Saturday, 30 July 2016

ARC Clear-Out = Free Books!

When I moved house I promised myself I'd get better at going through my unwanted books on a regular basis. There's a mix of genres, some are pretty old now and most I haven't read. I am happy to send them out to UK addresses completely free of charge. I'm not looking for trade or money, I just would like to rehome them!


The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
Watching Edie by Camilla Way
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
The Grim Company by Luke Scull
The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan
Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough
When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man by Nick Dybek
Fever by Mary Beth Keane
The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill
Game by Anders de la Motte
Gone Are the Leaves by Anne Donovan
The Bones of Grace by Tahmina Anam
Acts of Love by Talulah Riley
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
The State We're In by Adele Parks
The Book of You by Claire Kendal
Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris
The Way Back Home by Freya North

Outside the UK? Postage is pretty steep on sending books abroad these days so if you really want something, I'd ask that you contribute towards postage.

I will be at Nine Worlds but am travelling light. There is no harm in letting me know you'll be there but I might still decide to post. I can also bring books along to the Bath Bookshop Crawl. I can't promise when the books will be posted either, so please don't request something you need to read for book group by next week!

If you want any please leave a comment or tweet me with what you want. It'll be first come first served and I'll try and cross off books as they're claimed. You can send the delivery address to me via my contact form or DM on Twitter.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

breach

Peirene Press commissioned Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes to go out into the camps at Calais, nicknamed the Jungle, and hear the refugees’ stories. breach is the result; eight short stories showing the hopes of those people desperate to enter Britain and the fears of those who wish to reduce immigration.

All around her now, on the path, Julie sees stranded people, people who cannot cross that last fence. Involunteers.

When I first heard about the project, I assumed it would be non-fiction but the stories the authors heard in Calais have been combined and transformed into fiction. I think I would have liked to have read actual accounts but I understand the need for the anonymization fiction gives as well as the flexibility to show things a certain way. I tried to keep in mind that, whilst the characters were made up, the experiences, and feelings, were real ones.

The Jungle very much feels like a city in these stories, with a wide range of nationalities and people trying to get by. There’s a criminal element present too but also people running shops and building hospitals. In some ways you wonder why we don’t invest in making it a liveable place where people can be proud of what they’ve built, rather than a waiting room.

The stories cover life in the camp but also the journeys to and from it, the realities of smuggling and the dangers of sneaking in via lorry. The desperation of the women who sell their bodies for a few euros. There is a French B&B owner who takes in two refugee children, but she worries, not just what people might think if they knew but she also starts to doubt them, doubt her own mind. We see the transience of volunteers, who befriend refugees only to disappear out of their lives. There is a refugee who has made it to Britain only to face prejudice and blame.

They think refugees make their summer income leave through the back door. Tourism does not want to see any dead bodies floating onto the sand.

It didn’t really go into why Britain is such a desirable place for refugees to aim for. The main thing I got was many of them spoke a little bit of English already, so learning a language from scratch was more of a barrier to settling elsewhere.

I felt the first story was the weakest and may put some people off, but overall the stories were strong humanised the refugees, whilst acknowledging problems. It doesn’t go into the political side, it’s more about the human side. It’s an important and timely book that shows a different side from what the media feeds us.

You had asked for leggings, tighter jeans, something that would make you feel like you were still twenty-four and not just a refugee squatting in a camp that the locals want gone.

breach is published by Peirene Press and will be available in paperback and ebook editions from 1st August 2016. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones | Hive | Wordery | Peirene Press




Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Small Great Things

There are two points in life when we are all equal: at the moment of birth and at the moment of death. It is how we live in between that defines us.

The publishers asked us to #ReadWithoutPrejudice, providing neither the author nor title. My first thoughts were that it might be a well-known author writing in a different genre, and we shouldn’t have preconceptions about them or their writing. Yet a few chapters in and the style, and tropes, were obvious and it didn’t take me long for someone to confirm that yes, this is the new Jodi Picoult novel (note, this has now been officially revealed).

I’ve enjoyed some of Jodi’s books in the past, especially Nineteen Minutes which tackles a school shooting, but the fact that I identified the author quite quick, just cements the idea that she can be a bit formulaic. She does tackle tough topics, is easy to read and has a large audience, so a book on racism by her can be no bad thing if it starts a discussion amongst those who might not normally think about it.

