Monday, 8 October 2012

Amsterdam Book Shops

So I'm back from another brilliant week in Amsterdam (and back blogging a little month later than planned...). We went to see Sigur Ros for ESP's 30th Birthday present (I'm a lovely fiancĂ©e!) and of course I hunted out the book shops!

American Book Centre

Now I went to this shop last year, but couldn't seem to find it this year, so apologies I am reusing old photos...but that is because it was amazing.


I honestly couldn't stop staring up at the ceiling! It was amazing to see that many books. As it was the american book centre it was all american imports so some lovely new covers I'd never seen before. Unfortunately they were a lot more expensive, and yet again Mike pulled me away before I could spend our entire budget on books...


Every where has a Waterstones now and Amsterdam is no exception  It stocked books written in English, but not all were English which was nice!

When I went a-wandering around the Young Adult Section (where else was I going to look!) I found some books written by a German author, and later the series is written by Astrid Lindgren. I read this entire series as well as other books by Astrid when I was a child and it was fantastic to see them being sold in a book shop rather than in Chartiy shops or online.

I also found some English books...including our own Keris Stainton's books!

I was very impressed to see them there and I couldve brought loads back if I wasn't worried about my handluggage weight!

We also found this awesome poster:

and our response is written nicely there:

Unfortunately there just wasn't enough time to try and see more of them,Waterstones was by pure chance and we almost walked past it! I did pass plenty of Dutch book shops while we were on Trams, it was just a shame not to be able to visit any!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

My Holiday

So as I mentioned on Monday I am currently in Amsterdam for a concert for my Fiancee's birthday. I will be back this coming Monday with many more reviews and some interesting posts about my trip in Amsterdam.

I will be trying to visit some Amsterdam book shops and their local Library which I have seen pictures of!

Hopefully, I will also be going to visit Anne Frank's house. By the time this post goes up I will have finished reading the book, currently about 4 months away from the end, and I am really interested to see it now.

Obviously I am taking books with my on holiday so I thought I would share them, as some of them are very new to me!

In the Darkness - Nick Lake

Raimy handed me this one in January and unfortunately it fell and hid behind lots of other things on my shelves, but its coming out now. Re-reading the blurb it has really made me excited and I have great hopes!

Marcello in the Real World

This is another one I picked up a while ago. Sounds right up my street, and seems to follow similar stories of Wonder and The Curious Incident with the Dog in the Night-time, both of which I believed were amazing (if you haven't read, I fully advise!!)

The Secret Dinner Club

Canvas books recently sent me this book for a review, and I'm really interested to see how it works. It's not out till December, but I'm pretty sure if I love it, you will all hear about it way before then!

666 Park Avenue; The Dark Glamour

Recently I finished and reviewed 666 Park Avenue...any one who has finished the book, knows it was left on a good lead up to the next one in the series. So, another thank you to Canvas books for letting me grab a hold of this. I'll be glad for this one if I get a chance to read!

As I said earlier as well The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank will be going with me too, but hopefully I will finish that before I actually leave (I managed to read around 5 before we actually left for the flight last year...woops!)

If anyone has read any of these books, let me know, I'd love to hear other people's opinions!

Have a lovely week everyone!



Monday, 27 August 2012

Guest Post...

So while I'm enjoying my holiday away right now (Good Ol' Amsterdam!)....I'm actually guest blogging at Book Angel Booktopia for the Classics Carnival!

Go check out my post, and the rest of posts this month Emma has done as they are amazing!

And I'll be back later this week with lots to talk about :)



Monday, 20 August 2012

The C-Word - Lisa Lynch

Carrie Bradshaw fell in Dior, I fell in Debenhams. It was May 2008, and it was spectacular. Uncomfortable heels + slippy floor + head turned by a cocktail dress = thwack. Arms stretched overhead, teeth cracking on floor tiles, chest and knees breaking the fall. It was theatrical, exaggerated, a perfect 6.0. And it was Significant Moment #1 in discovering that I had grade-three breast cancer.' 

The last thing Lisa Lynch had expected to put on her 'things to do before you're 30' list was beating breast cancer, but them's the breaks. So with her life on hold, and her mind close to capacity with unspoken fears, questions and emotions, she turned to her Mac and started blogging about the frustrating, life-altering, sheer pain-in-the-arse inconvenience of getting breast cancer at the age of 28. The C-Word is an unflinchingly honest and darkly humorous account of Lisa's battle with The Bullshit, as she came to call it.


I first heard about this book through Keris, ages and ages sounded amazing, was put on my amazon wishlist and then the world took over until last Christmas when my sister gave me it. First of all it is amazing...Lisa Lynch is amazing, and very brave to write this hole hearted account on the (very few) goods and (very very) bads of dealing with Cancer when you believe your entire life is still ahead of you. 

 I do feel it shows what dealing with this can be like from an honest perspective...She delves into the horrible accounts of her first Chemo session and how she battled through it. She showed an ability to go "So what...the world must go on and we have to kick it". I am struggling for the words to describe her attitude at the moment, but it was greatly uplifting. One of my favourite insights into her life is after she was diagnosed she screamed at her parents to be normal and stop treating her like she was ill...from this point on I vowed if I was ever in the same situation that would be the way to handle it.

There is not much more I can say, and I wish there was so much more, apart from the fact that this is definitely worth a read. 

Friday, 17 August 2012

Forbidden - Tabitha Suzuma

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

I know not everyone has read, or even wants to read this book due to the subject matter. I, personally, have no problem with books regarding dark topics like incest as long as they are done tastefully and not done purley for the shock factor. I have also read a LOT of Virginia Andrews, which if you are not aware, she/he writes a whole lot about incest and parents leaving and being abusive (Yes...I like depressing books...). So on that basis I did enjoy this book but am aware it is not everyone's cup of tea!

