Review: The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis

IMG_7531[1]As some of you may have seen, I was very lucky to receive quite a few books from publishers during December. The selection was incredibly varied and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. After spending far too long deliberating over what to read first, I opted for reading them in order of release date, hoping to get reviews up for as many of them as possible in advance. Today’s book review is one such example of this.

I knew barely anything about Phillip Lewis’s The Barrowfields, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading.The books blurb described how, before the birth of Henry Aster, his father reluctantly returns to the North Carolina mountains where he grew up to install his family in a Gothic mansion. With his father a frustrated novelist, as well as a lawyer, the house seemed worthy of the infamous Edgar Allen Poe he admired so much. This is the conditions in which Henry grew up, living in the shadow of this brilliant man. But when a death in the family brings his father closer to the edge of something terrible, Henry flees his home, returning only years later when the Barrowfields calls him back home.

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Review: The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh

IMG_7530[1]Victorian fiction is without a doubt the best kind to read. It’s my favourite type of classic fiction and my favourite type of historical fiction. If a book features anything Victorian, I’m going to want to read it. University only increased this love, whilst enlightening another passion for gender studies. Combine these two interests and you’ll understand why I fell in love with the Kaite Welsh’s debut novel from the moment it fell through my letterbox.

The Wages of Sin, set during the late Victorian  period across the backdrop of Edinburgh, ticks all of the boxes for me. We are given our protagonist, Sarah Gilchrist, a woman who is no stranger to the cruel opinions of refined society, yet continues against their wishes to pursue her training in medicine. Becoming a doctor is no easy task, but for Sarah her gender makes her every efforts that much harder as she fights back against the patriarchy. As you can imagine, when one of Sarah’s female patients turns up dead on the mortuary slab, an unclaimed body ready to be dissected by trainees, her life begins to take on an even more complicated nature . . . never mind the fact that the patient was clearly murdered. With no one else willing to find justice, Sarah must delve further into the underbelly of Edinburgh, fighting opponents at every step of the way to find the truth.

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Top Five Wednesday – Books I Didn’t Get To In 2017

IMG_7508[1]Last month I participated in my first ever ‘Top Five Wednesday’, which you can see here. The festive theme for that week was the ‘The Top Five Characters on the Naughty List’, and I had so much fun taking part that I was determined to do it again this month. For anyone who may be new to this, ‘Top Five Wednesdays’ is a group on Goodreads where a different themed topic is posted each week for people to respond to with their own top five bookish answers. It’s a great way to meet other like-minded people, as well as great fun seeing the different answers people have come up with.

The topic for this week is ‘The Top Five Books You Didn’t Get To In 2017’ and now want to prioritise in 2018. Let’s be realistic here – there were far more than five books which I desperately wanted to read last year but which somehow kept getting pushed back. After perusing my shelves for a while however, I managed to whittle it down to the five books I am most eager to read in 2018. I’m hoping that compiling this list will actually help me complete this, so perhaps I’ll return to this post at a later date to see how I get on. For now though, here are my top five books (which somehow all appear to be quite chunky)!

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Review: Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials #1)

IMG_7472[1]I think most readers have some kind of guilty secret when it comes to a certain book that they still haven’t read. Quite often these appear to be books which have stood the test of time and have become classics in their own right; Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are just a few which we’ve heard uttered in ashamed whispers again and again. The truth is we should never feel guilty as readers for not having yet read something; the world is full of amazing books and it’s up to each individual to decide what they want to read.

Even so, there are certain books where I can at least feel the weight of their covers burning more fiercely into my eyes then many others. Without a doubt, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series is one such example of three books which I can’t help but feel guilty for not having read before now. It’s one of those series which has defined the childhood of so many readers, a trilogy which appears again and again on various best books lists, yet I’ve never read any of them! I did once borrow them from the library when I was fairly young, but after reading a few pages and feeling pretty confused by the plot, I put the books down, never to pick them up again. That is, however, until now!

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December Book Haul 2017

IMG_7456[1]It’s been a bit haul heavy on my blog lately! I was incredibly lucky in December and received so many brilliant books off my friends and family for Christmas, hence parts one and two of my Christmas Book Haul. Whilst it’s not still technically December (a majorly depressing thought), I do still have one more haul from last month which I want to share with you before we get into the thick of January. You’ve seen all the books I was gifted as Christmas presents, and now I want to share with you all of the books I generally picked up across the month.

I was actually very good and, knowing that Christmas was coming up I managed to restrain myself from buying any books across December. On the other hand, I did have nine books sent to me very kindly by various publishers, many of which have yet to be released. In summary, I am now rather massively drowning in new books; a fact which I’m sure you’ll understand makes me more than ecstatic. So, these are the nine (non Christmas gifted) books I received throughout December.

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2017 Christmas Book Haul (Part Two)

IMG_7423[1]Fairly recently I posted the first part in my Christmas Book Haul (post here). I was extremely lucky to receive 16 books for Christmas and it was just far too many to talk about in one post. Today, as you may have gathered from the title of this post, I’m bringing you the second and final installment of my Christmas Book Haul! The remaining books I’m showing you today are all non-fiction or more miscellaneous in nature compared to the fiction books of part one.  I hope you enjoy!

10. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (Illustrations by Jim Kay)

Firstly, and most obviously, I want to show you the book which I’m pretty sure was on most book lovers’ wish lists this Christmas. It is, of course, the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This is the third book in the Harry Potter series as well as the third book to have now been lovingly illustrated by Jim Kay. As you can see from some of the images below, these books are simply stunning, making a brilliant edition to any Harry Potter lovers out there. It really does bring a familiar story to light in a whole new way.

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