The narrative is shared between three characters. Ruth is a labour and delivery nurse (like a midwife) who also happens to be black. Turk is a white supremacist whose wife, Brittany, has just had their first baby. Kennedy is a public defence attorney who lives in the same neighbourhood as Ruth and soon finds herself taking her case.

Because Turk didn’t want Ruth touching his baby. It didn't matter that Ruth was an experienced and compassionate professional, all he saw was her skin colour. When the newborn tragically dies, the parents blame the black nurse, not just for negligence, but for murder. In amongst the heightened emotions, there is also a case of discrimination in the workplace and how the court system deals, or doesn’t deal, with race. There’s some really uncomfortable moments, the worst is knowing that these kind of things are happening out there in our so-called civilised world.

So the request to #ReadWithoutPrejudice was really a hint that the book is about racism, although it also worked to get me to read a book I probably wouldn’t have picked up if I had known the author. I am a little disappointed that this story was not written by someone with first-hand experience of racism, although Jodi does highlight the position of privilege white people are in, that we’re probably all a little bit racist, it’s what we do about it that matters.

Considering recent events, both in America and the UK, I’ve been reading a lot of journalism about racism and some of the longstanding problems which have kept black people down in the US. So there was not much new to me in this novel. What did strike me was that it was stuffed full of so many examples, it felt a bit tick boxy.

OK, white supremacists are probably a hard bunch to get inside their heads and Jodi notes that she spoke to some who had reformed, but a lot just seemed a bit like she’d watched some Louis Theroux documentaries and that season of Nip/Tuck and mixed those elements together. Turk’s ending was quite rushed and the result was it didn’t come across as entirely believable.

I think if you’re a fan of Jodi’s books you’ll definitely enjoy this one, but it wasn’t quite right for me. Sometimes our reading prejudices serve a purpose!

Small Great Things is published by Hodder and will be available in hardback and ebook editions from 11th October 2016. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Incoming!

My lovely signed copy of False Hearts arrived at last and I urge you to get a copy too. It's both pretty and a fantastic sci-fi novel. Needless to say I read the latest instalments of Saga straight away and a quickie review will be up soon, it's still as good as ever. I've also read Things We Know by Heart already, a touching story about a girl who reaches out to the boy who receives the donated heart of her deceased boyfriend. My review will be up as part if the blog tour next month.

The last two weeks saw another red sprayed edge book, this time a very attractive proof of Caraval, which I believe is a YA circus fantasy thing. Along with Frostblood these are my first 2017 releases! In July!

And a big thank you to the lovely Other Ellie for sending me a couple of books off my wishlist. Bloggers are the best.


For Review:

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby (HarperCollins)
Breach by Olumide Popoola + Annie Holmes (Peirene Press)
Crosstalk by Connie Willis (Gollancz)
Caraval by Stephanie Garber (Hodder)*
Frostblood by Elly Blake (Hodder)*
Behind the Throne by K.B. Wagers (Orbit)*
The Ice Lands by Steinar Bragi (Pan Macmillan)*

Bought:

Saga: Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan + Fiona Staples
False Hearts by Laura Lam
Brazilian Sketches by Rudyard Kipling

Gifted:

The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell
Redshirts by John Scalzi

Freebies:

Zombie's Bite by Karen Chance


*Unsolicited titles

Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Race

Jenna’s world revolves around the racing of genetically engineered smartdogs. Christy escapes her life, and her brother, in her writing. Alex walked away from a woman who is now missing. Orphaned Maree embarks on a voyage to fulfil a destiny she has no choice in. Four people, four lives, four stories and a connection across time and realities.

The Race wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I was drawn to the idea of the smartdog racing against a backdrop of a Britain damaged by fracking. Honestly, the fracking part is of no consequence, and I can understand why some readers were disappointed, but this book actually turned out to be something quite clever instead.

There are five stories, and to some they might seem disjointed, but the connections are there. In fact all the things I felt weren’t that great in Jenna’s story, which comes first, were completely OK when I got to Christy’s story. As I saw it, Christy wrote Jenna’s portion, that’s why it’s not perfect and maybe has a few too many things in.

