Monday, 31 December 2018

My top 5 reads of 2018

2018 was an OK reading year for me. I set my Goodreads challenge to 52 with the intention of reading a book a week, I thought it would be easy because in 2017 I read 67 books, although I did make my goal this year with 57 books it just felt like more of a struggle and at times I was reading shorter books just for the sake of it. Despite feeling a bit meh about some books, I also managed to read some proper crackers, so here are my top 5 reads of 2018.

A man called ove by fredrik backman1. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
This is the best book I have read this year and I love it so so so much. The main character, Ove, is a grumpy old man living in Sweden who thinks he is surrounded by idiots. He is forced into early retirement from the job he has had for most of his life which has left him feeling very uncertain about his routine. Things start to change with the arrival of a new family across the street who think that his standoffishness is funny and charming.
Honestly I felt every emotion when reading this book. It is hilarious, heartwarming, charming and sad. I cried happy and sad tears at this book and I just think it is absolutely wonderful.

This is going to hurt by adam kay2. This is Going to Hurt, Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay
I pretty much never read non fiction, so for me to read one and for it to skyrocket into my favourites list must mean it's pretty special.
As the title suggests, Adam Kay was a junior doctor and this is just full of anecdotes from his time working through the ranks in a hospital. Adam Kay specialised as an obstetrician and gynaecologist and as you can imagine he has plenty of funny stories to tell about his time doing the rounds, I actually laughed out loud so many times reading this my husband who is not a reader at all wanted to pick this up.
Underneath the humour though is a very sad message about the state of the NHS and how overworked our junior doctors really are. This is a compelling read and I have a full review here: This is Going to Hurt book review

scythe by neal shusterman 3. Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Imagine a future where there is no sickness, no one dies from old age because you can be re aged and death just isn't a thing because re-animation exists. It sounds pretty good right? Well in Scythe this is what has happened, and as a result of this something needs to happen in order for the population to be controlled in order to avoid all of the worlds resources being depleted. Scythe's are the answer to this issue. They are a group of people who reap the lives of people in order to keep the population under control, so as you can imagine they aren't too popular.
Citra and Rowan are very different teenagers, but both end up having to compete against each other as Scythe apprentices, even though neither of them wants to be a scythe, but there is more to the Scythedom than meets the eye.
The plot of this book is just fantastic. It's fast paced and very clever, but most of all it's quite thought provoking because it feels as if this could be something we are heading to in the future. I also read the sequel Thunderhead this year too which is equally brilliant.

4. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
little fires everywhere by celeste ng2018 is the year that I started to read more 'literary fiction' and Little Fires Everywhere has received so many rave reviews I decided to read it for myself, it did not disappoint.
Shaker Heights is a quiet, upper class suburb of Cleveland, where even things like the colour of your house has to be approved by
the Shaker Heights committee. Elena Richardson is a very typical Shaker Heights mum with a seemingly perfect family, that is until Mia Warren turns up.
Mia is an artist who travels around with her daughter Pearl and have never stayed in one place for too long. Mia rents the small flat from Elena and instead of paying rent ends up cleaning for the family.
Elena's friends have adopted a Chinese-American baby but after a certain chain of events Mia and Elena end up with very opposing opinions of what the outcome should be.
This is a fantastic look at how people in neighborhoods can end up entwined even if they don't have any direct links and a great look at family lives and people. It's a delicious slow burner and totally addictive.

legendary by stephanie garber5. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
Legendary is the sequel to Caraval, which is also brilliant. It's always hard to talk about a sequel without revealing any spoilers for the first one, but I will try.
In Caraval we followed sister Scarlett as she participates in Caraval (pretty much a magical carnvial) created by the master Legend (lets say head magician). Legendary focuses on Scarlett's sister Donatella. Tella has made some dodgy deals with dangerous people, and to hold up her part of the bargain she has to try and find out Legend's true identity, something that no one has managed to uncover.
I actually preferred Legendary to Caraval. Tella is a more adventurous and exciting character but also quite flawed which makes her interesting to read about. The plot is developed from the first book really well and I love the magical carnival that reappears in this book too.

