December Book Haul

Sunday, 31 December 2017

I know, I know - I've got a shopping problem! I just like being surrounded by beautiful books, okay? I like to sit in my room and feel the words whizzing through the air. This is probably going to be one of my biggest book hauls (I say that now...) as, at the beginning of next month, I will finally be heading back to good ol'Cardiff which means food and bills and rent and trying to be an adult. (Booo!) Although, a big city - compared to this tiny village and its one bookshop - means more temptation, so we're going to have to wait and see to find out if that plan is actually stuck to.

REVIEW: The Scandal, Frederik Backman

Friday, 29 December 2017

Beartown is a small town in a large Swedish forest. For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together - or pulls them apart. Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. Everyone can feel the excitement. Change is in the air and a bright new future is just around the corner. Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who'll risk the future to see justice done. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear. No one can stand by or stay silent. You're on one side or another. Which side will you find yourself on?

REVIEW: The Future Won't Be Long, Jarett Kobek

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

It's the tail-end of 1986 and Baby is the freshest-faced, starriest-eyed young homo in all of New York City, straight off the bus from closeted backwoods Wisconsin. Adeline is his rich-art-school-kid saviour with a bizarre transatlantic drawl and a spare bed.
The Future Won't Be Long follows Baby and Adeline as they cling to each other for dear life through a decade of mad, bad New York life punctuated by the deaths of Warhol, Basquiat and Wojnarowicz and the forcible gentrification of the East Village. While Adeline develops into the artist she never really expected to become, Baby falls into a twilight zone of clubbing, ketamine and late-capitalistic sexual excess. As he struggles to find his way out again, Baby will test the strength of a friendship that had seemed unbreakable.

REVIEW: Trump's Christmas Carol, Lucien Young

Monday, 25 December 2017

President Ebenezer Trump, a rich old fool whose heart is as small as his hands and whose words are as false as his hair, sits shut up alone in the White House on Christmas Eve. But he is confronted that night by the ghost of Richard Nixon, who warns him that he will be visited by three spirits, all intent on changing his imprudent and miserly ways.
He meets the jovial Ghost of Christmas Past, Bill Clinton, full of fun tales and memories; the spirit who everyone wishes was still the Ghost of Christmas Present, Barack Obama; and the terrifying Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, who shows him how abolishing Obamacare will finish off Tiny Tim.
But will Trump heed their advice, and become a good person?

#2017RoundUp: End of the Year Reading Survey

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Hello and welcome to the first part of my #2017RoundUp! This year has been a big one, both in terms of highs and lows, so I thought I'd take this time to look back at the more positive parts of the year - the books. Sometimes you just need a media and real-life blackout whilst you curl up with a good book and pretend everything is hunky-dory, do you know what I mean? So these are some of the books that have starred in the 2017 slideshow of my bookish life and if you want to check out a more defined list of my least and most favourite books of the year, be sure to keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks!

REVIEW: A Great Reckoning, Louise Penny

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Former Chief Inspector Gamache has been hunting killers his entire career and as the new commander of the Sûreté Academy, he is given the chance to combat the corruption and brutality that has been rife throughout the force. But when a former colleague and professor of the Sûreté Academy is found murdered, with a mysterious map of Three Pines in his possession, Gamache has an even tougher task ahead of him.
When suspicion turns to Gamache himself, and his possible involvement in the crime, the frantic search for answers takes the investigation to the village of Three Pines, where a series of shattering secrets are poised to be revealed . . .

REVIEW: One of Us is Lying, Karen M. McManus

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

SPOTLIGHT: Penguin English Library Editions (& Wishlist!)

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Gone are the days where I would buy a book simply for what was inside of it, no matter how shit the copy. Mass market paperbacks, movie tie-ins (although this excludes the new cover for Simon vs the Homosapiens' Agenda because Nick Robinson is really hot), books with torn covers and pages fallen out of them... Wordsworth Classics (*shudders*) - you name it, I bought them all. But over the last few weeks (because that's how quickly these phases/obsession of mine really do appear) I have become a - shall we say - book snob.
Don't judge a book by its cover? Are you having a laugh?!
So now, my one true mission in life - aside from worming my way into the publishing profession and owning a penguin - is to collect all of these stunning Penguin English Library Editions as quickly as I possibly can. Truthfully, each and every one of the hundred books is on my wishlist, but a blog post with that many on it seemed just a little (just a little, she says, fully noting the irony) obsessive, so I thought I would try my hardest and narrow it down to the seven books that score the highest on my need-right-now-o-meter.

REVIEW: Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie

Friday, 15 December 2017

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer. Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man's enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again...

REVIEW: The Square and the Tower, Niall Ferguson

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Most history is hierarchical: it's about emperors, presidents, prime ministers and field marshals. It's about states, armies and corporations. It's about orders from on high. Even history "from below" is often about trade unions and workers' parties. But what if that's simply because hierarchical institutions create the archives that historians rely on? What if we are missing the informal, less well documented social networks that are the true sources of power and drivers of change?

REVIEW: Call Me By Your Name, André Aciman

Monday, 11 December 2017

Andre Aciman's Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents' cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.


Saturday, 9 December 2017

So for 2018, I thought I'd challenge myself to do something completely new in the blogging/reading world. New year, new start and all that (lord knows all of my resolutions regarding dieting or going to gym never stick so let's hope that this one will).
So here it is - the announcement of my participation in my first ever reading challenge! 

REVIEW: The Twelve-Mile Straight, Eleanor Henderson

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Cotton County, Georgia, 1930: in a house full of secrets, two babies-one light-skinned, the other dark-are born to Elma Jesup, a white sharecropper’s daughter. Accused of her rape, field hand Genus Jackson is lynched and dragged behind a truck down the Twelve-Mile Straight, the road to the nearby town. In the aftermath, the farm’s inhabitants are forced to contend with their complicity in a series of events that left a man dead and a family irrevocably fractured.
Despite the prying eyes and curious whispers of the townspeople, Elma begins to raise her babies as best as she can, under the roof of her mercurial father, Juke, and with the help of Nan, the young black housekeeper who is as close to Elma as a sister. But soon it becomes clear that the ties that bind all of them together are more intricate than any could have ever imagined. As startling revelations mount, a web of lies begins to collapse around the family, destabilizing their precarious world and forcing all to reckon with the painful truth.

REVIEW: Killer Fashion, Jennifer Wright

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

A darkly comic book about some surprisingly lethal garments. Featuring stories like the untimely demise of dancer Isadora Duncan caused by her signature red scarf and the bloody riot that greeted the appearance of the first top hat, among many others, these bite-size accounts will frighten and delight. Killer Fashion includes over twenty of these short tales along with beautiful full-page illustrations. 

TRAVEL: Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, UK

Friday, 1 December 2017

Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, UK

It is the first of December and snow is dusting the pavement so that means that it is a more appropriate time than ever to look back on the tropical temperatures of last summer. At its essence what this post is, is my continuation of my ode to how much I adore the country of Wales and all of the beautiful things that it has to offer. And, despite how much I pledge my hate for exercise and anything that is not a major city, on one sweaty day last May, I fell head over heels for one of the country's national parks, the Brecon Beacons.
And, thinking about that day right now, whilst hugging my penguin hot water bottle with the heating on full blast, is pretty damn close to a daydream.