Category: BookTube

Unboxing | Books & Charms March Box


This months box is probably my favourite so far. I can’t wait to try out the bath salts and have a relaxing cup of tea with my book after.

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Books and Charms March Box

The Heather Blazing by Colm Toibin

The Heather Blazing

The sea is slowly eating into the land and the hill with the old watchtower has completely disappeared. The nearest house has crumbled and fallen into the sea. It is Ireland in the late twentieth century. Eamon Redmond is a judge in the Irish High Court. Obsessed all his life by the letter and spirit of the law, he is just beginning to discover how painfully unconnected he is from other human beings. With effortless fluency, Colm Toibin reconstructs the history of Eamon’s relationships – with his father, his first “girl, ” his wife, and the children who barely know him. He gives us a family as minutely realized as any of John McGahern’s, and he writes about Eamon’s affection for the landscape of his childhood on the east coast of Ireland with such skill that the land itself becomes a character. The result is a novel that ensnares us with its emotional intensity and dazzles with its crystalline prose. In The Heather Blazing, Colm Toibin displays once again the gifts that illuminated The South, a book described by Don DeLillo as “a grand achievement, ” and by John Banville as “a daring imaginative feat…a splendid first novel.”

The Muse by Jessie Burton

The Muse

A picture hides a thousand words . . .

On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.

The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences . . .

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Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads. Photos from my Instagram @elainehowlin_

Books & Charms Unboxing | February 2019

Books & Charms

2 pre-loved books tailored to your favourite genres

A beverage or snack to enjoy alongside your new books

2-3 other bookish gifts to help you unwind and relax with alongside your new books

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Week One of Vlogmas

Well, the first week of vlogmas and blogmas is done. I’m amazed I’ve managed to keep up with videos so far. Fingers crossed for the next two weeks ๐Ÿคžย This week I posted my December TBR, November Wrap Up, Cloak and Dagger Christmas TBR, The Nightmare Before Christmas tag, Decorating my Christmas Tree, and 2018 Travel Diary.

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There’s still time to avail of Amazon’s Audible offer until December 14th.ย  Join Audible for ยฃ3.99/month for the first four months instead of the usual ยฃ7.99/month.

I think this is such an amazing offer!ย Check it out here.

Audible Black Friday 2018 Offer

With your Audible membership, you get a monthly credit that can be used to get any audiobook no matter what length or price AND you get to keep the bookย for lifeย even if you cancel your membership.

November Wrap Up

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Do You Want to Start a Scandal (Spindle Cove, #5)Racing Hearts Box Set 1: First HeatSpinning SilverA Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1)Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1)Endless Knight (The Arcana Chronicles, #2)Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles, #3)Image result for chimes at midnight audiobookThe Winter Long (October Daye, #8)Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War IA Christmas CarolOnce Upon a Christmas Eve (Maiden Lane, #12.6)The Bite Before Christmas

I mentioned in my November TBR that I wanted to read more fantasy this month and I definitely managed it. I barely read anything else! I read Poison Princess for the group read in My Vampire Book Obsession and got totally sucked into the world and devoured the next two books as well. I’m trying to pace myself now and wait till closer to the release of the final book in the series next year.

Nonfiction November was happening this month too but I didn’t manage to read anything for it. I very much enjoyed my little fantasy binge though.

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Audiobooks

Image result for Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa DareDo You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†

Historical Romance

Very enjoyable historical romance with a mystery thrown in for good measure. The story follows Charlotte (who has crossed over from Dare’s Spindle Cove series to Castles Ever After) who attempts to warn Piers (who has crossed over from Dare’s Castles Ever After series to Spindle Cove) of her mother’s scheming ways but instead they end up entangled in a scandal and a mystery.

 

Image result for a night to surrender by Tessa DareA Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†

Historical Romance

This is the first book in Dare’s Spindle Cove series and it’s a bit lacking. It’s not as well written as her later books but works fine as an intro. The story follows Susanna who essentially runs a safe haven for women who are sick of society or don’t blend well into it and Victor who finds himself saddled with a position in the area.

 

Image result for spinning silverSpinning Silver by Naomi Novik โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†

Fantasy

I had super high expectations for this one that it didn’t quite meet but it was still a very good book. It’s a retelling of the Rumplestiltskin tale but with a lot more going on. My main issue with this was the number of points of view. There were a few occasions where I wasn’t sure who was speaking and it took me out of the story for a bit while I figured it out. The story closely follows Miryem who is a money lenders daughter that gains a reputation of being able to turn silver into gold which attracts the attention of this fairy being and Irina who’s father is scheming to marry her off to a tsar who isn’t quite what he seems.

