The Poisoned Cup by Edward Lanyon

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Good afternoon readers, it’s Thursday and I have another brilliant review for you. Now this one comes with a sigh because it should have been posted, well a little while ago to say the least but my disorganised brain managed to miss it completely. It’s been sat in my drafts waiting to be posted for a very long time, but today is the day. In terms of reading, currently I am wading through 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami and it is an absolute masterpiece; I cannot stop reading it; the review will be up probably in the next year seeing as in total the three books span over 2000 pages but we’ll see: for now, this (very) long awaited review.

You’ve seen Braveheart – now discover the other side of the story. In 1286, King Edward of England sends his aged confidant, Sir Henry de Grenville, to Scotland to negotiate a marriage that could unite the two kingdoms. In a tragic accident, the Scottish king dies and his country is left without an heir. In a desperate bid to avoid civil war, the Guardians of Scotland invite King Edward to arbitrate on the succession. But war ensues anyway, a war that quickly engulfs England. Sir Henry is caught up in a bitter conflict against the army of William Wallace. But there is a spy in the Wallace camp…

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So, this is a full on whirlwind of a historical fiction book and as you all know I adore historical fiction. The book follows an ageing English Knight who happens to be working for King Edward the first. His job is to bring peace between England and Scotland; the angst between the two kingdoms is beginning to build to a startling level. However his plans are scuppered when the King of Scotland, Alexander is killed in a sudden accident; all must be done to stop the incoming of a civil war. With no clear path of how to unite the two, war wages and Sir Henry is caught up in the heat. Step forward William Wallace, a mean and fierce man and a little different to the figure we see in the film Braveheart. Lanyon spills a brutal tale of battles, knights, one beautiful maiden and a rip-rolling story.

So the first thing to mention is this feels like a very well-researched and investigated story; the story feels real and definitely transports you to medieval times which of course it is supposed to. I liked the idea that history can be a little set up to make certain historical figures seen in a more positive light and Lanyon forces the reader to re-think the portraits we see of such historic figures. What I also found truly intriguing was the brutal nature of the book: this is an author who does not step back instead the writing is heady, ruthless but also fully formed. It feels like you’re there in the action, feeling the heat of the battle, the roar in your ears; it’s a wonderful thing when historical fiction manages this.

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I thought the characters were fleshed out with style and precision and I liked the way that some are historical figures whilst others are fictional and created from the author’s imagination. I thought the political line of fiction was woven throughout and helped to add to the action and make it feel all the more real. Two slight wobbles; I did wonder how far the character profiles of some of the characters such as William Wallace had been pushed to fit with the storyline and some of the events that occurred did push the boundaries of believability a little but I was so consumed that didn’t affect how much I enjoyed the book to a point where it became a major issue.

I really did enjoy this wonderfully told historical fiction; this type of plot-line isn’t my first port of call, I often prefer the tales of what was happens away from the battle and I tend to read books that focus during world war one and two but this novel has definitely opened my eyes to the other types of historical fiction that are out there waiting to be read.  My only slight complaint would be how honest the character profiles are and how far they have been played with to fit with the plot-line being woven but I thoroughly enjoyed this tale. It has a real sense of what historical fiction should do and how to engage the reader. A lovely, but rather brutal tale.

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After The Rains by Emily Barroso

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Afternoon readers and another review from a wonderful author, Emily Barroso. I reviewed another of her books back in March and I thought it was time to bring another review of one of her books to mylittlebookblog. I’ve been really working to bring you more and more reviews and it’s really brilliant as a blogger to be able to bring you just as good a review as the first. If you do want to take a look at my review to see what you’re in store for, take a look here if not, let’s not waste any more time and instead get straight on with the review.

After the Rains is an adventurous, dramatic coming of age novel set in post-colonial Rhodesia that parallels the coming of age of fictional Jayne Cameron with that of post-colonial Rhodesia as it morphs into the free Zimbabwe. This is an intimate novel, told in the first person, of a young, spirited girl. It is set against a vast backdrop of the upheaval and tragedy of an African war, in which a girl battles to make sense of her life during the complexities of her time. The novel has universal appeal with its themes of land, loss, longing and redemption and the ability of the human spirit to overcome great odds. This is a powerful, gripping read that is ultimately redemptive for Jayne, written by an author whose own early life was affected by similar themes.

