Discovering New Favorites

So, I’m gearing up to post about four reviews in a row! However, I thought I would have some fun book discussion first.

How do you choose what books to read or bring into your collection?

Do you go into a bookstore or library and pick up anything that looks interesting?

Do you comb GoodReads for recommendations that are similar to books you love?

Are you a best-seller reader?

Or, do you comb Kindle sales like me and pick up whatever looks interesting and is cheap or free?

How do you choose your books?

Like I said, I have been combing Kindle sales and freebies. I left my job a year and a half ago to move to the UK to study, and I could only bring a few books with me! I brought my Kindle instead. Also, since I was living off of savings, I wanted to be sure to stretch those savings, so any books I downloaded would usually be free. I’ve found some really good books this way! And, reading on my Kindle was best for me. My husband and I didn’t have the room to store physical books since we were both studying and any books we needed for our courses were priority. Reading on my Kindle really offset going to the library every day and combing manuscripts and old books for eight hours. It was easier to lose myself in electronic print when so my mind was so tied to academia in physical print.

I also try to comb GoodReads to find old favorites and books that are similar to ones I’ve read. I love some really specific types of stories and crave them desperately, so GoodReads has been an absolute goldmine and lifesaver for when I need my fix!

What about you? How do you choose your books? Are you set in your ways, or is it a mixture of ways?

Throwback Thursday 25/02/2016

I actually discovered today’s Throwback Thursday feature when I was looking at upcoming book releases! I’m really excited for this one!

Today’s Throwback Thursday is The Ancient One by T. A. Barron. It was originally published in 1992, but is going to be re-released on 8 March 2016! I’m really excited when stuff like this happens. New releases are great and everything, but there’s so much that has been published and may be forgotton that is totally worth rediscovering.

full_the-ancient-oneFirst, a synopsis from Amazon:

When Kate travels to Blade, Oregon, to spend a quiet vacation with her Aunt Melanie, she has no idea of the adventures that lie ahead. Blade, Oregon is home of the magical Lost Crater, in which a grove of giant readwood trees has remained untouched for thousands of years. Now the ancient grove has become the center of a major dispute between those who wish to save this rare sanctuary and the local loggers who see Lost Crater as their last hope to rejuvenate their dying mill town. Caught up in the struggle, Kate feels compelled to learn more and decides to follow a trail into the crater, which, as legend has it, was made by the ancient Halami people believed to have once lived in the region. But for Kate, what starts out as a day’s discovery soon turns intor a life’s journey. With the help of an ancient walking stick, Kate is thrust back in time five hundred years. Quickly befriended by a young Halami girl, Laioni, Kate learns that not much as changed in five centuries as she is caught in the middle of a battle for the same wilderness. Confronted by a myrid of strange and frightening creatures, including the trickster Kandeldandel and the evil Gashra, who is bend on destroying everything he cannot control, Kate must complete her quest and return to her own time. But to do so, she must not only discover the truth behind her own beliefs, but also unravel an ancient and wondrous riddle bearing the knowledge of life’s intricate and fragile balance. Continue reading

Waiting On Wednesday 24/02/2016

Oh my gosh, I am a bad blogger. Well, it’s not my fault. I’ve had so much to do over the past week! I had an interview I needed to prepare for (I got the job!!!), I presented at my first conference (and did really well!), and my mother-in-law’s birthday is coming up. I’ve had to spend the week combing chocolate cake recipes to find one that I could easily substitute different ingredients for because she’s vegan. It’s just all the little things that you get caught up in! However, I have managed to finish about four books in the past week — so that’s a plus! I just need to write reviews for all of them.

So, on to my choice for this week’s Waiting on Wednesday!

drumroll….

It’s The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins!

First, a synopsis from Amazon:

greathuntWendy Higgins, the author of the New York Times bestselling Sweet Evil series, reimagines a classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale with The Great Hunt, a dramatic, romance-filled fantasy with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.

When a monstrous beast attacks in Eurona, desperate measures must be taken. The king sends a proclamation to the best and bravest hunters: whoever kills the creature will win the hand of his daughter Princess Aerity as a reward. The princess recognizes her duty but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger—she was meant to marry for love—until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. And while there’s no denying the fiery chemistry between them, Princess Aerity feels that Paxton’s mysteriousness is foreboding, maybe even dangerous.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He is determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the secrets he’s buried begin to surface against his wishes.

Continue reading

Throwback Thursday 18/2/2016

Today’s Throwback Thursday selection is Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.

Howl'sMovingCastle_B_PBFirst, a synopsis from Amazon:

In the land of Ingary, where seven league boots and cloaks of invisibility do exist, Sophie Hatter catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a spell.

Deciding she has nothing more to lose, she makes her way to the moving castle that hovers on the hills above Market Chipping. But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the souls of young girls… There she meets Michael, Howl’s apprentice, and Calcifer the Fire Demon, with whom she agrees a pact.

But Sophie isn’t the only one under a curse – her entanglements with Calcifer, Howl, and Michael, and her quest to break her curse is both gripping – and howlingly funny!

Continue reading

At the House of the Magician by Mary Hooper

I remember reading a synopsis for this book a while ago, and then I completely forgot the title and tried searching for it desperately (it’s not listed on John Dee’s Wikipedia page!). I was so happy to come across it again, all thanks to my previous charity shop find (Fallen Grace)! I ordered the series so that I wouldn’t forget it again.