Yet when we return to the world of smartdogs later on in Maree’s story, there is an inkling to something else. The place names aren’t quite right and there are allusions to alternate worlds. Maybe it’s just another of Christy’s stories, and she’s not that great with continuity, but there is an element from Alex’s life which he never told Christy that appears, in a way, in Maree’s world, dismissing the idea that it is another book within a book.

Sapphire revealed itself to me only gradually, a town within a town, nestled into the shadows of my birthplace as the truth of a things lies concealed within its outward appearance.

There are parallels between Jenna’s story and Christy’s. Christy uses elements of her life to shape her story, from trips to the races as a child, to her brother Derek, clearly Del in Jenna’s tale. Christy chooses to leave a trauma out of her written world, perhaps rewriting the event as the way she would have wanted it.

The title could be taken quite literally, with the smartdog racing and a specific race of importance in one story. But each one refers to race in a different way; human evolution, discrimination, cultural folklore and hints at races unknown to us. In Maree’s story, language and our place in the world is explored, even questioned.

Words are what humans are, even more than flesh.

The final story, Brock Island, carries on from Maree’s story in a more traditional way, but many years later. It has left me ruminating for days after finishing… Thought-provoking and different, I’d recommend The Race if you’re not after a post-apocalyptic, genetically altered dog adventure!

The Race is published by Titan Books and is available now in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Lie Tree

Fleeing from scandal, Faith’s scientist father moves the family to a remote island where there is still work for him. His behaviour becomes more and more troubling to Faith until the day he is found dead. Whilst most assume suicide, Faith is convinced her father was murdered and her investigation leads her to an unusual specimen; a tree which feeds on lies.

Women and girls were so often unseen, forgotten, afterthoughts. Faith herself had used it to good effect, hiding in plain sight and living a double life.

I’m honestly a bit hesitant about reviewing The Lie Tree because so many people have been raving about it, people whose opinions I value, not just award panels, and it just didn’t hit the spot for me.

In premise, it sounded great. I love reading about the Victorian fossil hunters and especially around the injustice of the female scientists who were never given the credit in their lifetime. Faith is a girl who wishes she could follow in her father’s footsteps, but her mind is considered too small and delicate to do science, despite the evidence to the contrary. She’s female, so she can’t possible do anything other than marry and oversee a household. If she’s lucky.

The idea that Victorian women were overlooked is central to the whole plot. Faith isn’t to be suspected of anything because of her gender. And Faith is just as guilty of underestimating women too.

I’m not the biggest fan of main characters who lie. It’s quite obvious I should have thought about this going in, because of the title and the blurb and all that, but mostly I was going by recommendations. The plant must be fed lies to grow, the further reaching the lie the better, so Faith feeds it. And I couldn’t warm to her, I didn’t feel any regret that her father was dead, she seemed better off without him.

People were animals, and animals were nothing but teeth. You bit first, and you bit often. That was the only way to survive.

The behaviour of the locals towards a grieving family was awful. Honestly, I liked Faith’s mother much more than I probably should have. She is just as a much a prisoner of her gender as Faith is.

I can highly recommend Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier if you’re interested in reading a fictionalised account of the lives of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot, the women responsible for many important fossil finds.

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Book Source: Purchased

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Wolf Road

The old 'uns called that day the Fall or the Reformation. Nana said some down in the far south called it Rapture. Nana was a babe when it happened, said her momma called it the Big Damn Stupid. Set everything back to zero.

Raised by a man she called Trapper, Elka grew up in the forests of BeeCee, learning how to trap and live off the land. He never says I love you, but he is the closest thing she has to a father. Kreagar Hallet is a wanted man and Magistrate Lyon will stop at nothing to bring him to justice. When Elka begins to suspect she’s been lied to, she runs, heading North where she believes she’ll find her real parents.

The Wolf Road is a powerful debut, beautifully describing the wilderness and the simplicity and hardships of living in it. Even in the good times, there is a constant edge to Elka’s existence, that one step behind her may be her death; be it from nature or the man she used to call daddy.

The narrative is written with an accent, something that’s hard to do successfully. I never found Elka’s manner of speaking difficult to follow and was soon sucked into her world.