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So reading the blurb I wasn’t sure on this book. Although I adore historical fiction sometimes I worry that I don’t have enough knowledge to really get to enjoy the book depending what era it is in. Now stick with me, my fondness for this genre does sit in the history of the story that is being told but I don’t want to feel like I’m missing out if I lack knowledge in that area of history. Here however, I found myself utterly compelled to keep reading deeper into the plot, learning more and more as I worked my way further into the narrative. As you can see from the blurb we follow Jayne, a darling character who lives during the dire and disastrous consequences of the African Civil war. We see as she struggles to make sense of the world around her as it radically changes causing her ideas regarding her life to change fundamentally. A wonderful read with a real sense of recovery and redemption.

So, in terms of the historical side of this novel I thought that the political side of the book was written with such a level of skill that I couldn’t put the book down. The writing is melodic and lyrical but it is stuffed full of details and specifics that help to pinpoint the reader into this new environment. The writing is powerful and poetic, full of detailed writing that is both gripping and vivid but smooth and without stumbles. It is so evocative of the reasons why I adore historical fiction. The characters are brilliantly built; Jayne is both free-spirited and gentle but then powerful and unmoveable. She has a gentle spirit and seeing her life change so definitely made me feel a little emotional. The additional supporting characters that are interweaved into the life of the main character are also written flawlessly. The book is written with heartfelt emotion that is written layer after layer into the plot itself. It’s not all tears and pain because there is also laughter and forgiveness and a sense of recovery that makes this is all the more moving.

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In terms of details, I thought the specifics of the farmers working tireless and the miners and the ways that lives were changed in a way that could not be reversed was written brilliantly. I felt, as I was reading that I was learning more and more about this part of the world and this time in history. The pace is steady, but I think it works here; there are not jolts or upheavals but instead a languishing story that I won’t forget for a while I can promise you that. I thought the use of the native language helped to make this more evocative and real. I say this all the time but historical fiction needs to place the reader somewhere utterly and completely new and this does this with stunning clarity.

Overall, if you couldn’t tell I loved this book. Powerful and exciting it was a book that I didn’t really want to end. I think the title is beautiful and the cover matches it perfectly. Overall a really strong read and one I will be passing along so others get the joy of experiencing it for themselves.

Linnnnks

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The Dream Shelf by Jeff Russell

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So since my blog got listed on ‘The Blogger List,’ a few weeks back and my review requests email inbox has gone utterly nuts. My phone has been buzzing with new emails filled with incredible books and equally incredible authors. It does mean that I’m going to have to get my head down to work through all of them one at a time but that’s what I’m here for right? Today’s review is of Jeff Russell’s The Dream Shelf. The cover of this book really caught my eye and found myself drawn to it as a reader and this was continued as I was pulled deeper and deeper into the plot. However, before I get ahead of myself, onto the review.

No pictures, no past, yet his dreams were left on the shelf: A book, a trolley car, a framed quote, and a plaster bust of Galileo, all represented the places his father wanted to see, things he wanted to do, but when Sam’s father died, it left a bitter taste of regret, and a lost opportunity to discover who he used to be. His father refused to discuss his background, and now that he was gone, Sam was left alone without a father and no memories of his past. But when Sam recollects his father’s belongings, he discovers a hidden yearbook, a list of names, and a government document.

Sam learns that the book on the shelf was actually about the Manhattan Project, the WWII program to develop the atomic bomb, and the trolley was from Brooklyn, a code name for a spin-off of the Manhattan Project aimed with plans against foiling Germany.  Sam’s interest in his father’s life becomes a surreptitious tale that ignites a passion to know what happened to his father and why his secrets could not be shared. As he embarks on a quest for ‘his story’, one with the promise of closure, he finds himself in a threat of uncovering more than he wants to know when he meets an evasive retiree who offers bizarre clues that just don’t add up. As Sam continues the search, he encounters the dark secrets of the Dream Shelf, the high cost of integrity, and the lessons a father wanted to pass on to his son.

