#LondonBookShopCrawl – Having a brilliant book-ish time!

So this is a little different from my usual post, but I really wanted to talk about this and I thought you might find it fun and/or interesting. First though, just a heads-up, this post does contain a few images.

On Saturday 18th February a lot of book lovers converged on London to take part in the London Bookshop Crawl organised by the brilliant Bex of Ninja Book Box, and I was one of them. There was a list of around fifty bookshops spread out through the whole of London that participants could pay a visit to, if it they fancied to. To start with, there was a chance for everyone to meet up at Foyles between 9:30am and 10:30am to just say hi (or find your group, if you were part of one them).

Foyles 107 Charing Cross Rd, Soho WC2H 0DT

Foyles is a very beautiful, modern-looking bookstore. On the fifth floor they have a bright café that sells brilliant drinks and cake – that alone, in my opinion makes it well worth a visit. I particularly like their children and young adult section, as well as their graphic novel section. I’m not so much a fan of the fantasy/sci-fi section though.

After Foyles, Mum and I headed to Victoria station and then out to Herne Hill.

Tales on Moon Lane 25 Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill SE24 9JU

Tales on Moon Lane is, in my opinion, a must stop for anyone who has children or who loves children’s books. It contains a wide variety of picture books that will keep anyone enthralled. It also has a good selection of books for 9 to 12 year olds, and whilst its young adult section isn’t the broadest I’ve seen there are some gems in it.

After Tales on Moon Lane, Mum and I popped next door to The Roome, which provided a lovely lunch.

Then we headed to Kings Cross and paid a quick visit to Housmans. We then went on to visit the bookshop in Somerset House.

Inside Rizzoli Bookshop

Inside Rizzoli Bookshop

Rizzoli Bookshop Somerset House, Strand WC2R 1LA

This was actually quite difficult to find, as we came at it from Temple station. The setting of Somerset House is very beautiful, and the bookshop itself looks out onto the courtyard. This bookshop is very much art based – and probably links to whatever exhibitions are taking place in Somerset House. It’s small, but neat, and there are a lot of interesting books.

We then continued on to Leicester Square.

Orbital Comics 8 Great Newport St, WC2H 7JA

One of the best comic stores I have ever visited – whether you’re after independent comics, DC, Marvel, or like manga this place is well worth a visit. It’s nicely tucked away around the corner from Leicester Square tube station, and easy to miss if you don’t know it’s there. It’s also surprisingly big once you’re inside.

By this time, Mum and I are getting tired. So we decided to head to Piccadilly, and see how things went from there. Before any book browsing took place we headed straight to 5th View Bar & Food, which is located on the top floor at Waterstones Piccadilly. We had a quick snack, drink and rest, before heading down to browse the books.

The yummy food at 5th Bar & Food.

The yummy food at 5th View Bar & Food.

Waterstones Piccadilly 203-206 Piccadilly, St James’s W1J 9HD

This is Waterstones flagship store – and it is hands down the best Waterstones branch I have ever visited. It’s spread over four floors, and there are comfortable places to sit on every floor. The displays are brilliant to look at, and there are a wide selection of books in all genres to look at.

Hatchards 187 Piccadilly, St James’s W1J 9LE

This bookshop has the feel of bookshops I remember from my childhood – full of hidden corners and surprises. There’s also quite a wide selection of books – they even have a signed and first editions section – and I quite enjoy exploring the store trying to find something that catches my interest.

After this, and having bought a lot of books, we decided it was time to head home. I had a fantastic time, and I highly recommend giving the London Bookshop Crawl a try the next time it’s organised. If you’d like to take part in the next Bookshop Crawl then you can find more info here.


Review: The One by John Marrs (Blog Tour)

This review is part of The One blog tour.

The One by John Marrs

The One by John Marrs

Title: The One
Author: John Marrs
Genre: Romance, Thriller
Source: The publisher
Publisher: Del Rey (4th May 2017, 26th January 2017 in ebook)

How far would you go to find THE ONE?

One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.

A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…

A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

(Blurb taken from Penguin.co.uk)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

The premise of John Marrs’s book THE ONE is an intriguing one – if there was a test you could take to find your perfect match, would you take it? In THE ONE we follow the stories of five people who submit their DNA, and find their perfect partner. Everyone has secrets they keep. All five stories are different, but linked through them using Match Your DNA to find the one person they are genetically made for. From there, their stories diverge. In THE ONE John Marrs tells a psychological thriller, peppered with romance, that will keep you turning the pages.

