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So Many Books, So Little Time an update

So that time of year has come again whether you are one of those sometimes misunderstood people who have the festive spirit or one of those Humbugs who just doesn’t understand it.

For me it means long days and weeks and struggling to find time to keep up with the reading, whilst trying to de-stress and spend time with loved ones (because family are not just for Christmas!) Maybe it’ll be different this year. Retail at Christmas!

 

Currently (re)reading:

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. I started the Fellowship a year ago and never got around to continuing with Two Towers afterwards. I used to read the trilogy at least once a year but other books intervened.

Shadow Of Night by Deborah Harkness. Book two of the All Souls Trilogy and also following along with the real time read.

I’ve just started Howard’s End E.M. Forster after watching the tv series and finally finishing a Thomas Hardy book: A Pair of Blue Eyes. I started reading this months ago but kept reading other books the same time and when I got bored I didn’t stick it out. When I stopped reading other books I realised how good it was and finished it quite quickly.

I need to remember not to read too many books at once but there are so many books I want to read. If I read less books at once I am more likely to finish them. But I read a book recently that I could not get into and had to read something else! It brought up that dilemma that I sometimes get should I stop reading or struggle to the end? I think sometimes I might not like a book because I’m not in the mood for it or I’m tired and maybe if I read it again I might like it. But then you could get to the end of the book and feel like it’s wasted your time and that you could’ve read something else. There seems to be two types of readers: those who will finish a book even if they hate it and those who will stop reading if they don’t like it. I am as usual somewhere in the middle!

I’ve read one Terry Prachett book and loved it –Equal Rites- but when I’ve tried to read others I can’t get into them at all! But I want to try Hogfather again this year and I have my festive reading already lined up! So I’m hoping to finish Howard’s End in about two weeks and then start my festive reads.

Can I do it? Do I never learn?

 

 

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Ninja Book Box Unboxing

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It’s that exciting time of year, no not Christmas, it’s time for the next Ninja Book Box! This is only my second box, I bought my first box back in April it was the Magical Lands box you can see my unboxing for that one here.  

This is box one of my yearly subscription! Please excuse the photos I’ve never been good at taking them and I’m always impressed by other bloggers who have amazing photos.

This is Ninja Book Box’s birthday box, it’s been a year since it all started on Kickstarter and I wish I’d known all about it then! Ninja Book Box is all about supporting independent publishers, authors and businesses, everything in the box has been made by an independent company. It’s a great idea and so much effort goes into every box and I’m so grateful to Bex, the Ninja Book Box creator, for all the effort and the ideas that go into every box! We need to support out independent businesses they offer so much and often get forgotten about.

Bex has also started a challenge for 2018 to encourage everyone to buy and read more books by independent publishers and this is something I am definitely doing, more on that in the future. If you want to know more about Ninja Book Box (there’s also a book club) visit the website here.

So with out further ado….

NINJA BOOK BOX UNBOXING

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This box was amazing! The theme for this month was Into The Future and as usual I had a lovely welcome message and the usual recipe card (ooh biscuits), the cute charm which is Uranus, and the spoilers envelope which I will not open until I’ve read the book.

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Being a subscriber I was also given a free ebook download for: The Stars Seem So Far Away, from Fox Spirit Books, as a thank you. And a swag pack with: a coaster, bookmark, keyring (and bottle opener), mirror and badge. Fox Spirit Books are an independent publisher:

“Fox Spirit believes that day to day life lacks a few things. We need the fantastic, the magical, the mischievous and even a touch of the horrific to stave off the banal and humdrum.

Let a little Fox Spirit into your life as the skulk brings you stories full of wonder and mischief delivered with a sharp bite”

Sounds good to me! (Just sent the book to my Kindle, more on that later as usual my battery is dead and my computer doesn’t want me to use it either… Need a new one)

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Next: Futuristic Foam: a handmade Ozone, Citrus and Sea glitter soap. who doesn’t love bath stuff! 🙂  A lovely string of books (can I get away with putting this on my Christmas tree?). A mask with a note saying there’s three ways I can use it: take a photo of myself wearing it with anything indie/Ninja Book related, take a photo of myself wearing it reading a book and “Wear your mask around your house and jump out at people (not when they’re carrying hot drinks) shouting ‘ninja!'” 🙂

There’s always a mystery with some of the gifts and when you read the book you understand the significance because of that this box just keeps on giving.

