The Book Slump and Me

I wander around the darkened room, my eyes avoiding the overflowing bookshelf. Two shelves are taken up with brand new books, I have a TBR list that is a mile long and the pile on my bedside table hasn’t changed in a fortnight.

I tried really hard to read.

I managed to read most of one book, only to fall at the final hurdle, the climax of the book, the last big push.

I tried to read a classic, The Picture of Dorian Grey. I made it to 20%.

A new book arrived on my Kindle, one I had waited for anxiously, for weeks, months. Fake by C.L. Stone. I made it to 50% on this one.

I picked up The Help by Kathryn Stockett last night and made it to chapter six. Today it just looks too big, too thick.

Someone told me to try reading a book I already read. I ended up skipping to my favourite scenes, and when I finished the book in half an hour, I was ecstatic! Until I realised that I had actually only read a quarter of the book, having skipped over the whole middle section.

I am fighting a demon, an affliction that hits most readers at one point or another. The Book Slump. It is an overweight, hairy, and ugly monster, making you hate something you love. You end up wasting time by watching Call the Midwife on repeat, and then feeling horribly guilty. All these lovely new books, all the time and no will.

The garlic to this vampire? Time. The one thing that is always running out. On a day when you have six deadlines, five bills to pay, no food in the house, an important meeting at eight in the morning and no clean underwear, your love of reading will come back just in time for you to fall into a book world that you physically cannot pull yourself from for a week.

Happy Reading Friends!

Booky Love

E. St. C.

Retro Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

since you've been gon

Format: Paperback
Published May 6th 2014 by Simon & Schuster
Originally Read: 26th November

From Goodreads
The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.

But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.

Apple Picking at Night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

My review
Morgan Matson is a seriously underrated author! I absolutely loved her other books, Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer. I pounced on this book as soon as it arrived on my eclectic bookshelf and read it in one night. When I finished it in the early hours of the morning, it actually inspired me to write a to-do list for my sister and her husband..at 4am! Needless to say, the day after totally didn’t happen, but I really enjoyed the book! I would love it if one of my friends left me a list like Sloane did for Emily(hint hint friends). And it is really realistic too, they were all things that Emily actually had to make an effort to do, and the list definitely caused her to have adventures! Ugh!…if only I lived in this book world!

First, this was the song that was going through my head, as I originally read this book just after watching Pitch Perfect (amazing film!) and when I picked it up to review today, I started singing this song in the style of Rebel Wilson, much to my poor dog, Ollie’s, horror! (Thank you Kelly Clarkson!)

2015-01-24 22.21.05
Ollie (my dog):”Please stop singing Eleanor!”

Next, the main character, Emily. As MC’s go, she is not one I would normally connect to, as she is quite shy and not very confident, and I am not really shy and probably need to have my confidence hit down a little! However, Morgan really makes her relatable, I could completely see why she was so happy to live in Sloane’s shadow. And her development throughout the book is very realistic, especially her views of Sloane. It sort of reminded me of that change kids go through when they become adults and they realise their parents aren’t perfect, apart from she did it with her friend whom she had idolised. And then she continued to love Sloane anyway. 🙂

The only thing that slightly disappointed me is the ending of the book, I felt not much had changed…I mean Emily had totally changed but..well, I fear I cannot say more for fear of SPOILERS but I think that in this book, the journey is definitely better than the destination!

Finally, I thought I would write a list for you, avid reader, to complete! Comment below if you manage to do all (or some) of the things in the list below!

1) Read Since You’ve Been Gone

2) Take part in a blog meme. (A great list of weekly memes can be found here). If you don’t have a blog, take part on Twitter or Facebook. If you regularly take part in memes, try a new one.

3) Read a book you found through a blog.

4) Write a review for a book.

5) Complete one random act of kindness today!

Also, if you have ever completed any of the things on Emily’s List in the book, let me know in the comments! Personally, the items I have completed are 1) “Kiss a stranger”(at a sixth form party), 2) “Go skinny dipping”(erm, long story?), 6) “Ride a dern horse, ya cowpoke”(I am very lucky in that I own my own horse), 9) “Dance until dawn” (Summer Ball at University- I danced until 7am!) and 13) “Sleep under the stars” (I made myself a hammock in the garden- turns out Wales is freezing at night even in the summer!)

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read and therefore,
I am going to give this book
fourstars
FOUR STARS
I really enjoyed it, go buy it, read it, love it!

Add to your TBR on Goodreads

Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet

Format: Paperback
Published February 5th 2013 by Feiwel & Friends

From Goodreads
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

My review
Oh please!! Scarlet, who wears a red hoody, and meets a street fighter called Wolf who offers to help her find her kidnapped Grandmother?! This book was never going to be anything other than amazing! Marissa Meyers writing ensured it was, in fact, AH-MAZING!

This is the second book in a series. You know when you read a second book and it is a huge disappointment, nowhere near as good as the first? Yeh, this wasn’t like that. This was BETTER! This was the book that made the Lunar Chronicles a series that is going to be sitting in prime position on my eclectic bookshelf for a very long time!

