Autumn Reads 2016

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Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year, I think for me it is equally tied with Winter. I love the feeling of being cosy, the excuse for open fires and of course the hot drink assortment of teas, coffee and hot chocolate. I also find this time of the year one of the best for exploring because the weather isn’t too cold, it’s crisp and fresh as the cold sweeps in. However it’s just cold enough to break out the jumpers and boots and there’s nothing I love more than keeping warm and feeling relaxed. I love settling on the sofa with a mug of tea, a crocheted blanket and a good book. So I have listed some of my favourite Autumn Reads to enjoy with this magical season.

The Miniaturist

The Miniaturist

This might seem like a strange reading choice but when I read this book I kept thinking how nice it would have been to read this next to an open fire. The plot spans a few months leading into different seasons but I remember the descriptions as the cold sets in or ice and snow and thought it would be a great book to read with the back drop of Autumn.

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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I think I will always associate this book with the Autumn now that the movie is being released at the end of this month. Not to mention it has the perfect spooky and creepy tones to get any reader ready for Halloween just around the corner. I thought this was an excellent book because it’s not dark enough for Halloween and what better way to experience the setting of the UK than with the rain and cold coming in.

 

The Archived – Victoria Schwab

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I loved this book and will probably reread it at some point. This book has haunting tones and the setting is a style of library but instead of books, it stores the dead. It’s the perfect read to cosy up on the sofa with as the night creeps in, candles are flickering in the background and steam laps off a freshly poured cup of tea. It’s not a scary book so I wouldn’t class this as a Halloween Read however it’s the perfect novel for leading up to it.

 

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

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Coming into the Autumn I always think of Remembrance Sunday and the World Wars, it’s always the time of year that I turn to a novel set during the war. The Book Thief is by far one of my favourite novels set during the wartime. It’s a fascinating book narrated by death that follows the life of a young girl as she grows up and comes to terms with the war and what it means for her and those around her.

 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

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I’m sure this is a book I don’t need to promote with readers but September always brings around the start of the school year again and there are no greater school stories than the Harry Potter series. The first book for me is magical as it marks the start of a grand adventure, the sparks of friendship and a new world to get lost in.

 

The Collected Poems of Robert Frost

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Robert Frost has written some of the most beautiful and scenic poems I have ever read. They are perfect for the backdrop of Autumn, he writes for the seasons and the natural landscape. I truly recommend his works and of course one of the most thought provoking is The Road not Taken, pour a cup of tea and ponder over this one.

Well I hope you enjoy my Autumn reads, don’t forget to make the most of the Autumn and all of its beautiful colours.

 

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Daily Reads #95

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Happy Monday Readers,

I have had one of the most amazing Mondays ever because I became an Auntie to a beautiful nephew called Arlo. I got to cuddle the little bundle of joy earlier and I am so in love with him already. I can’t wait to see him again and I feel so lucky to be a part of his life, see him grow and come into his personality.

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Due to all of the excitement over the weekend my books have been set to the side, but this week I am hoping to finish off a few reviews and start a new book. To finish off September and start into October I will be picking up The Muse by Jessie Burton. I am lucky to have pre-ordered a signed edition of Jessie Burton’s second book and I cannot wait to get started with it. Her first book The Miniaturist is one of the most intricate and beautifully written books I have read this year so I know The Muse will take me on a unique journey.

I have some new posts coming up over the next few days so keep checking back.

 

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Weekend Reads #81

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Happy Friday Readers, this week has flown by so quickly, it feels like only yesterday I was writing the Weekend Reads for last week, it’s hard to believe how quickly time is going. This week in particular it has started to feel like Autumn, some days this week I’ve wondered if we skipped Autumn and went straight to Winter it’s been so cold. If I’m honest I secretly love it, there is nothing more perfect than the rain hitting the window, the cold weather and dark evenings. This is my favourite time to light a few candles and make the evening my own by reading my books, sipping warm cups of tea and putting a warm blanket over my knees for my cat to curl up with me. I find comfort in the small things and a change in the weather this week has secretly put a smile on my face; Autumn and Winter are my favourite times of the year.

Due to the prime reading conditions this week I have been flying through some of my books and I will hopefully have a few more reviews up in the coming days. This weekend I want to tackle a book that wasn’t on my TBR for this month but it has been jumping out at me from the shelves and it’s a story I have wanted to finish for a long time. I want to read the second part of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. I really enjoyed the first part of that book and I want to delve back into it. I’m hoping to read it all at the weekend whilst finishing off some of my other reads and writing reviews so no doubt it will be a full weekend.