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So quite a long blurb but brilliant at pulling the readers interest before they’ve even turned the first page which is a very skilled thing to do (my history with badly written blurbs is long standing.) As the blurb suggests, I won’t rewrite too much, the central story follows Sam Archer as he tries to uncover his father’s past. The story takes the reader on a tale of puzzling mystery as we slowly piece the story together, given clues haphazardly, pushing the reader into a frenzy with the suspense as the novel unravels itself. The plot is well paced and the continuous feeding of clues sustained my interest as a reader throughout. I wasn’t sure whether this book would take the genre of  historical fiction and it doesn’t quite. The information is woven subtly into the plot not only to sustain the plot but also to help draw a number of parallels between Robert Archer and the Civil War Soldier Jeremiah Paxton. This is done with understated importance but the similarities between the two really sing.

In respect to this all the character are written with a sense of real likeability. Sometimes you read books and although you’re drawn in, the characters are so unlikeable that it lacks something. Here they take on body and warmth and it emits onto the reader making it all the more wonderful. I also though the relationships both between the fathers and their grown –up children was lovingly but carefully described and the romance was perfectly added to bring another contrast to the story. The writing style is really beautiful, it lilts along rather pleasingly and you feel like you’re being led by the hand down a winding path into the past. I also liked that the chapters didn’t feel too long or drawn out. Sometimes when I’m reading I think that authors are trying to draw out every last word but here it feels like the author wants to push it forward.

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I think what really spoke to me as a reader was that I loved Sam’s quest to learn more about the man he thought he knew everything about. It made me think about my own family and what could have been hidden. It’s a thought provoking read and one that I as a reader thoroughly enjoyed. It really takes you on a winding journey of discovery dispersed with new relationships intermingling with the past.

Overall this book was definitely my cup of tea; I thought it was a sophisticated clever read that took me on a voyage. I think if you’re looking for something actioned packed and full of drama like some historical fiction seems to take the path of this may not be so much for you, but for me the stylish and thoughtful understanding of how to pen something that will stay in the readers mind for a long time after was rather wonderful.

Linnnnks

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Back Behind Enemy Lines by Chris Bridge

Good morning readers, and a very happy Thursday to you all reading this; this review was supposed to be scheduled for next week however, I realised that both reviews for this week were books of a romantic genre, that took exactly the same line in terms of my critiques and it really felt like I was posting the same review. So, I decided to move this one and pop it on mylittlebookblog for you today because it’s nice to write you a wholly lovely review and share a special book with you.

1944 and Anna is parachuted into Normandy as a special agent working with Resistance Groups, spying on the Germans and wiring the information back to the Special Operations Executive, escaping capture and the inevitable torture that would follow.

She falls in love with Pierre, another SOE agent but finds he is not what he purports to be. Then there is the little matter of the Gestapo officer who has guessed her secret. Alone, Anna has to make some terrifying decisions to survive and to ensure the impending invasion remains secret. It is 2006 in England, where her husband has died and Anna lives alone. Her children are spying on her and plot to put her in a home so that they can sell her house for their own ends. Anna is determined to retain her independence. She falls back on her wartime skills, recruiting Nathan and his girlfriend Gemma to help her and becomes close to them as she never was with her own children.

But it is only when she returns to Normandy and confronts the ghosts of her past that she realises how the war had taken its toll on her loveless marriage and her children. She makes the ultimate sacrifice and finally finds the peace and redemption that had evaded her all these years.

So it’s a rather long blurb which normally I don’t like too much because I prefer to explore the book from a more secretive blurb however it does give a real feel of the story to come. The novel is set in two parts, the first in 1944 Normandy during WW1 and the second during 2006 in England. As the blurb writes, we follow Anna Julen as she is parachuted into Normandy as a special agent under the name of Marie-Claire Cardon. We follow her story as she attempts to blend in with her surroundings, the locals, hiding her radio and working long hours whilst trying to sneak in sending information back home. Later in part two we meet Anna again who is now ninety years old. Despite her age she rebels against her children who want to run her life and move her into a home but she will not stand for it; instead she returns to Normandy to find answers and also a little forgiveness.

