Blogging Tips

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The Doll Funeral

Title: The Doll Funeral

Author: Kate Hamer

Genres: Mystery | Paranormal

Length: 368 pages | 4060 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Publishing Date: February 16th, 2017

Rating: 2.75/5

Premise:

On her thirteenth birthday, Ruby finds out she is adopted.
From then on she strives to find her real parents. She will rely on the help of Shadow Boy and new found friends.

Review:

Phew, I was beginning to wonder if I would ever finish this one.

First of all, to say this blurb is misleading is an understatement. It is objective and succinct, everything the book is not. I could never have imagined this had such a lyrical style of writing based on it. Even Ruby’s beatings were almost poetic and I did not appreciate that.

Quite often I wasn’t even sure what was going on. And my attention would frequently wander. Also, though the descriptions were amazingly beautiful and vivid, I completely forgot what was important to the story itself.

I felt the book was unnecessarily long. There were entire paragraphs that didn’t add anything to the story, maybe even chapters, like the Evil Book one. There was no reason at all to burn that book. I at least had long forgotten it by then. Sorry, book lover at heart here.

Yes, it all served to convey an atmosphere of how Ruby felt about what surrounded her and how it affected her, and the paranormal aspect was very subtle and approached in a way I had not seen before. However, I kept wanting the book to end or at least for something relevant to happen.

The Doll Funeral was a curious, new experience that I mildly appreciated.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Mar 19th to Mar 26th, 2017
GR Review

Stacking The Shelves [7] March 25th

sts3

Stacking The Shelves is hosted at Tynga’s Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


Hello, everyone!

I hope you have had a lovely week.

Mine was busy but good. Not much time to read, unfortunately. Plenty of time to request, though! I’ve been naughty again and requested too much stuff, making my Netgalley feedback rate drop below 70% again, but I have felt the need for different stuff to read. I ended up requesting books I would not normally read and I think it will do me a world of good.

These are the 8 books I added to my shelves this past week:


Edelweiss ARC

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

I absolutely loved the Stepford Wives sort of vibe I got from the description of the neighbourhood and the variety of characters also intrigues me so I am very happy that my request was accepted.

Gift

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans
by M.L. Stedman

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

Dear Kelly @ Book Obsession passed this on to me. I had actually wanted to watch the movie but waited too long and now I get to read the book, which is even better!

Giveaway

Gambit (The Prodigy Chronicles #1) by C.L. Denault

Gambit (The Prodigy Chronicles #1)
by C.L. Denault

In Earth’s battle-ridden future, humans have evolved. Those with extraordinary skills rise to power and fame. Those without live in poverty.

Sixteen-year-old Willow Kent believed she was normal. But when a genetically-advanced military officer shows up in her village and questions her identity, long-buried secrets begin to emerge. With remarkable skills and a shocking genetic code the Core and its enemies will do anything to obtain, Willow suddenly finds the freedom she craves slipping through her fingers. Greed, corruption, and genetic tampering threaten every aspect of her existence as she’s thrust, unwilling, into the sophisticated culture of the elite Core city. To ensure peace, she must leave the past behind, marry a man she’s never met, and submit to the authority of a relentless officer with a hidden agenda of his own.

Her life has become a dangerous game. How much will she sacrifice in order to win?

I won this in a giveaway and I am looking forward to starting it because it seems like just what I need to take a break from what I usually read and delve into a good old fantasy/dystopia. The world described in the blurb sounds really interesting!

Netgalley ARC

Hush Little Baby by Joanna Barnard

Hush Little Baby
by Joanna Barnard

When baby Oliver breaks his arm, no-one can (or will) say how it happened.

His mother is exhausted.

His father is angry.

His older sister is resentful.

And they all have something to hide.

I have felt myself drawn to stories involving children more and more these days and I am curious to know the dynamic of this family.

Mr Make Believe by Beezy Marsh

Mr Make Believe
by Beezy Marsh

Marnie Martin’s formerly perfect life is not quite going to plan.