It was quite hard to narrow this list down to just five books. The first three were no brainers but after that it was definitely a close call as there have been some heavyweight contenders this year. What were your favourtie reads of 2018?

Friday, 28 December 2018

Book Review | The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

My Rating: 6/10 
Published: 28th September 2017
Pages: 310 
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir
Amazon | Goodreads

Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown - Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover's paradise? Well, almost ... In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye. 

Going into the Diary of a Bookseller I had high hopes and thought it would be full of hilarious anecdotes about working in a bookshop and be in the same vein as This is Going to Hurt which is one of my favourite books. Sadly, this was not the case. 

It was interesting to see the inner workings of a second hand book store, such as going to peoples houses to value their book collection, how rare books are valued and even the impact Amazon has has on the high store book shop. I think everyone is aware that being able to buy online at often a cheaper price has definitely impacted the high street, but The Diary of a Bookseller details how bookstores themselves often have to rely on Amazon for their own online sales of second hand books which is such a double edged sword.

Sadly for me the content I wanted was not the main focus of the book like I thought it would be. There are a few funny customer stories here and there but not enough to hold my interest at all times. Lots of the pages are filled with details of when Shaun goes salmon fishing, or biking or boating, not things that care about or what compelled me to pick up this book in the first place.

Another slight niggle I had with this book is that at the start of each diary entry there is a books found number and a books sold online number. It isn't explained anywhere in the book what the books found number is about and I actually had to google it, turns out I'm not the only one who had this question too. For those of you interested, it means the number of books located in the store that they had managed to sell online as they can't always find what they have listed in the store. 

Overall I don't think this is a bad book at all and I did end up finishing it, it's just not what I was expecting and so I ended up feeling disappointed and a little bored by the content. I've seen some great reviews for this so don't let my review put you off if it sounds interesting, but for me this was a very average read. 

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Reading in Heels December Unboxing

So December's Reading in Heels box is my fave by far. I absolutely love everything in the box and it feels super luxurious. For those of you who haven't seen my previous posts on Reading in Heels, it's a monthly subscription box that contains a book and a few lifestyle bits. It is letterbox friendly and is only 12.80 including postage which I think is a great price for a nice monthly treat. Here is what was in the box this month:

  • Stories We Tell Ourselves by Sarah Françoise - This book is set during Christmas so I'm quite excited to read it over the festive period as I've not got any Christmas books lined up this year. The story is about a couple who are struggling with their marriage and is reaching an all time low when the husband Frank starts writing letters to his long lost German ex-girlfriend. Sounds pretty tense for a Christmas story but the couple are trying to put their best foot forward as their adult kids are coming home for Christmas. I have really been enjoying reading family based fiction this year and this definitely sounds interesting. 
  • 'Be in love with your life. Every minute of it.' Notepad - A cute notepad featuring a quote from author Jack Kerouac. I actually really enjoy notepads like this that are glued along the top, I keep notepads like this next to my work PC as they are super handy for jotting down quick work notes or to do lists that I can throw away at the end of the day.
  • Vitamasques Diamond Gold Sheet Mask - Who doesn't love a good sheet mask? Seriously I love pampering myself and relaxing when reading. Apparently this mask uses triple-layer technology to boost product absorption and this should leave me with plumped up and brightened skin. Perfect.
  • Coco Chocolatier Isle of Skye Sea Salt Milk Chocolate - This might be my favourite item in the box. I LOVE sea salt in chocolate, but it's hard to find sea salt chocolate that isn't dark chocolate. I have really high hopes for this chocolate bar and I'm pretty sure this will be the start of a new chocolate addiction.
  • St Eval Scented Tea Light - Wow this little tea light packs a serious punch when it comes to scent. It's made from a blend of spices, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves, and to me it smells just like a chai latte. It's lovely.
I think you can now see why this is my favourite box I've receive, it's just got the perfect contents for an indulgent night in by yourself and I can't wait to use them. 