 

Image result for chimes at midnight seanan mcguireChimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…

Urban Fantasy

This is the 7th book in McGuire’s October Daye series and it was fantastic! This book follows Toby trying to deal with the goblin fruit problem when she receives a serious amount of backlash from the Queen of the Mists. One of my favourite things in this book is the mystical library they visit to do research. Magical libraries are the best!

The Winter Long (October Daye, #8)The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…

Urban Fantasy

Fantastic again! This book picks up some plot points from the first book and expands on them. I can’t really mention what happens in it without spoiling so much of the series but it’s great!

The Bite Before ChristmasThe Bite Before Christmas by Lynsay Sands โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†

Paranormal Romance, Short Story

I actually only read the first story The Gift by Lynsay Sands from this because the story from Jeaniene Frost that’s included is ahead of where I am in the Night Huntress series. The Gift is a sweet fluffy kind of story following vampire Katricia and chief of police Teddy. They both get snowed in over Christmas while staying in a mountain cabin.

Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War ILast Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…

Historical Fiction

This was fabulous. It’s an epistolary novel consisting of letters and telegrams between friends and lovers during World War 1. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and made me shed a few tears at the end. I just loved it. The story focuses mainly on the romance between Evie and Thomas. Thomas has gone off to fight while Evie stays home and writes a column about the war from a woman’s perspective.

Once Upon a Christmas Eve (Maiden Lane, #12.6)Once Upon a Christmas by Elizabeth Hoyt โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†

Historical Romance, Short Story

This is another fun fluffy read for Christmas. Adam Rutledge is travelling with Grandmother to the country for Christmas when their carriage breaks down and they are stranded in the snow. They take refuge in Sarah St. John’s home while they have several guests visiting for the holidays.

A Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†

Classic

You must know this story!! It’s a pleasant read but one I’m so familiar with I can’t say that it stirred anything in me… It’s just a nice story to read.

 

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eBooks

Image result for racing hearts first heatRacing Hearts: First Heat by Ruth Gowan โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†

Contemporary Romance

I received a copy of this collection in exchange for a review. Each one centres on a different couple in the world of rally racing. The stories were good but the writing was lacking especially in the first book.

 

Image result for poison princessPoison Princess by Kresley Cole โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†

Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia

I LOVE Kresley Cole but I had been putting off reading her YA series cause I just couldn’t see her writing YA. Her books are very mature normally but she really makes it work here. We do get her usual alpha male stuff but I’m totally fine that ๐Ÿ™‚ Poison Princess is the first book in The Arcana Chronicles which is about a group of teenagers that each represents a card from the major arcana in tarot in a battle to the death after an apocalyptic event. With this book, we follow mainly Evie and Jack in the days before the flash and 6 months later when the world is completely different and Evie discoveries she has strange powers.

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via Wattpad

 

Image result for endless knightEndless Knight by Kresley Cole โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…

Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia

Book 2 in Cole’s Arcana Chronicles picks up immediately after Poison Princess and we get a lot of world expansion in this one especially with the other Arcana characters. We learn a lot about Death in particular. There’s a definite love triangle in the series from this point but it isn’t annoying.

 

Image result for dead of winter kresley coleDead of Winter by Kresley Cole โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…

Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia

Book 3 in the Arcana Chronicles and the love triangle gets annoying but I still loved this book. I really got invested in the characters and oh my god the cliffhanger at the end of this!!! I’m trying to pace myself with the books from here though or I will go insane waiting for the final book to be published.

 

Image result for red queenRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†

Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia

Red Queen is the first book in Aveyard’s Red Queen series. It’s YA dystopia about a future earth where certain humans have developed silver blood and powerful abilities. Regular red-blooded humans still exist but they are subservient to the silvers. We follow Mare, a red, who discovers she has an ability and is taken by the silver king to conceal her true identity from the people. She finds herself caught up in a world of political intrigue on the cusp of a red rebellion.

I enjoyed this way more than I expected to as well. This always happens me with YA I have got to stop saying I’m not a fan of it cause I almost always end of enjoying the books!

Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†

Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia

This book picks up directly after Red Queen. I was a bit disappointed with this one. I found it be even more predictable than the previous book and it felt like mostly filler. In this one Mare discovers how far reaching the Red Guard actually is and she looks for more people like her to join the fight.