Hard-hitting newspaper journalist turned stay at home mum slash part-time (terrible) cookery columnist slash full-time day dreamer, she’s not entirely sure when it all went wrong…

She suspects it was at exactly the moment she gave up writing the front page for the apparent bliss of perfect motherhood. But while her (tall, handsome, lawyer) husband Matt’s career is taking off, she is left behind with the impossible task of pairing socks. His late nights at the office are turning into late nights who knows where else. They haven’t had a proper conversation in weeks, sex in months, and a full night’s sleep in what must be years. Love has taken a back seat to the laundry pile and Marnie is feeling a little lost.

So when an extended fantasy about movie star Maddox Wolfe leads to a missed deadline, a very high profile case of food poisoning, the loss of her job and potentially her husband… Marnie becomes Mrs Make Believe: Anonymous blogger, secret spiller and voice of fantasy-life spinning imperfect mums everywhere.

Mrs Make Believe knows the bedtime battles, the marriage screw ups and the shrinking clothing (she remains a size 10, what are her clothes playing at?) only too well. She also knows that it’s ok to let your mind wander into make believe… What she didn’t know was that a movie star crush could walk off the screen and into her life, turning her already muddled world (with a husband with one foot out the door) totally on its head.

Will Marnie be sucked back into the world of uncomfortable cocktail dresses and Botox-frozen smiles? Will she find happiness in her infuriatingly imperfect marriage or in the arms of the (literal) man of her dreams? Or will Marnie find that true love is just make believe?

This laugh out loud romantic comedy will have you glued to your sofa. Journalist turned author, Beezy Marsh, is perfect for fans of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones, Tracy Bloom and The Bad Mother’s Diary. The battle through love, life and laundry should never be a one woman struggle.

Ok I have to admit I did not read the entire synopsis but this sounds like a funny read which is just what I need!
Also, I still am not comfortable reading a proper romance so this seems like a good compromise.

Narcissism for Beginners by Martine McDonagh

Narcissism for Beginners
by Martine McDonagh

Meet Sonny Anderson as he tips headlong into adulthood. Sonny doesn’t remember his mother’s face; he was kidnapped at age five by his father, Guru Bim, and taken to live in a commune in Brazil. Since the age of ten, Sonny has lived in Redondo Beach, California, with his guardian Thomas Hardiker. Brits think he’s an American, Americans think he’s a Brit.

When he turns 21, Sonny musters the courage to travel alone to the UK in an attempt to leave a troubled past behind, reunite with his mother and finally learn the truth about his childhood. With a list of people to visit, a whole lot of attitude and five mysterious letters from his guardian, Sonny sets out to learn the truth. But is it a truth he wants to hear?

Narcissism for Beginners is a fresh, witty and humane take on the struggle to make sense of growing up.

This sounds like a very peculiar coming-of-age story with lots of food for thought.

Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) by Sylvain Neuvel

Waking Gods (Themis Files #2)
by Sylvain Neuvel

When an alien vessel materialises in London, does it mean peace or war? Waking Gods is the gripping sequel to the ground-breaking thriller Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. What’s going on? Turn on the television. What channel? Any channel. An unknown vessel, not of this world, materializes in London. A colossal figure towering over the city, it makes no move. Is this a peaceful first contact or the prelude to an invasion? Every child has nightmares. But the only thing scarier than little Eva Reyes’ dreams – apocalyptic visions of death and destruction – is the habit they have of coming true… Scientist Dr Rose Franklin has no memory of the last few years. The strangers she works with say she died, and was brought back to life. The question is not just how … but why? Kara Resnik and Vincent Couture fell in love during war, and have found peace since. They are the thin line of defence against what is coming. But they do not know they have been living a lie. And a man who claims to have the answers has his own agenda. There are things he cannot say – and others he won’t. All pieces of an epic puzzle. One we have been trying to solve since the dawn of time… *** Praise for Sylvain Neuvel: ‘This year’s The Martian. Captivating … So good and so eerie’ Buzzfeed ‘Bursts at the seams with big ideas … this book is a sheer blast from start to finish. I haven’t had this much fun reading in ages’ Blake Crouch, author of Dark Matter and Wayward Pines ‘This stellar debut novel masterfully blends together elements of sci-fi, political thriller and apocalyptic fiction … so much more than the sum of its parts. A page-turner of the highest order’ Kirkus Reviews ‘As high-concept as it is, Sleeping Giants is a thriller through and through. One of the most promising series kickoffs in recent memory’ NPR ‘Reminiscent of The Martian and World War Z, Sleeping Giants is a luminous conspiracy yarn that shoots for (and lands among) the stars’ Pierce Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Red Rising

After several rejections on both Netgalley and Edelweiss I finally managed to grab the sequel of Sleeping Giants as Read Now. Lucky, huh?