The first thing that struck me about this book was that it was based in London! I read far too many books that are set in America or that they aren't specified where in the UK it is supposed to be based, so it was nice to see that. It also meant that the ages in my head matched up when I thought about what years in school and employment laws were.  

At first I felt Lochan was a little bit wimpy, but then as the story went on, you grow to love him and appreciate that he may come across that way but he is dealing with a lot! Maya was the complete opposite and seemed very mature for her age, especially dealing with all the family issues they had.

I know you are meant to dislike their mother, but I hated her. I hated the fact she left them and didn't care about them, I hated the fact that her new boyfriend didn't seem to care either that she had 4 children at home or anything and just kept whisking her away. 

The only thing I didn't like about this story was the way that one minute Maya and Lochan were happy with what they were doing, then the next minute they decided it was wrong, then they were happy, then worried, and after a while I began to stop caring whether they were together or not as it would change by the end of the next chapter. I found the chapters a bit too short as well, so as it was a split personality, it began a bit disjointed. Also there is sex in this book...well if its a book about incest you kind of expect it, but just in case I thought I would warn people..but it isn't graphic or cheesy. it is probably the right amount without it being too bad for a young adult. 

However that all changed by the ending, as the last few chapters was brilliantly written and showed a great response to what had happened through the book. Though I still still hate the mother...and I think that will be the lasting impression I get from this book...

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Sworn Secret - Amanda Jennings

When Anna, Lizzie Thorne's charismatic sister, is killed in a tragic fall from the roof of her school, her family is plunged into shock and despair. 

One year on and grief still has a suffocating hold on them. Her mother, Kate, consumed by loss and desperate to find someone to blame for Anna's death, retreats from her family, locking herself away to paint Anna's portrait for hours on end. Jon, her father, is doing his best to care for his loved ones but the pressure of trying to stop his marriage collapsing is pushing him to breaking point. And amid her parents' turmoil Lizzie just wants to grow up and leave her sister's ghost in the past. 

But then a devastating revelation rocks her parents further still and raises questions concerning what really happened the night Anna died. While Kate and Jon grapple with their dead daughter's secrets, Lizzie throws herself into a passionate but forbidden love affair that frees her from the heartache all around her - but also threatens to tear her family apart.


When I was asked if I wanted to review this book, I instantly took it as a murder mystery style story something like Linwood Barclay. What I got was an indepth look into a family attempting to grieve in different ways with a sub plot regarding the killer and how this kept affecting the family...and I was not disappointed!!

Lizzie still feels in her sisters shadow, even a year after her death. Her mother is hiding in her study painting her daughter repeatedly and her dad is trying to keep everything together even though he is constantly pushed away. At the one year memorial of Anna's death, her best friend approaches Kate, Lizzie's mother, with information regarding her daughters death and the small bit of order in the families world collapses. 

It was amazing to see the perspectives of each family member, and seeing their reactions and their reasoning behind their actions. I couldn't put down this book and just kept reading away as the story began to unfold. Amanda Jennings has really found a way to get into the heads of each of her characters and make them feel real, and that the grief is real. 

The two main things within the book are seeing the family go through the ordeal, and then finding out what actually happened to Anna...looking back on the book now that story ended up being a bit disappointing as there was no end all decision, however I have literally just realised that while typing this out! The story that is there kept me interested and wasn't too over the top to seem unbelievable. The balance of these two story lines is perfectly orchestrated as there was only enough of one to keep the other story going and vice versa, so whether you were looking for a family based story or a suspicious murder then either way this book should interest you. 

This is not a book for really young adults...but older teens should enjoy it. But there are certain things discussed which I don't feel would be appropriate for young teens. Baring that...go read and enjoy!!

Sworn Secret is published today by Canvas Publishing. I received my copy in return for a honest review. 

Monday, 13 August 2012

Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that's not safe. Because there's something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. This extraordinary first novel has captured the imaginations of teenagers and adults across the country


This is the second Laurie Halse Anderson book I've read now, and I have to applaud her on her ability to tackle the hard issues and not shy away from other things books may not want to talk about, i.e. Depression, eating disorders, rape and other things that are unfortunately in some Teens lives.

Melinda is starting her first day of high school, and non of her friends are talking to her. As the book unfolds you find out more and more why her friends arn't talking to her and what occured over the summer to make this happen.  Melinda also doesn't speak much through the novel, you read everything from her perspective and she very rarely says anything. 

If I'm honest...I worked out what happened pretty pretty quickly and did feel it was a little drawn out to the "big reveal" of what happened. But the way Anderson writes from the mind of a teenager couldnt help but draw me in to her life and her story. Many teenagers would relate to how Melinda feels being an outcast and all the small things running through her head, I have to say, have run through my head at least once point in my life. At the start she begins to worry what sort of bag do you bring your lunch in on the first day to dealing with avoiding ex-friends. 

You begin to really feel for Melinda, and as the book unfolds you can see where her heart lies and that she is not speaking as she feels no-one really cares what she has to say regarding the event or they don't believe her. 
It's easier not to say anything. Shut your trap, button your lip, can it. All that crap you hear on TV about communication and expressing feelings is a lie. Nobody really wants to hear what you have to say.
I advise this book for a lot of different people, there are some scenes which may affect different people so be careful... Apologies for the really bad pun but there is no other way to put it but the book really spoke to me on different levels!