The world didn't change. There is still murder, still rape and fighting. We had this chance, this clean slate, and we just carried on the same as we always have.

There’s enough hints to get that this is set in a future Canada, for as much as it feels that it is in the past. Disaster reverts civilisation, even humanity. Elka doesn’t really know much about the Damn Stupid, but its impact is seen in the landscape. Pieces suggest there was another world war, that nukes were detonated, maybe it was the Russians, maybe not.

One thing that is clear, is this new world is a dangerous one. As Elka travels north, she stays away from the roads, keeping to the trees. She prefers to risk it with the animals who will only attack for a reason than the humans who are unpredictable. When her travels must intersect with human life, her fears are usually vindicated, yet she does make one unlikely friend. Or maybe two.

Everything looked like death to me, a bush was a hunched-over grizzly, a skinny tree stump was a wolf staring right at me.

I do have one little niggle about this book, and it’s something that is revealed at the end so I don’t want to go into too much detail. I really loved everything else about this book, so the fact that one thing didn’t fit isn’t going to put me off. Instead I’m convincing myself it comes down to the infallibility of memory. There’s plenty that Elka misremembered, so maybe her memories can’t be trusted at all.

The Wolf Road is published by The Borough Press, an imprint of HarperCollins, and is available now in hardback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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Also reviewed @ For Winter Nights




Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Q+A with Gail Carriger

I'm very excited to have Gail on the blog today, answering my questions on tea, self-defense and her new Custard Protocol book, Imprudence.


First things first, how do you take your tea?

Strong enough for a mouse to run across with a nice dollop of whole milk.

How do you go about protecting yourself with a parasol?

Generally I raise mine against the sun, the last thing I need is more freckles. My characters, on the other hand, tend to trick theirs out with explosives, acid emitters, poison darts, that sort of thing. And, of course, there is always the option of bopping your enemy on the noggin.

What’s the most ridiculous hat you’ve given your characters?

Vieve makes a hat for her aunt that is a model of the solar system as Victorians understood it in 1854. That was the result of a hat Tukerization I auctioned off for the charity Worldbuilders. The fan who won the bid collaborated with me to invent that hat and then I wrote it into Manners & Mutiny.

What are your top tips for travelling in the Aetherosphere?

Sunflower plants (cut, dried, and potted) spaced around the deck to protect the vital humours. Try not to think about what might be out in the grey, avoid Charybdis Currents, and make certain your navigator can manage a decent puffing and you should be fine.

If you had your very own dirigible, what would it look like and what would you name it?

I would call it The Spotted Custard and it would look like a great big ladybug, of course.

In Imprudence, Rue and Quesnal’s relationship is rather modern, what would their Victorian contemporaries have made of it?

They would be shocked. They are shocked. Just you wait! Rue has had an interesting upbringing it makes for a novel approach to matters romantic and carnal.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Nothing Tastes as Good

Annabel wanted to be thin, not dead. Recently deceased, she is given one last chance to get a message across to her family. She must help someone. Her first thoughts when she sees her mission is that she is fat. She knows what she must do, she must help Julia to be thin like her.
Every time you say ‘no thank you’ to food, you say ‘yes please’ to skinny.

Annabel doesn’t begin by explicitly stating she died from anorexia but it’s quite obvious to the reader that’s what happened. She’s in denial that she was ever sick and really, that’s why the Boss has sent her to help Julia. Don’t expect to warm to her immediately, I was sympathetic but her thoughts are pretty mean to start with. She’s just thinking of herself and the message she wants to send.

Annabel pushes her own feelings about food onto Julia, she projects her disgust at her own body onto other people. Annabel’s will gives permission for Julia’s behaviour to not follow a normal path. Julia didn’t come across as someone concerned with her body image at the start, maybe she wouldn’t have become so negative about it without that voice in her head. But then, what are we but the voice in our head? Even if it’s not normally from beyond the grave.

At the beginning, it’s possible to read this book and feel it is fat shaming. It is told through the eyes of a sick girl, who believes that food is the enemy and fat is abhorrent. She can’t see straight and is not a reliable narrator. Her words made me feel uncomfortable, but at the story progresses, and Annabel is influenced by Julia in return, it is made clear that Annabel is in the wrong.

