The Book Collector

The Book Collector

How did I get it?:
Beth and I bought it from Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights

Synopsis:

Alice Thompson’s new novel is a gothic story of book collecting, mutilation and madness. Violet is obsessed with the books of fairy tales her husband acquires, but her growing delusions see her confined in an asylum. As she recovers and is released a terrifying series of events is unleashed.

Thoughts:

Beth and I were recommended this book during our reading spa at Mr B’s Emporium in the summer last year. Beth read it and absolutely adored it, but she wasn’t sure if I would like it. It’s an odd book, a really odd book and she wasn’t sure if it was just a little too out there for me. However, I thought it was brilliant. Oddly brilliant, but still!

It centres around Violet who was 19 years old and an orphan when she meets Lord Archie Murray. They fall for each other quickly. Soon, Violet and Archie are married and they have a son called Felix. Archie is an incredibly controlling man who appears to be hiding something. Archie is obsessed with his book collection, especially a book of fairy tales that he keeps hidden away. Violet is curious to know why he hides it away. What is it about the book? Violet is struggling with the change in her life after giving birth to Felix. Violet starts to hallucinate and harms Felix whilst trying to protect him from ‘creatures’ that are crawling on him. As a result of this, Violet is locked up in an asylum. Violet meets some other women who believe there’s something odd about them all staying at the asylum. Violet begins to question everything.

This book really is quite creepy. It’s incredibly atmospheric and you find yourself questioning who is stable. The characters all seem unhinged in one way or another. Then there’s the inclusion of the character Clara… well, she certainly stirred up the story! The story becomes mysterious as some of the women in the asylum go missing. Then, of course, there’s the fairy tales that run throughout the whole story. There’s a link between them, but I won’t spoil it.

The Book Collector is a short read but it certainly packs a lot of punches throughout it. It’s compelling, disturbing but incredibly easy to read!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

I was surprised by this book. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did!

This Week In Books #61

I am joining in with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found’s feature which highlights our week in books. I shall be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next! I won’t be showcasing my new books as I do that on a Saturday. I’m really excited by this feature as I loved sharing my recent reads. My book reviews published on my blog are often WAY behind what I’m actually reading, so this is a good feature to keep you up to date!

Click on the book to get to Goodreads!

The Sudden Appearance of Hope Habibi Countless

NOWThe Sudden Appearance Of HopeClaire North– I have just started this book which was recommended to me and sent to me as part of my Mr B’s Reading Year Subscription. I’m intrigued to see what I make of it as I wasn’t that blown away by the author’s debut, but I’m always willing to try another book by the author!

THEN- HabibiCraig Thompson– I finished this graphic novel yesterday. It’s a beast of a book at over 600 pages and it’s not necessarily an ‘easy’ read. It tells the story of refugee slaves bound together. There are some incredibly dark moments within the story. Very dark moments. It is one of our Banned Books that my sister and I review on the last Monday of a month, so please come back for our review if you’re interested.

NEXTCountlessKaren Gregory– I’m very intrigued to read this book which centres around mental health. I’m always intrigued by books that touch on this subject.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to leave a link or let me know in the comments below! Happy Reading! 🙂

Top Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Read A Book

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s list are the Top Ten things that make us want to read a book!

  1. Dance- anything dance related on the cover or mentioned then it’s immediately on my TBR.
  2. Light, pastel colours always draw my eye.
  3. A promise of it being a psychological thriller.
  4. Pretty page edges. Hey, I’m shallow!
  5. Mental health- if a book is about mental health I’m instantly intrigued.
  6. Strong female lead.
  7. Tudor England.
  8. The author- some I just buy without a second thought.
  9. First person narrative.
  10. World War II

What are some things that make you pick up a book? Let me know! Feel free to leave a link to your post and I’ll stop by!

The Ones That Got Away #10

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This feature is going to showcase some recent reads that I haven’t fully reviewed. This may be because I didn’t finish the book or that I didn’t have enough to say to warrant a full and fair review of a book that I’m sure others will absolutely adore. I figure this way the books will be highlighted and someone somewhere might find the right book for them!