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Review: Corpus by Rory Clements (Blog Tour)

This review is part of the Corpus blog tour.

Corpus by Rory Clements

Corpus by Rory Clements

Title: Corpus
Author: Rory Clements
Genre: Crime, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Source: The publisher
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre (26th January 2017)

1936. Europe is in turmoil. The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland; in Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror; Spain has erupted in civil war.

In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist. Within a week, she is found dead in her Cambridge bedroom, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers.

When a renowned member of the county set and his wife are found horribly murdered, a maverick history professor finds himself dragged into a world of espionage which, until now, he has only read about in books. But the deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he wonders whether the murders are linked to the death of the girl with the silver syringe – and, just as worryingly, to the scandal surrounding King Edward VIII and his mistress Wallis Simpson . . .

Professor Wilde’s specialist subject is the Elizabethan secret service. As the scope of the conspiracy is revealed, he must use all the skills he has learnt to save the woman he loves and prevent a massacre.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

CORPUS by Rory Clements is the first book in a new spy thriller series. The story is set in late 1936, and tells the story of Cambridge history professor Thomas Wilde whose life gets caught up in a series of murders. The story is set during a period of great political turmoil within the UK as King Edward VIII is being forced to decide between Mrs Wallis Simpson and abdicating the throne. Something more than a few people are not happy about. Alongside this, Britain is split between the growing powers of Communism and Fascism, creating a huge powder keg about to explode.

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Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here by Gayle Forman (UK Zoella Bookclub edition)

I Was Here by Gayle Forman (UK Zoella Bookclub edition)

Title: I Was Here
Authors: Gayle Forman
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster (29th January 2015)

I regret to inform you that I have had to take my own life. This decision has been a long time coming, and was mine alone to make. I know it will cause you pain, and for that I am sorry, but please know that I needed to end my own pain. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me. It’s not your fualt.

Cody and Meg were inseparable – best friends for life. They knew everything about each other. Or Cody thought they did. But how well do you ever really know your best friend? And what do you do when they choose to leave you behind?

Rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

I WAS HERE by Gayle Forman is a standalone novel that tells the story of Cody Reynolds. As the novel starts we discover that Meg Garcia, Cody’s best friend, has committed suicide. I WAS HERE follows Meg’s journey as she struggles to deal with the loss of her best friend – someone she thought she knew, someone who she’d grown up with in a small town. Meg’s suicide blindsided her; Cody had no idea that Meg was struggling. Cody finds herself questioning what she knew of her best friend, and soon sets out to get some answers – surely there was more to Meg’s death than there appeared?

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Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (UK edition)

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (UK edition)

Title: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha: Book 1)
Authors: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher:  Indigo (6th June 2013)

‘I’ve been waiting for you
a long time, Alina,’ he said.
‘You and I are going to change the world.’

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the world of the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. Could she be the key to setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a man of seductive charm and terrifying power. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo is the first book in her magical The Grisha trilogy. This book begins the story of the lonely orphan Alina, and introduces us to the world of the Grisha – the kingdom’s magical elite. Alina thinks herself ordinary – not special in any way – but then she discovers that she has a unique magical power and is thrust into a strange, heady, new world full of opulence and danger. SHADOW AND BONE presents the mysterious Darkling, the leader of the Grisha: a charming and powerful man. It also introduces us to Mal, Aliana’s childhood best friend.

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Bout of Books 18 Wrap Up

So this post is, to quote, a day late and a dollar short. Or to be more accurate, eleven days late. 🙈 I was supposed to write and post this the Monday after Bout of Books 18 finished. Instead, I’m writing this on a Friday afternoon eleven days late which means I’ll be twelve days late by the time you read this on Saturday. I can only apologise. For some reason January seems to be getting away from me. I am at this moment behind on everything.

So to get back to the point of this post: I’m supposed to be wrapping up my Bout of Books 18 experience…

Doing Bout of Books 18 was a great way to start 2017. It got me into the reading mood, and there was no pressure. It was really nice. ❤️

Between January 2nd and January 8th I managed to read three and a bit books – that’s one thousand one hundred and sixty-eight pages. I was really pleased with this. I could have read more, but reading these three books really helped towards my goal of getting more reviews scheduled for this year.