Saturday, 22 December 2018

My Plans for the Christmas Break

So today is the first official day of my Christmas break! I say Christmas break, but really the only days I have off are Christmas day and boxing day, our office is closed though which means working from the sofa, woooo! Because I will be at home so much and things will be a bit easier than normal I have set myself some things I would like to do over the break.

the last namsara bullet journal

Read a hardback book / fantasy
I think anyone who knows me knows that I hate hardback books. I read a lot on my commute to work and hardbacks are heavy and take up a lot of space in my bag, plus they hurt when they fall on your face more that a paperback does. They do look beautiful on the bookcase though. Because I don't have this commute at the moment I think it's a great time to finally tackle the hardbacks that have been sat on my shelf.
I've also not been reading that much fantasy this year, I think that is in part due to me trying to achieve my goodreads reading goal as fantasy tends to be a bit longer I've been opting for shorter contemporaries instead to rack up the books read number. I've now completed my goal so I'm ready to sink my teeth into some chunky fantasy, starting with The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli which I have heard people rave about. 

Set up a 2019 bullet journal
Scatty is definitely a word that describes my personal life. At work I am a total boss, but for everything else I am bit of a mess so I'm hoping that by starting a bullet journal I can get my shit together. Not only am I planning to use it to schedule my personal life but I also want to use it for helping me with blog posts, brainstorming, scheduling etc. 2019 is the year my blog takes over the world. Mwahahaha. 

Learn photoshop
Another thing that I am hoping will help with improving my blog in 2019 is learning how to use photoshop. I've worked hard this year on trying to make my blog look how I want it to, and for me I think it's very pleasing to the eye but my photos are something I definitely want to improve upon.

Read some books that will help in my professional career
For those of you who don't know, I am an events marketing manager for the European region at the company I work at. I'm quite confident in what I do but I'm a big believer of never being complacent and always trying to keep learning and experimenting. I picked up How to Own the Room last month and think it is the perfect sort of read for what I am after. 

Complete a book on New Years day
The past couple of years I have sat and read a book on New Years day. They are only short books, 200 or so pages but it helps me feel like I've got a kick start on the year when it comes to reading. For 2019 I'm thinking of reading The Vegetarian by Han Kang, I've had it on my shelf for a while and it's only 188 pages so the perfect size, my friend Amy at Obv It's Lifestyle has recommended it to me so many times too.

Maybe I am being a bit too ambitious in trying to fit this all into 10 days but we shall see. Of course I will also be eating a lot of cheese and drinking prosecco too! Do you have any things you want to achieve over the break or are you just looking to relax? Relaxing is definitely a good choice after a hectic work year.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Most Anticipated 2019 Book Releases

Most anticipated 2019 book releases

2018 was pretty good for book releases but 2019 already looks like it's going to be a fantastic year for releases. There are already so many I am looking forward to with a great mix of sequels, first of series and standalones, seriously I am hyped. Here is my list of most anticipated 2019 releases, well ones that I know of so far!

The wicked king by holly blackThe Wicked King by Holly Black
Release Date: January 8th
I read The Cruel Prince at the start of 2018 and loved it, so of course I am really excited for The Wicked King which is the sequel. I don't want to talk too much about what happened in The Cruel Prince because I don't want to spoil it for anyone
who hasn't read it, but it is about sisters who are half human, half faerie. Their mum is murdered when they are seven by their real father (who is a faerie) and they are dragged to the faerie world where they are trying to fit in, but faeries are cruel creatures who don't particularly like humans.
The Cruel Prince was so full of drama and action, I seriously enjoyed it and really hope The Wicked King is just as good. The Cruel Prince left on such a cliffhanger so I'm very much looking forward to seeing what happens next!