The book follows the two main protagonists, Cinder from the first book, and Scarlet who is introduced in this book. At first, I couldn’t really see how their stories were going to connect, but when they did, I was grinning, it was perfect!

Cinder actually gets even more likeable in this book, she breaks out of jail with a fellow inmate, Thorne. Or Captain Thorne as he would like to be called! There isn’t much of the romance between Cinder and Kai, seeing as Cinder has totally lied to and betrayed him, but you can still feel how much he wishes she hadn’t, even as he orders for her to be found and handed over to Queen Levana.

For example, at a press interview:

“Did you know that she was cyborg?” asked a woman in an unhidden tone of disgust.
Kai stared at her, appearing confused, then let his gaze dance over the crowd. He shuffled his feet
closer to the podium, a wrinkle forming on the bridge of his nose.
Cinder bit the inside of her cheek and braced herself for adamant disgust. Who would ever invite a
cyborg to the ball?
But instead, Kai said simply, “I don’t see that her being cyborg is relevant. Next question?”
Cinder’s metal fingers jolted.”

At one point, I wondered if Cinder and Thorne were going to get together, but that sort of wore off when her story connected with Scarlet’s. For which I am grateful! They are, after all, a retelling of the fairy tales! One true love and all that! Here is one of the great quotes between the pair!

“A relieved grin filled up Thorne’s face. “We’re having another moment, aren’t we?”

“If by a moment, you mean me not wanting to strangle you for the first time since we met, then I guess we are.”

I also have to add in a bit about Iko in this review. Iko was Cinder’s Android, but her Aunt had her disassembled. However, Cinder saved Iko’s personality chip and she becomes a SPACESHIP! Which makes for some really funny statements on poor Iko’s behalf. Iko would really like an escort android body so she can be pretty, being a ship is not what she wants!

“Cinder,” Iko said after a few silent minutes of explorations. “I’m enormous.

And then there is Scarlet. Oh, Scarlet, where do I begin! Scarlet lives in future France on a farm with her grandmother. I can’t really say a lot about Scarlet without spoiling the story, apart from perhaps, stubborn, willful and quick witted. Her connection with Wolf the street fighter was a little insta-love, but as the story progressed there were definitely some pretty high walls thrown between them, which made it believable.

“She sighed, annoyed at her restlessness. “So,” she said, disrupting Wolf in another backward glance.
“Who would win in a fight—you or a pack of wolves?”
He frowned at her, all seriousness. “Depends,” he said, slowly, like he was trying to figure out her motive for asking. “How big is the pack?”
“I don’t know, what’s normal? Six?”
“I could win against six,” he said. “Any more than that and it could be a close call.”
Scarlet smirked. “You’re not in danger of low self-esteem, at least.”

Overall, the book is one of my favourite reads of January, so…

I am going to give this book
Fivestars
FIVE STARS
It was amazing, mind-blowing, let me live in this story world for ever and ever and never leave!

Add to your TBR pile on Goodreads

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

 

Cinder

Format: Paperback
Published January 3rd 2012 by Feiwel & Friends

From Goodreads
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My review
Honestly, I was reaching the end of my love for Dystopian novels. It was beginning to feel like everyone was jumping on the bandwagon to try and get a bestseller, whether they had a good story to tell or not! Then I read this book! Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella (I know, I know, also overdone!) with a dystopian twist, and to my greatest surprise, it was…good? Yeh, I was pretty shocked! I read it one evening when I was skiing out in Switzerland. I had hurt my knee off piste, my friends were all at a club having a great time and I was on my own killing time in the chalet, feeling pretty sorry for myself (even though I probably had absolutely no right to be!). I picked Cinder out of a huge bag of books I had taken that had been sitting on my TBR pile and fell into another world!

First, the main character. Finally, a properly three dimension MC! Cinder is a cyborg in a society where cyborgs are looked down on. But don’t worry, she is totally amazing, not at all your typical downcast mc with a bad past, she doesn’t spend all that much time feeling sorry for herself, really loves her little step sister who falls ill with the plague and is an amazing mechanic. She has a plan for her future and can really look out for herself. She is definitely not perfect, and I really fell in love with her.

Her evil stepmother is really horrible, but…I can sort of understand her. She is trying so hard to fit society’s norms, and absolutely loves her daughters. Even though she does something mean to Cinder which I cannot say due to spoilers, I cannot 100% say that I do not know people who would do as she does.

Unlike Queen Levana! Wow, there is somebody it takes no effort to hate! She is manipulative, pretty (with her glamour on) and plain evil. And yet, I think there may be more to her…As I think we will see in Fairest!

The plot is great, never a dull moment, it really flows. I love that Marissa keeps in a variation of the glass slipper being left on the stair.

Keeping the best bit for last…Prince Kai! Sigh! He is being added to my list of favourite book boyfriends! He is out of his depth, but is trying to be strong and is definitely trying to do his best for his people, even if it is a slightly misguided attempt. I really got their romance, I totally believed in it.