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Well I hope you all have a fantastic weekend, I am looking for some new graphic novels to read so if you have any recommendations please leave them in the comments. I really enjoyed French Milk, Persepolis and Maus; the style of graphic novel that is contained in one or two books because I love The Walking Dead and Saga yet I find it hard sometimes to pick up the volumes. I can read one in a sitting so I tend to buy them in bundles which is draining my bank account; not so great with a wedding in a few weeks. So any recommendations would be much appreciated!

Happy Reading!

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Unhooked – Lisa Maxwell

I started reading this book because I needed my fill of fairytale retellings. As a massive fan of the TV series Once Upon a Time and an addictive reader of fairytale retellings, I knew I needed to read this book when it came out. 
I started this book what feels like ages ago and it took me a long time to get into it. Being the type of reader that needs to start and finish a book within a week, it wasn’t long before I set this book down and found it tough going back. I found Unhooked difficult to read because the main action of the plot didn’t start for over 150 pages. In the first few pages I was intrigued because Gwendolyn has a rocky relationship with her mother who I originally thought suffered from a mental illness. She finds comfort in her friend Olivia who is staying with them whilst they settle in their new home. It isn’t long before the two girls are whisked away in the night by a shadowy creature and find themselves stranded in Neverland. 

This book paints Neverland in a different light to what we’re familiar with in the books and movies. It gives the power not just to the characters like Pan and the Captain but instead to the island. There are many interesting and strange characters but they don’t start to appear until 2 thirds of the way through. I would have loved to have seen more of these creatures earlier in the plot. 

I liked some of the characters in the plot like Pan and the Captain however I was indifferent to Gwendolyn who seemed a little neutral to the situation, yes she wanted to go home but she was stuck in an awkward position. She didn’t know who she could trust or how to get home yet she was very quick to jump between different situations such as the Captain’s ship and Pan’s layer. I found that given her situation her reaction was bland and she was numb to what was happening to her. Again two thirds of the way through she seemed to sense her own strength yet she still depended on either Pan or Hook for help. 

There is an element of love in this plot too yet I felt it was too quick to properly form and was a relationship that could have been expanded. I loved the relationship between the Captain and Gwendolyn and would have enjoyed reading more about it yet it was reserved until the end of the plot. 

I feel like this book had a very slow start and middle compared to the end which I had no problem flying through. The ending was filled with action, creatures, love and distrust. It was exciting and intriguing, yet it only spanned a third of the book. The final 50 pages of this book is the best section and the plot really expands, shows the reader more of the island and even more of the characters but there was too much setting the scene compared to the action.

I gave Unhooked a 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads as it was an interesting idea yet I feel it wasn’t fully formed for the plot. The characters were likeable and intriguing and I would have liked to read more about the Captain’s origin story and even Pans, like how did they get there? I did enjoy this book but at times felt it was more of a task, there are many fairytale retellings about Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty yet not enough about Neverland so I was a little disappointed with this read as I expected more from it. 

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Scarlet – Marissa Meyer

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Scarlet is the perfect carry on novel from Cinder and I found it very hard to put down. Capturing from page one when we are introduced to a feisty young girl who’s grandmother has been missing for over two weeks. Scarlet is scared for her grandmother’s life as she knows this isn’t something her grandmother would do yet nobody believes her so it is up to her to find her. Whilst trying to keep the farm running and solve the mystery, Scarlet meets someone that could help her and bring her to her grandmother.

This plot was gripping and the pace picked up in less than 100 pages. The chapters also jump between Scarlet and Cinder as we carry on her story from the first book. It was refreshing to see Cinder still playing a big part in the plot and seeing how her character has developed from the first chapter in the first book. She is noticeably stronger and more confident as she starts to see where she fits into the societal norms of this new world. Despite Cinder discovering her identity throughout the first book she has another identity crisis in this book as a big mystery unravels around her.

For Scarlet she is brought into a world, unthinkable outside of her farm life with her grandmother. Before this she had a pretty normal and enjoyable life working for and with her grandmother. All of that changes the minute her grandmother is kidnapped and she is forced to face a moment from her childhood that makes her grandmothers past seem less innocent than she thought. I thoroughly enjoyed this modern twist on the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale, because it takes an old story that has been passed on throughout the years and has changed to suit the times and here we see it happening again.