 

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What did you read this month? Did you take part in Nonfiction November?

 

Cloak & Dagger Christmas Readathon TBR

Cloak and Dagger Christmas is a mystery genre readathon hosted by Kate Howe,ย Carolyn’s Reading Ramblings, The Novel Nomad, andย Mel’s Bookland Adventures.

The books don’t have to Christmasy but they do need to be mystery. I don’t really read a lot of mystery but I really liked the sound of this readathon. I’m due to receive Cocaine Blues (the first book in Karen Greenwoods Phryne Fisher series) from the library this month which I reserved in October so I might as well join in. There are four prompts for the readathon but they’re not to be taken as tasks and can be interpreted however you like.

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-Prompts-

Prompts can be interpreted any way you like

๐Ÿ—กย Sugar and Spice

For this prompt, I’m thinking a cosy mystery would suit. Since I’ve been patiently waiting on Miss Fisher I’ll read Cocaine Blues for this one. I think Phryne is a bit of a spicy character as well.

Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher, #1)Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher #1) by Karen Greenwood

The London season is in full fling at the end of the 1920s, but the Honorable Phryne Fisherโ€”she of the gray-green eyes and diamant gartersโ€”is tiring of polite conversations with retired colonels and dances with weak-chinned men. When the opportunity presents itself, Phryne decides it might be amusing to try her hand at becoming a lady detective in Australia. Immediately upon settling into Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor, Phryne finds herself embroiled in mystery. From poisoned wives and cocaine smuggling, to police corruption and rampant communismโ€”not to mention erotic encounters with the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisseโ€”Cocaine Blues charts a crescendo of steamy intrigue, culminating in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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๐Ÿ—กย Summer and Winter

For this one, I’m thinking of reading Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris because it’s set in a hot place and it’s winter while I read it… I’m taking this prompt a bit loosely but feck it, it works for me. This will actually be a reread for me but it’s been about 10 years since I read it the first time so I don’t remember much.

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out….

Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn’t such a bright idea.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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๐Ÿ—กย Old and New

With old and new I’m thinking a paranormal mystery with an old ass vampire and a modern PI should work nicely.

Blood Trail (Victoria Nelson, #2)Blood Trail (Vicki Nelson #2) by Tanya Huff

For centuries, the werewolves of Toronto have managed to live in peace and tranquility, hidden quietly away on their London, Ontario farm. But now, someone has learned their secretโ€”and is systematically massacring this ancient race.

The only one they can turn to is Henry Fitzroy, Toronto-based vampire and writer of bodice rippers. Forced to hide from the light of day, Henry canโ€™t hunt the killer alone, so he turns to Vicki Nelson for help. As they race against time to stop the murderer, they begin to fear that their combined talents may not be enough to prevent him from completing his deadly plan.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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๐Ÿ—กย Home and Travel

Home for me is Ireland and mystery set in Ireland tends to border a bit too closely to modern crime fiction which I’m not really in to (though I have heard great things about Tana French’s books). So I had to hunt down something for this and I found a cosy mystery series set in the 1900s about an Irish woman who travels to New York. Perfect ๐Ÿ™‚

Murphy's Law (Molly Murphy Book 1)Murphy’s Law (Murphy’s Law #1) by Rhys Bowen

Meet Molly Murphy, a resourceful young woman who lives by her own set of laws…

Molly Murphy always knew she’d end up in trouble, just as her mother had predicted. So when she commits murder in self-defence, she flees her cherished Ireland for the anonymous shores of America. When she arrives in New York and sees the welcoming promise of freedom in the Statue of Liberty, Molly begins to breathe a little easier. But when a man is murdered on Ellis Island, a man Molly was seen arguing with, she becomes a prime suspect in the crime.

If she can’t clear her name, Molly will be sent back to Ireland where the gallows await, so using her Irish charm and sharp wit, she escapes Ellis Island and sets out to find the wily killer on her own. Pounding the notorious streets of Hell’s Kitchen and the Lower East Side, Molly undertakes a desperate mission to clear her name before her deadly past comes back to haunt her new future.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository

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I’ve chosen only four books but there are other things I want to read this month as well. I may not even read all of these. I’d be happy with just reading Cocaine Blues since I’ve been waiting for it for so long.

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Do you read mystery books? Are you taking part in any readathons in December?