Category: Hauls

Books and Charms Unboxing | April

Books and Charms is an Irish based book subscription box. Each month you get two second hand books and two or three other items.

Books and Charms April 2019 Elaine Howlin Book Blog 4

Visit Books and Charms to order your box.

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The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz

The Eyes of Darkness

It’s a year since Tina Evans lost her little boy Danny in a tragic accident, a year since she began the painful process of trying to rebuild her life. Then a shattering message appears on the blackboard in Danny’s old room: NOT DEAD.

Is it someone’s idea of a grim joke? Or the tangible evidence of her tormented unconscious? Or something more?

The search for an answer, the search for Danny, demands a courage and endurance beyond any that Tina thought she possessed. Only her love for her son, her love for the one man who believes her, drives her on, through the neon clamour of Las Vegas nightlife, the sun-scorched desert, and the frozen mountains of the High Sierra. People die, coldly, brutally, as a buried truth struggles to surface. A truth so incredible, so frightening, so dangerous that its secret must be kept at the price of any life – any man, any woman…any child.

The Return by Victoria Hislop

The Return

An atmospheric, vibrant and moving tale of pain and passion at the heart of war-torn Spain, from Victoria Hislop, the million-copy bestselling author of The Island.

Beneath the majestic towers of the Alhambra, Granada’s cobbled streets resonate with music and secrets. Sonia Cameron knows nothing of the city’s shocking past; she is here to dance. But in a quiet café, a chance conversation and an intriguing collection of old photographs draw her into the extraordinary tale of Spain’s devastating civil war.

Seventy years earlier, the café is home to the close-knit Ramírez family. In 1936, an army coup led by Franco shatters the country’s fragile peace, and in the heart of Granada the family witnesses the worst atrocities of conflict. Divided by politics and tragedy, everyone must take a side, fighting a personal battle as Spain rips itself apart.

April Book Haul

I recently discovered https://thebookshop.ie/ thanks to Books and Charms so this is where all of my money will probably be going from now on. The Bookshop.ie sells second-hands from as little as 50c (but mostly about €2) and they are based in Ireland so shipping is nice and fast for me AND if you spend €20 shipping is free. So of course I picked up a few books.

A Place of Stones by Deirdre Purcell Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
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A Place of Stones by Deirdre Purcell

An instant bestseller in Ireland and England, here is “an unputdownable story of Irish life and love” (Maeve Binchy). Molly new nothing of her real past. For all she knew, she was a true-blue Irishwoman. When she traveled to America as a rising star of the screen, she fell in love with an irresistible American, not knowing that their love could only lead to a nightmare, and the truth of who Molly really was.

Touch the Dark by Karen Chance

Cassandra Palmer can see the future and communicate with spirits-talents that make her attractive to the dead and the undead. The ghosts of the dead aren’t usually dangerous; they just like to talk…a lot.

The undead are another matter.

Like any sensible girl, Cassie tries to avoid vampires. But when the bloodsucking Mafioso she escaped three years ago finds Cassie again with vengeance on his mind, she’s forced to turn to the vampire Senate for protection.

The undead senators won’t help her for nothing, and Cassie finds herself working with one of their most powerful members, a dangerously seductive master vampire-and the price he demands may be more than Cassie is willing to pay…

Embrace the Night by Karen Chance

Recently named the world’s chief clairvoyant, Cassandra Palmer still has a thorn in her side. As long as Cassie and a certain master vampire – the sizzling-hot Mircea – are magically bound to each other, her life will never be her own …

The spell that binds them can only be broken with an incantation found in the Codex Merlini, an ancient grimoire. The Codex’s location has been lost in the present day, so Cassie will have to seek it out in the only place it can still be found – the past.

But Cassie soon realizes the Codex has been lost for a reason. The book is rumored to contain dangerous spells, and retrieving it may help Cassie to deal with Mircea, but it could also endanger the world…

A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton

My name is Meredith Gentry, but of course it’s not my real name. I dare not even whisper my true name after dark for fear that one hushed word will travel over the night winds to the soft ear of my aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness. She wants me dead. I don’t even know why…

I fled the high court of Faerie three years ago and have been in hiding ever since. As Merry Gentry, I am a private investigator for the Grey Detective Agency: Supernatural Problems, Magical Solutions. My magical skills, scorned at the courts of Faerie, are valued in the human world. Even by human standards, my magic isn’t flashy, which is fine by me. Flashy attracts attention and I can’t afford that.

Rumour has it that I am dead. Not quite. I am Princess Meredith NicEssus. To speak that name after dark is to call down a knock upon your door from a hand that can kill you with a touch. I have been careful, but not careful enough. The shadows have found me, and they are going to take me back home, one way or another.

So the running is over. But the fighting has just begun…

Rich, sensual, brimming with dangerous magic, A Kiss of Shadows is a dazzling tour-de-force where folklore, fantasy and erotically charged adventure collide.

