#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – All I Want for Christmas Is…

Six for Sunday

Welcome to penultimate #SixforSunday post of the year! The prompt from the lovely Steph at a Little but A Lot is “All I want for Christmas is…” This was actually a really difficult list this year as I don’t have many bookish wishes as I have SO many books to read right now.

The Rise of Skywalker Novelisation by Rae Carson.
This book isn’t due out until next March and that fact makes me want to weep. I hated the wait for The Last Jedi novelisation and I think the wait for TROS is going to be infinitely worse. Just going to make sure I read a different Star Wars book every month to keep the momentum going.

Another bookshelf. But also the space for said bookshelf. 
I have piles of books everywhere. I am in desperate need of more space but also more places to put my books. A pocket universe with a library in it would be really great thank you. For real though I’m probably going to have to go through my books and seriously cull the herd.

More creative time.  
I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of things by the skin of my teeth lately and I’m just about having time to actually write blog posts, let alone promote them, blog hop very much at all or reply to comments and the interactions are one of my favourite things about being a blogger so I really hate missing out on it. On top of that, I’m still feeling really creatively burned out from NaNoWriMo still and I would like some time to just find myself in that regard again but I’ve just not had the free time to do so. I’m tired by eight or nine most nights and I try not to spend too much time on my computer while my son is awake so I’m finding it hard. Some extra magical time while I’m awake would be lovely.

To get over this damned virus!
I’ve been ill for a flu virus for the past week and I’m so very done with it. I want to sleep all day until I feel better but it’s not really an option as a stay at home mum and it’s just making me feel so damned miserable. I’m having trouble focusing on or enjoying anything, I haven’t even really been able to eat anything either and it’s just affecting everything else and making me generally pretty miserable and I really just want to enjoy my Christmas.

For it to be Christmas already! 
Despite the fact that I still have a little bit of wrapping to do I’m just so done waiting for Christmas! I’m so excited about it but I feel like it’s taking forever to get here, I think because we did most of our Christmas shopping so early I’ve been ready for a while.

A Good Day 
As I mentioned, I’m feeling pretty low at the moment and I would really like for Christmas to just be a good day. I hope everybody loves their gifts and has a great time and we stay up late messing about and having fun and feeling like kids. That’s what Christmas is to me.

Apologies that this has been a bit of a miserable sounding post this year! Hoping I’ll be feeling better soon and cheer up! I do want to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported me this year and an extra big thank you to all the lovely people who have gifted me with books these past couple of weeks (books in the picture above), each one has put such a big smile on my face 💜

Tell me what exciting and lovely things are you are looking forward to this Christmas!

 

book reviews, Uncategorized

Sherlock Holmes & The Christmas Demon

Book Review
44667139._SY475_Sherlock Holmes & The Christmas Demon
by James Lovegrove

Rating: XXXXX

Published: October 22nd by Titan Books

“Father Christmas! Halt right there!” The words were delivered by Sherlock Holmes in the most stentorian and authoritative tone of voice.”

It is 1890, and in the days before Christmas Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson are visited at Baker Street by a new client. Eve Allerthorpe – eldest daughter of a grand but somewhat eccentric Yorkshire-based dynasty – is greatly distressed, as she believes she is being haunted by a demonic Christmas spirit.

Her late mother told her terrifying tales of the sinister Black Thurrick, and Eve is sure that she has seen the creature from her bedroom window. What is more, she has begun to receive mysterious parcels of birch twigs, the Black Thurrick’s calling card…

Eve stands to inherit a fortune if she is sound in mind, but it seems that something – or someone – is threatening her sanity. Holmes and Watson travel to the Allerthorpe family seat at Fellscar Keep to investigate, but soon discover that there is more to the case than at first appeared. There is another spirit haunting the family, and when a member of the household is found dead, the companions realise that no one is beyond suspicion.

I’ve spent years being intrigued by Sherlock Holmes and his various tales although found myself to have not actually read very many (A study in Scarlett and The Hound of the Baskervilles being the only ones). I’ve enjoyed a few adaptations and films here and there but, as I think might have been the case for more than a few people I really became infatuated interested after watching the BBC’s modern take on Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Before the show, I had always thought Sherlock to be rather old and stuffy but the show definitely helped to breathe some new life into it and shortly after was when I decided to finally read some of the stories surrounding the famous sleuth. My attention waned after a time and I hadn’t gone back to any more Sherlock stories until the lovely Sarah from Titan books offered me a review copy of a new book by James Lovegrove called Sherlock & The Christmas Demon. My acceptance was three-fold here. First, the cover is absolutely stunning and I think it’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing books I own that and my curiosity about a “new” Sherlock Holmes book pretty much already sold me but as soon as I recognised the authors name it became a definite yes from me after reading the Firefly story that James had also penned (Big Damn hero – My spoiler-free review can be found here and Q&A here) earlier in the year which I adored.