So all in all, great book! I ordered Scarlet and Cress immediately, so I think this is definitely going to find a place on my eclectic bookshelf!

I am going to give this book
fourstars
FOUR STARS
I really enjoyed it, go buy it, read it, love it!

 

Book Haul! 29/01

I love this time of year! Cold crisp mornings, long rides on my horse followed by cosy evenings in by the fire with a good book! And I had the most exciting packages arrive this week!

Amazon box
The most exciting boxes to ever arrive out of nowhere!

I went a bit overboard on the books this week, and spent a lot of Christmas money. However, I am sure it is money well spent, as I cannot wait to get stuck in to these books, hopefully my reading slump is soon to be over!

Paperbacks

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress
I absolutely love this cover, look at that hair!

We Were Liars by E Lockhart

The Blue Book By A.L. Kennedy

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

London Fields by Martin Amis

The Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall

The Electric Michelangelo

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Hardbacks

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy 3) by Deborah Harkness. I absolutely loved the first two in this series, but I was trying to wait for this to come out in paperback. However, I reached a stage of such desperation, I thought I would use my Christmas money! 

Girl Defective by Simone Howell. I read the first three chapters on Pulseit as an extended excerpt, and I loved it so much I new I would have to buy it! 

Girl Defective
I love how this book cover is like a vinyl case, it is just perfect for this book.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy) by Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Kindle

Broken by Dean Murray

And a preorder arrived today…Fake (The Scarab Beetle Series) by C.L. Stone on my Kindle

fake cl stone
I am so excited to read this, sleep might be an optional tonight!

Non-fiction

I also ordered a new creative writing book called Back to Creative Writing School by Bridget Whelan.

Back to Creative Writing School

 

“Waiting on” Wednesday: The Girl at Midnight

Waiting on Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

Coming April 28th 2015

The Girl at Midninght

From Goodreads

For readers of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

Why I am waiting anxiously

I have really got into Urban Fantasy books lately, and this book’s description kind of reminds me of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

Also, I loved the Mortal Instruments books and feel like I am in  bit of a book slump recently, where I pick up my new books, read the back and then put them back down. I need something to revitalise my passion and I am hoping that The Girl at Midnight might be just the book to do it!

This is also the authors debut novel and I am hoping that this will be a author that I will want to follow for years!

What book are you waiting on today? Link me to your WoW post and I will be sure to check it out!

Much Love,

E St.C

Add to your TBR pile on Goodreads

“Waiting on” Wednesday: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Waiting on Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at breaking the spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Coming January 27th 2015

Fairest

Fairest is Queen Levana’s book from the Lunar Chronicles. It is being called book 0.1 as the events actually take place before Cinder which is book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles. The Lunar Chronicles are a retelling of everyone’s favourite fairy stories but on a future earth. There is Cinder, the cyborg, Scarlet who meets a street fighter called Wolf whilst trying to get back her grandmother and Cress, a girl who was locked in a satellite by an evil queen and had (incredibly) long golden tresses. If you haven’t heard of the Lunar Chronicles, go and buy them now. Seriously, stop reading this post and buy them. Then come back to this post of course!!!

Here is the order of the Lunar Chronicles books

Book 1 Cinder
Book 2 Scarlet
Book 3 Cress

Book 4 Winter (released in November 2015)

From Goodreads

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Why I am waiting anxiously

I finished Scarlet yesterday and I absolutely loved it. However, throughout the series, there has been a lot of mystery surrounding Queen Levana. Apart from the fact that she is a meany (understatement of the century), we don’t really know a lot about her. Why is she so horrible. Why won’t she let anyone see her without her glamour? I read the first chapter of this book on the Lunar Chronicles website, and I think we will be learning a lot more about the difficult life of a Lunar Queen.

What book are you waiting on today? Link me to your WoW post and I will be sure to check it out!

Much Love,

E St.C

Add to your TBR pile on Goodreads

Why we should all pre-order a book: A reader’s point of view

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 12.06.09

I recently pre-ordered All Fall Down by Ally Carter, and as I clicked the little green button, I realised that I had probably pre-ordered a book less than five times in my life. As a girl who has read well over 1000 books, this thought shocked me.

First, I should point out that this post is predominantly about pre-ordering on amazon.co.uk as I have not ever pre-ordered on any other sites. However, after looking around, I noticed that most of the information in this post is true for the bigger bookshops as well as quite a few indie stores.

When you pre-order a book, you are not charged until the order is dispatched. Amazon also do this really cool thing called the pre-order price guarantee…

“For items with a future release date, the Amazon.co.uk price may change between the time of order and the date the item is dispatched. We don’t charge you until we dispatch an item; therefore, when you pre-order selected books, … you’ll be charged the lowest price offered by Amazon.co.uk between the time the order was placed and the item’s release date.

If the price is lowered on the release date and your order has already been dispatched, we’ll automatically refund the difference between the price you were charged and the release-date price.” (From Amazon)

(I must add, after doing a quick check, this is also true for Waterstones)

This all sounds pretty cool, not to mention the reasons why pre-ordering is great for our beloved authors.

