September TBR

So I thought I would start doing a monthly TBR as having a set list of books to read does help me read the books that I need to get through, many of which have sat on my self unread for far too long!

I will be back at university mid-way through September, which does mean my reading will slow down slightly, but if I have some targets I might manage to get through quite a few books each month!

As usual click on the cover and be taken to the goodreads page!

Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn

Mila 2.0 By Debra Driza

Concealed By Sang Kromah

Sister By Rosamund Lupton

Cracked: Why Psychiatry is Doing More Harm than Good By James Davies

Let me know if you have read any of these books, what did you think? Any that you think I should read first? Let me know. I really would appreciate your comments.

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Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013

Well, I went to the Edinburgh International Book Festival for the first time, and I am so glad I did. So I thought I would write a wee bit about it, and hope it will inspire others to inquire about going next year. Also I would love to hear from any one who went this year, or has been previously, and what your thoughts were. Would you go back? Who did you see? What did you like? What did you not like? Anything you would like to share. Please leave a comment 🙂

I was very interested this year when I noticed several mental health related talks as I am a psychology student with an overriding interest in mental health. So after narrowing down to four events I booked my tickets and excitedly waited for the dates to come round. The events I booked were:

  • John Killick – Positive Approaches to Dementia
  • Blueprint Debate – Mental Health
  • Susan Greenfield – Do we need imagination in order to remember?
  • Darian Leader – Is this the bipolar age?

There were a lot of events I would have loved to have went to but at £8 per student ticket it was a bit pricy to go to all the events I wanted to, never mind several were already sold out when I ordered my tickets! So tip one – if there is something you really want to see, order the ticket as soon as they are available.

I really enjoyed the events I went to because they allowed me to think from different view points, and each event has a book that the speaker has written that goes with the talk. This means if you really enjoy the talk you will want to buy the book to find out more! However one thing that I found was that the talks did not necessarily look at what was advertised. For example,  Susan Greenfields talk entitled ‘Do we need imagination in order to remember?’ didn’t really focus on imagination, which for me was slightly disappointing. The Blueprint Debate on mental health didn’t feel like a debate to me which was disappointing. I like to hear two very opposing sides and learn the credits of each point of view. This felt more like ‘we agree on most things’ and now the issue is ‘where do we go from here?’. This is an interesting question and is an important question. However, I thoroughly enjoyed all events and found the chair people, especially Ruth Wishart, were excellent.

The festival is held in Charlotte Square and has a garden in the middle where you can relax and read. There is coffee, there is two book shops, selling the books featured in the festival along with others. There is signings and a general feeling of book appreciation.

I loved it.

For children there are many events, and it was so nice to see children who love books running around. I was chatting to several people, everyone feels like they are part of a community due to their shared interest in books. However, not having children I do not know much about the Children’s shows at the festival but check out the official website to find out more. I would suggest this as a fabulous day out for all ages during the summer. Something to put in your diary and investigate for next years summer holidays!

My advice:

  • Get a copy of the program when it comes out, or look at the program online and make not of all the events you are interested in, including their times, dates, and prices.
  • Narrow down what you want to see and try and get a few events on the same day, if you are traveling to Edinburgh. You may also want to look at what is on at the Fringe festival and find some other events to go to.
  • Make sure you book tickets as soon as they are available – many events sell out quickly and you cannot guarantee to get returns on the day of the event (as my boyfriend found out when the woman in front of him got the last ticket for an event)
  • Take some lunch with you if you are on your budget. There is drinking taps, so bring a water bottle with you.
  • If you are on a budget and want some books signed, buy the books before you go, even read them so you can ask some good questions! If you don’t manage to get a book before, buy it in the shop at the festival before the event if there is a signing, as often they will sell out during the signing.
  • Take note of what authors are signing on the days you are going, even if you aren’t going to their events, as you can still get your book signed!
  • There is many good book shops in Edinburgh so visiting some of these may save some money compared to the festival book shop – all books are at their R.R.P.
  • IMPORTANT: They are very strict about getting to the event before it starts, if you are even one minute late you will not get in. People begin queuing approximately 30mins before the event starts, so if you are wanting a ‘good’ seat get there quickly. Although most seats are ‘good’.
  • There is provisions for those with needs, such as reserved seating for those with mobility issues. Some events have a sign language interpreter. So have a look on the official website about information about this.