The characters that come into this plot are intriguing and full of surprises, for example Cinder meets someone very early on in the book who I was very wary of at the start and grew to love. I am very excited to see his character develop in the next book. Scarlet also meets someone called Wolf who is very mysterious and interesting from his first appearance. As the plot continues and Scarlet learns more about him I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to read more about him. He really is a mystery for most of the plot but it added to the suspense in the story because you didn’t quite know whether he was trustworthy or not.

This series gives old fairy tales a new life and reinvents the characters to fit into societal norms. Although the plot develops in a new world and new set of people and technologies we are seeing modern ideas. It’s not unusual to see strong female characters, magic abilities and technology pushing the limits which makes this a great series to pick up and get lost in. I gave Scarlet a 5 out of 5 stars and I cannot wait to continue this plot in the next book Cress. I know this book blew up the internet when it was released; it was all over Tumblr, Instagram and Booktube so I expect great things from it. To be completely honest I think it is going to be great and introduce yet another female character that will be strong and confident, I am really struggling to finish my other reads before picking this one up.

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Daily Reads #94

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Happy Monday Readers!

Today I definitely have that Monday feeling, I have a book hangover and want nothing more than to go home, curl up in bed and read some more. Over the weekend I finished reading Scarlet by Marissa Meyer and I want to start right into Cress and see what happens. However I am also reading 5 other books at the minute so I want to try and finish up a few of these first.

Over the weekend I also finished reading Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell and it took me a good few weeks to really get into this book. I’m hoping to get both reviews up in the next few days so keep checking back.

On Friday night I started reading Digital Fortress by Dan Brown and I am immediately hooked on the plot. I love how the protagonist is a strong, intelligent woman working in a high powered government job. The concept behind this plot is very interesting as well and like all of Dan Browns books this involves a mysterious idea surrounding the government and an infiltration. I can’t wait to continue with this plot.

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I am still reading Hollow City by Ransom Riggs and I haven’t had a chance to read as much of this book as I want to so I’m hoping to devote a bit more time to it. The clock is ticking until the release of the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children movie and I want to have the second book finished by then.

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Throughout the week I will be continuing reading Digital Fortress by Dan Brown and Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. These are two very different books but equally addictive and fast paced so I know I will be spending a lot of time with them over the next few days.

So have a great reading week and don’t forget to check back!

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Weekend Reads #80

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It’s Friday people, time for the weekend to start and I cannot wait. Tomorrow I have a dress fitting for the wedding and I am so excited, it is 10 weeks exactly until the big day and I can’t believe how quickly it has flown in. Everything is speeding by and I’m trying to keep up!

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I will be spending this week starting a new book and I am a little indecisive over which one to read next, either way I’ll probably pick up the other one in a few days due to sheer impatience anyway. So over the weekend I am hoping to start Digital Fortress by Dan Brown. I am really looking forward to this read, as many of you will know I am very slowly becoming a massive fan of Dan Brown and his work. I am especially intrigued to read this book because the main character is not Robert Langdon and as much as I will miss him on this adventure I am looking forward to meeting a new character. I don’t know a lot about this book other than the main character is an intelligent female who cracks a code sending the National Security Agency into a panic.

I just know this book is going to hook me so I am hoping to start it on Saturday night so I have all day Sunday to get lost in its plot. So I hope everyone has a great weekend and keep on reading!

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August Wrap Up and September TBR

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I am a little ashamed at how long it has taken me to write this post but the end of summer was mental for me and so busy that I didn’t see the weeks pass. I have just about come round to normality again after the crazy period and I’ so happy to be getting back into my books. For a few weeks there I didn’t pick up a book and it wasn’t because I didn’t want to read, it was because I was so exhausted every night that once dinner was over all I wanted to do was sleep and prepare for the day ahead. Now that we are back into the swing of things I am able to de-stress after work with a good book and a great cup of tea.

Due to August’s busyness I didn’t read as many books as I had hoped but below are the ones I did get reading, just click on the titles for the reviews;

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany

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The Secret of Heaven – Felix Alexander

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Angels and Demons – Dan Brown

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September has started out strong for me because I have got stuck into my TBR and I am nearly finished some of the books I’m reading. I have an awful habit of reading more than one book at a time because I get too excited about reading them. I always tell myself I’ll just read the first few pages and then I’ll stop but I always end up reading further into it. Therefore, below are the books on my TBR for September but if you have read my Daily Reads you’ll know I have already started some of these;

Scarlet – Marissa Meyer

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Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Paige

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Digital Fortress – Dan Brown

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Hollow City – Ransom Riggs

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The Muse – Jessie Burton

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I am very excited to read another Dan Brown book, I know this one is older than The Da Vinci Code and is centred around a different character so I am intrigued to see what way the plot will go and how this character will handle it. I am also looking forward to reading The Muse by Jessie Burton, I had pre-ordered this book determined to read it when it arrived however it came in the post mid-summer when work and life got very busy. This is also a special copy as it is signed by Jessie Burton so I am very pleased with it and can’t wait to get started.