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
King of scars by leigh bardugoRelease Date: January 29th 
This is the first in a new duology by Leigh Bardugo. Leigh Bardugo is one of my absoulte favourite authors and this book follows King Nikolai, who appeared in the Grisha trilogy, as he tried to restore his kingdom to it's former glory whilst under the constant threat from their enemies. Nikolai is a super fun and charismatic character and I can't wait to read from his point of view. Plus this book has magic, got to love any book with magic.

the familiars by stacey hallThe Familiars by Stacey Hall
Release Date: February 7th
The title of this book is what first caught my attention as I had just finished binge watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix so I'm very into that whole witch/familiar scene at the moment, a
fter reading the blurb of The Familiars though I knew it would be one to look forward to.
Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 and has already had three miscarriages. As the Mistress of Gawthorpe Hall she is expected to have a heir so when she finds out she is pregnant for a fourth time she decides to try everything in order to make sure she can deliver a healthy baby.
One day she crosses paths with a poor woman called Alice who is a midwife. Alice promises she can deliver a healthy baby but accusations of witchcraft are rife at this time, and as Alice is a women who uses many herbal remedies, well.....
the everlasting rose by dhonielle clayton
The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton
Release Date: March 5th
Another second in the series, The Everlasting Rose is the sequel to The Belles which I also read this year and loved.
Orleans is a city where the people are born grey, but can be made beautiful with the help of Belles. This series follows Camellia who is Belle as she is seperated from her sisters and put to her place of work. However in the first book we find out that there is definitely something dodgy happening behind the scenes and Camellia ends up finding out that a lot of secrets have been kept from her.

queenie by candice carty williamsQueenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Release Date: March 19th
Honestly I can't wait to get my hands on this book and think it will definitely be a cult hit in 2019. Queenie is a 25 year old Jamaican British women who lives in London and works for a national newspaper. She struggles with trying to balance her two cultures and feels like she doesn't fit in with either which leads to some questionable choices.
This sounds like such a fantastic and fresh book that I can imagine will be so relatable for many people. Seriously looking forward to this!

Most anticipated 2019 book releasesMusic and Malice in Hurricane Town by Alex Bell
Release Date: April 4th
Alex Bell is the genius behind the terrifying Frozen Charlotte book, which made it on to my Top Horror Books list so of course I as a huge horror fan I'm excited for her next release.
Jude Lomax is a trumpet player on the streets of Baton Noir. She is invited to play at the funeral of the famous cajou queen but as she passes through the gates of the cemetery she is possessed by the spirit of Ivory the cajou queen, and she won't rest until she finds the person responsible for her murder.
This book has some of my fave elements, possession, vampires, jazz music and is heavily influenced by New Orleans. It sounds darkly delicious.

Aurora Rising by amie kaufman and Jay KristoffAurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
Release Date: May 7th
I'm not the biggest sci-fi fan but everyone raved out the Illuminae files so being the sheep I am I read all three books, and I am so glad I did because they are so unique and fant
astic. The fact that Jay and Amie have paired up again to bring out a new science fiction series has me so excited.
Aurora Rising is set in 2380 and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned to their first missions. Tyler Jones was the star pupil and was looking forward to having a great squad, but he gets teamed up with the worst of the bunch. It sounds like the perfect remedy for a space adventure with the dry and clever humour of Jay and Amie. Perfect.

Finale by Stephanie Garber
finale by Stephanie GarberRelease Date: May 30th
Finale is the final book in the Caraval trilogy, another series that is incredible. Caraval is a travelling circus fair type thing where all the players compete in a magical game to win run by the legendary Legend. The game is full of magic and mystery and the prize is always fantastic.
There is a lot more to the plot than just Caraval though and this follows sisters Donatella and Scarlett as they are competing in their own competition against The Fates. This may sound complicated but honestly if you have read the books it really isn't. I do love me a good circus book! 

Honestly just writing this list has got me fired up. Now I am having the same debate I always have with myself, get the paperback version because the covers are gorgeous, or do the smart thing and buy them on Kindle because I know I have no space..... Anyway these are just a few of the fantastic titles coming out next year, there are so many more. Which titles are you excited for?