Lying to Children by Alex Shahla

Lying to Children
by Alex Shahla

A fictional father writes letters to his college-aged daughter and son remembering events, large and small, from their family’s past in the poignant and hilarious Lying to Children. In this collection of sometimes outrageous, sometimes sad, often heartwarming interconnected vignettes, author Alex Shahla enters the fray with a delightful confessional celebration of family life told in stories from a dad’s unique perspective. Centered around the untruths parents regularly tell their kids in an effort to protect (or silence) them—from “Daddy Loves his Job” to “There’s a Jolly Fat Man who Brings You Presents (Assembly Required)” —Lying to Children is an unforgettable familial history filled with laughter, tears, and life lessons, and brimming over with a somewhat-less-than-perfect suburban dad’s unwavering love.

This sounds light and funny and just what I need to unwind from some heavy stuff I have been reading.


And that’s it for this week!

Have you read any of these or do you plan to?

Are you excited about reading any particular books you got this week?

Please comment below and if you have a STS post please post it in comments.

Review Format and Category Tweaking

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who voted for Poll – Publisher and Publishing Date. These were the results:

Since almost everyone seemed up for it, I have already begun including the Publisher and Publisher Date in my latest review:

I got rid of the format, which didn’t seem to be doing much, and added ‘Kindle’ to locations to make it more obvious, so in the end it looks pretty much the same as before and not cluttered, which was my main concern.

But more importantly – What do you think?

Oh and since I am all for simplifying, Blog Freebies, GR First Reads and Rafflecopter subcategories are all under Giveaways now.

Looking forward to your feedback!

A Heart-Warming Surprise

The generosity of the bookish blogging community never ceases to amaze me.

Some people donate their time by visiting other people’s blogs, liking and commenting their post – which I really appreciate.

Others hold giveaways, either of books donated by the author or publishers or even themselves.

And then there’s people like the amazing Kelly @ Book Obsession who just happened to send me a book so it would not go homeless or sitting in a shelf unread. Just because I said I might like it.

Kelly, you rock! Thank you so much for this gift <3

I hope you will visit her blog, she deserves all the best!

International Book Subscription Box Giveaway

Have you signed up to this giveaway yet? Today is the last day to do so!

Ana's Lair

If there is one thing I love is a good international giveaway, so when I saw this at That Bookshelf Bitch I just had to share.

By simply entering your email you are eligible for:

  • ONE (1) lucky grand prize winner will receive a year-long subscription to the Literary Box of their choice (Over $200 in value)!
  • TEN (10) additional winners will each receive a Literary Box (1) of their choice.
  • Winners can choose between the Fiction box or the Young Adult Fiction box.
  • This giveaway is open to US and International booklovers!

 
So what are you waiting for? Click the image to enter! You can only sign up by March 22nd.

I am so excited about this because international giveaways are so rare and this box really seems wonderful. Every three months you receive a hardcover copy of a brand new title and 2 other books handpicked by…

View original post 20 more words

I am a Giveaway Winner!

I actually won an international giveaway for a paperback!

I am so thankful to Shealea @ That Bookshelf Bitch for hosting the giveaway and to C.L. Denault, author of Gambit, book 1 in The Prodigy Chronicles for providing the book.

You can find the author’s site here and information about the book below:

In Earth’s battle-ridden future, humans have evolved. Those with extraordinary skills rise to power and fame. Those without live in poverty.

Sixteen-year-old Willow Kent believed she was normal. But when a genetically-advanced military officer shows up in her village and questions her identity, long-buried secrets begin to emerge. With remarkable skills and a shocking genetic code the Core and its enemies will do anything to obtain, Willow suddenly finds the freedom she craves slipping through her fingers. Greed, corruption, and genetic tampering threaten every aspect of her existence as she’s thrust, unwilling, into the sophisticated culture of the elite Core city. To ensure peace, she must leave the past behind, marry a man she’s never met, and submit to the authority of a relentless officer with a hidden agenda of his own.

Her life has become a dangerous game. How much will she sacrifice in order to win?