I had the privilege of studying under one of the leading John Dee scholars when I was doing my MA. I find John Dee to be fascinating. He was on the Crown’s payroll to try to turn lead into gold, and is best known for his speaking to angels and conjuring of spirits.

magicianFirst, a synopsis from Amazon:

Lucy has been forced to run away from home as she fears for her safety from her drunken father. She is taken on as a maid at the house of Dr Dee, court magician, upon whom Elizabeth I relies heavily, even down to advising the date of her coronation. The household is strange and sinister, and Lucy has a nose for intrigue …And she has more than enough to satisfy her: Lucy stumbles across a plot to assassinate the queen and has to find means to warn her…

Well, that was short and sweet, but it pretty much sums it up. I’m sure that this was written for middle schoolers. It’s not very long at all, the storyline is simple, and it’s educational. Continue reading

Confess by Colleen Hoover

So, I have to admit that I am a CoHo virgin. Well, was. My first Colleen Hoover read was Confess, as it was picked for the book of the month for the Bookaholic Alliance. I didn’t know what to expect at all.

confessFirst, a synopsis from Amazon:

From bestselling author Colleen Hoover, comes a new novel about risking everything for love – and finding your heart somewhere between the truth and lies.

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping some major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin… Continue reading

Throwback Thursday 11/02/2016

I have such a special pick for Throwback Thursday this week!! Drumroll please…

The Princess Bride!

princessbSynopsis from Amazon:

Beautiful, flaxen-haired Buttercup has fallen for Westley, the farm boy, and when he departs to make his fortune, she vows never to love another. So, when she hears that his ship has been captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts (no survivors) her heart is broken. But her charms draw the attention of the relentless Prince Humperdinck who wants a wife and will go to any lengths to have Buttercup. So starts a fairy tale like no other, of fencing, poison, true love, hate, revenge, giants, bad men, good men, snakes, spiders, chases, escapes, lies, truths, passion and miracles, and a damn fine story.

 

Gosh, isn’t that cover gorgeous? This is the first book I ever owned that actually had a pull-out map. I was super impressed, and it set a high precedent. Continue reading

The Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen

Hello dear readers! I am so sorry I haven’t had posts in a few days. I’ve had two job interviews this week (yay!) that I had to prepare presentations for (boooooo!). I decided to tick another item off my month’s TBR list that is related to the jobs I applied for: The Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen!

ladytowerFirst, the synopsis from Amazon:

Spring 1540

I am afraid. You are in grave danger. Mother, will you run away with me if I can free you?

The servants call it the Lady Tower: the isolated part of the castle where Eleanor’s mother is imprisoned after a terrible accusation. For four years Eleanor’s only comfort has been their secret notes to one another.

A chance discovery reveals a plot to murder her mother. Now Eleanor must free her before it is too late. But with danger and betrayal at every turn, she can trust no one. Especially not her father.

Eleanor must use all her cunning to survive. For she soon realises that it is not just her mother she needs to save . . . but also herself. Continue reading

All About Jane!

One of the reasons I’m looking forward to this year so much is all of the fantastic Charlotte Bronte related pieces that are going to be published! It’s the 200th anniversary of her birth, and several media outlets are celebrating. Many publishers are releasing books that are related to the Bronte Siblings or Charlotte Bronte herself, the BBC will be releasing a miniseries on the siblings, and there are going to be loads of little exhibitions throughout the UK.

I absolutely love love love the story of Jane Eyre. I read it when I was 14 and became absolutely obsessed with it. The themes in it are so brilliant, so striking, and so true, even today. Yes, it’s a little long and a little convoluted, but the story is so lovely and so amazing. It’s such a classic, and it has such good messages for young women.
So, today (since I don’t have a book to review for you just yet!) I’ve decided to do an overview of some of my favorite Jane Eyre-related book adaptations and highlight some of the books that are Bronte related that are going to be released in 2016. Continue reading

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper

So, yesterday I decided that I would venture into East London to go to Amnesty International’s £1 book sale! My husband went with me because I had never really been to East London, and he was hoping to find some books for his history and politics course.

Aaand because we went by train, I had loads of time to read! I started and finished Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper yesterday.

fallenHere is the synopsis from Amazon:

Grace Parkes has just had to do a terrible thing. Having given birth to an illegitimate child, she has travelled to the famed Brookwood Cemetery to place her small infant’s body in a rich lady’s coffin. Following the advice of a kindly midwife, this is the only way that Grace can think of to give something at least to the little baby who died at birth, and to avoid the ignominy of a pauper’s grave.

Distraught and weeping, Grace meets two people at the cemetery: Mrs Emmeline Unwin and Mr James Solent. These two characters will have a profound effect upon Grace’s life. But Grace doesn’t know that yet. For now, she has to suppress her grief and get on with the business of living: scraping together enough pennies selling watercress for rent and food; looking after her older sister, who is incapable of caring for herself; thwarting the manipulative and conscience-free Unwin family, who are as capable of running a lucrative funeral business as they are of defrauding a young woman of her fortune.

A stunning evocation of life in Victorian London, with vivid and accurate depictions, ranging from the deprivation that the truly poor suffered to the unthinking luxuries enjoyed by the rich: all bound up with a pacy and thrilling plot, as Grace races to unravel the fraud about to be perpetrated against her and her sister. Continue reading