Sunday Smiles

sunday smiles

Sunday Smiles is a weekly meme created by me at Tumbling into Wonderland Books. It runs every Sunday. Want to find out more or join in the fun? Check out the details here.

My Sunday Smiles

I was away over the weekend so I didn’t get my Sunday Smiles up so I’m going to give you my highlights of the last two weeks, you lucky things.

DSC_0007We took a day trip to Arundel (I think of Frozen every time I say that). It’s a lovely little market town in the South Downs. It has a breath taking castle, lots of lovely open green spaces and a wetlands centre.

On Thursday we went to see Andrew Scott in Hamlet. I was really excited because I’ve seen him in a play before and he was incredible. He was again. It was still the classic text, with some extra bits added in, but based in modern day Denmark. Hamlet’s ghost of a father is spotted on CCTV, they had live cameras as part of the play and TV clips. It was a lot easier to follow than other productions. It was very, very long (3 hours!) but definitely worth a watch – catch it on BBC Two in 2018!

We went home to my parents for out Jazz themed BBQ which was a lot of fun. It ended with us all sitting around a fire pit, drinking cocktails and singing to guitars. I also went to another wildlife park which had adorable baby meerkats and lemurs!

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I came home to find my Illumicrate sitting on my door step waiting to be opened – yay! You can see my unboxing of it here.

I’ve spent the rest of the week trying to build up the courage to go and get some piercings that I’ve wanted for a while. Still hasn’t happened yet.


What made you smile this week?

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Title: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman
Series: N/A
Publication: 4th May 2017 by HarperCollins
Genre: Fiction

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book with a strong female character

This counts towards my ARC August challenge.

Advanced Reading Copy provided, in exchanged for an honest review, from the publishers.

My Thoughts (2)

From Goodreads

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

My Thoughts

This is the best book I’ve read so far this year.

This book first came to my attention whilst I was waiting for the tube. Yes, advertising really does work. Doesn’t that cover just grab your attention? But honestly, the book wasn’t what I was expecting, it was so much more.

Eleanor is one of those well developed and interesting characters who are truly memorable. She is socially clueless to the point where everyone just finds her odd. It can be very painful yet hysterical. She sticks to her routine; working at the same job for nine years, starting work at 8:30, breaking for an hour lunch during which she reads the newspaper cover to cover and does the cross word and leaving at 5:30. She then goes home and listens to the Archers and watches TV for a little while then off to bed at ten. The only day her routine changes is Wednesday when receives a phone call from Mummy. Throughout the weekend she drinks two bottles of vodka so shes consistently in the state where she’s neither drunk or sober. No one comes to visit her and she doesn’t go out to visits anyone else.

She is completely 100% fine with her life. Until she see the one on stage. Then she is on a mission to meet she. She first decides she needs to have a complete make over before she meets him, which is both shocking and hilarious.

When her computer breaks down she meets Raymonds from IT. He wears jeans and t-shirts with ‘childish slogans’ on. Raymond is intrigued by Eleanor but she’s not interested because she’s getting herself ready for the man of her dreams. But after work one day, Eleanor and Raymond come across a man who has fallen. Together they help the man and begin a friendship with him and his family that changes Eleanor’s routine and life.

Eleanor’s social awkwardness and seemingly lack of verbal filter can be hilirous, but I never felt like I was laughing at Eleanor.

There was nothing to tempt me from the choice of desserts, so I opted instead for a coffee, which was bitter and lukewarm. Naturally, I had been about to pour it all over myself but, just in time, had read the warning printed on the paper cup, alerting me to the fact that hot liquids can cause injury. A lucky escape, Eleanor! I said to myself, laughing quietly. I began to suspect that Mr. McDonald was a very foolish man indeed, although, judging from the undiminished queue, a wealthy one.

The book isn’t all funny and not at all light. It is also a dark book. Something awful happened to Eleanor as a child, and throughout the book we get hints as to what it is.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was packed full of emotion and I can wait to see what the author produces next.

My Thoughts (1)

5-stars

Illumicrate Unboxing -August 2017

unboxing

Illumicrate is a bookish subscription box based in the UK. It contains at least one book and lots of other bookish delights. It is a quarterly box that arrives in February, May, August and November.

This is the eight illumicrate box so far and they are now beginning to do special boxes around certain series – they’re currently doing a Grisha box.

I’m always super excited to get these not only for the books but for the amazing bookish goodies with it.

Spoilers ahead! Don’t read on if you haven’t opened yours yet…

August Box

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (exclusive edition)

I was really interested to see this in the box!