Any other advice? Let me know in the comments section. What I might do – if I remember – is put a combined list of advice, both mine and any of your advice, nearer the event time next year. Think that could be a plan.

I loved the festival, and will definitely be going back next year!

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest By Ken Kesey

Title: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Author: Ken Kesey

Publisher: Penguin

First Published: 1962

Blurb:

Tyrannical Nurse Ratched rules her ward in an Oregon State mental hospital with a strict and unbending routine, unopposed by her patients, who remain cowed by mind-numbing medication and the threat of electric shock therapy. But her regime is disrupted by the arrival of McMurphy – the swaggering, fun-loving trickster with a devilish grin who resolves to oppose her rules on behalf of his fellow inmates. His struggle is seen through the eyes of Chief Bromden, a seemingly mute half-Indian patient who understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the powers that keep them imprisoned. (From Goodreads, 21st August 2013)

Review:

‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ is the first modern classic I have read in the last two years, and I wish I had picked it up earlier! I had seen the film with Jack Nicholson a few times before I picked the book up, and like many book lovers I felt the book was much better – though the film is still fantastic!

As you can tell from the blurb, this is a novel set in a psychiatric hospital in America. We see the arrival of R. P. McMurphy onto the ward and the destruction he brings to Nurse Ratched’s ward. Nurse Ratched has control, she has always had control. She controls the patients, the staff, the doctors, everything. McMurphy however fights against her regime. Narrated by the Chief, a long-term, half-indian patient, we see the changes McMurphy brings to the ward, and the twisted response of Nurse Ratchet. I found that the novel presented Nurse Ratched in a more sinister way than the film, and felt a real hate for her whilst also recognising the patients fear.

This is a novel where the narration is fantastic. We see a troubled mind and the way the Chief see’s the world, the fog that controls time on the ward is fantastic imagery and way to present the heavy sedating drugs. There is humor, there is fear, there is power play, there is tragedy,  there is imagery, there is everything. This is a novel where I copied down so many quotes, where I just fell in love with the writing style, and a novel that I will read again and find new aspects, and new view points.

A novel that everyone should read. A novel I wish I studied at school. A novel that I will read again and again and again. A novel which I can’t give a proper review of because there is so many things to talk about, so much to take account of, and just so much packed into the pages.

Go out and buy this book if you have not got it. If you have, read it now. If you have read it before, read it again.

5 out of 5

Adorkable By Sarra Manning

Title: Adorkable

Author: Sarra Manning

Publisher: Atom

First Published: 24th May 2012

Blurb:

Welcome to the dorkside. It’s going to be a bumpy ride…

Jeane Smith’s a blogger, a dreamer, a dare-to-dreamer, a jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand and has half a million followers on twitter.

Michael Lee’s a star of school, stage and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie.

They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can’t they stop snogging? (From Goodreads, 21st August 2013)

Review:

Adorkable is a cute book that does exactly what it says. It is about two people from different social scenes who begin to a lustful relationship which neither can explain.

A novel told from both Jeane’s and Michael’s point of view which allows us to get into the minds of both teenagers. Michael is on his way to success, the picture perfect family and perfect grades. Jeane stands out from the crowd but because of her individuality she has managed to become a success. Jeane blogs and tweets, and millions follow her. She talks at conferences. She writes for newspapers, for magazines. She is a success, yet Michael finds it hard to see past her eccentric fashion sense. But when their boyfriend and girlfriend are cheating a connection appears. This is a simple novel that will take you through a relationship that grows despite the characters many differences. We see both characters deal with issues and grow within themselves.

