29 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #59

Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.


This weeks is Ten Most Recent Five Star and One Star books.

The original list was top ten recent five star reads, but it's easier and more fun to shake it up and do the ones we didn't enjoy too.

Cora's Lists

I've embraced the art of just putting a book down when I don't like it, so I don't stick with the books I dislike so much anymore.

The Good
  • A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher
  • The Tribute Bride by Theresa Tomlinson
  • The Cosy Teashop in the Castle by Caroline Roberts
  • The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh by Marina Fiorato
  • All of the Above by James Dawson
The Bad
  • This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
  • This Raging Light by Estelle Laure
  • Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
  • Lions in the Garden by Chelsea Luna
Conclusion: Cora rage-reads too much. She should try to be nicer like Steph.

Steph's Lists

I don’t have 5 worst read... I can come up with 5 that I’ve struggled with?

The Good
  • The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Sailsbury
  • Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
  • The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
  • The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
  • Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Bad
  • Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve
  • Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
  • A Snow Garden and other Stories by Rachel Joyce
  • The City of Silk and Steel by Linda, Louise and mike Carey
  • The Goddess and the Thief by Essie Fox
Conclusion: Steph is too damn nice. Cora thinks there's nothing wrong with hating a book.

22 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #58

Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.


This weeks is Ten Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven't Talked About Enough/In A While.

When we love a book, you'll know about it.

We generally don't shut up about it and push it on everyone, rant and rave about how awesome it was, buy multiple copies, host giveaways... You'll probably recognise these titles from previous lists.

Although we do have slightly different tastes when it comes to books, we know that some of these are universally awesome. So here are our top ten lists and a giveaway where you can win the book of your choice from our Top Ten lists.

Cora's List

Conclusion: These are awesome books and you should read them all now. Cora has good taste.

Steph's List

Conclusion: These are awesome books and you should read them all now. Steph has good taste.

GIVEAWAY

UK only giveaway, one book of the winner's choice from the above lists. Open 22/03/2016 - 29/03/2016.

18 March 2016

Book Beginnings #21

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I am currently reading In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware.

I am running.
I am running through moonlit woods, with branches tearing at my clothes and my feet catching in the snow-bowed bracken.
I am quite excited to start this one, it's set locally in a dark skies park in a place where you can only really get around on foot or in a 4x4, and I think it lends itself excellently to grip-lit. It'll probably mean I never want to walk there alone again but hey ho.

I like this beginning. I like how straight from the off, the pace is fast. I like how I already have questions: Who is chasing her? Why?

15 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #57

Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.


This week is Top Ten Books On Our Spring TBRs.

I think this is probably the easiest list we've done and we quickly came up with ten each. We have a few titles in common, so we can buddy read those in our usual enthusiastic fashion (5 chapter a day? Ok, but I've already finished) and we also have books borrowed from each other last year that we really do have to read (especially Cora)

Cora's Top Ten


Conclusion: Some of these are for review, so Cora should actually read them instead of other books. Cora should also hurry up and read the books Steph lent her last year.

Steph's Top Ten


Conclusion: Steph and Cora should do a buddy read or three. Steph is making Cora look bad with her very grown-up theological choice of The Screwtape Letters.

14 March 2016

Review: The Tribute Bride by Theresa Tomlinson


A flood ruins King Alle’s kingdom. His crops are destroyed and he does not have the necessary grain to pay his yearly tribute to neighbouring war-lord, Aethelfrid. Instead he offer’s him his daughter, Acha, who, aged 16, must become a peace-weaver bride to the most brutal and feared warrior in the land. 

But will she be accepted? Can she produce an heir? What will happen to the lines of inheritance in both her father’s kingdom and her new husband’s? 

Acha finds herself alone, distrusted, and constantly in danger, but even she could not have imagined the deadly consequences her father’s plan.


Source: Purchase

5 Words: History, love, power, family, royalty.

I'm sat here pretty speechless. Because this book is awesome. It's a hidden gem, a bright ray of well-researched, historical sunshine. It's amazing. It's breathtaking.

And everyone has to read it.

When it comes to this period in English history, it's called the Dark Ages for a reason. We're in the times before Bede, the father of English history, and even the great scholar and historian himself couldn't dig up much about the rulers of Bernicia. The Tribute Bride takes the pivotal characters of this period and weaves them into a delightful story full of twists and turns and dilemmas, with a central character who changes and grows dramatically between the pages.

The descriptions are insanely vivid. You can smell the woodsmoke, the damp, the horses, the perfume. You can taste the feasts. You can feel the cold wind and warm fires and encroaching flood waters. You can hear the waves crashing on rocks and sand, the rush of a tumultuous river, a crying child. It's amazingly written and as I read I was transported there.

08 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #56

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Ten Characters Everyone Loves But I Just Don't Get or Ten Characters I LOVE But Others Seem To Dislike.

Weirdly, I didn't have to think too much about this one. Probably because I've teamed up with my little librarian friend again! We both read a lot of YA, almost exclusively so, so take a peek!

Cora's "Five Characters Everyone Loves But I Just Don't Get"

Conclusion: Cora should stop reading young adult paranormal romance.

Steph's "Five Characters I Dislike (because hate is a bit harsh)"

  • The Darkling from Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  • Ben from Shattered by Teri Terry
  • Xander from Matched by Ally Condie
  • Kabuto from Naruto
  • Warrin de Mortimer from The Running Vixen by Elizabeth Chadwick
Conclusion: Steph is a very kind person.

