was hiding at the end of the bookshop, (among the Classics) ear-wigging everything that was going on!

Everyone and everything sat very vividly in my mind, and that is a sure sign of superb writing.

Lost for Words is an enlightening, powerful and rather heartbreaking read. There’s lots of life~lessons in here as well as laugh out loud moments. Bad stuff happens to good people sometimes, and there’s nothing you can do about it apart from accept it and move forward.

For those of you who enjoyed Gail Honeymans ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’, I urge you to give this book a go. I found a few similarities throughout the story, which I loved because Honeymans book was brilliant. And so is this.

I’m going to give this a 4.5 star rating, rounded up to 5 stars as 4 isn’t enough. And it’s going on my ‘best of 2017’ Goodreads shelf.

I’d like to thank the author, Stephanie Butland, Zaffre Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.
View all my reviews

Goodreads Reviews, Historical, Lisa's Book Life

Anne Boleyn: A Kings Obsession by Alison Weir (A 2017 top read)

Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession (Six Tudor Queens #2)Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bravo!!!! All the stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Historical fiction is quickly becoming my favourite genre, particularly when I find a royal gem like this. I requested this from NetGalley, half expecting to be turned down, as Alison Weir is an established author. But, lo and behold, I got accepted, and I was delighted!

Anne Boleyn was Henry’s second wife out of the six. Their relationship was an uphill struggle from the outset as Henry was still married to Katherine of Aragon for the best part of their courting, which caused controversy among the masses. This painted poor Anne as a harlot and whore. She was neither. In fact, she was a sassy, educated, well travelled woman who certainly knew what she wanted out of life. But back in the 1500’s, women generally weren’t to be seen as having an opinion to voice. They were there to help secure families’ futures, the most important thing of course was to have a son, and in royalty, an all important heir.

Alison Weirs historical knowledge shines from page one. She portrays the era with pinpoint perfection, every minute detail brought to living colour with ease. What I found most satisfying was that the basis of the story was factual. The author achieved an in-depth history lesson that was fascinating because the characters actually existed. She gave them their own part to play, and added their personalities, reactions and mannerisms based on her fantastic knowledge as a historian. The vision she had as a fictional author brought together an accurate depiction of events with drama and passion to make for a truly memorable read.

I’ll be honest in saying that it wasn’t the easiest read for me at times. At around half way through I had to stop for a while, in fact, for well over a week, because it was getting heavy. Not to hold, as it was on my kindle, (the physical book is a satisfying 544 pages) but heavy on the politics and religion. That was by no means a bad thing, because during the Tudor period, England was going through some very tough times, and Henry Tudor was responsible for a huge amount of uproar and change, so it was necessary and relevant to the story. But in order for me to get full enjoyment from it, I really did need that break. I’m not the best at taking in political plots and religious intricacies, and on various occasions I found I wasn’t connected to what I was reading. That, however, did not have any adverse effect on the story flow, it didn’t make me enjoy it any less, if anything, it made me more determined to finish it.

On finishing, I discovered at the end a ‘Timeline’ and a ‘Dramatis Personae’ or character list which really helped fill in a few gaps due to me not quite connecting or understanding certain areas of the book.

All in all, this is a fantastic read which I recommend to any fan of British History, it’s not the easiest, but it’s well worth persevering with because Alison Weir is an incredible author whom I shall be reading much more of in the future.

I’d like to thank the author, Alison Weir, the publisher, Ballantine Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Goodreads Reviews

The One by John Marrs (A 2017 top read)

The OneThe One by John Marrs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Previously published as A Thousand Small Explosions

Absolutely superb! How the hell did you even come up with this Mr Marrs? And the fact that it was on my NetGalley wishlist, and you granted me my wish! You’re my FairyGodfather!

What we have here is five different stories combining into one delicious chomp-a-thon. Five characters each experiencing the roller coaster ride of their life because they’ve been matched with The One. That person who is supposed to be made for them. Hearts and flowers eh? Um, nope.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this! It was chocablock full of cliffhangers. Nearly every short chapter ended like I was left precariously dangling over the edge. Leaving me no choice but to take off from the last woah there! from one of the other four POV ‘s.

It was enormously entertaining, there was touching moments, humorous moments and absolutely no effing way, what the….. moments!

This is, without a shadow of a doubt going on my Favourite Books of 2017 shelf.

It was destined to get 5 stars from me from about chapter 5. IT WAS THAT GOOD

Read it. I recommend this to everybody.

I’d like to thank the author, John Marrs (aka FairyGodfather), the publisher, Penguin Random House and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. The pleasure was all mine!

View all my reviews

Goodreads Reviews, Humour, Lisa's Book Life

Sweetpea by C J Skuse (a 2017 top read)

SweetpeaSweetpea by C.J. Skuse

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“I don’t want to talk any more about today. I just want to overeat and shit myself and die. Or shit myself after I die. Apparently that happens. And when you give birth too. Ugh. What a world.”

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day, her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples and squashes her sliced loaf, to the driver who cuts her up on her way to work. And then there’s the people who really deserve to die.

This story had me roaring with laughter like the mad woman I am. It is 100% my kind of humour, for which I am 100% not sorry for. It’s certainly NOT your average humour, and it could very well offend and disturb a lot of people. But not me, I loved it!

So, in order to try and lead a relatively normal life, Rhiannon, creates The Act. This is basically her way of fitting in with her colleagues and her group of friends. (aka ‘The PICSO’s’. You’ll have to read it to find out what that stands for. It’s absolute class, and everyone has a PICSO or ten in their lives!) They have no idea that she is a psychopath with uncontrollable murderous tendencies.

