Scarlet's Web

 

 

"You may have tangible wealth untold; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be - I had a mother who read to me."

2017 Canine TBR Jar Challenge

 

So, as I mentioned in my Best of 2016 post I have thrown all the names of the books on my shelves into a TBR jar and I'm having each of my dogs pick one from the jar when I need a new book.

 

I thought it would be fun to keep a tally of who picks what and what rating I give each when finished in order to see which dog has the better luck in picking good books. Maybe the dog with the best taste in books will get a little book charm for their collar at the end of the year, and a bone of course!

 

I did consider getting the two cats involved but my Bengal would pick the crappiest books on purpose just for the shits and giggles, and to spite me of course cus she's a little witch! The siamese wouldn't lower herself to choosing from a glass jar, it would have to be the finest crystal jar for her to even consider getting involved. So it's just the dogs, they are easy and will do anything for a treat lol.

 

 

The Exorcist - 5 star review

Middlesex - 2.5 star review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Taxidermist's Daughter - Still to rate/review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frozen Charlotte - 4 star review

The Neverending story - Currently Reading

 

19/528 pages done with The Neverending Story

The Neverending Story (A Puffin Book) - Michael Ende

 

My next read from my TBR jar, chosen by Thorin

 

 

 

If you have never spent whole afternoons with burning ears and rumpled hair, forgetting the world around you over a book, forgetting cold and hunger--

 

If you have never read secretly under the bedclothes with a flashlight, because your father or mother or some other well-meaning person has switched off the lamp on the plausible ground that it was time to sleep because you had to get up so early--

 

If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless--

 

If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won't understand what Bastian did next.”


Michael Ende, The Neverending Story

 

 

 

 

Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora Banks - Emily Barr

 

I would like to thank Penguin Random House UK for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

 

The One Memory of Flora Banks was a quick and easy read, but it wasn't executed the way I had hoped. The premise was an interesting one, but I feel that the storytelling only scratched the surface. I found it to be extremely repetitive, I get the idea behind the repetitiveness, but it got too much.

 

Character wise, all the characters outside of Flora's character felt more like props than actual characters. The storyline was totally unrealistic. Flora's ability to cope when all of a sudden she didn't know where she was, how she got there, or who the people around her were, was far too calm and accepting. There was no sense of panic or danger. The whole journey thing was beyond unrealistic.

 

I am also disappointed in how Flora's mother was portrayed. I feel her character needed to be explored more to give an insight into her grief and what she was feeling and going through in order to understand her actions, but instead, she had a very negative light shone on her.

 

Not one I would recommend.

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Review: 1,342 QI Facts to Leave You Flabbergasted

1,342 QI Facts to Leave You Flabbergasted - James Harkin, John Mitchinson, John Lloyd

 

I would like to thank Faber and Faber for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book. 


There's not a lot I can say about this one. It is what it says it is; a book full of weird, funny and interesting facts that will have you either chuckling, WTF'ing, or scratching your head.

 

Here are a few examples:

 

- The Very Hungry Caterpillar was originally called A Week with Willie Worm.

 

- In China, it's illegal to reincarnate without filling in a government Reincarnation Application form.

 

- Men who watch a lot of porn have smaller than average brains.

 

- In the 18th century, chickens were known as "cacklers" and eggs were "cackling farts".

 

- "The Copper-Penis Owl" is the monster used in Hungary to scare children into behaving.

 

I now find myself throwing out random useless facts during conversations, lol. As an added bonus, my point score has gone up when watching QI on tv!

 

 

 

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Review: The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

The Exorcist - William Peter Blatty


 
As part of the TBR Canine Jar Challenge, The Exorcist was chosen by Enya. This was her first ever pick and she chose a 5 star!


Not much I can say about this one that hasn't already been said. It is, after all, a well-known and well-read horror novel, and also a great movie that I'm sure most have seen at some point or another.

 

If you haven't picked this one up before now, what the heck are you waiting for!?

 

PS - Am I the only one who kept picturing Columbo whenever Lieutenant Kinderman made an appearance?

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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100% done with Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides

 

Man, was this book tough to get through. For every 100 pages read, it felt like 1000.

I could have done without all the history lessons and tangents!

Sunset Song by Lewis Grassic Gibbon

 

Voted "Best Scottish Book of All Time" and widely regarded as one of the most important Scottish novels of the 20th century, if not the most important.

 

Gerda Stevenson's dramatisation of the 1932 novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, set in north-east Scotland before and during the First World War.

 

Listen now on BBC Radio 4: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00j2j2g

 

 

Review: My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal

My Name is Leon - Kit de Waal


I would like to thank Penguin Books (UK) for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

 

My Name is Leon is a story told by a nine-year-old boy called Leon. I'm normally not a fan of child narrators as I find them to be either unreliable or too mature for their age. This book, however, got the balance perfect and I found his story to be both engaging and heartbreaking.

 

Leon's story pulls on your heartstrings, but at the same time inspires hope and reminds us that family, love, and understanding, can be found in the most unlikely places. My heart broke for Leon, I could feel his loss, confusion, frustration, and yearning, and I cried a few tears for him while reading. I just wanted to hug him and help him make sense of all that was happening.

 

In summary, My Name is Leon is an emotional, thought-provoking book which will bring both tears of sadness and of hope, and will have you reaching for your tissues.

 

It's a short read, but it packs a punch. It touches on many sensitive and important issues such as race and racism, mental illness, and the foster care system.