No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole Immortals After Dark Elaine Howlin Book Blog 2
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No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole

In this next installment in the Immortals After Dark SeriesUSA Today Bestselling author Kresley Cole delivers a scorching tale about a forbidding vampire who lives in the shadows and the beautiful assassin who hunts him there. 

A vampire soldier weary of life…

Centuries ago, Sebastian Wroth was turned into a vampire—a nightmare in his mind—against his will. Burdened with hatred and alone for ages, he sees little reason to live. Until an exquisite, fey creature comes to kill him, inadvertently saving him instead.

A valkyrie assassin dispatched to destroy him…

When Kaderin the Cold Hearted lost her two beloved sisters to a vampire attack long ago, a benevolent force deadened her sorrow—accidentally extinguishing all of her emotions. Yet whenever she encounters Sebastian, her feelings—particularly lust—emerge multiplied. For the first time, she’s unable to complete a kill.

Competitors in a legendary hunt…

The prize of the month-long contest is powerful enough to change history, and Kaderin will do anything to win it for her sisters. Wanting only to win her, forever, Sebastian competes as well, taking every opportunity—as they travel to ancient tombs and through catacombs, seeking relics around the world—to use her new feelings to seduce her. But when forced to choose between the vampire she’s falling for and reuniting her family, how can Kaderin live without either?

Everybody Matters by Mary Robinson Elaine Howlin Literary Blog
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Everybody Matters: A Memoir by Mary Robinson

One of the most inspiring women of our age, Mary Robinson has spent her life in pursuit of a fairer world, becoming a powerful and influential voice for human rights around the globe. Displaying a gift for storytelling and remembrance, Robinson reveals, in Everybody Matters, what lies behind the vision, strength, and determination that made her path to prominence as compelling as any of her achievements.

Born in 1944 into a deeply Catholic family-the only girl among five childrenshe was poised to become a nun before finding her own true voice.Ever since, she has challenged convention in pursuit of fairness-whether in the Church, in government and politics, or in her own family.

As an activist lawyer, she won landmark cases advancing the causes of women and marginalized people against the prejudices of the day, and in her twenty years in the Irish Senate she promoted progressive legislation, including the legalizing of contraception. She shocked the political system by winning election as Irelands first woman president in l990, redefining the role and putting Ireland firmly on the international stage. Her role as UN high commissioner for human rights, beginning in 1997, was to prove an even bigger challenge; she won acclaim for bringing attention to victims worldwide but was often frustrated both by the bureaucracy and by the willingness to compromise on principle, which reveal the deep and inherent barriers to changing the status quo. Now back in Ireland and heading her Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice, she has found the independence she needs to work effectively on behalf of the millions of poor around the world most affected by climate change.

Told with the same calm conviction and modest pride that has guided her life, Everybody Matters will inspire anyone who reads it with the belief that each of us can, in our own way, help to change the world for the better. 

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Magic is dangerous — but love is more dangerous still 

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Friendless and hunted, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, a band of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by — and torn between — two best friends and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare Elaine Howlin Book Blog
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Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Danger and betrayal, love and loss, secrets and enchantment are woven together in the breathtaking finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices Trilogy, prequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

THE INFERNAL DEVICES WILL NEVER STOP COMING

A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough Elaine Howlin Book Blog
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The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

The Thorn Birds is a robust, romantic saga of a singular family, the Clearys. It begins in the early part of this century, when Paddy Cleary moves his wife, Fiona, and their seven children to Drogheda, the vast Australian sheep station owned by his autocratic and childless older sister; and it ends more than half a century later, when the only survivor of the third generation, the brilliant actress Justine O’Neill, sets a course of life and love halfway around the world from her roots.

The central figures in this enthralling story are the indomitable Meggie, the only Cleary daughter, and the one man she truly loves, the stunningly handsome and ambitious priest Ralph de Bricassart. Ralph’s course moves him a long way indeed, from a remote Outback parish to the halls of the Vatican; and Meggie’s except for a brief and miserable marriage elsewhere, is fixed to the Drogheda that is part of her bones – but distance does not dim their feelings though it shapes their lives.

Wonderful characters people this book; strong and gentle, Paddy, hiding a private memory; dutiful Fiona, holding back love because it once betrayed her, violent, tormented Frank, and the other hardworking Cleary sons who give the boundless lands of Drogheda the energy and devotion most men save for women; Meggie; Ralph; and Meggie’s children, Justine and Dane. And the land itself; stark, relentless in its demands, brilliant in its flowering, prey to gigantic cycles of drought and flood, rich when nature is bountiful, surreal like no other place on earth.

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Now I have so many books to read I shouldn’t need to buy any more for the next few months… but we all know that won’t happen.

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.