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Guest Post | Hidden Colours by Nillu Nasser

Hidden Colours by Nillu Nasser blog tour

When I got an email asking if I wanted to take part in the Hidden Colours blog tour, I saw the words circus and had to jump at the chance. Honestly I really love a book with a circus setting, The Night Circus completely romanticised circus's for me, that and I used to do aerial hoop and silks meant I feel an affinity for all things circus. I just need to share with you the blurb for this book because it sounds so blooming marvelous:

Each evening, nestled in Berlin’s Treptower Park, the immigrant circus comes to life. 
When Yusuf fled Syria, he lost everything. Now the circus, with its middle-eastern flair, is the only home he knows. When the lights go on, the refugees dazzle their audience, but off-stage tensions flare. 
Ellie is passionate about the circus and drawn to its broken people. Even so, if she wants to keep her job at the newspaper, she must head up a campaign against it. 
One night, in the midst of a show, two young circus boys come to blows. With the circus at risk of closure, Ellie must convince her readers that we can have compassion for those we fear, or Yusuf will be forced to uproot again.

Hidden Colours by Nillu NasserIt sounds great right? Anyway today is my turn on the blog tour and I have a special post written by Nillu Nasser, fab five things about circus stories! Here is her post:

The first glimpse of inspiration for this novel struck me close to two years ago. It was a fleeting image in my mind: a man leaping from a trapeze in a dimly lit, shabby circus.

Now, I’m torn by my feelings about circuses, but that image was persistent. I just couldn’t shake it. The man I saw was both sad and strong. At the time, I was thinking about refugees a lot, and that’s how the seed for Hidden Colours started to grow.

The story–now making its way into the world–is about Yusuf Alam, a Syrian acrobat, Ellie Richter, a German journalist, and an imaginary immigrant circus in Berlin. A circus–filled with outsiders, dreams and danger– is the perfect metaphor for Yusuf and Ellie’s story.

1. ‘From the moment the circus materialised, it transformed the landscape. Once in full flow, the emerald grasses vibrated with the rhythm of the house band. The winds carried peculiar scents far afield.’ 
The sensory details were one of my favourite elements of writing this story. Circus stories overflow with gorgeous details. The colours are bold and striking. Performances appeal to all the senses: sound, touch, smell, sight and taste. Think popping popcorn, velvet curtains, the smell of candyfloss and sweat, the sound of the ringmaster’s bellowing or the house band. Except in Hidden Colours, I had even more fun because I drew inspiration from the Middle-East and emphasized the exotic and the strange. I wanted my circus to be other-worldly even though it is set in the real world.

2. ‘There followed a giant man, more nimble than he looked, leading a troupe of goats in a merry dance, and the goats danced in pairs, courting each other, and seemed to waltz and tango, such was their magic.’ 
For me, circus stories are a celebration of daring and creativity, with their own special blend of magic. This isn’t the magic of Harry Potter or Middle Earth. It’s the magic of confusion and oddities. Setting Hidden Colours in a circus allowed me to blur the realm of reality. Once the show begins, I wanted readers to question what is possible, to wonder whether they were witnessing magic or skill. Circus life is about sleights of hand and raw daring. Performers risk their lives to thrill the audience and each gasp or applause is testament to hours of practice and reams of courage.

3. ‘The performers forged new ties, because without each other, they had nobody. The circus had become a lifeboat, as if they were still making the treacherous journey across the globe away from disease, war and uncertainty. As if the twinkling lights of the tent amounted to the North Star.’
Circuses are a community, a family. The bonds that are forged at the immigrant circus were a treat to write. In Hidden Colours, the performers come together as a set of broken people, who have lost their homes and are in an alien country, but together they are stronger. They are a net for each other. Like any community, there are black sheep amongst them, but there is a real camaraderie that emerges in the genre of circus stories.
Circus performers must trust each other, or they risk cracks appearing during dangerous feats in the circus ring.