 So there’s a lot of plot to get your teeth into but now onto the more technical side. Firstly Chris Bridge is a really wonderful storyteller. He manages to weave the two plot lines succinctly and make the book a really intriguing and exciting narrative. I read this in around three days because I was so excited by where the narrative was going. I think his real strength as an author is seen in his creation of the world around the main character. The completely authentic reconstruction of war-time France in contrast to modern day Britain is really skilfully done. For me historical fiction is all about placing the reader some place new and this is done with skill and understanding.

This is further backed by the characters that are pulled into the narrative and the fact that throughout you’re not quite sure if you can trust any of them even Anna to some extent. She is a truly wonderful character, both gutsy and determined and also mellow and enchanting; I really adored her as a character. The book also conveys a really strong show of the authors utter love of writing I think. It has a sense of care and thoughtfulness and the constant play with the idea that you cannot presume anything about anyone is woven throughout creating a truly surprising story as a whole.

So I’ve gone on a little now but I really would recommend this book to everyone no matter your ideas on historical fiction as a genre. I think the strong writing style and the complicated used of plot and characters make this book highly appealing across the board. Bridge’s style is lyrical, evocative, descriptive and utterly captivating and throughout gave me a real insight into the lives of the characters as they were introduced. A brilliant warm book that I cannot help but recommend.

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A thank you from mylittlebookblog

So, it’s Sunday and the end of this celebration of mylittlebookbookblog. I’m going to keep it short because I’ve waffled enough this week.

I’ve learnt a lot blogging and I’ve learn a lot about myself in doing so and to be honest with you, I think that this blog has ultimately saved me from a number of cripplingly scary moments. My life right now is a little in limbo and it’s terrifying. I’m not sure what I want to do let alone where I want to be and in the last ten months I’ve seen the worst of myself and the panic that comes from graduating and feeling a little lost. But this blog has brought out the best of me. 

I have felt so wonderfully supported and this blog has been a life saver and I just wanted to really say thank you. From my mushy emotional and slightly whimsical heart. Because you are the best people that I could have ever wished for. All the authors, the bloggers, the tweeters, the likers the commenters and the emailers (these are not words) but all of you. Thank you. Thank you so much and here’s to another year of this pretty goddamn wonderful tiny space of the internet that I have found I’m able to call home.

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Streets of Broken Hearts by Sydney Bristow

Happy Thursday readers another interesting review for you today. A couple of weeks back I was finding it incredibly difficult to get through the bulk of a couple of the books I was reading at the time. It wasn’t a reading slump per se, I just couldn’t push myself to get into the books. However, recently my blogging inbox has been stacked with new books to get my teeth into which has really helped pull me out of that dry reading patch and today’s review is one of them. I’m also experimenting with some scheduled posting because of my job and having to fit blogging in and around so many different things so we’ll see how that goes. Without further delay, onto the review.

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September 1927, Chicago It took Al Capone three years to hunt down a brilliant but decrepit physicist who owed him a measly $7,000 for one reason: the physicist managed to reverse the aging process, rendering him unrecognizable. But Capone has no interest in this medical mystery. He just wants his money. To recover the debt, Capone orders the physicist’s daughter, Justine Bryce, the most successful cat burglar in town, to steal a luxurious necklace from a famous diplomat – while it’s still around her neck. Failure will ensure her father’s execution. As well as her own. Justine is determined to save her father at all costs. Even if it means trusting a man she is doomed to love forever, a charming but unattainable nightclub owner who trained her as a thief, Vance Flynn. Vance agrees to help, but he has his own reasons for securing the necklace. With only 24 hours to carry out the scheme, Justine needs to steal the necklace while dodging a shrewd but deranged detective who frames her for murder, not to mention double-cross the most vicious gangster in the country…all to avoid ending up on the wrong end of a gun.

So that’s quite an extensive blurb so I’m not going to say too much because I think there’s a lot to give a feel of the book as a whole already. The reason this book grabbed my attention was the historical fiction feature of the book and I did really find it intriguing. Tommy guns and speakeasies feature throughout helping to place the reader into a different time period. The author weaves a number of different plot lines including the lifting of the necklace, the difficult relationship between Justine and her father and the shifty and unreliable Greg Skinner who appears to be taking the law into his own hands. There are also a number of plot lines inter-weaved with the supporting characters that are managed wonderfully.

In terms of characteristation Justine is a brilliant character, spunky, determined, impulsive but also intelligent I loved reading about her adventures. In terms of her language some of it felt a little modern and didn’t quite fit with the period of the time however I found her as a main character intriguing to read about. Greg Skinner, although a character I loathed was a brilliant addition to the plot line. Corrupt, needy, obsessive; his character really added a sense of threat and dread to the novel which was really well built up. Additionally the supporting characters including Vance (I really had soft spot for him) and Vikki are given enough traits to help spin the storylines and make them feel real. I also thought the adding of the British detective was brilliant. Being a proud Brit it was nice to have it included.

A couple of criticisms; as I mentioned above although the style of writing is really solid I think there could have been more to make you feel as though you were transported to a different time. It’s the main reason I adore historical fiction and I felt although it was there, it could have been improved on. I also thought some of the plot lines fell through at the end especially within the exploration of Justine and her father’s relationship, it kind of didn’t go anywhere despite it being pivotal to the main plot line. If there is a second book in the writing I think this should be explored more thoroughly because it was a sticking point for me as a reader. I also thought that the ending was a little weak especially in terms of what happens to Vance. I don’t want to spoil it but it felt a little tied up in terms of Justine but also a little confused as to what had really happened. Once again if there’s a second book I can see this being something to explore more fully. Finally I felt that at times that the writing pace didn’t match the pace of the novel within; with the tension racking up the writing style didn’t quite make it punchy enough for me in some of the chapters especially at the beginning but I must admit it was getting there towards the end.

So, overall I really enjoyed this book as a concept and I’m glad to have been given the opportunity to read it. I think although the writing style was strong some discrepancies in language, style of the time and the writing pace (I hope I’ve explained that coherently) lost me a little. Room for a little improvement but overall still a great read. Great characters, great ideas and definitely worth a read; with a few tweaks this could be bang on.

Baggy Pants and Bootees by Marilyn Chapman

Good afternoon readers, hope you are well. I’m finally feeling a little better after a week of feeling under the weather. I’ve been struggling to get rid of this hacking cough and runny nose but I’m slowly, slowly turning it around. It’s been a reasonably busy week and I’m slowly working through my incredibly busy email inbox. If you are waiting for a review it is on the way and there are a number scheduled for next week which I’m super excited to share with you. Today’s review however is from Marilyn Chapman, sent through to me by the wonderful people at Publishing Push. A historical fiction and my favourite genre of book, would I fall in love with it as a story? Read on to find out.

 When war baby Sophie joins the macho world of 1960s journalism she’s determined to prove that she’s ‘one of the boys’. Her career is threatened by a phone call from her estranged mother setting Sophie on a quest to uncover the secret of her birth. Was her father the all-American soldier she dreamt of when she was a child, or someone far more sinister? This is the story the ambitious reporter was destined to write. Helped by the charming but mysterious David, Sophie uncovers the story of a heartbroken wartime orphan, a GI romance and a terrifying rape that leads to an innocent man’s court martial – and finds clues to her own unhappy childhood. Torn between her secret love for Steve, the newspaper’s most eligible bachelor, and her desire to know who she really is, Sophie follows David to search for her father. Only when faced with the startling truth can she accept the tragedy of love, loss and betrayal, and begin a very different kind of future.

 Powerful eh? I’m not sure how a lover of historical fiction could resist this step back in time to the 1960’s. As the blurb suggests the book follows Sophie as she joins the world of journalism however a worrying call from her mother sets her on course to discover the truth about her father. Was he an American soldier or is there something more terrifying that needs to be exposed. Sophie, with a little help from the impulsive David starts to unravel the truth about her past. I was really hooked by this novel almost from the first page. It helps that the plot line is so solid in its raw state as having that strong sense of direction in a novel really helps the author to pop in characters and weave them around the foundations of the storyline.

 I found Sophie utterly delightful; watching her deal with the everyday challenges of working as a reporter and in an office was a great way to add depth to the character and pull the reader into the story. I warmed to her immediately and found myself really wishing her to succeed. She’s a little stubborn and obstinate but it only makes her all the more spunky and exciting to read about. Steve is also, slightly surprisingly, a very warm and sweet character despite calling Sophie ‘Frigidaire’ when she politely rebuffs his romantic advances. This is then contrasted with the spiteful character that is Frances, Sophie’s mother. However as we learn more about her past I softened and caved feeling sullen and sorry for her. For an author to weave this so skilfully is a lovely touch. Only small critique in terms of characters; I did guess David’s part in the story a little earlier on than I would have liked however it doesn’t detract from the story enough to really cause an issue. I just wish it could have been held back a little longer. Additionally I would have liked the romantic interest in the story to have taken more of a prominence in the book. I think there was potential there to weave another storyline but again another small critique.

 Technically the writing style is solid, not too description, not too much dialogue and just the right pace. For this type of novel, although I want it to be pushing ahead, it’s more about unearthing the characters and to race it would be a shame but Marilyn manages it just right. I liked that as the narrative wore on the story is told between Sophie set in the 60’s and then back to her mother Frances in the 40’s. The contrasts made between the two eras are told with skill and dexterity which is really needed in historical fiction. I definitely felt transported to another time and that’s why I like historical fiction so much because of its potential to take you to another time and place.

 This is a wonderful read full of delectable characters and a real understanding of what you need to spin a delightful historical fiction novel. The characters are warm, well built up and through this the twists and the turns of the book feel all the more real because you are so involved in their story. Overall a wonderful read and one I would definitely recommend. Will there be a sequel? I really hope so.

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The Bookshelf Tag

So today I’m sick, sick, sick. I’ve just managed to pull my hacking body out of bed and into the living room and I found this bookshelf tag post on a lovely blog called The Book Coop I’ve been following for a little while and thought it was an adorable post to fill out for you. I’m going to split the answers between my two book shelves. Most of you know that after attending university in Stoke-on-Trent I stayed around, got an internship and have been here the past almost four years now. Many of my books are back in Silvy however the number in my rented room is growing higher each day so I’ll try and work it for both. If you fancy tagging yourself and writing your own book shelf post a comment below or tweet me @littlebookblog1

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1. Describe your bookshelf (or wherever it is you keep your books-it doesn’t actually have to be a shelf!) and where you got it from.

So at home I have eight shelves, stacked on top of each other. The shelves are heaving but I’ve run out of space for any more and they’re starting to get piled on top of each other on the shelves. Book storage is a constantly battle.

In my rented room in Newcastle under Lyme space is even more limited but the solution is rather adorable. Six months ago I was at a market and bought an adorable vintage leather suitcase. It’s now stuffed full of review copies of books, a couple I’ve given in and bought and my library copies.

2. Do you have any special or different way of organizing your books?

Nope, haphazard is the best way to describe my book organisation although trilogies or sets of books I try(ish) to keep together.

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3. What’s the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf?

I guess it would have to be a throw up between Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that’s a pretty hefty number in terms of pages, or I recently got given (to borrow) by a friend three books all sandwiched into one paperback by Murakami. I haven’t picked it up to read yet but I remember thinking it was pretty daunting.

4. What’s the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf?

I think some of my Roald Dahl classics are quite thin in terms of pages. I know I have quite an old copy of Charlie’s Marvellous Medicine that has a really beautiful cover and doesn’t have that many pages. It’s still a wonderful read!

5. What’s the smallest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?

I have a pocked sized copy of Alice and Wonderland through the looking glass which I have never read, it’s a really lovely book and it’s so goddamn cute I think I’m going to have to go find it and read it.

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6. What’s the biggest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?

It’s going to have to be one of my non-fiction books; I have book full of photographs of animals in the wild and it’s a giant weight of a book. My non fiction shelf is right at the bottom of the line of shelves because I’m terrified it’s going to fall of the wall; mainly because it’s stacked full of books like this one. I can’t remember the name of it but it’s a photography style book.

7. Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?

Being a book blogger lots of my books come from friends, but a really thoughtful book given to me for my 21st Birthday was If No One Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. It’s a very stylish and lyrical book that I loved and it means a great deal that it was given to me with such understanding of my bookish favourites.

 8. Most expensive book?

I honestly have no idea; in terms of me buying books I tend to get them from Amazon or I buy sporadically from Waterstones or independent book stores. Saying that for Christmas last year I received a non-fiction book on all things Titanic and it’s a whopper of a book, I think it may have cost around £25.00 so I’m going to go with that.

 9. The last book you read on your shelf?

Oh, that would be If No One Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor, but I’ve already spoken about that one so I’ll go for Breakfast at Tiffanies by Truman Capote. It’s not actually mine but one I borrowed from the library but it’s sat in my little suitcase after being read a week or so ago; actually is that due back now? *groans*

10. Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read?

So many books have come and gone from my book shelves but I think it would have to be Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. It came about in 2002 and I would have been ten then. I know that there are obviously books that came before that but maybe the first I read myself, that’s still on the shelf, would be this one.

11. Do you have more than one copy of a book?

Intriguing, I think I must do but for the life of me I cannot remember. I went through a stage of thinking I should rebuy copies of books because mine get so bent and creased but then it only means that they are loved. Thinking about it I’m not sure there are any more, I think I passed them onto friends?

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12. Do you have the complete series of any book series?

Yes, three I believe. Quite obviously the Harry Potter series, I think I have all of the Lord of the Rings books and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

13. What’s the newest addition to your shelf?

I try not to buy too many books because I already have so many to read, but I think it would have to be ‘How to be a woman, by Caitin Moran.’

14. What book has been on your shelf FOREVER?

I have so many books that lots of them have been there forever, I think it would have to be Eva Ibbotson’s Monster Mission. It’s cramped on a shelf right at the end nearest to the window and it’s becoming a little blanched in the sunlight.

15. What’s the most recently published book on your shelf?

I think it would have to be Elizabeth is Missing by
Emma Healey published June 2014.

16. The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old)?

I think I have an old and withered copy of What Katie Did which on researching was published in 1872. I’m 100% sure my copy is not that old however it’s looking a little tired and I assume it’s the eldest.

17. A book you won?

I’m not sure I’ve ever won a book; that’s a little sad.

18. A book you’d hate to let out of your sight (aka a book you never let someone borrow)?

An interesting one because I do like to lend out my books and let other people read and discover them for themselves. I think one that I would always like to keep near me is On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah. I bought it at a book fair for around fifty pence but it is one of my favourite romance style books; it’s a wonderful little book and it’s one I would hate to not be able to get my paws on when I needed a little pick me up.

19. Most beat up book?

My copy of The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson; I’ve read it so many times including in the bath which it’s been dropped in a number of times and it’s looking a little wearied. However its wear and tear only goes to show how much I love it as a novel.

20. Most pristine book?

Most of the books give to me by my darling parents or by friends. I do have a copy however of Any Human Heart by William Boyd that I loved so much whilst reading that I made sure to have bookmarks at any given point as in to stop me from folding the pages over. It is still a very neat and tidy book.

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21. A book from your childhood?

As a child I loved the stories of Little Mollie Mandy. I think my parents still have nightmares about the inane stories told however I thought they were wonderful and the tales are still propped up waiting to be told.

22. A book that’s not actually your book?

I have a number of books on my shelves that aren’t mine because I’m always squirreling them away with me but at the moment in my book suitcase I have a copy of The Good Plain Cook by Bethan Roberts which is actually my sisters that I am yet to read. I think it was on a Monday morning when I needed something to read on the train home but ultimately feel asleep and therefore I never got round to; I will give it back Char I promise!

23.  A book with a special/different cover (e.g. leather bound, soft fuzzy cover etc.)?

Not that I know of?

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24. A book that is your favorite color?

Although I love pink, I think a mix of duck egg and turquoise blue is my ultimate favourite colour and the book Elsewhere has a wonderfully blue sea on it which is almost the perfect colour so I’m going to go with that.

25. Book that’s been on your shelf the longest that you STILL haven’t read?

The Philip Pullman His Dark Materials books; I wrote a post about this over a year ago now (nope they’re still not read!)

26. Any signed books?

As a book blogger every so often authors sign the fronts of the books with a little message to me which is rather darling. I think Diary of an intuitive by Vera Gibson was almost definitely signed and that has an utterly beautiful cover also.

So a rather long post on my bookshelf from yours truly. If you do write your own please let me know, would love to hear your answers.