Set in late 1980, Sherlock Holmes & The Christmas Demon this is still fairly early in the timeline of tales for Sherlock and Watson and although they have gained some notoriety with Watson having published two books they are still relatively unknown to some which added a nice dynamic in that I didn’t feel hugely behind or left out having not read a lot of other material and made it hit or miss if other characters had even heard of the pair. Although the story begins in London it takes Sherlock and Watson to a large foreboding castle turned family estate in York. The cold, uninviting castle surrounded by snow and ice is the perfect setting for the story of the Christmas Demon, known as the Black Thurrick. Despite being rather bare the castle really does seem to be a character in its own right and I’m considering putting the heating on in my flat just thinking about it. Brr. Castle Allethorpe, the lake beside it, the forest nearby, the town and tavern five miles away, it’s all described so well without being overlong or boring and in such a way that it’s exceedingly easy to conjure in the mind’s eye and adds to the atmosphere in a noticeable way.

The characters, much like their surroundings can vary from cold and unfriendly, to moderately warm and forthcoming and are equally as easy to imagine vividly, if not with a physical representation then certainly their personalities and traits which shine through and everyone just fits so well. Sherlock and Watson especially are what I would call picture perfect, they feel absolutely on point, their essence has been perfectly captured and you can tell James really loves them.

The story itself is elegant, a little spooky and so well put together from the prologue of sorts to the initial mystery, twists throughout and eventual reveal and deduction break down from Holmes, not to mention the ending on a whole was wonderful, perfectly festive and beautifully Holmes-esque. I like cliffhanger endings but there’s just something so wholesome about a well wrapped up tale. Everything fits together so well and it was a truly enjoyable read and one that means I will definitely be reading more of James’s Sherlock work!

spoiler free, Tags

Bookish Naughty or Nice Tag!

tag Thursday

I am loving reading everyone’s Blogmas posts at the moment! I always think of taking part every year but end up having no time after the chaos of NaNoWriMo so I’ve been living vicariously through others and their brilliant Blogmas posts. Some of my favourite posts have been from Jenn at Jenniely.com. Her Bookish Naughty or Nice Tag particularly caught my eye! For this tag tick which ones apply to you and total them up at the end to see just how “naughty” you’ve been this year.

You can check out this particular tag right here. I won’t tag anyone in particular but if you like the look of this and want to do the tag then go for it, don’t forget to tag me AND Jen, we love reading your answers! Please remember this is just a bit of fun and you’re not the most heinous person in the world for dog-earring your book pages.

1. Received an ARC and not reviewed it  

This is going to always be my downfall… I just can’t read that many books *dies of shame*

2. Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley

Damn. I’m so close at 57% I was doing so well and then I got approved for so many good books damnit. Planning to try and hit my 80% in January but we’ll see to be honest. I am a terrible person.

3. Rated a book on Goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did) 

Story of my Goodreads life. Thankfully when I submit my review to NetGalley it automatically posts it to Goodreads too. That’s probably the only way any of my reviews have made to my Goodreads in the past six months.

4. Folded down the page of a book

Yes! I don’t do it often but I tend to pick one quote when I read a book that I particularly love which features at the beginning for the review of that book and although I own book tabs and should really just use those I don’t usually have them to hand so I just fold the page down. I used to be really funny about this but I’m a lot more chill now and it’s nice to pick up a book that I’ve read and automatically find that quote that I love.

5. Accidentally spilt on a book 

I’m probably going to regret saying this when I immediately spill something on my book in the next week now but so far this year, shockingly I haven’t which I think is pretty impressive as quite often I eat my lunch while reading…

6. DNF a book this year 

Not technically, there have been books that I have started reading but not finished but I have intentions of finishing them, sometimes it’s just not the right time to read them or on occasion an important book or one I need to read for a blog tour etc takes precedence, so I class these as being on hold, not as DNF’s. My last DNF was last year.

7. Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it 

I never buy a book that I have no intention of reading., even if it’s pretty although I have been tempted.

8. Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework) 

I don’t do this that often anymore really as I don’t tend to get the chance but I do have a bad habit of reading during mealtimes which I know is super rude.

9. Skim read a book 

Nope, can’t do it. I hate missing things! The only time I even come close is if I’ve already read it and am skim reading to my favourite bits.

10. Completely missed your Goodreads goal 

Not yet! I’m behind by one book still and I have five books left to read before the end of the year to reach my goal. I might just do it, I do have some graphic novels I want to get through which might help!