4. ‘Zul the Clown bumbled into the ring, feigning flatulence to the hilarity of the children, his polka-dotted flat cap turning on his head of its own accord.’ 
The clowns deserve a homage of their own.
Before writing Hidden Colours, clowns used to scare me: big red noses, white-painted faces, windsail trousers and giant shoes. I watched It when I was far too young, and that trauma still floats up from my subconscious today. I find myself checking drains for Pennywise if I’m coming home late at night. Likewise, Heath Ledger’s awe-inspiring Joker in The Dark Knight is not a man you’d like to run into, even in daylight. They are not good-humoured buffoons performing slapstick and tricks; they are maniacs.
Then I began researching and I discovered the humanitarian aspect of clowning. There was also the story of the real-life Clown of Aleppo, which stayed with me. He became a clown in Aleppo when it was besieged by fighting, to bring a smile to children there. He refused to leave the city and was killed by a strike at the age of twenty-four. In Hidden Colours, I imagine he escaped Syria and his story continues. Zul is probably my favourite character in the book.
Clowns are compassionate and clever. They are artists, outliers and risk-takers. They aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. They remind us not to take ourselves seriously, to pick ourselves up when something goes wrong. The more I researched, the more I was struck by their empathy. Maybe one day Zul will get his own novel and it’ll go some way towards counter-balancing It!

5. ‘Stars made from delicate silver fabric lined the upper parts of the tent. Strings of fairy-lights had been strung through the rafters. They twinkled in the dark, blazing just for this brief hour or two when the circus came to life.’ 
The best thing about circus stories? It’s that nothing is out of place. Enter a circus tent and there is freedom. Anything can happen. It’s why I fell in love with Erin Morgernstern’s The Night Circus long ago and with The Greatest Showman last year, and why it was pure joy writing about this setting. The unusual is normal at the circus. There are no boundaries, only pure imagination and courage, commitment to the art form and to the acceptance of strangeness without judgement. There’s beauty in that.


After reading this I'm even more excited for the book! If you are interested in checking out Hidden Colours, it is already out and available on Amazon. Once again thank you to Nillu Nasser for this special post!

Monday, 10 December 2018

Music and Malice in Hurricane Town by Alex Bell | Cover Reveal

Today's blog post is one that I am SUPER excited for. I have been invited to help with the cover reveal of Alex Bell's new book, Music and Malice in Hurricane Town. Alex Bell is the author of Frozen Charlotte, a book that was featured in Zoella's book club in 2016 and one of my personal favourite horror books. Here is the blurb for Music and Malice in Hurricane Town:

Jude Lomax scrapes a living playing the trumpet on the neon streets of Baton Noir. Then she is invited to play at the funeral of the infamous cajou queen, Ivory Monette. Passing through the cemetery gates, Jude finds herself possessed by the murdered queen’s spirit. And Ivory won’t rest until she’s found the person responsible for her death.
If Jude wants to be rid of the vengeful spirit, she must take a journey deep into the dangerous underbelly of the city, from the swampy depths of the Black Bayou to the velvet opulence of the vampires’ secret jazz clubs. But as Jude untangles Ivory’s web of secrets, she is confronted with a few dark truths from her own past…

It sounds pretty awesome right! Anyway, enough talking about the book, here is the beautiful cover which has been designed by Pip Johnson.

Music and Malice in Hurricane Town by Alex Bell cover

Pretty awesome right? And now for some exclusive content written by Alex Bell herself, a letter from the main character or Music and Malice in Hurricane Town, Jude Lomax.

If you’re reading this, then I guess you’re interested in finding out more about Baton Noir and what happened here on Cajou Night.
You probably think that the city is a corrupt, sinful, rotten, dangerous, depraved sort of a place. You’ve read about how the witches, and vampires, and conjurers live like royalty, whilst we ordinary folk barely scrape by on scraps. You know that the cajou queen rules with an iron fist, and that the ancient magic of the spirit realm has soaked into every cobbled street and drips like blood from each wrought-iron balcony.     
And, hell, you’re right. The city is all of those terrible things. I’ve lived here my whole life so I won’t deny it. But if you could only understand that – beneath the rot – Baton Noir is so much more than that.
It’s the jazz music spilling from every honkytonk and juke box in the Hurricane Quarter, and it’s the fireflies glowing in the warm bayou, and the steaming bowls of the best damn gumbo in the whole damn world.
I don’t care what anyone says; there’s beauty in Baton Noir’s weathered buildings, and neon lights, and gator-filled swamps.
I know you think that cajou is wicked, but perhaps it doesn’t have to be. Perhaps it can be something better. So I invite you to come to Baton Noir and find out for yourself – times are changing here. And this party is only just getting started.   
Jude Lomax.