(BOOK IMAGES GO TO GOODREADS)

The Ballroom- Anna Hope

The Ballroom

Synopsis:

1911: Inside an asylum at the edge of the Yorkshire moors,
where men and women are kept apart
by high walls and barred windows,
there is a ballroom vast and beautiful.
For one bright evening every week
they come together
and dance.
When John and Ella meet
It is a dance that will change
two lives forever.

Set over the heatwave summer of 1911, the end of the Edwardian era, THE BALLROOM is a historical love story. It tells a page-turning tale of dangerous obsession, of madness and sanity, and of who gets to decide which is which.

imageLife In A Fishbowl- Len Vlahos

Life in a Fishbowl

Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.

Gone is her mom’s attention and cooking and parent-teacher conferences. Gone is her sister’s trust ever since she’s been dazzled by the cameras and new-found infamy. Gone is her privacy. Gone is the whole family’s dignity as ATN twists their words and makes a public mockery of their lives on Life and Death. But most of all, Jackie fears that one day very soon her father will just be . . . gone. Armed only with her ingenuity and the power of the internet, Jackie is determined to end the show and reclaim all of their lives, even in death.  

image-1

Don’t Look Behind You- Mel Sharratt

Don't Look Behind You (Detective Eden Berrisford, #2)

Synopsis:

She got into bed but sleep didn’t come easily. Every creak in the house made her alert. She was waiting for him to come and get her.

The small city of Stockleigh is in shock as three women are brutally attacked within days of each other. Are they random acts of violence or is there a link between the victims? For Detective Eden Berrisford, it’s her most chilling case yet.

The investigation leads Eden to cross paths with Carla, a woman trying to rebuild her life after her marriage to a cruel and abusive man ended in unimaginable tragedy. Her husband Ryan was imprisoned for his crimes but, now he’s out and coming for her.

As Eden starts to close in on the attacker, she also puts herself in grave danger. Can she stop him before he strikes again? And can Carla, terrified for her life, save herself – before the past wreaks a terrible revenge?

The Cruelty- Scott Bergstrom

The Cruelty

Synopsis:

The Cruelty is the first book from a groundbreaking new YA voice: an utterly compelling thriller.

When Gwendolyn Bloom realizes that her father has been kidnapped, she has to take matters into her own hands. She traces him from New York City across the dark underbelly of Europe, taking on a new identity to survive in a world of brutal criminal masterminds. As she slowly leaves behind her schoolgirl self, she realizes that she must learn the terrifying truth about herself. To overcome the cruelty she encounters, she must also embrace it.

Uprooted- Naomi Novik

Uprooted

Synopsis:

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows – everyone knows – that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose. Uprooted is a hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales by Naomi Novik, the author of the Temeraire series. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan.

Have you read any of these books? Did you feel differently? Feel free to let me know!

Chrissi’s Class Reads #5

Over the past two terms (7 months) my class have loved being read to. Now I am teaching older children, I don’t get a chance to read to them as much as I used to read to my old class. However, me being me, manages to read to them at least once a day if only for 10 minutes.

The children always have a choice of 4 books to vote from. I ask for ideas of what could be our class book and then they vote from them. This year my class are very into David Walliams as you will see!

Click on the book image to get to Goodreads.

The World’s Worst Children- David Walliams

The World's Worst Children

This kicked off our class read! The children absolutely loved this book which talks about some pretty disgusting children. It is beautifully illustrated and wonderfully gross. I loved reading it to them. I’m happy to find out there’s a sequel too. I’ll be getting that!

Billionaire Boy- David Walliams

Billionaire Boy

This was another hit with my class! They loved the antics. They found it hilarious in places and literally laughed out loud!

Cloud Busting- Malorie Blackman

Cloud Busting

This is a book that I picked myself for them to study in their reading lessons. It’s such a powerful, powerful read about bullying. There was a moment where the children gasped out loud. I absolutely love when a book can have that much impact. That’s when you know you’ve captured their attention.

Oliver and The Seawigs- Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

Oliver and the Seawigs

This was another book that we read whole class. The idea is that every child reads a part of the book together. My class have absolutely adored this way of reading and the work that they got out of these lessons was absolutely fantastic. We read it in under four weeks.