11. Borrowed a book and not returned it to the library 

I still owe the library for a book I returned late last year I think! I need to check and get it paid off next payday thinking about it! SO technically I haven’t this year unless you count on my son’s behalf. It’s a good 35/45 min walk or more to our library and it can be a nightmare with a usually tired four-year-old so we don’t go as often as I would like and sometimes we miss the deadline and I forget to renew it online because I’m an idiot. I mean all of the books have gone back eventually and I’ve just reread the question and realised it means not returning them in general and no I’ve definitely not done that.

12. Broke a book buying ban

Frequently. I have done a lot better with buying fewer books this year because I’m coming to terms with the fact that I just don’t have space so I’m trying to focus on reading the books that I already have.

13. Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about.

Not this year! It’s something I’ve done in the past but I try to get reviews written asap after that incident and I almost always take notes which helps.

14. Wrote in a book you were reading

I haven’t done this as quite often recently I’ve started passing on books but I do often use coloured tabs, some of which I write on instead.

15. Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads

Nope, I’m pretty up to date with my Goodreads, I’m a little addicted to it and I love watching my percentage and challenge goal go up.

16. Borrowed a book and not returned it to a friend

I realised while going through my shelves the other day that I do actually have a book borrowed from a friend that I’ve had for at least a year now, maybe more and I’m a little scared to give it back in case they’re mad at me for forgetting about it.

17. Dodged someone asking if they can borrow a book 

Yes and it actually caused a big argument but it was something I was getting signed and was pretty much irreplaceable so I stood by my decision but I still feel crap about it.

18. Broke the spine of someone else’s book

Never. I barely break my own.

19. Took the jacket off a book to protect it and ended up making it more damaged 

Not technically. Sometimes the covers get a little dirty but not really damaged.

20. Sat on a book accidentally 

Not this year!

Final Score: 7/20

Ooo, looks like I was fairly good this year! How did you do? Do you have any other bookish habits that others might consider “naughty?” I tend to leave creases on my paperback spines because I tend to read one-handed (usually eating or making dinner at the same time) but honestly that’s how you know if I really loved it!

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books You Want to Give as Gifts

Six for Sunday

One of my favourite things about Christmas is giving gifts. I even like the buying of said gifts, wracking my brain as I try to decide what gift suits those I’m buying for, I always want to make sure that some thought has gone into the gifts I give, this made picking six books I would give as gifts for this weeks prompt difficult without any particular recipient in mind so I’ve picked a few that I think would just be good gifts in general.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
This is one of the books I recommend to basically everyone. It’s a clever, brilliant read that to this day, years after having been released, blows my damn mind.

Sanctuary by V.V James
Another book I would recommend until I’m blue in the face. Another friend recommended it to me and it has been one of my best reads this year. It’s full twists, turns and mystery, a book that kept me on the very edge of my seat pretty much the whole way through. READ IT.

Sherlock Holmes and the Christmas Demon by James Lovegrove
This one is not one of my usual staples and I haven’t actually quite finished it yet, although I am very close! But this is such a Christmassy feeling book in its own weird way. It just feels like a book you would warm up with under blankets in front of a fireplace or in the light of your Christmas tree on Christmas eve, it’s nice and creep-tastic with that twisty, rustic Sherlock Holmes feel that Lovegrove has embodied fantastically. This is definitely a book I would buy for a few of my friends.

Invictus by Ryan Graudin
Considering buying this for my husband for Jolabokaflod this year even though I already own two copies, one of which is an ARC. It’s so very up his alley and I know he’ll love it but I just can’t get him to pick up a book right now so I figure Jolabokaflod is my only hope this year. It’s a great book so I’ll happily have another copy in my house!

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
This is another sitting by the fire all cosy to read kind of book. I think I’ve mentioned this book about once a week for the past couple of months and I PROMISE I will read the second in the new year, I swear. But seriously I loved the crap out of this first book and I think a lot of other people, including some of the people I know, would love this too. 

The Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
Let’s be honest I couldn’t not include this. The Illumine files books are my favourite books and I will do anything I can to get everyone else to read it so we can all excitedly talk about these damn books.

Are any of these books you’d like to receive? Are any of these books you’ve already gifted or are planning to gift? Are you buying many bookish gifts for others this year?

Must Be Monday, spoiler free, writing

Must be Monday – Inktober Week 2

unboxing (1)

So week two is now over and this feels like it was better than last week, maybe because I’m getting more into the swing of it now. Yesterday I even managed to only go two words over the fifty word limit in my initial write up before I had to edit which was a first! Friday’s post started out at seventy-three words so sometimes a great deal of editing is needed and it really helps me to think about what I’m trying to say with each piece. Here is last weeks Inktober 2019: Writer Edition round up!

Frail

Leaving her cane behind she made her way through the trees, leaves darkening, creeping near the end of their time in unison with her own. Their usual bench was empty now without her companion but as she sat and longed for their hand she knew they would be together soon. 