Music and Malice in Hurricane Town is set to release on the 4th of April 2019, I can't wait to get my hands on it! It is available for pre-order from Amazon and you can find out more from and Little Tiger.


Thursday, 6 December 2018

Bookish Naughty or Nice Tag

Jenniely blogmas bookish naughty or nice tag

The wonderful Jennie over at Jenniely tagged me in her Bookish Naughty or Nice tag, so what with it being December and all I thought I had to take part! Here we go:

Received an ARC and not reviewed it  
If it is a physcial ARC I have reviewed them all, but I definitely still have some galleys on Netgalley to review, but galleys and ARCs are different in my mind. Well that's my story anyway....

Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley

84%. Oh yea!

Rated a book on goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did)

Nope! I only really use Goodreads for tracking and rating what I've read, I never really post on there.

Folded down the page of a book ✔
100% guilty of this. I'm definitely a dog ear kind of reader. I sometimes go through phases of thinking oh I will buy pretty bookmarks and use them, but I never do....

Accidentally spilled on a book
Nope, which is totally surprising because we all know I like a glass of wine with my books!

DNF a book this year 
I started on Hunting Prince Dracula at the start of the year. I really enjoyed Stalking Jack the Ripper so thought this would be as good but sadly I couldn't get on with it!

Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it ✔
Oh come on, who hasn't done this?! As a book collector too I have a few editions of Harry Potter for display. No shame.

Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework) ✔

For sure. 

Skim read a book

Nope, although sometimes I will skim read a paragraph if it's super tense, it's like my brain is trying to reach the next part quicker.

Completely missed your Goodreads goal

I have hit my goodreads goal for the year. I like to aim for one book a week but I don't think I will be setting a goal next year, I've just found it definitely affects what I chose to read as I try and cram in shorter books to reach my goal.

Borrowed a book and not returned it

My friends are pretty awesome and we kind of work on the assumption that if we give each other a book to read, we don't expect it back.

Broke a book buying ban ✔

Ahahah yes. Just look at my many hauls from this year as proof of my failures.

Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about ✔

Yes for sure! Writing reviews is hard then I tell myself I need a day to digest what I've read and then a day turns into a month and so on and so forth. 

Wrote in a book you were reading

No, I'm not a monster! Just kidding about the monster part. But no, writing in books is not for me.

Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads

If it's not on goodreads does it even exist? But yea, as I mentioned I get a bit obsessed with that reading challenge goal so always log.

Borrowed a book and not returned it to a friend

Similar answer to above. If it was a special book I would definitely give it back though!

Dodged someone asking if they can borrow a book


Broke the spine of someone else’s book

No, they either turn up with the spine broken or I know I don't need to return it. But ouch to those who have the spines broken on books.

Took the jacket off a book to protect it and ended up making it more damaged

Nope! So weirdly I didn't know people removed the jacket to proect books. I am a terrible reader though and will use the front or back flap to mark my place in the book. 

Sat on a book accidentally

No thank goodness because that sounds painful!

Final Score: 6/10 I am such a goody goody!

Thanks again for tagging me Jennie, this was super fun to do! And now time for my tags, I choose you:


Monday, 3 December 2018

Guest Post - The Lilith Gene

This is the first ever blog tour I have ever participated in so I'm more than a bit excited! The book in question is The Lilith Gene by M Cassol and my stop on the tour will be a guest post. Before we get to that though, here is a bit more information on the book:

Vesna, a Serbian PhD student in Art History living in Tuscany, is a master rock climber. The only thing she can't get a grip on is her love life. Beset by terrifying panic attacks that strike every time she allows herself to be intimate with another woman, she strives to avoid the so-called mermaids in her life. Olga is a widened-eye nurse trainee in Sarajevo. It’s 1912 and Olga is all too keen to document her life and the world changing around her in her diaries. Olga's passion for nursing is only rivalled by her love for her anguished boyfriend Gav. The arrival of the obscure Patient J.D. 347 at the hospital is about to change everything for Olga. Everything will change for Vesna too, when she meets the compelling art restorer Rafaella Guaritore. Rafaella holds the key to Vesna's research into influential women painters of the Renaissance and the metaphorical Lilith Gene that all the rebellious ladies in art are believed to share. Will Rafaella hold the key to solving Vesna's mysterious recurring dreams and find the root of all her anxiety? Or is the answer to Vesna's problems hidden in Olga's diaries?

Sounds pretty good right! Now for the guest post I have been provided five fabulous pieces of artwork that are featured in the book:

Judith Slaying Holofernes - painting by the Italian early Baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi - it’s the panting that bring our main characters, Vesna and Rafaella together.

Michelangelo’s David - Vesna’s favourite sculpture, which she loves talking about.

The Dinner Party is an installation artwork by feminist artist Judy Chicago on permanent exhibition in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum

The Mouth of Truth (Italian: Bocca della Verità )is a marble mask in Rome, Italy, made famous by Audrey Hepburn’s movie “Roman Holiday”

The “fake Giacometti” That Rafaella mentions in the book, was a famous forgery done by Robert Driessen, that after being convicted for fraud, now is a well know artist that paints “Original Giacometti Reproductions"

The art work is definitely interesting and there are quite a few of these pieces I've not come across before so I now feel a bit more prepared for going into the book. If I have piqued your interest for The Lilith Gene you can check it out on:GoodreadsAmazon

And finally, thank you to Faye Rogers for including me on this tour and check out the other fantastic bloggers taking part:

Sunday 2nd December

Monday 3rd December
Tuesday 4th December
Wednesday 5th December
Thursday 6th December
Friday 7th December


Saturday, 1 December 2018

November Book Haul

As you can see by the picture below, I was actually really well behaved this month (well by my standards) and technically only bought three books, the other was from a subscription box. I fell down the rabbit hole of bullet journal videos on YouTube HARD in November so decided to pick up a couple of books to help me set up my own journal. Anyway, here are the book that I picked up!

lettering and modern calligraphy diary of a book seller bullet journal november 2018 book haul

  • The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell - I was in Foyles towards the end of the month and was sulking a bit about how no books have really stood out to me in store, and then I saw this book. The cover is what originally attracted my attention, it's really cute, but then I saw it was about a bookseller. I actually love books about book stores and this one is non-fiction. Shaun Bythell worked in Scotland's biggest second-hand bookshop and this is his accounts of the quirky customers and shenanigans he had to deal with. It's meant to be very funny and I can't wait to crack on with it as I'm hoping it's similar to This is Going To Hurt, Diary of a Junior Doctor (review here) just with books.
  • States of Passion by Nihad Sirees - This is the book I received in November's Reading in Heels box. It's translated from Arabic and all about family secrets. It sounds very interesting and I love a translated text! Check out my Reading in Heels unboxing post to find out more! 
  • The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll - As I mentioned I became obsessed with bullet journals this month, despite not having one started yet.... Ryder Carroll is actually the creator of the bullet journal method so I thought it would be useful to pick up his book to do a bit of research on how to best use bullet journals to maximise productivity.
  • A Beginners Guide to Lettering and Modern Calligraphy - Another bullet journal influenced purchase. If you have ever watched bullet journal videos on YouTube or searched them on pinterest you would've seen all the gorgeous and creative spreads. Well obviously I want to be able to make my journal super pretty too so I picked up this book. It has three different fonts in it with explanations behind them all and plenty of practise space. It also breaks down how to combine different fonts for different effects. It's pretty light on content, but it was only £6 on Amazon and there are lots of space to practise and fonts to copy so I think it's pretty good for the price.
So that is November! Is anyone else into bullet journals? I would love to hear your tips and tricks or any channels / blogs you would recommend, I've been bingeing AmandaRachLee!

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