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This was my favourite gift! I love story cubes, the idea is you roll the cubes and then write a story using the pictures on the cubes as inspiration. I’ve always wanted my own set being a writer, these are the cure to writers’ block and fun. Writing should be fun! These are made by Imagination Igniters and they do more in their etsy shop! The cubes here are, in keeping with the theme, futuristic with planets, aliens and an astronaut, a comet and some everyday items along with a magic wand.

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The mug came with this note: “We loved the idea of stories serving as a warning for the future and the thought that the future is in the hands of current and future generations. This can be scary or it can be inspiring and we’ve chosen to be inspired by it! Some of you might recognise this gift if you backed our Kickstarter, and we thought it would be amazing to include this new version in our first birthday box.”

Myself, I find it a little bit scary but I want to be inspired! And what’s more inspiring: Ninja Book Box was started with the help of regular people giving money on Kickstarter and now it’s come full circle as the book included in the box was also funded by Kickstarter.

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In all the excitement at opening gifts I almost forgot about the book! (Hope I didn’t forget anything else) But here it is 2084 a specially commissioned anthology from Unsung Stories:Unsung Stories are publishers of literary and ambitious speculative fiction that defies expectation. We publish stories that you’ll never forget, from the varied worlds of genre fiction – science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and all the areas in-between. “ What they do: “Weird stories, beautifully told.” My kinda story: weird!

I’m filled with a sense of foreboding when I read the blurb on the back of the book, which is echoed in the message that came with the mug about being afraid of the future. This just makes me want to read the book more, and I will be reviewing it in an upcoming blog post, some time in the future.

Words can not express how much I love this Ninja Book Box and I am so happy that I’ve subscribed as it keeps getting better. Thanks you! I can’t wait to learn more about the businesses and publishers supported and start reading the books!

 

review

The Book Of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler

“Life is not a box of chocolates, it’s a weathered old paperback, and you never know what you’re going to find in it.”- Christopher Fowler

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

“Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. It makes people think you’re dead. 
So begins Christopher Fowler’s foray into the back catalogues and backstories of 99 authors who, once hugely popular, have all but disappeared from shelves.”

My Review

I enjoyed this book, I don’t read much non-fiction and I struggle to finish books when I do but this was an engaging read full of interesting information. Sometimes it feels like you’re having a conversation with the author about books, especially in the chapter about Polly Hope whom the author visits. The authors themselves are colourful characters whose life stories are as interesting as their fiction.

Did you know that most Disney movies are based on books that nobody has ever heard of? 

I’ve learnt so much from this book and need to read it again to absorb all the information, I’ve found some authors that I want to read and rediscovered some I’ve read previously.

*

Authors I’ve read:

  • Virginia Andrews- I enjoyed her book Flowers In The Attic (despite the incest) but couldn’t finish the sequel, the sister was just too promiscuous for my liking!

Did you know that Andrew Neiderman (the author of Devils Advocate adapted into a film starring Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino) was a ghost writer for Virginia Andrews books after her death?

  • Dennis Wheatley- I’ve read one book by Dennis Wheatley and sadly although the characters were interesting and it had the potential to be a good adventure novel it did waffle on and the outdated ideas of witchcraft were grating. Wheatley doesn’t age well, although his books have been released on Kindle (which is how I got a copy).

*

 

This book is full of interesting information: I learnt the origin of “Billy Liar” and “Billy Bunter” I’ve heard relatives use these terms before and never knew where they came from, until I read this book.

Did you know that Jean Plaidy (historical writer) was the pseudonym for Elizabeth Hibbet?

It’s a shame that some of these authors are out of print or forgotten it’s only thanks to the author of this book Christopher Fowler that they will be rediscovered and remembered again.

Did you know that Frank Baker wrote the book The Birds that Hitchcock based his classic film on? He was Daphne De Maurier’s cousin!

Thank you to the publishers: River run and bookbridgr for this advanced reading proof copy, I can’t recommend this book enough to fellow bookworms. But be warned out of print books are expensive and this will not help your to be read pile/list! 🙂

This book is a must-read I can’t praise the style and content enough!

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The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin

Thanks to Netgalley and Hodder and Stoughton for a chance to read this book!

Due to be released Feb 8th.