04 March 2016

Review, Guestpost & Giveaway:The Cosy Teashop in the Castle by Caroline Roberts

When Ellie Hall lands her dream job running the little teashop in the beautiful but crumbling Claverham Castle, it’s the perfect escape from her humdrum job in the city. Life is definitely on the rise as Ellie replaces spreadsheets for scones, and continues her Nanna’s brilliant baking legacy.

When Lord Henry, the stick-in-the-mud owner, threatens to burst her baking bubble with his old-fashioned ways, Ellie wonders if she might have bitten off more than she can chew. But cupcake by cupcake she wins the locals over, including teashop stalwart, Doris, and Ellie’s showstopping bakes look set to go down in castle history!

Now all that’s missing in Ellie’s life is a slice of romance - can Joe, the brooding estate manager, be the one to put the cherry on the top of Ellie’s dream?



Source: Blog Tour | Review Consideration | NetGalley Request | Purchase | Library

5 Words: Castle, tea, family, love, tradition.

I love tea. I love castles. I loved this book.

This book is set in the Northumbrian countryside, and the descriptions really bring it to life. I immediately recognised the castles that inspired Claverham, they were so vivid that I could smell the old stone and feel the chill. The colloquialisms and family dynamics only served to strengthen the setting (as well as the story) and provided this whole other element, giving the story extra depth and bringing the characters to life.

The descriptions of food in this book made me So. Hungry. Read this book with cake. I loved that the recipe for the Choffee cake was tucked away at the back, and it's easy enough that even I could manage it, and I take after my mother when it comes to baking. We are both serious fire risks when put in charge of batter and an oven.

I loved that as much as Ellie wanted to be prepared, she pretty much made everything up as she went along. I recognised myself in her, with her last-minute slap-dash actions, her unsuitable footware, her inability to say no to cider and pizza and cake and a decent cuppa. I saw myself in her long baths and piles of books, her attraction to the brooding Joe, her love/hate of the Northumbriand countryside.

I have to be honest - when I first heard about this book I did everything in my power to get my hands on an ARC. I read the descriptions and I just couldn't wait for it. And when I got a copy, I read it straight away (and stayed up into the early hours) and was just about to post my review when I saw that there was going to be a tour. I had so many questions and I enjoyed the book so much that I jumped straight on it.

Often I find that my initial excitement and anticipation for a book spoil it for me, because it's rare that the book will live up to it. But this book easily surpassed everything I imagined it could be, and it was magnificent.

Caroline Roberts on Castles

There’s a scene in “The Cosy Teashop in the Castle” where Joe takes Ellie for a country walk up to the top of the hill behind Claverham Castle.

"There you go. Just look around you.” He motioned to the 360-degree view; the hills on one side, the sea the other, and their castle down there in the valley below. It was stunning and she had to admit worth the effort of getting up there. “Right out on the coast that’s Bamburgh Castle and Holy Island.” He stood close behind her as he pointed out the landmarks. The view was amazing. She could smell the warm citrus of his aftershave.

This is inspired by a real hill in Northumberland called  Ros Hill. To the west you can see the majestic expanse of the Cheviot Hills, and to the east you look out to the North Sea and along the coast. On a clear day you can see six castles from here!

The author, Caroline Roberts, on Ros Hill
In the valley below there is Chillingham Castle, a wonderful quirky castle that was my main inspiration for the setting  of The Cosy Teashop, and to the opposite side, along the coast you will see: Lindisfarne Castle at Holy Island, the stunning Bamburgh Castle set right on the beach, further along, the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle at the far end of Embleton Beach, slightly inland to the south is scenic Alnwick Castle, and then in the distance Warkworth Castle.

Chillingham Castle
Northumberland really is so rich with historic and wonderfully scenic places. It has more castles than any other county in England. A legacy of its turbulent past, including the infamous Border wars which raged from the 14th to 16th centuries, Northumberland boasts over 70 castle sites!

All the castles I have mentioned above are open to visitors - check for times, especially in the winter months, as some are not open all year.

GIVEAWAY

You could win a paperback copy of The Cosy Teashop in the Castle by Caroline Roberts. This giveaway is open internationally, so long as The Book Depository deliver to your country!



Book Beginnings #20

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

I am currently reading The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle.
When I heard Bea chant the words it was as if little insects were crawling in under my spine, ready to change it. I was going to crack and bend, become something other. Our temples were sweating under our masks but we didn't take them off. It felt like they had become part of our skins.
I am currently powering through the whole North East Teenage Book Award shortlist, and out of all of the books this is probably the one I've been looking forward to the most.

I like this beginning, it's creepy and mysterious and it makes me want to read on. I only picked the book up today, so I'm not sure if it will live up to my expectations, but it's had amazing reviews and so many people have recommended it. I want to know what The Accident Season is, how the characters react to such a thing and how it impacts upon a family dynamic.

Also, the main character's name is Cara. And that's pretty similar to Cora.

01 March 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #55

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Ten Books To Read If You Are In The Mood For A Good Cry.

You know how sometimes you just have to get it all out? You have to have a good cry to get it all out of your system? You might not know what IT is, but you know it'll be sorted with a good cry? Proper ugly tears and sobs. Maybe it's just me, but I find it very cathartic... These are the best books for it, the ones that always have me in tears without fail. They break my heart a little bit every time I read them, but I come back to them again and again.

  • Lucas by Kevin Brooks
  • All Of The Above by James Dawson
  • The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh by Marina Fiorato
  • Slated (series) by Teri Terry
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • Shades of London (series) by Maureen Johnson
  • In Bloom by Matthew Crow
  • The Poppy Factory by Liz Trenow
  • How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
What was the last book that made you cry?