1. Pre-ordering helps them get on the bestsellers lists. All pre-orders count towards the first week of sales, which is when an author is most likely to go on a bestsellers list. This may seem like a shallow thing to worry about, like a popularity contest, but it is really important for an author to get noticed, get their work read and be known. If they can prove they have a large reader base, this can help them get more marketing from their publisher and there is a greater chance of future books.  Good news for us! (Even well published authors get worried about their next book being accepted!)

2. Pre-ordering may result in a re-order. The book hasn’t been released and retailers have already run out, they ask for another batch of books from the publisher.  Again, this is brilliant for an author- retailers and publishers getting excited about a book which has sold out before being put on the shelves often leads to….

3. More space in the bookshops. If ten people have already pre-ordered a book in their local bookshop, the manager is much more likely to make space for that book on their shelves. It is selling well, and it hasn’t been displayed, why wouldn’t they? And books being displayed leads to a wider reader base, which leads to more sales and more book deals for our favourite author. Awesome!

All of these things mean that authors get more sales, and SALES ARE GOOD! For our author, and, in turn, for us, their devoted readers. If our favourite author gets lots of sales, their publishers will take note of this, which could be vital for not only for the continuation of a series, but as stated above, any other book they might write. If they have already proven they can sell big, they are likely to be published again. Which is excellent news for us.

So. Pre-ordering books is important. But I never did it. Why? Maybe due to a lack of money (“If I pre-order that book that doesn’t come out until the summer, will I still have that money in my account when it is released?”), maybe due to a need for instant gratification (I just never saw the point in committing to something I won’t get for six months). So, if you feel a bit like I used to, here are some reasons that are closer to home that might change your mind.

1. You get that book first! Well, apart from those lovely reviewers who posted all about their ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). Reading a book on the first day it comes out is brilliant, as you won’t have to suffer from spoilers. And you can feel really smug when telling all your friends how brilliant it is, but you “can’t say anything, it might spoil it”, which, lets be honest, is a great feeling. Also, you don’t have to queue all night outside a bookstore just to arrive at the counter to be told they ran out. (Who would be crazy enough to do this? Well, er, um!)

2. Surprise! If it is a hard copy, you get that great feeling of opening a mystery package that just arrived (“Hmm, I haven’t ordered anything in forever, whatever could it be?”). If it is an e-book, it will just appear on your kindle or nook or other e-reader device (and you will feel like Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy all came at once). If you preorder a book six months in advance, there is a very real possibility you will forget that TODAY is the day. (Cue high-pitched fan-girl squealing.)

3. You might get exclusive deals from the author. Lots of authors now run contests and giveaways for their loyal fans who pre-order their books (“I most definitely would like a bag with a quote from your book on it, thank you!”).

4. You don’t have to rely on your bad memory. As I already mentioned, I read a LOT of books. Too many. My parents used to tell me off for the amount I read, which I do not think is normal parent-child behaviour. Although I might really love an author, I am usually waiting for about five books to come out at any one time, and my TBR pile is obnoxiously huge, so I might, might, just forget to actually buy that book I have been looking forward to for months.  But if I pre-ordered that book when I spotted it, I don’t have to worry about remembering, it arrives in a parcel of joy, and I am happy.

5. Be part of something amazing. If a book you pre-ordered hits a bestseller list, you can say, I helped to do that. And an author will be eternally grateful that there are readers out there that cared enough to pre-order their wonderful book.

So, if I haven’t convinced you by now, I probably never will. If I have, go and type in your favourite author’s name into Google, and see if they have any upcoming releases. Or go and look for some new authors and support their work. You might just pre-order the book of the next J.K. Rowling.

Lots of booky love
E. St. C
xxx

Review: The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth

The elements of eloquence

 

Author: Mark Forsyth

Format: Paperback

Add to your TBR pile on Goodreads

From Goodreads

In an age unhealthily obsessed with substance, this is a book on the importance of pure style.

From classic poetry to pop lyrics and from the King James Bible to advertising slogans, Mark Forsyth explains the secrets that make a phrase – such as ‘Tiger, tiger, burning bright’ or ‘To be or not to be’ – memorable.

In his inimitably entertaining and witty style he takes apart famous lines and shows how you too can write like Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde. Whether you’re aiming for literary immortality or just an unforgettable one-liner, The Elements of Eloquence proves that you don’t need to have anything to say – you simply need to say it well.

My review

I adored this book! I read it in one sitting in a coffee shop, where my bouts of laughter attracted some rather scathing glances. (How dare I enjoy a book so much that I laugh out loud!)
It does exactly what it says on the cover, instructs one on how to “Turn the Perfect English Phrase,” and so, so much more.
I want to tell everyone I know to read it, but, I sort of don’t at the same time because I want to keep all of the amazing knowledge stored within its rather beautiful cover to myself. Is that bad? Maybe. Do I care? No!
So, as a peace offering, I am going to post this review incredibly loudly on my blog and all of my friends and family that love me enough to traipse through other book reviews and awful original writing by yours truly will find this review and MY HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION. And if they don’t love me enough to suffer my tedious and obnoxious musings, they will miss out on this gem (and I can keep it to myself for a little while longer).
So, friends, family and anyone else who might be reading this review, for fun, laughter and an enlightening read on the figures of rhetoric, choose this book.