My Thoughts (2)She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

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The Red Church Tea by T-ology (exclusive)

Now I LOVE tea so I cracked this open straight away. It’s based on The Red Church by Scott Nicholson which is a thriller. It tastes so yummy that I’m going to make a subscription once I’ve emptied my cupboard out a bit.

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Shakespeare Zip Bag by Miss Phi (exclusive)

I loved the little bag we got a few boxes ago so I was thrilled to see this! It’s got a lovely quote on from Romeo and Juliet. I can’t wait to start using this.

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Wisdom Journal by Hey Atlas Creative (exclusive)

I’m not going to lie, I don’t particularly like this item. I like the quote on the outside which is from The Lightening Thief but it has dots inside on the pages which hurts my eyes a bit.

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Alethiometer Coaster by Hannah Hitchman Art (exclusive)

I love tea and my tea needs a coaster. This is just perfect. It’s the Alethiotmeter from Philip Pullman’s Dark materials.

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Book Money Jar and Sticky Bookmarks by blossom Books.

The money jar is my favourite item from the box, I just love it! I has a lovely spot on my bookshelf on my TBR shelf.

Extras: Bookmarks, Moxie badges and an  ARC of Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

It’s always fantastic to have TWO books.

My Thoughts (2)

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden–a planet that Babel has kept hidden–where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

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Have you bought anything from these suppliers?

Are you subscribed or going to subscribe to Illumicrate?

Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire, #1)

Title: Age of Myth
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Series: The Legends of the First Empire #1
Publication: 28th June 2016 by Del Rey
Genre: Fantasy

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book from a sub genre of your favourite genre.

My Thoughts (2)

Since time immemorial, humans have worshiped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between humans and those they thought were gods changes forever.

Now only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer; Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom; and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over. The time of rebellion has begun.

My Thoughts

I’d like to start by saying, if you haven’t read a Michael J Sullivan book before, you’re really missing out! He publishes his books a little differently to most in that he writes the whole series before it gets published. This means that not only do you not have to wait ages for the next book to be released but the books are all fantastic. You don’t get that issue where a book half way through the series looses it’s way or the inconsistencies. You get some great links, foreshadowing and worldbuilding. If you haven’t guessed yet, Michael J Sullivan is an auto-buy author for me, simply because his books never let me down.

Age of Myth is set 3000 years before The Riyria Revelations but it is meant to be read separately and doesn’t have any spoilers. There are some characters and locations that are mentioned  in both but certainly no spoilers.

I loved the characters in this book; Suri, Raithe and Persephone in particular. As the booked flicked between the different character’s POV, I found myself sad when each of their parts finished. My particular favourite was Suri was because she was wild, innocent and lovely, although she did remind me slightly of Auri from Name of the Wind in the way that she spoke to animals and understood the world around her differently to othersThe characters were what really made this story for me; there was natural banter, character progression and you become emotionally attached to them because they’re so relatable and likable.

Like his other novels, this book was fast paces, easy to read with action, interesting characters and some unexpected twists.

My Thoughts (1)

5-stars

Mr Katz is a Zombie by Margaret Lesh

Mr. Katz is a Zombie (Goethalsburg Ghost Squad, #1)

Title: Mr Katz is a Zombie
Author: Margaret Lesh
Series: Goethalsburg Ghost Squad #1
Publication: 14th October 2014 by StoryRhyme.com Publishing
Genre: Children’s Fiction

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book that you’ve owned for a while but haven’t gotten around to reading.

This book counts towards my ARC August.

I received a free ARC via NetGalley

My Thoughts (2)

Catastrophe looms in North Goethalsburg!

When twelve-year-old J.D. is tricked into taking possession of a book of spells, his best friend turns their teacher into a zombie. The zombification of Mr. Katz creates general chaos and a not-so-terrific time for near-genius J.D.

Teamed with his best friend Rodney, twin troublemakers, and an obnoxious ghost, J.D. must figure out how to change Mr. Katz back from one of the undead before he:

1. Escapes the janitor’s closet;
2. Eats their brains;
and
3. Wears J.D.’s spleen as a hat.

Can four boys armed with a slingshot, two boxes of jelly
donuts, and a handy zombie guide battle their mindless teacher and live to tell?

Probably not.

You’ll have to read to find out.

My Thoughts

I’m going to go right ahead and say I am not the target audience for this book. I’m probably double the age that you’re suppose to be (8 – 12 year olds). That said, I really enjoyed this book! And I think that if it is entertaining for those older than the age range then it is the mark of a great book, .

This book was really entertaining and enjoyable. They children manage to turn their teacher into a stinking, groaning, but ultimately non-threatening, doughnut eating zombie. It’s not overly silly but equally, it’s not going to give the children who read this nightmares.