The story is told in diary format, which I love because it’s so easy to follow. What I loved about it most of all though was the humour. It was dark, deeply disturbing and very un-pc. Worryingly, I heard my own thoughts countless times throughout!

“Got on the scales first thing – still not lost the Christmas poundage. Googled ‘West Country Liposuction’. Can’t afford it. Had an eclair.” (Yes! Cake IS the answer!)

Had I have read this in a public place, I’d of got very strange looks because I was laughing and snorting and nodding my head in agreement all the way through. Rhiannon, you’re a gem, albeit a murderous one!!

Without giving too much away, here’s a couple of tasters of her many Kill Lists which cropped up throughout the story;

1. People who walk in groups along the pavement so no one else can get past, like they’re fucking in Reservoir Dogs. (Why do people do this?!)

2. Middle-class people who believe it’s their God-given right to bring their babies into restaurants and allow them to squawk all through a meal. (Ugh, don’t get me started on this one!)

3. Interrupters. (Yep, totally agree!)

I know it’s a pretty harsh attitude to have, but I’m certain loads of people think these things, the older I’ve got, the less tolerant I’ve become, so these felt very relatable for me! Not to the extent that I want to kill anybody though, I’d like to point out!! Rhiannon, you’re my kind of girl. But I value my life far too much to be your friend!

C J Skuse has created incredibly believable characters with such depth and imagination that every single one of them stood out for one reason or another. Sweetpea was an absolute joy to read. However, it certainly won’t be for everyone because there’s violence, profanity and stuff that is quite simply, very, very wrong. But, for me, entertainment-wise, it was very, very right. I just hope the author will be writing another instalment, because, damn it, that ended on a cliff-hanger! I need to know what happens to Rhiannon next!

This gets a well-earned 5 stars from me, mainly because I can’t stop thinking about it and I end up chuckling to myself!

Oh, and here’s what would be on my Kill List, just for the record;

1. Boasters.

2. Upstairs neighbours who think it’s a grand idea to have laminate floors with insufficient underlay and 3 tap-dancing kids.

3. People who lick the wooden stick of an ice lolly.

4. The previous tenant of MY flat, who insists on getting ‘payday loans’ under MY address with no intention of paying it back. YOU DO NOT LIVE HERE ANY MORE. THEY WILL FIND YOU. AND KILL YOU. Or maybe just insist you pay it back in manageable instalments of £1.21 a month.

I’d like to thank the author, C J Skuse, and the publisher, HQ (UK), for the opportunity to read this via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The pleasure was all mine!

View all my reviews

Nature, Non-fic

The Green Unknown : Travels in the Khasi Hills by Patrick Rogers

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Synopsis from Goodreads

The Green Unknown is about walking, without a map or a plan, across the Khasi Hills in the Northeast Indian state of Meghalaya—a place of jungle canyons and thousand-foot waterfalls, where it rains more than any other inhabited place in the world, where each village has its own dialect or even its own language, and where the people grow living bridges from the roots of trees. The book is an attempt to express what it’s like trying to explore, mile by mile, village by village, valley by valley, a place that’s beautiful, complex, and fascinating, but most of all, unique.

Review

Firstly, thank you to the author, Patrick Rogers, for sending me a copy of his book to review.

I read this in two sittings, although there was a gap of a couple of weeks between starting and finishing due to that thing called Christmas.

This is an interesting and entertaining read about the authors travels to far flung corners of the earth. I enjoy TV documentaries of this kind, so I knew I’d enjoy reading about places that possibly many people know little or nothing about.

It is written with humour and a light-hearted approach so it was easy to follow and having the break at 43% for a few weeks didn’t have a negative impact on the flow.

What I enjoyed the most was hearing about the natural world Northeast India has, the indigenous people that have settled there, and the fact that they have mobile phones! What?!! Does that mean that the eye-sores that are phone masts are popping up in the most heavenly of places? I know folk need technology wherever they are these days, but this really surprised me!

I was fascinated by the living bridges made from the roots of trees, and the sheer beauty of this place. India is on my bucket list of countries to visit, and Rogers has introduced me to places I definitely won’t be brave enough to explore. Off the beaten track is an understatement, and without a map or plan, he certainly is a traveller with guts.

I did struggle to pronounce many of the place names, and even referred to a detailed map on Google to get a sense of where he actually was. Overall, a very interesting and educational account with stunning photographs accompanying the journey throughout. This makes Bill Bryson’s ‘A Walk in the Woods’ sound like a Walk in the Park!

Patrick has a blog all about his adventures which accompanies his book, you can go take a look here.

 

Lisa's Book Life

13,569 Pages Later (A bookish Zombie Apocalypse movie)

Ok, ok, so it’s nothing to do with Zombies, but I liked that title, so I went with it!

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Aahh, this was nice to see on Goodreads, the lowdown on my 2017 journey. I’ve read some truly brilliant books this year, and I’m excited to get stuck in to many more in the New Year.

My TBR shelf is as enormous as ever, but I still NEED to buy one or two (87) that I’ve been pining for over the last year.

THESE. For starters.

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Anyway, this is (probably) my final post of the year, so I’m off now to eat shit-loads of fantastic food, get pissed, play Monopoly and read inbetween. Not much reading will get done because I can’t read under the influence…

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And finally, Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year to you all, you lot make this blogging malarky so worth while. Thank you 😍

Ok, I’m done. Is 10.22am too early for a bevvy? 😯