Fivestars

Original Work: Boring January by Eleanor St Clair

My sister told me January was boring. I disagree.
There are so many things January brings,
things to excite and amaze.
Things begin in January.

My new years resolution is still,
unspoilt, it could be kept.
I stop putting things off until the new year,
I can go for that run right now. Maybe.

Shops are busy with January sales,
I have no money anyway.
Staying away isn’t hard.
The supermarket is pretty empty again.

The thank you letters have been sent.
Christmas is over.
My time is my own again,
To waste as I see fit.

I can start again in January.
Failures from last year can be
Forgotten, cleaned up, erased.
Ready to make new mistakes again.

Original Work: Next Year by Eleanor St Clair

Next year, I will rise early, and use the time when the house is still, the dog is sleeping, the cat is hunting, to write.
Next year, I will put on my trainers, and run. Running, exploring the countryside, the area I grew up in and then forgot.
Next year, I will apply to more jobs, make smarter applications, be inventive, and choose a dream career.
Next year, I will budget my spending, shop for bargains, save money each month and stop buying rubbish.
Next year, I will eat fruit and vegetables, cook different dishes, lose half a stone and stop eating chocolate.
Next year, next year. But right now, my tummy hurts from that huge Christmas dinner, so let me sleep.
I will dream of next year.

Review: V is for Virgin

The best thing about Christmas, other than seeing my lovely family, is all that extra reading time.
I am travelling from Wales to my boyfriends house in Suffolk today, which is an incredibly long journey so I packed as many books as I could fit in my already stuffed suitcase! This means lots more Boxing Day reviews! (Thank goodness for personal wifi hotspots!)

So, V is for Virgin…

IMG_0456

From Goodreads
When Val Jensen gets dumped for her decision to stay a virgin until marriage, the nasty breakup goes viral on YouTube, making her the latest internet sensation.

After days of ridicule from her peers, Val starts a school-wide campaign to rally support for her cause. She meant to make a statement, but she never dreamed the entire nation would get caught up in the controversy.

As if becoming nationally recognised as “Virgin Val” isn’t enough, Val’s already hectic life starts to spin wildly out of control when bad boy Kyle Hamilton, lead singer for the hit rock band Tralse, decides to take her abstinence as a personal challenge.

How can a girl stay true to herself when this year’s Sexiest Man Alive is doing everything in his power to win her over?

My review
Ok, when I read this description, I honestly thought it was going to be a preachy book about staying a virgin until marriage and how if you don’t you are doomed. However, having read other books by Kelly Oram that I really enjoyed, I thought I should give this book a go. I was so wrong about everything!

This book is ah-mazing. Val has a very personal reason for wanting to stay a virgin and she doesn’t preach that we shouldn’t all be having pre-marital sex at all. It is more about pro-choice and not being forced into something we don’t feel ready for. So for starters, this book was already doing better than I hoped for!

Val is a brilliant main character, she is really strong, knows what she wants but isn’t prone to the occasional melt down! I laughed out loud so many times when reading this book, which, as you can imagine, is not making me very popular on the national express…

Her best friend acted in a very believable way and Kyle is brilliant. He is not too perfect and it took me a little while to warm to him, which I loved, as whilst I am a fan of insta-love, it seems to be a theme in every book at the moment! Not from Kelly Oram! She makes her characters earn each other’s love and respect, which I think is brilliant.

The cute scenes in this book between Kyle and Val made me squirm with happiness, the best feeling ever!

I can’t wait to read the next book, A is for Abstinence!

I am going to give is book
fourstars
FOUR STARS
I really enjoyed it, go buy it, read it, love it!

 

Review: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

The Importance of being Earnest

Author: Oscar Wllde
Original Title: The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People

Add to your TBR pile on Goodreads

Format: I read this book on my Kindle. This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free online.

Summary from Goodreads

Oscar Wilde’s madcap farce about mistaken identities, secret engagements, and lover’s entanglements still delights readers more than a century after its 1895 publication and premiere performance. The rapid-fire wit and eccentric characters of The Importance of Being Earnest have made it a mainstay of the high school curriculum for decades.

Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gwendolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend the “rivals” to fight for Ernest s undivided attention and the “Ernests” to claim their beloveds pandemonium breaks loose. Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!