In the world, when someone looks at a person like Julia they think weak. They think lazy. They see the fat and they know exactly how she got that way.

It also shows both sides of an unhealthy relationship with food. Whilst Julia being overweight is not necessarily a problem, the fact that she comforts herself with binge eating is. That she’s put a lot of weight on in a short amount of time points to something else going on. It also highlights how often eating disorders are a mechanism for control when the sufferer feels they are lacking it elsewhere in their lives.

Nothing Tastes as Good does an excellent job of showing how people don’t see us as we see ourselves. When we see another person’s perception of Annabel, she is nothing like the narrator projects herself as. And we are constantly seeing a mix of Julia’s own perceptions and Annabel’s, as being her “spirit guide” Annabel can hear other’s thoughts.

We are responsible for our own bodies, but sometimes the darkness crawls in and it lies, it lies, it lies.

I’ve seen this compared to Asking For It quite a lot, I suspect due to both writers being Irish more than anything else. It shares some of that unease, however it is much more positive than Louise’s book. It didn’t leave me feeling hopeless.

Nothing Tastes as Good is published by Hot Key Books and will be available in paperback and ebook editions from 14th July 2016. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Imprudence

Imprudence is the second book in the Custard Protocol series and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous book, Prudence.

Rue, and her family are still dealing with the political mess she started in India. Queen Victoria is not best pleased with her. And there’s something not right with the local werewolf pack, with her father acting the strangest of all. He’s getting old and that isn’t good news for alpha wolves. All eyes turn to Rue’s dirigible, The Spotted Custard to solve the problem, leading her and her assorted crew on a new adventure.

Whilst it took a while to get into the first Custard Protocol book, I fell straight into Imprudence and I warmed so much more to the characters. As the cover suggests, this time Rue is off to Egypt, although unfortunately not on a site seeing trip. She must transport her father to the one place he can grow old gracefully, even if that means saying goodbye. Of course, this means her mother must come with them on the journey, much to Rue’s annoyance.

Rue has reached her majority, in other words become an adult in the eyes of society. She’s not quite sure what happens now, but she’s very interested in learning some scandalous “French” off Quesnal whilst on their trip. Rue’s adamant she doesn’t care about the Frenchman and it’s all just casual but I think the lady doth protest too much.

You can't go round kissing coquettish Frenchmen willy-nilly. It's not done and the papers will positively float off the stands.

There’s a lot more development around the lioness Sekhmet, who is rather flirty with Primrose. Primrose on the other hand keeps getting engaged to unsuitable men. Percy has caused quite a fuss with his latest scientific paper and Quesnal is keeping something strange below decks. Not to mention Rue can’t command the respect of certain members of her crew. It’s going to be quite the journey.

Forgive us immortals our sins of pride, child. We all age like cheese, growing strong and tasty but also covered in the mould of good intentions gone grey.

There’s plenty of action and silliness, and again it touches on the British Empire’s habit of sticking its oar in where it’s not wanted.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

London Belongs to Us

A city of eight million people. Eight million lives. Eight million stories. This is just one of them.

When Sunny is sent a photo of her boyfriend kissing another girl, she’s ready to forgive him, but first she wants an explanation. To her face. But Mark isn’t easy to track down, leading to one mad night, dashing around London with her friends.

This is one of those books that I felt managed to capture a bit of what it was like when I was an older teen. Nowadays, if I go out, it tends to be to one place and I’ll have a solid plan of getting home, and will probably be in bed by 11pm! But like Sunny, once I’d go out and go round a few bars, end up at people’s houses, then maybe go to a club or wander round looking for food. OK, my nights weren’t quite as actioned packed as this one, but it had me reminiscing.

It’s more of an anti-romance than a romance. Sunni slowly starts to realise Mark might not be that amazing boy she thinks he is as the night goes on. As a reader, you want her to dump him as soon as she sees that photo, but she is far more forgiving, knowing Mark will have a good reason. Everyone around her knows he’s no good and they try and encourage Sunny to have fun instead.

However it’s hard to dissuade Sunny. She’s a girl on a mission, and some readers might get a bit frustrated with her. However, overall I found it loads of fun and would definitely recommend as a lighter read.