Description from Netgalley:

‘We have no need to protect ourselves from the bad sort 
because we ARE the bad sort . . .’

‘This newspaper has taken note that the past month has been remarkable for the prevalence of cases where men, women and children are declared missing. Scarcely a week passes without the occurrence of an incident of this type’ – The Morning HeraldTuesday 13 September 1831

Down the murky alleyways of London, acts of unspeakable wickedness are taking place and the city’s vulnerable poor are disappearing from the streets. Out of these shadows comes Hester White, a bright young woman who is desperate to escape the slums by any means possible.

When Hester is thrust into the world of the aristocratic Brock family, she leaps at the chance to improve her station in life under the tutelage of the fiercely intelligent and mysterious Rebekah Brock.

But whispers from her past slowly begin to poison her new life and both she and Rebekah are lured into the most sinister of investigations, dragging them into the blackest heart of a city where something more depraved than either of them could ever imagine is lurking. . .

My Review

It seemed a slow start to this story but it’s a good one!

Although I say a slow start I enjoyed reading about old London and I liked Hester, it felt like I was reading a classic novel not a historical one about a young woman who wants to improve her place in society. Hester’s chances improve when she enters the Brock household and meets Rebekah. I never really knew what to think, this book constantly keeps you guessing. It is around this time that the pace changes and the mystery escalates with tension and suspense!

There’s many dark twists and turns along the way as secrets are revealed and horrors exposed(it was more shocking than I expected). I could not stop reading  until I reached the last page I was completely drawn into this world and loved a mystery involving female characters.

I can’t wait to read the next book by Laura Carlin.

 

 

 

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Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Vampires: Back in Time to the First Darkness - The Original Stories

For Halloween I started to read some stories from this book. I only managed to finish two one of which was:

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

I’ve been meaning to read this for some time and I shouldn’t have waited so long.

I was engaged with this story until the end, in fact I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed reading a classic novel until I started to read this story. It’s similar to Dracula in some aspects but then has some interesting ideas of it’s own. It does predate Dracula and doesn’t follow the same story. Although I knew  why people in the story were strangely ill, I still found it full of suspense and was intrigued to find out what would happen next.

I would recommend this to any vampire fan, especially if you have read Dracula and love classic novels. It’s a novella and doesn’t take too long to read.

Wake Not The Dead by Johann Ludwig Tieck

This short story was published around 1800 and is one of the earliest vampire stories ever published. Despite it’s age it has some good ideas and seems a lot like a story of folklore as well as a horror story. The gist of the story is that Walter’s wife dies and he misses her so much that he wants to being her back. The repeated warning in this book: “Wake not the dead,” I can’t help but imagine in Christopher Lee’s voice. This story is intriguing and the ending does not disappoint.

*

I recommend this book Vampires to any vampire fan as there’s some real gems in there. There’s one by Arthur Conan Doyle I’m tempted to read but I’m trying not to think how long I’ve had some ARCs for that desperately need to be finished.

I don’t plan to read anymore from this book at the moment because I’m hoping to finish some books in November. That means not rereading two books I really want to and trying not to be overly concerned that the reading challenge I started may not be finished.

 

 

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Ninja Book Swap

 

This year was my first Ninja Book Swap. I signed up for the Trick or Treat, so I would receive one book I would love and one that I would not usually read.

I loved choosing and buying items to send off and was so excited to receive my own parcel. I’d forgotten that I had put Tom Hanks’ book on my wishlist and I was so happy when I ripped open the wrapping paper to discover it. My Ninja Swap Partner pointed out that it’s not something I’d usually read but I like Tom Hanks.

The treat was a YA book which I don’t usually read. I’ve been put off by the immature characters and read some I didn’t like that put me off the genre (some!). However I am excited to read this book as it’s a mix of mythical tales and I enjoy fantasy. The book itself is gorgeous, the illustrations inside are amazing, I love pretty books!

Also included in the parcel was a gift: a dragon glass arrow head necklace, if you’re not a Games of Thrones fan (why not!?) dragon glass is a very important weapon (I’m being wary of spoilers). I have been looking at arrow head necklaces in the past year because a character in my favourite trilogy: The All Souls Trilogy, also has an arrow head necklace and I loved the idea.

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Thanks again Arielle! I am so happy with my Ninja Swap 🙂