So I hope that you are having a great September reading, it won’t be long until the weather changes, the leaves start falling and it is the perfect time to pull out a cosy blanket and pour a cup of tea.

Happy Reading!

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Angels and Demons – Dan Brown

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So as many of you will have picked up in previous blog posts I have become a bit of a Dan Brown fan and possibly may have developed a small addiction to his work after reading The Da Vinci Code. As soon as I finished it I picked up Angels and Demons and just like The Da Vince Code I had seen the movie so wondered if it would be just like it.

Angels and Demons follows Robert Langdon, the Harvard professor who receives a call in the middle of the night from CERN, the science facility in Switzerland. It isn’t long before Langdon is drawn into a mystery involving murder, ancient organisations and Galileo’s Rome. He and Vittoria, a scientist with CERN must fight against the clock to save the Vatican City and all the lives around it. To add to the mix the Pope has died and the predecessor is to be decided upon, with traditions aside the fate of the Catholic Church lies on Langdon and Vittoria to decipher the next move of an ancient organisation.

I loved this book and found it very difficult to set down. Of course having seen the movie I pictured each character as they were on the screen, yet this didn’t change the appeal of the book for me. I may have known what was coming in the plot however the writing style alone had me hooked from page one. Dan Brown can write an addictive, twisted and thrilling plot that grabs the reader and takes them on a journey not just through the present time but intertwining historical and mythical events leading the reader on a journey through time and history. This is an element that I love because he delves up ancient organisations and brings some of the biggest mysteries of the world into a plot whilst creating amicable characters and using recognisable settings.

I particularly enjoyed the setting in this plot of the Vatican and the Catholic Church paired with CERN, the power of scientists and an old anti-religious organisation. I felt that this added to the intensity and power of the plots because representatives of both organisations had to put aside their beliefs and work together to take down an invisible evil as such. Personally Rome is always a place I have wanted to visit because of it’s history and beauty so I enjoyed the snippets of history, the descriptions of architecture and the little-known places they visited in the books.

Despite the length of the book it didn’t take me long to read it because the plot is fast-paced and a real page-turner. I didn’t want to put it down and couldn’t get through it quick enough. The chapters jump from different perspectives such as Langdon’s, Vittoria’s, the Carmalengo and the assassin making the reader an omniscient presence always one step ahead of the characters.

I know I’m late to the Dan Brown reading party but if you haven’t read him already I would definitely recommend it. He is an incredibly talented writer who weaves a story of twists and turns for his readers, an exciting adventure is guaranteed with every book. However I will warn that sleep comes second when reading one of his books. I gave Angels and Demons a 5 out of 5 stars on goodreads because it was a carefully constructed novel and an enticing plot. Even if you have seen the movie I would recommend reading the book because it was a very different experience.

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Daily Reads 93

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Dear readers,

To say I’d fallen off the band-wagon could be an understatement. The past few weeks have gone by in a whirlwind with lots to do and not enough time in the day. This past weekend is the first time I have managed to sit down with my books and have some ‘me time.’

Over the past weekend I picked up my books and tried to jump in where I had left off and I also started some books I have been meaning to read for a while. To say I needed it would be an understatement, I deserved that time to myself.

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I started reading Hollow City properly by Ransom Riggs, the second novel in the Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children series. I have been trying to get to this book for a long time because of the movies release at the end of the month. So far I am really enjoying it, I’m only about a quarter of the way through and I’m excited to see how it unfolds for the characters. Of course the end of the first novel left me with many questions and a hunger to know what happened next.

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I’m also halfway through Scarlet by Marissa Meyer which is an equally addictive read. I love how to story is told in two parts following Cinder and Scarlet and I can’t help but hope that their lives cross at some point. I am eager to see what will happen and where they will go together in the plot. I loved the first book in this series and couldn’t get enough of it, the fact that there are numerous books in this series make me only want to devour the books I already have and order Winter to see how the plot ties together.

The following weeks are only going to get busier for me with work and the wedding getting closer but fingers crossed I still get to squeeze in some reading time. Already I’m scanning my shelves for books to read on the plane as we jet off on our honeymoon, in the back of my mind I know that’s the time I’ll get to sit down and completely focus on my books.

Happy reading!

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