ELAINE10 for 10% discount on your order

Books & Charms https://www.booksandcharms.ie/

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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_

Book Haul | February & March 2019

This year I really want to stop buying books and focus on reading the ones I have already (because it’s a lot, people!). Despite this though I did pick up a few books in February and March (I managed not to buy anything in Jan though!).

Two of the books I got came in my Books and Charms box but I did buy three. They were second hand and I had a €5 voucher so it’s not so bad.

First off let’s take a look at the books that came in my Books and Charms box. Books and Charms is an Irish book subscription box service. You can order a one-time box or a subscription and they have some other cool bookish stuff on their site too.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

The Notebook (The Notebook, #1)

How far can love endure?

Noah Calhoun has just returned from World War Two. Attempting to escape the ghosts of battle, he tries to concentrate on restoring an old plantation home to its former glory. And yet he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met there fourteen years before, a girl who captured his heart like no other.

But when these distant memories begin to slide into reality, the passion that had lain still is ignited once more. Though so much is in their way, the miraculous force of their love refuses to fade.

Double Wedding by Patricia Scanlan

Double Wedding

Jessica and Carol, two childhood friends, are both engaged to be married. Secretly afraid her fiance is going to chicken out, Carol is insisting on a double wedding.

Jessica is appalled at the idea: she doesn’t want to share the happiest day of her life with whining Carol and her womanising boyfriend. Unfortunately for her, she has a very soft heart and is easily persuaded to agree.

Carol’s parents are separated and at loggerheads. Neither wants the other to be there. Who will win that war? Nadine, Carol’s younger sister, is wild and disruptive and drinks like a fish – hardly the ideal wedding guest.

Will Carol’s family come to blows? Will her fiance do a runner? Will they make it to the altar? And can Jessica and Carol’s friendship survive a Double Wedding?

Now let’s take a look at the books I bought. I got them in Vibes and Scribes second-hand shop in Cork. They have a second-hand books shop, a new books shop and an amazing arts and crafts shop across the bridge. They’re my favourite retailers in town!

I picked up three books by Irish writers (also all female but this wasn’t a goal) for the Irish Readathon in March. The Dolocher I picked up based on a review by Aoife from Fred Weasley Died Laughing on YouTube.

The Dolocher by Caroline Barry

The Dolocher

Victorian London had Jack the Ripper. Georgian Dublin had the Dolocher…

The Dolocher is stalking the alleyways of Dublin. Half man, half pig, this terrifying creature has unleashed panic on the streets. Can it really be the evil spirit of a murderer who has cheated the hangman’s noose by taking his own life in his prison cell, depriving the mob of their rightful revenge? Or is there some other strange supernatural explanation?

This terror has come at the perfect time for down-at-heel writer Solomon Fish. With his new broadsheet reporting ever more gruesome stories of the mysterious Dolocher, sales are growing daily and fuelling the city’s fear. But when the Dolocher starts killing and Solomon himself is set upon, he realises that there’s more to the story than he could ever have imagined.

With the help of his fearless landlady, ship’s surgeon-turned-apothecary Merriment O’Grady, Solomon goes after the Dolocher. Torn between reason and superstition, they must hold their nerve as everyone around them loses theirs. But are they hunting the Dolocher or is the Dolocher hunting them?

The Husband by Deirdre Purcell

The Husband

When city girl Marian falls for the charms of Dermot, she falls hard. So much so that she finds herself upping sticks and moving with him from Chicago to rural Ireland, the country of his origin, where he plans to take over his father’s GP practice. 
But tragedy strikes unexpectedly and Marian finds herself facing early widowhood, alone and devastated, in a strange land. As she tries to makes sense of it all, throwing herself into community activity in a bid to cope with her grief, she begins to receive menacing anonymous notes that concern her enough to bring them to the attention of local garda Jack Cantwell, who investigates.
Nothing can prepare Marian for the discovery that Dermot, the husband she loved, was not the man she thought she knew. But, as greater questions take shape – such as what she will do with the rest of her life – she must face her demons head on, if she is ever to move on and learn to trust again. 
After all, the Irish village of Glanmillish may be small, but there is plenty going on…

The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien

The Little Red Chairs

The much-anticipated new novel from the literary world’s master of storytelling, Edna O’Brien.

A woman discovers that the foreigner she thinks will redeem her life is a notorious war criminal.

Vlad, a stranger from Eastern Europe masquerading as a healer, settles in a small Irish village where the locals fall under his spell. One woman, Fidelma McBride, becomes so enamored that she begs him for a child. All that world is shattered when Vlad is arrested, and his identity as a war criminal is revealed.

Fidelma, disgraced, flees to England and seeks work among the other migrants displaced by wars and persecution. But it is not until she confronts him-her nemesis-at the tribunal in The Hague, that her physical and emotional journey reaches its breathtaking climax.

THE LITTLE RED CHAIRS is a book about love, and the endless search for it. It is also a book about mankind’s fascination with evil, and how long, how crooked, is the road towards Home.

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