 

Definitely one I would recommend.

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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29% done with Skitter by Ezekiel Boone

Skitter: A Novel (The Hatching Series Book 2) - Ezekiel Boone

 

Only a little bit through this and I swear I can feel the little sods watching me from the corners. I keep checking the ceiling in case a spider falls on me like before when one landed on me while I was reading book one!

 

 

235/532 done with Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides

 

I feel like there is so much heavy reading in this one. I'm enjoying it but it feels like hard work :/

Review: Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell

Frozen Charlotte - Alex Bell

 

 

 As part of the TBR Canine Jar Challenge, Frozen Charlotte was chosen by Thorin. This is his first pick and I have to say, he done well.

 

 

 

 


I picked this up at my local charity shop based purely on the cover. I didn't expect it to be as good a read as it was and ended up reading it in one sitting. The atmosphere and characterization really drew me in. It's got everything: things going bump in the night, ouija board, ghosts, creepy dolls, old school house in the middle of nowhere, and disembodied voices coming from the walls. It was a lot of fun and I found myself completely engaged and lost in the story.

 

The atmosphere was dark and creepy and the writing and world building very visual. I could hear and see everything clearly while reading. The descriptions were so vivid at times that I could almost hear the dolls whispering and scratching within the glass cabinet. The characters were well-written, likeable, and relatable, and the house and its harsh landscape adds a wonderful atmospheric background to the storyline.

 

I would have liked to have gotten a little more background on the dolls themselves but apart from that I can't fault anything about this one. It's not hardcore horror, but it was delightfully creepy and a lot of fun to read.

 

Definitely one I would recommend. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough and stayed up into the wee small hours just to finish it

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Review: Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land

Good Me Bad Me - Ali Land


I would like to thank Penguin UK for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

 

I enjoyed Good Me, Bad Me at the time of reading, but I was left feeling a bit let down on finishing it. The premise was interesting enough to hold my attention at the time, but I guessed almost right from the start where the story was heading and found it rather predictable as a result.

 

I couldn't connect to the characters, they didn't have enough depth to make them feel real and there were too many different elements to the storyline. I think it would have enjoyed it more had they been narrowed down and more depth and detail invested in the few rather than skimming the surface of many. I wasn't able to get into the headspace of the main character because there was so much going on around her, her character lacked the complexity and detail needed to portray her situation.

 

That being said, it wasn't a bad read. The premise was a good one and it was an easy, quick read, but it was lacking the suspense, thrills and tension that I love to experience in a good psychological thriller, and was too predictable.

 

Not one I would recommend.

 

 

 

 

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2016 Top Reads, Honourable Mentions, and Looking Ahead to 2017

 

For some reason, I feel like I didn't have a great reading year this year. I didn't read as much as I would have liked to have read and the majority of my reading time in 2016 was spent reading books send to me by publishers, authors, or via Netgalley. I have so many books I want to get to that have been getting neglected due to other reading obligations. So, I am planning on changing my reading habits for the year ahead.

 

I plan in 2017 to read more of the physical books that I have on my shelves. I will still be reading books I receive for review, but I will be more strict with what I accept for review, and more strict with myself to make sure I make a point of reading my own books alongside them. I do try to accept books for review that I know I will enjoy, but I seem to have been a bit less successful on that front in 2016. At one point during the year, I felt myself getting into a bit of a reading slump and I realised that I wasn't enjoying reading as much as I usually do. It had started to feel more like a chore rather than my favourite pastime. I want to make sure I avoid that in 2017, so fingers crossed I will have a more successful year ahead.

Now that my blethering is done, let's get to my top reads...Click here to go to full post

Happy Hogmanay tae ane an'aw’ an' mony may ye see!

 

May the best ye’ve ever seen

Be the worst ye’ll ever see

May a moose ne’er leave yer girnal

Wi’ a tear drap in his e’e

May ye aye keep hale an’ he’rty

Till ye’re auld eneuch tae dee

May ye aye be jist as happy

As we wish ye aye tae be

Review: Under a Watchful Eye by Adam Nevill

Under a Watchful Eye - Adam Nevill


I would like to thank Pan Macmillan for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

 

I have had this book on the go for a few weeks now and it's not holding my interest. I'm a fan of the author's other works, but for some reason, I'm just not feeling this one. There's is too much dialogue and not enough storyline or action, and it's slow. Too slow - Over half way through the book and it feels like nothing has happened kind of slow. I also don't care enough about the main character to want to keep reading. I find him really irritating and have no interest in where his story is heading.

 

When I put the book down I'm not drawn to pick it back up. When I do pick it up, in the hope that perhaps in just one more page things will change and I'll begin to enjoy it, I find myself getting bored and my mind wandering. I'm constantly wondering if, or when, something is finally going to happen, or I find myself thinking of other books I could be reading instead.

 

I have given it a good go, I'm past the 50% reading mark, but it's not holding my attention or drawing me back to it. So, I think it's time to put this one aside and accept that it's just not for me.

 

 

 

 

Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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Two of my favourites things to get for Christmas, books and dragons!!

Currently reading

Exorcist Falls: Includes the novella Exorcist Road by Jonathan Janz
Progress: 100%
The Good People by Hannah Kent
Progress: 100%
The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer
The Neverending Story (A Puffin Book) by Michael Ende
Progress: 528/528pages
Skitter: A Novel (The Hatching Series Book 2) by Ezekiel Boone
Progress: 100%

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