And although I did not set myself any goal apart from reading, I did manage to take part in the Saturday Twitter Chat (for a while anyway). This was just as much fun as I remembered from previous Bout of Books, and something I highly recommend for anyone taking part to try. It is pure chaos, but such fun!

The books I read during Bout of Books 18.

The books I read during Bout of Books 18.

And to wrap this post up, I thought I’d let you know that Bout of Books 19 is between May 8th and May 14th. You can find more details on the Bout of Books website, and I’m seriously thinking of taking part in it. Thank you so much for reading this far into this rambly, late post – you are awesome! If you haven’t had a chance to check it out you can find my review of Relativity by Antonia Hayes here. And I’ll see you soon with another review.

Review: Relativity by Antonia Hayes (Blog Tour)

This review is part of the Relativity Blog Tour.

Relativity by Antonia Hayes (UK edition)

Relativity by Antonia Hayes (UK edition)

Title: Relativity
Author: Antonia Hayes
Genre: Contemporary, Family
Source: The publisher
Publisher: CORSAIR (19th January 2017)

Ethan is an exceptionally gifted young boy, obsessed with physics and astronomy.

His single mother, Claire, is fiercly protective of her brilliant, vulnerable son. But she can’t shield him for ever from learning the truth about what happened to him when he was a baby; why Mark had to leave them all those years ago.

Now aged twelve, Ethan is increasingly curious about his past, especially his father’s absence in his life. When he intercepts a letter to Claire from Mark, he opens a lifetime of feelings that, like gravity, will pull the three of them together again.

Relativity is a tender and triumphant story about unbreakable bonds, irreversible acts and testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

Rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

RELATIVITY by Antonia Hayes is a beautiful, poignant read. That is not to say it is a sad read, because it is not. RELATIVITY is full of life and hope. It tells the story of a twelve year-old boy who is obsessed with physics and astronomy, and of his parents. On the cusp of being a teenager, Ethan still views the world with a child’s wonder and curiosity. His mother Claire has brought him up on her own since he was small, and is fiercely protective of him. She has never told Ethan the truth of his father Mark, and why he’s no longer in their lives.

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Review: Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Title: Blood for Blood (Wolf by Wolf 2)
Authors: Ryan Graudin
Genre: Alternative History, Historical Novel, Young Adult
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books (6th October 2016)

There would be blood.

Blood for blood.

Blood to pay.

An entire world of it.

The war might be over, but the fight has just begun.

For the resistance in post-war Germany, blood must be paid with blood.

For seventeen-year-old Yael and her unlikely comrades, there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

But dark secrets reveal dark truths and one question hangs over them all – how far can you go for the ones you love?

The thrilling conclusion to WOLF BY WOLF.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️ (4 stars)

BLOOD FOR BLOOD by Ryan Graudin is the sequel to the brilliant WOLF BY WOLF, concluding the story. It continues the story of seventeen-year-old Yael, resistant fighter and shape-shifter. After the events of the previous book, the world stands on a precipice; dangerous secrets have been revealed, and events set in motion that cannot be stopped. Yael is left reeling, but her mission for the resistance must be completed. The fight to regain control has begun, though not everything is as it appears. The future of the world hangs in the balance. BLOOD FOR BLOOD brings Yael’s story, and that of the resistance, to a thrilling conclusion.

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Review: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (UK edition)

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (UK edition)

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Authors: Katherine Arden
Genre: Historical Novel, Fantasy
Source: The publisher via NetGalley
Publisher:  Del Rey (12th January 2017)

A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman’s myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

(Blurb taken from Goodreads)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden is a beautiful book. It has a gorgeous front cover, and the story inside is delightfully magical. This debut novel tells the story of a young girl, Vasilisa Petrovna – Vasya to her family: the youngest child of Pytor Vladimirovich and Marina Ivanovna. THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE follows Vasya, as she grows up, the daughter of a lord in a small Russian village. Vasya isn’t quite like the other girls, not even her elder sister. Her life changes with the arrival of her father’s second wife, Anna Ivanovna, and Father Konstantin Nikonovich.