Gangsta Granny- David Walliams

Gangsta Granny

This one was a bit of a slow burner for my class. They didn’t seem as enthused as they were by the other books so far this year. However, towards the middle of the book they started to gain interest and hated when I stopped reading (for lunch time) at the end of the chapter. This book does have a very sad scene which also made my class gasp and I noticed some eyes watering. Bless them ❤

Our next read is another David Walliams (surprise, surprise…) they’re going to be reading Grandpa’s Great Escape. It’s one I haven’t read before, so I’m intrigued to see what it’s like!

The Last Beginning (The Next Together #2)

The Last Beginning (The Next Together, #2)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously read by the same author:
The Next Together

Synopsis:

The epic conclusion to Lauren James’ debut The Next Together about love, destiny and time travel.

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives. But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?

For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future.

Thoughts:

Oh my goodness, Lauren James’ debut The Next Together blew me away when I read it. I really didn’t expect to like it as it isn’t my usual thing. However, I gave it a go and ended up loving it. I wasn’t sure whether The Last Beginning would live up to my expectations, but it really did!

In The Last Beginning, we follow Clove Sutcliffe who is determined to find her long lost relatives. Katherine and Matthew seemed to have disappeared from the world, with no-one able to find them. Clove doesn’t know where to start looking for them, because they appear to have been reincarnated at several key points in history. Clove wants to find out the connection between them all and discover who Ella is…

I really liked Clove as a character, although I can imagine that she might get on some reader’s nerves. She does make some pretty stupid decisions- one particularly big one which I won’t spoil. However, I think she had likeable qualities and I enjoyed reading about her adventures.

This book is so well written. As I mentioned, I really liked the author’s debut, so I was cautious about approaching this one. I need not have been. It was an incredibly unique story, just like its predecessor. I loved how the story was told through articles, emails etc. It wasn’t just about the prose. It’s little things like that, that make a book stand out compared to others in its genre.

The story is so carefully considered. There are bits in The Last Beginning that makes sense of what happened in The Next Together. It’s just so clever! I love it when a duology is so thoughtfully planned like this must have been. Really, I bow down to Lauren James.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fantastic solid end to a wonderful duology that I absolutely adored!

Fairy Tale Friday- The Wild Swans

This week’s fairy tale is the well known The Wild Swans. It centres around a king who has eleven sons and one daugher, named Elisa. The king marries an evil queen (don’t they always?) who sends Elisa to live with peasants. She curses the boys so that they become wild swans.

When Elisa turns fifteen, she returns to the palace. The queen is still pretty evil and kisses three toads, putting them into Elisa’s bath in order to turn her into a lazy, ugly and evil girl. However, dear Elisa is so pure that the spells don’t affect her. The toads turn into poppies. The queen’s next plan is to smear her with dirt and walnut juice to turn her black. Elisa’s father does not recognise her, so she leaves the palace.

Elisa wanders into the forest and bathes in a pool until she turns back to her recognisable self. Elisa meets a woman who tells her that there are eleven swans bathing nearby. Elisa finds them and realises they are her swan brothers who turn back into boys at midnight. They explain to her that they are swans during the day and humans at night. They live across the sea in another land, and so they weave a basket so they can bring Elisa with them.

During a dream, a fairy comes to Elisa and explains how she could break the curse on her brothers. She has to pick nettles and knit eleven shirts from the fibers. The catch is that Elisa must not speak a word during the task otherwise it’ll kill all eleven of her brothers. Poor Elisa’s hands burn as she is stung by the nettles.

Elisa hears dogs and hunters. They come towards her, bringing the king. He decides to bring her with him to the palace. As Elisa can’t talk during the task, she says nothing. The king marries her (Wait, what?!) and she continues her task of weaving shirts, working at night. Elisa has to sneak out for more material, and the archbishop becomes suspicious. The king starts to spy on Elisa. He’s convinced she’s a witch so is condemned to burn at the stake. She just finishes the last shirt as she’s being brought to the stake. Her brothers fly over the crowd and Elisa throws the shirts up at them.

The eleven swans turn back into humans, except for the youngest brother, who still has a swan’s wing instead of an arm as Elisa didn’t have time to finish the sleeve. Elisa can now talk, so she protests her innocence. Her brothers can now back up her story. The king realises he was wrong!

Next Fairy Tale- The Snail and The Rose Tree