I loved the whole family were involved in a business together and how the parents helped the children find the answer – they weren’t just completely unaware of what was going on but were really supportive.

I personally really enjoyed this and I’ll be interested to see if I find this in the school library at any point.

My Thoughts (1)4-stars

ARC August: Week 2

ARC August begins! graphicWoah, we’ve come to the end of the second week of ARC August (hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat). This week wasn’t anywhere near as good as last week, I only managed to complete Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and I’ve started Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire #2). I loved Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. If you haven’t read it yet, I would definitely recommend you go and get it now.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

 

Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live.

Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.

Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.

One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.

Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?

Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire, #2)

Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhune make it all but impossible to unite against a common foe. And even if the clans can join forces, how will they defeat an enemy whose magical prowess makes the Fhrey indistinguishable from gods?

The answer lies across the sea in a faraway land populated by a reclusive and dour race who feels nothing but disdain for both Fhrey and mankind. With time running out, Persephone leads the gifted young seer Suri, the Fhrey sorceress Arion, and a small band of misfits in a desperate search for aid—a quest that will take them into the darkest depths of Elan. There, an ancient adversary waits—an enemy as surprising as it is deadly.

In total, I’ve managed to raise my Netgalley percentage from 66% to 72%!


Have you managed to read any ARCs this month?

Sunday Smiles

sunday smiles

Sunday Smiles is a weekly meme created by me at Tumbling into Wonderland Books. It runs every Sunday. Want to find out more or join in the fun? Check out the details here.

My Sunday Smiles

I don’t know what the weather has been like for you but for me it has been true British summer weather. It’s been chucking it down. It’s been literally bouncing off of the pavements. Luckily, on the days we’ve booked things it has been lovely! Yay!

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On Thursday we went to the Hilton hotel by Green Park (oo, fancy) for an afternoon tea and cocktails. It was absolutely scrummy. I just love scones with jam and creme. The tea was so good I drank 3 teapots full and then went on a hunt around London to buy some for myself (Caramel Roiibos).

 

DSC_0144We also took a day trip to Dover castle. Our poor little car really struggled getting up that hill but we made it! It’s an amazing castle with so much history. I love going through the all the tunnels and we were really lucky that the waiting time for the underground hospital and war tunnels was short. It’s definitely a day trip I would recommend but be prepared for walking up and down a lot of hills! Dover’s really close to where my parents live so afterwards we surprised them by popping in for a cup of tea.


What made you smile this week?

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

This Secret We're Keeping

Title: This Secret We’re Keeping
Author: Rebecca Done
Series: N/A
Publication: 7th April 2016 by Penguin
Genre: Fiction

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book you meant to read in 2016

This counts towards my ARC August challenge.

Advanced Reading Copy provided, in exchanged for an honest review, from the publishers.

My Thoughts (2)

A pupil and a teacher. Is it ever right to break the rules? Jessica Hart has never forgotten Matthew Landley. After all, he was her first love when she was fifteen years old. But he was also her school maths teacher, and their forbidden affair ended in scandal with his arrest and imprisonment. Now, seventeen years later, Matthew returns to Norfolk, with a new identity and a long-term girlfriend and a young daughter, who know nothing of what happened before. Yet when he runs into Jessica, neither of them can ignore the emotional ties that bind them together. With so many secrets to keep hidden, how long can Jessica and Matthew avoid the dark mistakes of their past imploding in the present? From debut author Rebecca Done, This Secret We’re Keeping is a powerful and provocative novel about the ties which can keep us together – or tear us apart.

My Thoughts

This book is a controversial novel about a relationship between a teacher and his fifteen year old pupil. It is told with two narratives; Matthew’s (teacher) POV in 1993 and Jess’ (student) story in the present. We get to see how the relationship comes to be and how the scandal came out and affected both of their lives.

This book gripped me. As in, I locked myself in my room for hours reading. I was brushing my teeth and still reading. I was up way past my bed time reading. And in the end, it left me speechless.

The author took a very difficult subject and did it really well, leaving me feeling very torn. It was a very well written story that left me feeling very morally drained. It was very character driven, both of whom were very likable and well developed. It was very hard not to get emotionally involved in their lives. Whilst in the past your screaming that having an affair with a vulnerable fifteen year old student is wrong, I couldn’t help but root for them in the present.

I would have given it five stars had it not been for the muddle in the last few chapters.

A very interesting read!