Buy Gambit here:

Click here to add it to your GoodReads shelves.

At 556 pages, this promises to be an enthralling read and the first book in the next big dystopian series and I cannot wait to start reading it!

New on Pinterest and Instagram

As part of my pursuit to use social media more actively I have created accounts in Pinterest and Instagram.

I haven’t done much with them yet but I have to admit I really like Pinterest’s boards, they are very handy, and the stuff I find there is quite inspirational. Sometimes I misclick and add stuff to the wrong board though and I find it difficult to remove the pins from there, especially on the app!

Instagram seems cool as well and I hope I will be posting more when I get my new phone (whenever that will be)! Not sure I can create pictures nearly as beautiful as the ones I see around, I don’t think I have that good an eye for that kind of stuff, but we’ll see where the journey takes me.

Things are getting busier at work but hopefully I will be able to take some time to explore both, eventually.

In the meantime, if you have any tips please let me know and please feel free to add me, I will follow back:

Thank you!

The Breakdown

Title: The Breakdown

Author: B.A. Paris

Genres: Psychological Thriller

Length: 336 pages | 3364 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publishing Date: June 20th, 2017
 
Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

During a storm, Cass makes a decision not to assist a woman whose car appears to have broke down in of a deserted road in the middle of the woods.
That decision will chase her for the rest of her life.
Also, why is she experiencing memory loss?
Can the two be connected?

Review:

I could tell based on ratings that this is one of those books that people either love or hate. Though I didn’t hate it, I could have done without reading it.

I had a lot of trouble with suspension of disbelief. I struggled to stay interested in the narrative when our main character has so serious memory issues that she just chooses to ignore because she is afraid. She goes through stuff, worries about her state of mind, vents to her husband, and that’s it. She is obviously distraught but neither her husband nor best friend seem to realise it or if they do they just downplay it and shrug it off. And she never turns to anyone else.

So for at least three quarters of the book we are presented with situation after situation where Cass can’t remember things right. And it’s not like there was much of an end goal in sight other than time to go back to work approaching, but even that isn’t mentioned much. So it all felt rather pointless.

It annoyed me because the writing was very engaging, other than the whining protagonist, and I was sure that by the time the book ended it would all make sense and wrap up nicely – which it did. But there was nothing during the large majority of the book to make me interested in what happened. It was just… stuff, you know?

I wonder how much longer the book would have gone on had our main character not stumbled upon the truth accidentally, or rather had it handed to her (literally). Also, it doesn’t make sense that Rachel would tell her about the row in the parking lot. Or that she didn’t mention it to the police when interviewed. With so much at stake it just doesn’t make sense that she would mention that. There’s just too much fitting it too perfectly and we are supposed to believe that it was Jane guiding the events?

So I am still struggling to figure out the point of everything up until that point, which felt rushed due to all the luck involved.

Also, for so long we are presented to this scared person who just gives in. And yet she has the mind to plot all that after she finds out. Even after confessing she was scared to death she wouldn’t make it through the night. It just doesn’t make sense!

As you can see, there isn’t much I can say about why I am not a fan of this book without writing spoilers so I will just say that The Breakdown has its qualities, for sure, particularly the writing, and it is quite different from what is out there. However, as far as the story and characters go I was just not content.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Mar 16th to Mar 19th, 2017
GR Review

Stacking The Shelves [6] March 18th

sts3

Stacking The Shelves is hosted at Tynga’s Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!


Hello, everyone!
I hope you are all having a lovely weekend.
So… Last week I went overboard with requests so I really tried to brace myself this week.
I did request more but only 3 ARCs were approved and finally received the 3 books I had ordered from BWB.
These are the books I added to my shelves:


Edelweiss ARC

Red Ribbons (Dr. Kate Pearson #1) by Louise Phillips

Red Ribbons (Dr. Kate Pearson #1)
by Louise Phillips

This British crime novel seems really interesting. A serial killer who leaves red ribbons and a criminal psychologist who tries to get in the killer’s mind – I would say this is a recipe for success.