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Bout of Books 18 |Progress?

This is where I’ll be keeping track of my progress with Bout of Books 18. Be sure to check back here if you want to see how I’m doing.

Day 1: January 2nd
Book(s) I’m Reading: I Was Here by Gayle Forman [Goodreads]
Number of Pages Read Today: 102
Number of Pages Read Total: 102
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  n/a
My day:

Monday was the last day of the Christmas holidays, and I spent it with my parents. So I had quite a gentle start to this Bout of Books, as I didn’t actually spend a lot of time reading. It was nice. This no pressure thing seems to be working.

The first one-hundred-or-so pages of I Was Here were interesting, and I’m glad I decided to pick up this book.It seems like one I can just dip in and out of when things get hard to give myself a bit of distance.

Day 2: January 3rd
Book(s) I’m Reading: I Was Here by Gayle Forman [Goodreads], This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab [Goodreads]
Number of Pages Read Today: 189
Number of Pages Read Total: 291
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  I Was Here by Gayle Forman
My day:

Today I was due for a blood test (because of the medication I take) so I had that first thing, which was why I decided to treat myself to a McD’s breakfast and then have a mooch around town. I also decided to use up the leftover bacon and have bacon and egg mayo cobs.

I was in a real reading mood today, so with a lot of breaks I managed to get quite a few pages in which I am super happy about. 😁

Tueday in pictures.

Tuesday in pictures.

Day 3: January 4th
Book(s) I’m Reading: This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab [Goodreads]
Number of Pages Read Today: 74
Number of Pages Read Total: 365
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  I Was Here by Gayle Forman
My day:

Today was medicine day, and to be honest I didn’t really feel like reading. So I didn’t really. Happy with what I did manage though. It was more than nothing. 😝

Day 4: January 5th
Book(s) I’m Reading: This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab [Goodreads]
Number of Pages Read Today: 200
Number of Pages Read Total: 565
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  I Was Here by Gayle Forman
My day:

Another good reading day. My best one this week so far. I didn’t really do a lot. A little cleaning, but I buckled down on the reading front. 🤓

Day 5: January 6th
Book(s) I’m Reading: This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab [Goodreads]
Number of Pages Read Today: 101
Number of Pages Read Total: 666
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  I Was Here by Gayle Forman, This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab
My day:

Today I took the Christmas tree down and boxed everything up for next year – apparently you’re not supposed to put the tree up until today so that the three magi could deliver their presents. It took less time than I thought it would and was relatively stress free.

Of course I decided to start the day as I meant to go on, by actually making scrambled eggs for breakfast instead of just having toast. I enjoyed it.

I spent most of the afternoon with Mum, which was nice.

My breakfast.

My breakfast.

Day 6: January 7th
Book(s) I’m Reading: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir [Goodreads]
Number of Pages Read Today: 230
Number of Pages Read Total: 896
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  I Was Here by Gayle Forman, This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab
My day:

Today was a typical Saturday, apart from the fact that Mum went off to a tutorial. It was nice and relaxed, so I decided to make cakes. 🍰

I did manage to make a five-minute appearance in the Twitter chat. I was about half an hour late, and had to rush off to help make the stew. From what I saw, there were some interesting questions asked and answered. There were also some book recs that looked interesting, and I really enjoyed the discussion about what people would like to see more of in books.

My lunch.

My lunch.

Day 7: January 8th
Book(s) I’m Reading: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir [Goodreads], A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir chapter sampler.
Number of Pages Read Today: 272
Number of Pages Read Total: 1,168
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  I Was Here by Gayle Forman, This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir Chapter Sampler.
My day:

Another nice and relaxing day. I slept in and managed to complete An Ember in the Ashes and read the chapter sampler for A Torch Against the Night. It has me intrigued.

It’s only 19:28 as I write this, but I find myself read out which means I’m going to take a break from reading for the rest of tonight. So that means this is it for me for Bout of Books 18. I’ll be posting a wrap-up post tomorrow, but right now I’m really happy with how things went. 🤓👍🙌📚😴

One of the cakes I made yesterday. A lovely reading snack, even if I do say so myself.

One of the cakes I made yesterday. A lovely reading snack, even if I do say so myself.