This is a novel that is worth a read when you would something light, quirky and fun. This is a cute book which was excellent when I needed something that didn’t take too much concentrating to follow. One for teenage girls who want a slightly quirky romance.I would say those who enjoyed The Future of Us By Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler will enjoy Adorkable.

3.5 out of 5

In My Mailbox 13

Well I was supposed to be on a book buying ban! But please note all these books were bought on sale and with vouchers, so this did not break my book buying ban, but was aided with the lenient rules that I used. As always click on the book cover to get to the Goodreads page for the novel.

The Bone Dragon By Alexia Casale

Hurry Up and Wait By Isabel Ashdown

Daughter of Smoke and Bone By Laini Taylor

Divergent By Veronica Roth

Forbidden Friends By Anne-Marie Conway

The Grimm Legacy By Polly Shulman

The Eternity Cure By Julie Kagawa

The Sacrificial Man By Ruth Dugdall

A Novel Death By Judi Culbertson

Alison Wonderland By Helen Smith

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairy Land in a Ship of Her Own Making By Catherynne M. Valente

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairy Land and Led the Revels There By Catherynne M. Valente

All the above were from Amazon.co.uk and were all either in the Kindle Summer Sale or on one of their Kindle Daily Deals. The next books were from The Works and bought with a voucher, except one which my mum got me after being completely frustrated at me spending so much time in The Works.

Fated By Benedict Jacka

The Iron Legends By Julie Kagawa

The Lost Prince By Julie Kagawa

Crescendo By Becca Fitzpatrick

The Dark and Hollow Place By Carrie Ryan

Grave Minder By Melissa Marr

Devoured By D.E. Meredith

And one other book which I bought at the Edinburgh International Book Festival and managed to get it signed. And that is…

Let me know what you think of this haul/in my mailbox, and let me know if there is any books that you would like me to review sooner rather than later! I really like receiving comments so please do 🙂

Never Coming Back By Tim Weaver

Title: Never Coming Back

Author: Tim Weaver

Publisher: Penguin Books

Published: 29th August 2013

Blurb:

A SECRET THAT WILL CHANGE LIVES FOREVER

It was supposed to be the start of a big night out. But when Emily Kane arrives at her sister Carrie’s house, she finds the front door unlocked and no one inside. Dinner’s cooking, the TV’s on. Carrie, her husband and their two daughters are gone.

When the police draw a blank, Emily asks missing persons investigator David Raker to find them. It’s clear someone doesn’t want the family found.

But as he gets closer to the truth, Raker begins to uncover evidence of a sinister cover-up, spanning decades and costing countless lives. And worse, in trying to find Emily’s missing family, he might just have made himself the next target … (From Goodreads, 20th August 2013)

Review:

When I read the blurb of this novel I was very excited. I thought this is the sort of novel that I will enjoy. However, when I started I was slightly confused, the crime scene presented within the first few chapters did not match the blurb I had read which lead me to be slightly confused. But soon things begin to come together and the mystery of the family that went missing comes into focus.

The first half of the book confused me slightly due to the shifting of narrators, but once you get used to this you begin to enjoy the different points of view and stories taking place. However, in the second half of the book the narrator is David Raker alone, which lead me to being slightly confused about the actual reasoning for the switching narration in the first half.

Despite these issues I had at the beginning I loved this book! I loved the mystery, and it wasn’t a ‘who’s done it’ style of novel which can become slightly ‘samey’ once you have read a few. No, ‘Never Coming Back’ is a novel which builds up the layers as you go through the book. We learn more about the lives of all the characters and the entanglements they have to one another. Why has Emily’s family gone missing? Why is there a trail of bodies that do not connect? What do all these people know that has resulted in their deaths?

I loved this mystery, though I was slightly disappointed in the reasoning behind all the murders and why Emily’s family were taken. But I must admit that this is the first murder mystery I have read that came to this conclusion, which for me made it unique. But I must confess I haven’t read that many books of this genre despite my enjoyment of them.