Netgalley ARC

Lie to Me: A gripping psychological thriller with a shocking twist by Jess Ryder

Lie to Me
by Jess Ryder

Despite the annoying mention of the shocking twist the premise sounded very interesting. I wonder what story a four-year-old could be asked to tell and what devastating questions that action could have…

Augustus Carp, Esq., by Himself by Henry Howarth Bashford

Augustus Carp, Esq., by Himself
by Henry Howarth Bashford

The description of a a self-proclaimed “good man” who relishes every opportunity to condemn the weaknesses of others while excusing his own failings completely grasped me. This sounds very funny and real, just what I need to wind down from all the heavy stuff I read.
Unfortunately I am unable to read it as it is in ACSM format and will just not deliver to my Kindle.

Purchases

My lovely books from Better World Books have arrived and they all look amazing! Neither has a cover even remotely bent, they just had stickers and stamps from having belonged to a library. I easily removed the stickers so they look even more gorgeous now.

I have been wanting to buy 0.4 and 1.4 by Mike Lancaster in this edition, for many months now, because I love the covers but I just could find them.
After being hypnotised, Kyle Straker wakes up to a whole different world and people don’t even seem to realise he exists. I am very curious and looking forward to reading both books.

A Child Called It is not something I would usually read because even though I am used to reading heavy stuff it is all fiction, so let’s see how I will cope with this one.


And that’s it for this week!

Have you read any of these or do you plan to?

Are you excited about reading any particular books you got this week?

Please comment below and if you have a STS post please post it in comments.

I Found You

Title: I Found You

Author: Lisa Jewell

Genres: Mystery | Thriller

Length: 464 pages | 3525 Kindle locations

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Arrow

Publishing Date: March 9th, 2017

 

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

In East Yorkshire, Alice, a single mother of three, finds a man sitting on the beach in the middle of the pouring rain wearing nothing but a shirt and jeans. Against her better judgement, she takes him in, after finding out that he does not remember who he is.
At the same time, at Surrey, Lily’s husband goes missing. They have only been married for a couple of weeks and she does not know much about him but she knows he would not just leave like this.
Who is this lost man and how does his past relate to the two stories?

Review:

I Found You started out really well. The writing was very engaging.

I found myself enjoying the chapters about Alice more because she seemed more real, even though she was obviously a bit off in the head:
And even if (…) he’s killed someone, he’d have a good reason for it; she knows he would.
Often saying she knew she was didn’t exactly help, it was just stating the obvious.
It was that realising things well before the character did that threw me off a bit. I mean, it took her forever to really grasp that she was putting her children’s life in danger by bringing in a complete stranger.

There were things that didn’t add up like how on earth she could support herself and three children and an unexpected guest just by selling her art occasionally.
Still, I enjoyed several aspects of this character, particularly her parents and everything she needed to deal with. It was refreshing to read about 40 year-old characters, their daily lives and concerns.

Lily on the other hand, I struggled to relate to. I just don’t get why a 21-year-old would move to another country, without money, without family, not even knowing her fiancé’s family or really much about him – or anyone else in that country, for that matter. It just didn’t seem realistic, fully relying on a single person to survive. And not having any money because Carl payed for everything? Nah, just doesn’t seem feasible. And, again, it took her forever to realise what I had grasped within a few lines.

I did appreciate viewing things at a foreigner’s point of view, since I am not native to the English culture and do find myself wondering about stuff that is so familiar to them.

After that, we get introduced to more characters – brother Gray, sister Kirstie and mysterious Mark – and things get even more interesting. The way the chapters ended made me want to know what came next and I looked forward to finding out how all three storylines would progress.

The way that we are told they are two separate missing men is very well achieved, with innocuous clues here and there. And even the whole memory loss thing, which is so popular in psychological thrillers these days, was quite convincing.

I did anticipate most of the revelations but as the book’s end approached I was surprised on a couple of occasions and appreciate how it wrapped up to the book’s title in the final lines – these days, often times I find myself wondering how a book’s title was picked. Most of them are just so generic. No wonder I can’t remember most titles when thinking of a particular character or storyline. I think this one, simple as it is, will stick with me.

As a note, the ARC’s quality was a disappointment. I am used to not having a chapter index but incomplete words were a first. Sometimes letters were missing in the middle of words, other times the beginning or end, and I had to guess based on context. Most times I could do that, others not so much.

All in all, I Found You was quite enjoyable. Not the most amazing thriller I have read but very enjoyable and I wanted to know what happened to all characters. Recommended.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Mar 11th to Mar 16th, 2017
GR Review