My review

For anyone who thinks the classics are boring (Naming no names…), this would be the book I would tell them to read in order to prove them wrong. It had me in stitches. I have somehow missed out on reading any of Oscar Wilde’s books, but I was searching through the free books on Amazon (My bank account wouldn’t let me buy any new books, something about Christmas presents?) and a few of Wilde’s books came up. I ‘bought’ it and finally got around to reading it, and honestly, I have never laughed at a book so much that I had to put it down whilst I wiped the tears out of my eyes! It is a play, but reads really well, so by halfway through the book you sort of forget that this wasn’t the way you were supposed to enjoy it. (However, if reading it makes you desperate to experience it as a play, I highly recommend the TV version starring Colin Firth, which was adapted incredibly well and is completely true to the original works.)

The one liners in this book are gold!

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does, and that is his.”

“If I am occasionally a little over-dressed, I make up for it by being always immensely over-educated.”

“Well I won’t argue about the matter. You always want to argue about things”.
“That is exactly what things were originally made for.”

And my personal favourite:

“How you can sit there, calmly eating muffins when we are in this horrible trouble, I can’t make out. You seem to me to be perfectly heartless.”

“Well, I can’t eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs. One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them.”

“I say it’s perfectly heartless your eating muffins at all, under the circumstances.”

If these quotes haven’t convinced you, let me add, this book contains romance, lies, make believe friends and a most excellent twist at the end.

So if you are looking for a new book to read over the holidays, go and buy this book and read it. For a book published in 1895, it is gloriously ahead of its time and I am most definitely going to read as many of Oscar Wilde’s other books as I can get my hands on! Keep an eye out here for many more reviews!

Much love

E. St. C.

My Christmas Wishlist…

Hello!

With Christmas just a week away (Merry Christmas Everyone!), I thought I would share the books that I am hoping will be in my stocking on Christmas morning…

Girl Defective by Simone Howell

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Sarah Rees Brennan and Cassandra Jean (Oh my goodness that cover!- so beautiful!)

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Fever (The Chemical Garden Trilogy Book 2) by Lauren DeStefano

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Opposition (Lux #5) By Jennifer L Armentrout

Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke

Here’s to hoping I have been good this year…

Much love,

E. St. C

xxx

“Waiting on” Wednesday: Fake

Waiting on Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at breaking the spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Fake by C.L. Stone

Coming January 29th 2015

fake cl stone

This is the third book in the Scarab Beetle series by C.L. Stone AND I AM EXCITED. Can you tell? The first two books are Thief and Liar, Fake is the third book in this parallel series! (This is parallel Academy series for older readers. There is some crossover with the Ghost Bird series, but this series features a whole new set of characters WHO ARE ALSO COMPLETELY AWESOME.)

Ok, so I cannot find a description for this book, but there is an excerpt at the end of Liar. However, I don’t want to post this here, as if you haven’t read Thief and Liar, first you will be confused, and then you will be annoyed as it contains SO MANY SPOILERS from the first two books!! So if you want to know what this series is all about, go and read Thief! (In fact, I think it is free on Kindle at the moment!)

Why I am waiting anxiously

C.L. Stone has this knack for making you fall in love with her characters and never wanting to leave their worlds. Therefore, when you reach the end of a book, waiting for the next one feels like one of those dreams where you are running as fast as you can but it is never fast enough. Which doesn’t sound very pleasant. But honestly, actually reading the books makes the wait in between worth it. Which tells you how much I love the books. Ok, I am babbling, I will shut up now.

In all seriousness, the books will make you laugh, squirm with happiness and shout with happiness. The lead characters are the sort of girls you want to be friends, no, sisters, with. The boys are, well, swoon! they have the looks, and the brains and they are all so different from each other, as well as majorly challenging some male heterosexual, homosexual and other stereotypes.  There is excitement, love and mystery…(who the heck is the Academy?). When you can read the series for the third, fourth, even fifth time, and you get new things from the characters and plot every time, I think it is a sign of a great series!

Basically, go and read all the books now. I started with the Ghost bird series, then moved on to the Scarab beetle series, but I don’t think it really matters which way you delve in to the exciting world of the Academy.

However, if you are smart, you will start these books just before Fake comes out, so you don’t have to suffer that awful not running fast enough dream feeling……

What book are you waiting on today? Link me to your WoW post and I will be sure to check it out!

Much Love,

E St.C

Add to your TBR pile on Goodreads

My TBR (Shame) Shelf: November

Bookshelf TBR

So, I thought I would share my TBR (To Be Read) shelf, which is getting larger by the minute…As you can see from the picture, my top shelf is dedicated to my TBR books, but I also have loads on my Kindle that I am really excited to read! (And yes, those are Cannon Bookends…Don’t laugh, I picked them up at a car boot sale in the french pyrenees and everyone hates them apart from me!)

So here we go:

Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd and Dreams of my Father by Barack Obama- These were actually given to my by my brother last Christmas and I still haven’t read them..um, oops?

A few books I am really ashamed for not reading are Divergent and Insurgent..I know, I know, everyone has read these books! I started Divergent and then NaNoWriMo happened, and then a bunch of other things and I never got back into it. Now I am trying to decide if I can pick up where I left off or if I have to start again?

Another book that I started and never finished is The Divide by Elizabeth Kay, and I am really looking forward to trying this one again. Especially as there is a whole series in this title!