I have never read any of Tim Weavers novels and thus this was my first David Raker novel. But through glimpses of what had happened, or what I assumed happened in Tim Weavers previous David Raker novel ‘Vanished’ it has made me add Tim Weavers previous novels to my wish list. This is a author that I have already recommended to my friends and family.

Despite the slightly negative comments I had at the beginning I still loved this novel and found that once I got a few chapters in I did not want to put the novel down! The small chapters made it even harder to put the novel down, and I found myself finishing the novel at 2am after getting engrossed when I picked it up from the half way point.

4 out of 5

Witch Light By Susan Fletcher

Title: Witch Light

Author: Susan Fletcher

Publisher: Fourth Estate

First Published: 1st January 2010

Blurb:

The Massacre of Glencoe happened at 5am on 13th February 1692 when thirty-eight members of the Macdonald clan were killed by soldiers who had enjoyed the clan’s hospitality for the previous ten days. Many more died from exposure in the mountains. Fifty miles to the south Corrag is condemned for her involvement in the Massacre. She is imprisoned, accused of witchcraft and murder, and awaits her death. The era of witch-hunts is coming to an end – but Charles Leslie, an Irish propagandist and Jacobite, hears of the Massacre and, keen to publicise it, comes to the tollbooth to question her on the events of that night, and the weeks preceding it. Leslie seeks any information that will condemn the Protestant King William, rumoured to be involved in the massacre, and reinstate the Catholic James. Corrag agrees to talk to him so that the truth may be known about her involvement, and so that she may be less alone, in her final days. As she tells her story, Leslie questions his own beliefs and purpose – and a friendship develops between them that alters both their lives. In Corrag, Susan Fletcher tells us the story of an epic historic event, of the difference a single heart can make – and how deep and lasting relationships that can come from the most unlikely places. (From Goodreads, 16th August 2013)

Review:

As you can gather from the above blurb this is a historical novel based in Scotland. ‘Witch Light’ is a fictional novel based on possible factual occurrences.

Corrag is a free-spirit, but in the 17th century a free-spirit means ‘witch’. Sentenced to death for witchcraft, Corrag is held in the tollbooth until the snow thaws to allow for her burning. During this time Charles Leslie began to question Corrag to find out exactly what went on at Glencoe in an effort to remove King William from the throne, whom apparently ordered the Massacre.

The novel is written from Corrags point of view, but to tell Charles Leslie about the Massacre she first talks about her life. Susan Fletcher writes Corrag’s story with a lyrical prose, which initially can be difficult to follow but soon becomes beautifully descriptive and entrancing. We also hear from Charles Leslie through the letters he writes to his wife, his take on what Corrag has told him, and his desperation to learn about the Glencoe Massacre to aid his cause.

Although I knew little of the Glencoe Massacre I feel I have learnt a substantial amount about this period of time through this novel, and from reading some of the notes at the end of the novel, it appears that Susan Fletcher highly researched the Massacre before writing this book.

‘Witch Light’ is not a novel with lots of action, but is a journey through a woman’s life and why she is now sentenced to death. This is a novel for those who like language, beauty and the wish to understand those whom differ from the norm.

4 out of 5.


Bit Behind on Everything

Bit behind on lots of things just now, but just finished ‘Witch Light’ By Susan Fletcher, and will be writing my review for this soon. I also plan to get some reading done over the weekend as I am off work. So think I will pick up a Young Adult novel which should be quick and easy to get through as Witch Light was quite a heavy novel.

I also managed to get a Amazon.co.uk voucher by completing surveys, which allowed me to purchase some more Kindle books in their summer sale! Makes me very happy! So even though I have been on a book buying ban, I was allowed to buy books if I had a voucher! (My way of easing the pain of the ban lol!)

I have just been a bit of a failure of a blogger recently, but life happens every so often! And hopefully this coming week will see several new posts for you viewing pleasure! 🙂