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

Love Hurts by Malorie Blackman + more

Love Hurts

Title: Love Hurts
Author: Malorie Blackman, Patrick Ness, Lauren Myracle, Gayle Foreman, Susie Day, Jenny Downham, Maureen Johnson, Laura Dockrill, David Levithan, Markus Zusak, Lauren Kate, Catherine Johnson, James Dawson, Philip Pullman, E. Lockhart, Non Pratt, Bali Rai, Melvin Burgess, Phil Earle, Andrew Smith, Matt haig, Tabitha Suzuma and Marcus Sedgwick
Series: N/A
Publication: 29th January 2015 by Corgi Children’s
Genre: YA, Love and Romance, Fiction.

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book written by at least two authors.

This book counts towards my ARC August 2017

Advanced Reading Copy provided, in exchanged for an honest review, from the publishers.

My Thoughts (2)

Have you ever fallen for someone the rest of the world thought you shouldn’t have? Malorie Blackman brings together the very best young adult authors writing today in a stunningly romantic collection of love against the odds.

Featuring stories and extracts about modern star-crossed lovers, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak. This is a collection for anyone who has ever loved and lost – and loved again…

My Thoughts

This is an anthology combining a mixture of clippings from books and novellas, all about love, by some very famous and talented authors.

It contains clippings from:

  • More Than This by Patrick Ness
  • The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle
  • If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
  • Trouble by Non Pratt
  • Rani and Dukh by Bali Rai
  • You Against Me by Jenny Downham
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
  • Junk by Melvin Burgess
  • Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
  • Heroic by Phil Earle
  • I Am Messenger by Markus Zusak
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
  • Echo Boyu by Matt Haig
  • Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
  • Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
  • Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
  • We Were Liars by E Lockhart

And short stories by:

  • Malorie Blackman
  • Susie Day
  • Laura Dockrill
  • David Levithan
  • Lauren Kate
  • Catherine Johnson
  • James Dawson

This book is a complete mix, containing something for everyone. It has stories about blindness, transgender, coming out and incest. It has all different stories all with the main theme of love. And best of all, it’s not all straight love and not all from the girl’s perspective.

I had already read some of the clippings in here, like: Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, Northern Lights by Philip Pullman and Troubled by Non Pratt, so I just skipped these. I’m not going to lie, there were some stories that didn’t grab me, but the best thing is that I could skip that clip and go onto the next bit. I didn’t have to drag myself through tonnes of pages just to complete the story. There were a lot of clipping that did grab my attention, and I know I’ll be adding to my every growing TBR list.

My favourite short story was definitely the first one by Malorie Blackman Humming through my fingers. It was just so interesting and beautiful – I would happily read an entire book about this. I didn’t want it to end.

If you’re expecting a novel by Malorie Blackman then you will be thoroughly disappointed. But if you’re looking for some short stories and new books, this is the book for you.

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

Top Ten Shortest vs Longest Books I’ve Read

35fed-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new top ten list and invite everyone to share their answers. They’re currently on a break until mid-August so I’m choosing some past topics I missed out on in the meantime. I saw Maria @ Big City Bookworm do “ Top Ten Shortest vs Longest Books I’ve Read” a few weeks ago and I was really interested to see what mine were. So here we go…

The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2)Of Mice and Men

Wise Man’s Fear @ 994 pages vs Of Mice and Men @ 112 Pages

I’m not surprised that Wise Man’s Fear is the longest book I’ve read. Seeing it sitting on my shelf it stands out a mile. It definitely read a lot easier than some of the other books in this list and is one of my favourite books. I knew Of Mice and Men was short but because I studied this in school it felt a lot longer. I’ve read children’s books longer than that!


A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)Animal Farm

Game of Thrones @ 835 pages vs Animal Farm @ 122 Pages

I’m really not surprised to see Game of Thrones as my second longest book because it read as being very long. Animal Farm is one of those books that you’re meant to read in high school but I never did – I really enjoyed it, it was really easy to read.


harry_potter_and_the_order_of_the_phoenixThe Stranger

Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix @ 776 pages vs The Stranger @ 123 pages

The book where the series starts getting serious but is fully with humour vs a serious book. Again another one I studied for IB so it felt longer than it actually was.


breaking_dawn_coverOne Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Breaking Dawn @ 756 pages vs One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich @ 182 pages

A long book that I can’t remember what happens vs a short book in which nothing happens. I didn’t particularly enjoy either of these books.


Crime and PunishmentHeart of Darkness

Crime and Punishment @ 671 pages vs Heart of Darkness @ 188 pages

Both of these I had to do for the IB. I loved Crime and Punishment, I feel it is definitely a book that you get more enjoyment out of if you study it (like Shakespeare). On the other hand, I HATED Heart of Darkness. I just couldn’t get on with the writing style.


What are the longest and shortest books you’ve read?