I recently bought three books that I felt I should read but haven’t, It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini , Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman and The Fault in our Stars by John Green. These are definitely going to be read in the next month!

A book I am super excited about starting is Midnight Alley in the Morganville Vampire series. I only recently got back into these books after reading the first one YEARS ago so I am quite excited about starting this book.

Other books on my TBR shelf are

  • The Stonehenge Legacy by Sam Christer,
  • The Clan of the Cave Bear and The Valley of Horses, both by Jean M. Auel,
  • The Castle of Llyr by Lloyd Alexander,
  • The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice,
  • Inferno by Dan Brown,
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.
  • The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

I also have several books on my Kindle that I really want to read in the next few days:

  • The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell
  • Spartan Frost by Jennifer Estep
  • The Specialists: Fight to the Finish by Shannon Greenland
  • A Spy like Me, and Heart of an Assassin, both by Laura Pauling
  • V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram

Well that is all for me! I need to start reading! Comment below and let me know what your TBR pile is looking like this month!

Much Love

E. St. C

xxx

Review: Of Metal and Wishes

Of Metal and Wishes

Author: Sarah Fine
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published: August 5th 2014
First in a series. Next book to be released August, 2015.

Add to your TBR pile on Goodreads

Format: I read this book on Pulseit. Every week, Pulseit features full books or exclusive extended excerpts of the latest in YA.

Summary from Goodreads

There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including their outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the Ghost and learns he has been watching her … for a very long time.

As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen must confront her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the Ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. She must decide whom she can trust, because as her heart is torn, the factory is exploding around her … and she might go down with it.

My review

I have to admit, the cover of this book really intrigued me and I think it fitted the book really well.

I am so glad I made the time to read this book this week because I really enjoyed it. Let me start with the characters. Wen is an incredibly intense character, and although she changes throughout the book she always stays true to herself, by the end of the book she is basing her attitude and beliefs on the actions of others rather than her preconceptions. At the same time, she is a really relatable character, not impossibly strong or brave. As for Melik, I think he is a really dynamic character, his flaws make him imperfect and relatable and he has this touch of innocence despite having seen a lot, or maybe I should call it idealism? As for the Ghost, he has a childlike demeanour, and even though he does horrible things you still can’t dislike him because he seems to be trying to help Wen the whole time, even though it is often in a misguided way.

As for the plot, it was great! Lots of twists and turns and the ending was crazy! Not exactly a cliffhanger as it closed the book off really nicely, but it definitely left it open for more!

Normally I would say here what I didn’t like about the book, but honestly I cannot think of anything. the writing was seamless, the protagonist was relatable and some very important issues were addressed, including rape, blame and discrimination. the love triangle that developed was believable and

I wish to add to this review a common misconception some readers have had about this book. Lots of readers were upset at the rape culture insinuated in this book. I totally get where they are coming from as Wen often feels that the sexual harassment is her fault and at one point totally forgives it, but I guess in my mind I read that as what the protagonist and her society believed and it was written from her point of view. Lots and lots of women believe rape is their own fault and wanting Wen to be stronger would make her, well, not real. I guess I read it knowing that these things were wrong, but that she felt she had no choice and had not been told otherwise by anyone. I do not think the author was writing this book believing that what she was writing was true in any way! Okay, rant over!

The next instalment of the series is called Of Dreams and Rust and is being released on August 4th 2015.  I for one cannot wait!

Star Rating

I loved this book so much it has made me want to read all the other books by Sarah Fine and for that reason I am going to give it

Fivestars

Five stars: it was amazing, mind-blowing, let me live in this story world for ever and ever and never leave!

“Thats’s what HE said” Thursday: Gabriel to Sang from House of Korba

“That’s what HE said” Thursday is hosted by chapterbreak.net. Every Thursday you post a favourite line from a book boyfriend to the heroine (wishing he was saying it to us!).

House of Korba cover

So I think I have already gushed about how much I love the Academy boys from the Ghost Bird series by C.L. Stone, but I have to dedicate this weeks’s TWHST to Gabriel. He is just brilliant, and I am currently rereading the books just to find all the funny Gabriel quotes! This one is from the House of Korba and Gabriel is just brilliant in it, plus I have a real weakness for boys that can make me laugh!!

So here it is:

“Oh my god, what the fuck. She even sneezes cute?” Gabriel was looking at me over the top of the car when I lifted my head. His mouth was hanging open and part of the blond lock of hair fell away from the russet brown. Some strands flew into his mouth and he spit the hair back out and raked his fingers through to fix it. “Come on Trouble. let’s go before you start farting bunnies and rainbows or some shit.”

Teehee! I love how straight up and honest he is about what he is feeling but he also really cares for Sang! So let me now if you liked my “That’s what HE said” Thursday quote, link me to yours and I will check it out! Oh, and read the Academy books if you haven’t already, they rock!