But you believe me, right? She was kissing me, I wasn't kissing her, and my hand kind of gripped her arse in shock. It sounds so shady, I know, but it's the truth.

Each time Sunny moves to a new bit of London, the chapter has a little bit about the history of the place. It’s a reminder at how varied the city is, especially beyond the tourist attractions most non-Londoners associate with it. It would be a fun book to read in preparation for a visit, if only to prepare you for public transport nightmares. Yup, there’s a replacement bus service, rickshaws, bicycles and extortionate taxi fares.

Oh, and Sunny’s mixed race. It’s great that we’re getting books like these where the author doesn’t default to your white, middle class teen just because. The book is not about race, although you will find Sunny talking about her hair issues and some brushes with casual racism. It’s a book about a London teen and one night of craziness.

London Belongs to Us is published by Hot Key Books and is available now in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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Also reviewed @ Pretty Books




Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Incoming!

I know this is a massive pile of books, but I haven't done an update in nearly two months and I feel like I had been rationing myself for so long. So yeah, I may have said yes to a lot of review requests! It's been really frustrating not having the time/mindset to read and blog lately, so I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, and I've been sent some pretty awesome sounding books to do that with.

I have already read a few of these too, keep an eye out for reviews of London Belongs to Us and Imprudence (I also have a Q+A with Gail and a giveaway coming up) soon. Out of the rest I'm most excited about The Race and Replica. Hunters & Collectors seems like something a bit different and both The Wolf Road and Good Morning, Midnight sound right up my street when it comes to isolation and survival in the wilderness.

My interest was also piqued by the #ReadWithoutPrejudice book. The idea is to read it without knowing the title, author or cover, or really that much of a description. I do judge, and dismiss, a lot of the unsolicited books I get, so I like the idea of this. I think it is back on NetGalley now if you want to join in.

Please let me know if you've read any of these or what you're most excited for!


For Review:

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis (The Borough Press)
Hunters & Collectors by M. Suddain (Jonathan Cape)
The Race by Nina Allen (Titan)
Replica by Lauren Oliver (Hodder)
Girl Detached by Manuela Salvi (The Bucket List)
Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige (Bloomsbury)
Imprudence by Gail Carriger (Orbit)
Shadow Rider by Christine Feehan (Piatkus)*
Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah (HarperCollins)*
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena (Transworld)*
Watching Edie by Camilla Way (HarperCollins)*
London Belongs to Us by Sarra Manning (Hot Key Books)
Nothing Tastes as Good by Claire Hennessy (Hot Key Books)
The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart (Hot Key Books)
Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton (Orion)
Can You #ReadWithoutPrejudice? by Anonymous (Hodder)
Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters (Cornerstone)


Bought:

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
The Last Star by Rick Yancey



*Unsolicited titles

Friday, 1 July 2016

The Month That Was... June 2016

+ International Giveaway


What a month! We bought a house, I did a blogging talk at Winchester Writers' Festival, went to my cousin's wedding up North, there was that referendum thing and now the country is in a right state. We had a palaver with our Help to Buy ISA bonus (the website to claim was broken) but we've just had word from the solicitors that they've agreed to pay it post-completion. Hopefully they've ironed out the bugs now, but if you are relying on it to complete, pester your conveyancer to submit it early! The less said about politics, the better, although I have become fascinated with economics.


Needless to say I haven't read much at all in June. I skipped on my challenge reads; if I have any spare time in the second half of the year I will aim to make the yearly total at least 12 of each. There are plenty of classics, non-fiction and graphic novels I'm eager to read after all. I'm semi-retiring from my book group too, I would like to see people socially now and then but it's a bit far away from home now to do every month.

I've had loads of new books through the door, and via NetGalley, so I'll be updating you on them on Sunday. I'm going to try harder to offer ARC rehoming on the blog every few months, so keep your eyes peeled. Moving house reminded me how many books I have that I had kind of forgotten about.

Anyways, there's only a few books to choose from in the giveaway but there's some corkers in there. It's still international and you don't have to follow to enter. Check out the Rafflecopter for details. Don't forget to check out my other giveaway too (and there'll be lot's more to come, so don't go anywhere).

Here's what made it onto the blog...

Book of the Month:
False Hearts by Laura Lam

Reviews: