The Lebrus Stone by Miriam Khan

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Hellllllo readers, a little bit of an emotional review for you today; I’ve spoken to a number of bookish bloggers about this but sometimes it gets a bit too much. I’ve thought for a while about taking a blogging break and step back for a while, create some breathing space, get through my review requests and get back on top of it all. We’ll have to see; sometimes it feels like it’s all a bit too much. The reading, reviewing, writing, the social media, the emails, and all whilst attempting to hold down a full-time job, travel home and see friends/family/Lola & Barbie and trying to build on a new relationship. Gah, I feel like I’m having a blogging midlife crisis. I’ve also struggled with the book used for today’s review; a fantasy book which I found difficult to read, but I’ll let you find out why.

When eighteen-year-old orphan, Crystal Valdez, accepts an invitation to the small town of Blacksville, West Virginia, she hopes to have a summer to remember and a chance to learn more about her parents, to also get to know the family she never knew existed. But the Lockes begin to act strange and erratic; eerie movements in the night fuel her vivid and gruesome nightmares. To complicate her summer further, she becomes attracted to the menacing yet handsome Cray Locke: her none blood related cousin. He seems determined to keep his distance.

The only bonus to her trip seems to be the housekeeper and gardener. And when a local informs Crystal of the secrets buried at Thorncrest Manor, the kind consisting of a forbidden relationship and a war between hidden worlds, and witchcraft, she must decide whom to trust. Even if it means leaving behind those she has come to love.

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As the blurb suggests the book follows Crystal who has a horrible start in life in which both her parents die in a terrible car accident. Sent to live with her Aunt who is then a little shockingly killed in a house fire thing aren’t looking to positive. Alone in the world and spending her remaining childhood in a foster care home, a woman who claims to be her long lost great aunt appears seemingly out of nowhere, Crystal is invited to find out more about her mother and her family. But not is all as it seems, once in Thorncrest Manor, the family appear to turn on Crystal and her destructive relationship with Cray looks soon to burst; as readers we follow Crystal as she seeks to find out more about herself and the family she barely knew.

In terms of positives Crystal is a well-developed although complicated character. She has a lot of emotion and she’s written with passion. Her relationships throughout the book were thorny and although she has a lot of layers to her as a character, I found her difficult to warm to. At times she was prickly and her relationship with Cray is a little odd. They are both distant with each other and at times he treats her horribly whilst she adores him. It didn’t sit well with me as a reader. Their relationship is uncomfortable at best and they don’t interact in an open way at all. Additionally with her mood swinging, from needy to jealous to desperately in love, I was exhausted. Although the writing is quite strong in places, as to the description of characters and the like, the pace is slow and I found myself having to read the first few chapters a number of times to get into the book; saying this it does pick up but it’s a slow burner.

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I also questioned throughout Crystal’s decision to stay at the Manor. From almost the moment she arrives there, it becomes noticeably clear that there is something very wrong with the Locke family. Isobel’s character changes so utterly she’s barely recognisable (whilst she shows no intention of sharing any further information) and Crystal starts to suffer with terrifying nightmares which are suggested to be due to her being tormented by ghosts. Throughout Crystal attempts to rationalise what is happening whilst I was yelling to myself ‘get the hell out of there.’ It didn’t make sense to me that a girl with such intellect would stay there so long in such a unpredictable environment. Additionally towards the end of the book it becomes truly disturbing; there are a number of descriptions of rape and sensitive material that I didn’t find fitted or was needed. It all became a bit too much. Additionally the ending didn’t clear anything up for me. Many questions are left unanswered and although I assume due to the ending a second book is in the making I don’t think I’ll be reading it.

I guess for me this book just didn’t work. I’m not sure what I was supposed to get or enjoy from this book. The writing at times works well it has ebb and flow and although it moves with a slow pace many of the descriptions are spot on. I found however the situation that our main character is in and her personality as a whole jarred and became confused. Additionally as we work our way through the story and realise that we’re not getting the answers we expected it feels like the book was for nothing. It’s frustrating and unrealistic and I found it a difficult to read. Unfortunately one I’m a little saddened to have read.

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Goodreads 

Top Ten Tuesdays: Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

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Good M’rnin readers and happy Tuesday. I love Tuesdays because myself and the only other lady who works for the company (c’mon engineering catch up,) squirrel away to Morrisons and buy all sorts of things that are terrible for me trying to lose weight, (diet smiet I say.) Todays Top Tuesday’s post is to list ten top ten characters that are fellow book nerds and I’m worried that my list will be the same as everyone else’s so I’ve tried valiantly (and failed) to add more obscure characters. *wails*

Tengo from 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

This book is taking me months to finish but Kenko is die-hard reading/writer and I find his gentle disposition and his attitude to reading and books so easy to relate to.

Meggie from Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

I struggled with this book as a younger reader but I’m so glad I finished it. She is a delightful young reader and a character I really felt I could relate to.

Hazel and Gus from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

I can’t decide whether this will appear on all the lists of very few? We’ll see. Both adore books although they are polar opposites in terms of what they like to read. This quote is also utterly beautiful from the book and so, so true.

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

Charlie from the Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Cbosky

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Another book I can’t decide whether will spring up on lots of lists, but Charlie loves to read and is encouraged by his teacher to write more and use the books to think and reflect upon his own life.

Mel from Bad Dreams by Anne Fine

Another slightly more obscure book although I am sure many have read this brilliant book. The premise of the book follows Mel who is an book-worm *cheers* and prefers to have her nose stuck in a book than make friends with her classmates. However she is made unwillingly to look after the new girl in school, Imogen, but all is not what it seems to be. Imogen is strange and mysterious and Mel is adamant to find out her secret.

Klaus Baudelaire from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

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I loved this series of books and Klaus being an avid reader with an eidetic memory he had to make the list. Remembering virtually everything he reads he often helped his sisters escape from situations that their archenemy, Count Olaf, lead them to. A real bookish hero.

Liesel from The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

I wasn’t going to include this one but it’s one that had to make the list. Also if you haven’t read this book, you need to. The number of book bloggers I know that have this as one of their *unofficial* favourite books is astonishing.

Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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This is where I fail and just pick characters that just bookish through and through. Cath adores books and revels more in the fictional world than the real world. She’s a little darling.

Matilda from Matilda by Roald Dahl

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Another very obvious choice but some of these you just can’t keep off the list because, you just can’t.

Finally, Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling

Another pretty clear choice, but I loved Hermione. She is a gem.

They you go wonderful readers, ten bookish characters who love to read.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Hyped books I’ve never read/I am yet to read

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Afternoon, it’s Tuesday and I feel like it’s going to be a wonderful day. It’s not often I feel so happy on a Tuesday but today, I cannot complain. Today’s post is once again a Top Ten Tuesday’s post and it’s the Top Ten Hyped books I’ve never read/I am yet to read. I’ve added the second because, as I’ve mentioned many a time, I on purposely it seems avoid *hyped* books. I think I just despise being told what to read and will instead reach for the most obscure book in its place. It’s often a mistake because I’ll end up reading said hyped book and have no one to discuss it with *wails.* For now these sit on my TBR, waiting for their time to shine.

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

        A book that has escaped me time and time again; when these came out I remember the excitement was ferocious. I was probably reading something unknown and smirking to myself. Now, I seem to have missed the boat by a mile.

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A Game of Thrones by George R R Martine

So this book was recommended to me by my Dad I think? But even he has fallen waaaaaay behind with these books. I think that I might have enjoyed it but then again, probably not. Fantasy and all that?

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The Chronicles of Narnia (Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis

So I’ve read the first book I believe and the second but not the last few. I had a number of copies handed down to me and thought I’ll get them all read when I was little younger but then books such as Judy Moody and the like took over and I completely forgot to get the entire series finished.

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Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

This list is becoming books I think I should have read? I think it comes from reading too many of those “100 books you should have read by now” and I manage to tick off my eleven out of 150. This is a book I’ve heard a lot about but so far has escaped my attention.

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Animal Farm by George Orwell

Right, so this may come as a surprise to some, but this is my most lied about book. Whenever anyone asks whether I’ve read animal farm I always say yes and I haven’t. It’s a downright, blatant lie. So I need to read this, because I know there will be a number of shocked faces now I’ve finally admitted I haven’t (yet.)

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The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

I always see quotes from Shel Silverstein and this one I’ve always thought I should read and get reviewed. I think there are some books that are universally adored and this is one of them that I need to get read

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

No comment needed here?

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Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

I see people reading this book on the tube allllll the time and it’s always one I’ve thought I should probably read.

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Now, because I haven’t yet seen the film I think that this could be a book I enjoy and then see the films, but then again I probably won’t do either cause I’m that kind of reader

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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I’ve never read an Oscar Wilde and that makes me a bad reader. In my books anyway.

I’ve realised that these probably aren’t hyped books as such but are just books that you really should get round to reading. I need to go to the library later and I’m going to pick all of these up and make a fort and read them all and then review them. Just for you wonderful people, with some wine. As always, thank you to The Broke and the Bookish for such a wonderful bookish meme.’ Let me know which hyped books you can’t wait to read, or if any of these aren’t worth reading and we can discuss. Ciao.

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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The Second Coming: A Guest post by Katie Cross

Let’s face it: the best part of reading a book is the one liner.

That single sentence that makes your eyes pop out of your head and your heart stop, and your face flush and your palms get clammy all at the same time. The moment is typically better than a first kiss, because you can always recapture it later by reading the book again. It doesn’t have to be funny, romantic, or even true.

It just has to be epic.

Since we’re celebrating books and book blogs and amazing book reviewers like the one-and-only Miss Lizzie Baldwin, I’m going to give you a gift: my favorite one liners.

Ones you probably haven’t read yet.

#Boom

Thank me later.

Click on the box to go directly to the amazon webpage for the books listed. Trust me. You won’t regret it.

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Best Indie Author One Liners Ever. @kcrosswriting #reading #oneliners Best Indie Author One Liners Ever. @kcrosswriting #reading #oneliners Best Indie Author One Liners Ever. @kcrosswriting #reading #oneliners Best Indie Author One Liners Ever. @kcrosswriting #reading #oneliners Best Indie Author One Liners Ever. @kcrosswriting #reading #oneliners Best Indie Author One Liners Ever. @kcrosswriting #reading #oneliners Best Indie Author One Liners Ever. @kcrosswriting #reading #oneliners

 

10560333_10100601156785714_8565122733714974256_o - Version 3Katie Cross is a writer by day, a Vizsla lover by night. She’s convinced that the key to creating a perfect cookie is in the amount of cookie dough eaten prior to baking. When she’s had a bad day, she escapes to the mountains.

In the meantime, she’ll write fantasy novels about kick @#$*(! females that don’t need a man to save them.

The Beauty Thief: Rachael Ritchey

Good evening readers, currently settled on the sofa with my cosy jersey top and my sweats, legs crossed and the no makeup ‘au natural’ look. This is my favourite way to blog comfy and restful. This morning I opened up my email inbox and found a barrage of requests and they were still coming; ten, eleven, twelve. My phone was beeping and flashing oddly. It turns out that my request to be published on the book blogger list came true yesterday and according to the emails made top billing. My inbox has been going crazy and it is wonderful so expect lots and lots more reviews over the coming weeks. But today one that has been waiting a little while; without further delay today’s review is of the wonderful ‘The Beauty Thief’ by Rachael Ritchey.

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 In the Twelve Realms there lives a man who covets life. He lurks in the shadows, intent upon stealing that which sustains his perpetual existence: true beauty. Princess Caityn’s loveliness reaches from what the eye sees to the very marrow of her soul. The thief’s covetous heart desires the life her beauty possesses and will stop at nothing to take it all. So a little look at the bare backbones of the book; the narrative ultimately follows Princess Caityn a princess who understandably wants to marry the man of her choice however she ultimately gets paired with Prince Theiander. As the two warm and interact more closely with each other it seems they are destined to be together however as their wedding day nears The Beauty Thief is ultimately determined to steal Caityn’s beauty and ruin everything that she has ever dreamed of.

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 I must admit from the very first page I felt a sense of warmth rise from the pages of this book, it has a real sense of wit and humour created mainly through the beautiful understanding and creation of Caityns character. She’s blunt, honest, witty and a genuinely true character. This is brilliantly contrasted with the turnaround of Caityn’s character after the change; she has an empty soul and the author devises this wonderfully, it feels bare and naked and you can’t help but feel for the main character. The book hangs on this and therefore it is incredibly important that this distinction comes across with skill and understanding. I think what was additionally really well done was that Caityn doesn’t take on the weak or feeble female character profile but instead she still feels real and you can see the true Caityn despite her changing. I really think that Ritchey made this come forward and take centre stage and that takes real ability and dexterity. In terms of writing the book is told in third person past tense and does come from a number of different character perspectives and although the majority of the story comes from Caityn and Theiander there are a number of minor secondary characters who push through and take their place especially a number of the villains.

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What was additionally really carefully built up was the idea of the fictional world and the twelve realms with each known for a different landscape, family or export. It really helps to sink the world into a slot of reality and makes it feel genuine. It’s difficult sometimes with fantasy to get the balance between the two, magical and wonderful but additionally genuine and authentic. The language and the use of bows and arrow against swords and shields really helps to enforce the fantastical genre feel without it feeling to forced and to obvious; it’s a real skill and one that should really be emphasised in this review. The colourful land and the exciting characters kept me enthralled throughout. The dialogue is snappy and witty with colourful exciting language full of quips and comedic anecdotes. In contrast The Beauty Thief is dark and nebulous it’s definitely a thought through concept.

So would I recommend this? Yes, yes, yes. If you love YA fantasy fiction you need to pop this on your TBR straight away. If, like me, you’re not quite as much of a true fan of the genre I think this is a great breakthrough fantasy fiction read. It really made me sit up and think and the beauty thief concept, although I haven’t delved into it too much in the review because I want you to explore it for yourself, I think is really original and in the YA fantasy fiction world that isn’t all to easy to find. I honestly can’t wait to see what this author writes next!

How to Be a Woman: Caitlin Moran

TGIF is the only way I can truly describe my feelings at the end of this week. After being unreasonably ill at the beginning of the week, spending the next few days furiously packing to catch up with the days and evenings lost snuggled up in bed with a hot water bottle wailing over my bellies insistent pain and having a number of wobbles with my fellow lodgers over the bills, washing up, even toilet rolls I’m shattered. A surprise weekend for my dear friend Anna and a moving day set for Monday it’s fair to say I’m ready to leave this week behind. Today’s review comes  after reading a  Buzzfeed interview; the interview with Caitlin Moran was sarcastic and blunt in style and made me desperate to read some more from her. Spotting at the bottom of the article that she’d written two books I vowed to get my hands on copies. Last weekend trawling a quaint book market in London I stumbled upon ‘How to be a woman,’ a steal at £2.50. Other than buying a big mac on a hungover Saturday this may have been the best £2.50 I’ve ever spent and I’m going to let you know why.

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Upon opening the cover I was a little sceptical; buying the book purely on the tone of the article rather than finding out the contents of the book the headings, such as ‘I become furry,’ ‘I start bleeding,’ and ‘I encounter some sexism,’ threw me a little. Worry not, because upon finishing the first chapter I realised that as like I had upon finishing the article, I think if we met, Caitlin and I would become firm friends. She has the comedic, whimsical blunt and sharp tone that delivers a punch to the readers jaw in ever feminist fuelled gag/story/teaching she throws our way. Before you stop reading don’t panic at the F word, I know some of us pale at the mention but Moran puts it perfectly, the way my mother always taught me, ‘I’m neither pro-woman nor anti-men I’m just thumbs up for the six billion.’ I’ve had this argument with friends before over being a feminist but Moran finds a way to put it perfectly; in a nutshell, put your hands down your pants, do you have a vagina? If yes do you want to be in control of your vagina? If you answered yes to both, congratulations you’re a feminist. Now before we get all political as we often do around gender equality (rightly so) this is a self-confessed ‘part memoir, part rant’ and the lack of politics makes it all the more a good talking point and a book of basically bloody good common sense.

We start with Moran on her 13th birthday; weighing 13 stone, eating cheese lollipops (a hunk of cheese the size of your head on a fork eaten from said fork) and having stones thrown at her by boys on regular occasions. The book ultimately documents her story from that day to the current day. Taking the theme of personal politics we follow the author as she discovers masturbation, crazy dancing, wearing your own pants, getting to grips with wearing a bra and coming to terms with being the proud owner of a big hairy muff. So what’s the big deal? Why is it brilliant? It’s the way it’s written. It’s magnificent, both provocative and hysterical you could hear me giggling on the bus from Hanley to Newcastle unable to stop myself. She doesn’t throw in gags but they instead they are an integral part of the story woven continually throughout the narrative. Several parts stick in my mind; the stories of her family and their bond is beautifully but honestly described and her account of the birth of her first child is chillingly written and helps to perfectly describe the authors humility. However two sentences later she’s jesting that she will never get angry about Norwich Union changing its name to Aviva ever again. It’s a constant whirlwind that pulls the reader along, I couldn’t for love nor money put the goddamn thing down.

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The writing is full of swear words, angry shouty capitals and incredibly honest and often shocking confessions. You could easily be forgiven for thinking that this comes across as a grating and crass barking teenage writing style but it is handled with grace and hilarity which comes with the self-assured and utterly candid quality of writing that comes from this sublime author. However what spoke to me most is that this is a book of common sense; it makes feminism sagaciously simple. She speaks of feminism grounding to a hault and suggests us renaming ourselves as strident feminists and us and any male feminists getting up on chairs and screaming it from the rooftops. At one point she states

‘Feminism, as it stands, well stands. It has ground to a hault and no-one is tackling OK! magazine, £600 handbags, tiny pants, Brazilians, stupid hen nights or Katie Price. And they have to be tackled…rugby style, face down in the mud, with lots of shouting’

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Having grown up with five brothers and sisters Moran truly believes we’re all just ‘some of the guys,’ and feminism is simply the belief that women should be as free as men. Simple eh? It’s a cheerfully bright and honest concept that for someone that describes herself as feminist but has never been quite sure to say it, can honestly say I needed this book.

This is a brave, consistently clever, naughty, rude, blunt sarcastic book with wonderfully honest writing that I chowed down in huge hunks. I can honestly say everyone should get a copy of this book sit down and take a little read at a book that attempts and succeeds to answer the question; What do women want? Pretty much the same as everyone else.

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