Swing


Cursing in elvish as his arrow misses another target Lucien throws his bow to the ground and draws his short swords, advancing on the TARGET before him but missing again. Growling with frustration he reaches behind him and pulls a sword through his long russet hair, leaving it considerably shorter. 

(Credit to Lissy Raine for her art of my precious boy Lucien – My main D&D character based on Lucien from ACOTAR.)

Pattern 

Elle picks at the ghastly green and silver threads resembling snowflakes and Christmas trees adorning the red woollen jumper while trying to ignore the itchy sensation she had been experiencing since putting the damned thing on. Her girlfriend beams proudly at her handiwork and Elles feels her cold heart melt.

Snow

I’m not going to make it in today,” Lara coughed down the phone, “I’ve come down with that bug that’s been going around. Yes, of course, forty-eight hours” Lara reassured the voice before hanging up the call. “All clear!” She yelled as a snowball hit her in the face. 

Dragon

As an ear-splitting roar filled the air I was surprised to find I was not afraid, although my hands shook and my fingers itched with anticipation. Despite my time at the monastery, I had never come across another of my kind. I held my breath as I stepped forward. 

Ash


As I floated back to consciousness the taste of ash filled my mouth as it always did, this time accompanied by a sick feeling in my gut.

“Good work, my son,” My father told me later that evening and I knew then that I must have done something truly terrible.

(This is a follow on to the Dragon prompt and is about another D&D character who shares their body with the soul of an ancient red dragon.)

Overgrown

_inktoberovergrown

Lucien wasn’t sure he’d recognise his home as he walked amongst the now ruins where he had grown up, but as he ran a hand across the charred and overgrown remains of what had once been the veranda overlooking the great gardens his mind was suddenly awash with old memories.

I’ve been playing and/or planning a fair bit for my different Dungeons and Dragons groups this week so a good few of these are about events that have happened or I imagine have or will happen to my characters which I’ve really enjoyed as D&D is pretty much my favourite past time.

I think my favourite this week was probably Dragon although overgrown is a close second. My least favourite was swing as I had to edit it quite heavily and it didn’t have quite the same feel to it once I had reduced it to fifty words.

Now,  onto another week!

 

 

#SixforSunday

S4S – Santa won’t you please bring me…?

As usual I hadn’t planned to do this weeks Six for Sunday post due to time, I’ve been under the weather this week and I’ve been pretty out of it BUT I’m feeling much better today and although it’s a bit late in the day, it turns out that in the end I just couldn’t resist joining in with this weeks prompt, “Santa won’t you bring me…?” I adore Christmas time (it’s my birthday so I’m probably a little bias) and I’m feeling super festive already so here we go!

An Aurora Rising, by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman Arc
If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time you probably already know about my love of The Illuminae Files by the same authors and every since I finished Obsidio and found out about their next collaboration featuring hot space elves I was so completely onboard. The AU ARCs appeared on my timeline last week and the UK publishers Rock the Boat announced that there’s would be printed soon too, I have my name down as an interested reviewer and now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be chosen to receive a review copy, I can dream, right? You never know!!

title-reveal-insta

Bookshelf help and a new bookshelf
This is a broad one. I’m at that point again already that I have too many books etc for my shelves, I don’t have a lot of space left but could probably fit one more bookshelf in and replace the old rickety one I had at my parent’s house who knows how many years ago.  I still need to get rid of some books and rearrange said content on said shelves though to make it a bit neater and feeling less stressed when I look at it. I guess I’m after a bookshelf fairy?

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A Kylo Ren/ Ben Solo prequel book
Ideally written by Claudia Gray, Delilah Dawson or Christie Golden? I know he’s not everyone’s favourite character and honestly, I hated him in The Force Awakens but with The Last Jedi, I’m left with needing to know more! He’s evolved into such an interesting character now and I think there’s probably more than enough content in his backstory to give us more insight into the mind of Ben Solo and the exact path and events that led him to become Kylo Ren. Maybe we’ll get it as a prequel or companion book before the last Star Wars film in this trilogy? I can hope!

MORE Star Wars books sooner…
Okay so I’m still in a huge Star Wars funk at the moment and I’m desperately awaiting the releases of Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray as well as Queens Shadow by Emily Kate Johnston, I absolutely cannot wait to read them and they’re not out until April and March next year respectively.

 

 

 

A Niffler plush
It’s just occurred to me recently that I really should have a Niffler Plushie, we’re fluffy, shiny collecting kindred spirits after all and it is pretty much my blog logo so I think it’s a given really. I’m in charge of the Christmas shopping this year so maybe I can just get myself one from the cat?

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New cardigans and long tops
Being out of any real work at the moment means that I’m fast wearing all of my clothes to death, especially my cardigans and long tops. At least once a week I spend about an hour before bed window shopping…usually on the EMP site, these are two of my favourites.