Add this book to your TBR pile on Goodreads

Review: Spice God by C.L. Stone

Spice God Cover

Publisher: Arcato Publishing; 2 edition (23 July 2013)
Format: Kindle

I bought this book on my Kindle from Amazon.co.uk

Summary

From Amazon:

Newly divorced, Melody ran away from a drugged out ex-husband and a controlling mother with little more than the clothes on her back. She needed a new home and a new job, not to mention a new life. Juniper Island, a thriving and posh hideaway known for its bustling summer tourism, held a promise to be exactly the change she needed. Without a second thought, Melody buys a one-way bus ticket.

Directed to the North Shore by the bus driver, she meets Tonac, the unusual chef and owner of Mayana, a restaurant tailored to serve the hard-working island locals. He gives his delicious meals away for free, but that’s not the strangest part; he doesn’t serve people what they want, only what they need.

When Melody tastes the food for the first time, she finds out why the customers keep coming back, and it’s not just to eat for free or to be served by a rude waiter with no people skills. The food influences people in unique ways: sometimes it gives them visions, sometimes bravery, and in others it casts a new light into the darkest and faintest of memories — whether they wanted to remember or not.

Knowing she can do better as a server than the crabby waiter, Melody applies for a job at this strange restaurant. Tonac takes her on, but under his care, she comes face-to-face with the secrets of what he really is and who (and what) else inhabits the island.

But not all of the residents of Juniper Island are happy with Tonac and his special meals. And when Melody gets caught up in the middle, it’ll take more than a few spiced apple tarts or a bowl of pumpkin soup to uncover the deep and dark secrets that some inhabitants of Juniper Island want to keep buried.

My Review

Ok, I have to be honest, this book has been sitting on my TBR pile for about a month now. I really love The Academy series by C.L. Stone and did not want to move on. However, I am now really glad I did.

I loved this book! I thought Melody was a really interesting, deep character and the descriptions of Tonac and Dion were just, well, *swoon*. I have to admit, I had no idea the twist involving the guys was coming, it completely fooled me, and made this book go on my list of “unable to put down”.
I really enjoyed the descriptions in this book, I could picture the Mayana and Juniper Island in my mind perfectly.

I am most definitely on Team Dion, even though he was a bit of an ass in the beginning, he seemed to have a lot of charm and tried to help Melody understand more about the powers he had, which was more than Tonac did. He was also funny, and I am a sucker for a boy that can make me laugh!

The only downsides to this book was that outside of the three main characters I did not feel that I really knew any of the other characters very well. For example, Gretta ends up becoming Melody’s best friend and in the end she sacrifices a lot because she loves everyone on the island, so I just wish we could have got to know them all a bit better.

I felt that the book ended a bit abruptly and would have like to see a bit more explanation!

If you enjoyed The Ghost Bird series by C.L. Stone and you like stories about Gods and Goddesses then read this book!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would thoroughly recommend it. For that reason I am going to give it…..

Four out of five stars

fourstars

“Waiting on” Wednesday: All Fall Down

Waiting on Wednesday

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at breaking the spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Coming January 20th 2015

All Fall Down final cover

From allycarter.com:

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her–so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door who is keeping an eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace–no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do.

Her past has come back to hunt her . . .  and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world all stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

Why I am waiting anxiously

I am really excited about this book because I loved her other series, The Gallagher Girls and the Heist Society books as well as her adult novels, Learning to Play Gin and Cheating at Solitaire. I am hoping this will have just as much adventure and excitement and will carry me away to another world like so many of her other books have!

What book are you waiting on today? Link me to your WoW post and I will be sure to check it out!

Much Love,

E St.C

NaNoWriMo

Its NaNoWriMo, or for those of us who like the full name, National Novel Writing Month! This is my first year doing NaNoWriMo and I am really excited to get started. If you have never heard of it before, basically you have to write 50 thousand words for a novel in one month.
So, I have three days left to plan my novel, and I have read lots of advice from experienced NaNo-ers. Most of them say to start with an idea that you are not cherishing, as you are more likely to mess around with it and push it to the extremes if you do this. Hopefully by Saturday I will have a synopsis, which I will post to this site.
Anyway, off to do further planning
Wish me luck
E.St.C.
xxx

Dissertation Zombie

Dissertation Zombie

The Dissertation Zombie is the result of a disease found in Universities across the UK. They have a pale, tired complexion and often are seen pulling hair out of their head. The condition is caused by extreme stress during a third year of a degree where upon a student might have to write the dreaded “Dissertation”. The condition includes symptoms such as inability to stop talking about the dissertation, inability to talk about upcoming deadlines, extreme procrastination, increasing amount of time spent in bed, glassy stares, large rings under the eyes and an addiction to Disney films.
The only known cure is to implement the phase called “Hand-in”. This is a dangerous phase; the zombie may worsen temporarily and then will recover suddenly, going back to being “normal” student.
If you find yourself surrounded by dissertation zombies, shout out loudly “How is your abstract coming along” and then run away in the confusion.

Let’s get the Dissertation Zombie trending with the hashtag #DissertationZombie