Audiobook Review | I Am Half-Sick of Shadows (Flavia de Luce #4) by Alan Bradley, narrated by Sophie Aldred

Absolutely spiffing! 4.5/5.

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The blurb: It’s Christmastime, and the precocious Flavia de Luce – an eleven-year-old sleuth with a passion for chemistry and a penchant for crime-solving – is tucked away in her laboratory, whipping up a concoction to ensnare Saint Nick. But she is soon distracted when a film crew arrives at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ decaying English estate, to shoot a movie starring the famed Phyllis Wyvern. Amid a raging blizzard, the entire village of Bishop’s Lacey gathers at Buckshaw to watch Wyvern perform, yet nobody is prepared for the evening’s shocking conclusion: a body found, past midnight, strangled to death with a length of film. But who among the assembled guests would stage such a chilling scene? As the storm worsens and the list of suspects grows, Flavia must use every ounce of sly wit at her disposal to ferret out a killer hidden in plain sight.

My take:

I picked up this audiobook from the library because it was the only title in the mp3 range which appealed to me. I didn’t have a clue that it’s number 4 in a series, and I’m very happy to report it made very little difference to my enjoyment of the story.

I LOVED this. It took a while to get used to Flavia’s incredibly idiosyncratic voice and turn of phrase, but once I did, it was the best thing about the book. It reminded me of how the Famous Five spoke to each other, but smarter! If I’d started the series at book 1, I’m sure I would have already been at home with her voice and not needed this “adjustment time”. That said, this book worked as a stand-alone, I fell in love with Flavia and by the end was incredibly sorry it was all over.

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Photo post: the perfect bench for book lovers!

Rugby stone sofa with books

Today I thought I’d share some pictures of two of my favourite spots in Rugby, England. Yes: this lovely sofa, arm chair and footstool are made of sandstone and are public benches in Jubilee Gardens.

Rugby stone sofa with books 2

The armchair, sofa, footstool and books were commissioned by Rugby Council. Sculptor Michael Scheuermann designed the pieces which were made in nearby Birmingham and installed in late 2008.

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Review | The Maze Runner by James Dashner

While it failed to build emotional connections between this reader and its characters, The Maze Runner is an entertaining, quick read which is fine for whiling away a few hours.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner book coverWhat it’s about:

When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas can remember is his first name. But he’s not alone. He’s surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade, an encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible maze.

Like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know who or how they came to be there, or what’s happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything to find out.

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Review | The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood

The Vintage Guide to Love and Romance by Kirsty Greenwood book coverMany things about this book are good, but it’s definitely one for fans of comedy chick-lit.

What it’s about:

When twenty-something singleton Jess Beam finds herself without a home, job or friends, she tracks down and moves in with her estranged grandmother. Desperate for the cash from a prospective publishing deal, they embark on a project to see if Jess can make an apparently eternal bachelor scumbag fall in love with her using the tips from her grandmother’s 1950s “good woman” guides to dating.

My take:

I have mixed feelings about this book I find hard to express. So hard, I’m going to have fall back on bullet points.

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WWW Wednesday 17th June 2015

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

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Review | Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Divergent #3)

Allegiant Divergent 3 by Veronica RothWARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!

Allegiant is a brave conclusion to Veronica Roth’s best-selling Divergent trilogy. While I felt Allegiant was the weakest of the series in terms of plot and pace, I was impressed that Roth allowed her characters to be true to themselves, even though that meant denying her readers the satisfaction of a happily ever after.

I didn’t find Allegiant as entertaining as the previous two installments in the Divergent series. I’ve tried to find solid reasons why.

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What’s your bibliotherapy? Share the books that make you happy…

Peanuts Schulz cartoon Happiness is having your own library card

I recently read an interesting article in The New Yorker which asked whether reading books can make us happier.

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WWW Wednesday 3 June 2015

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

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Review | Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth book coverA well-written page-turner with a strong female lead. However, while it is entertaining – particularly the first third – it lacks the originality and emotional pull of other dystopian series openers such as The Hunger Games and Ender’s Game.

(In case you don’t know what the series is about – please see the official blurb at the bottom of this review…)

My take:

Roth’s triumph is Tris: a strong female character who gets on with defining her own destiny without being too annoying and whiny (alright, she does whine a bit, but it’s mostly justified). You care what happen to this girl and follow her willingly as she leaves her family to go through initiation into another tribe. However, for me, the book lacks the emotional intensity of The Hunger Games. There are no moment’s comparable to Rue’s death, for example. When [SPOILER ALERT] Tris’ parents are dispatched swiftly in the final pages of the book, I shrugged and read on. We hadn’t spent any time with these characters and it was difficult to feel sorry for their passing. This leaves me worried for the next two installments of the trilogy; with only Tris to really care about I don’t know if I’m invested enough in the story to stay with it for two more books.

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Review | Coming Up Roses by Rachael Lucas

Coming Up Roses by Rachael Lucas book coverA solid, entertaining second novel from Rachael Lucas.

The blurb:

Would-be gardener Daisy can’t believe her luck when her parents announce they’re off on a gap year, leaving her in charge of their garden. After a turbulent few months, a quiet spell in the country is just what she needs.

A shoulder to cry on wouldn’t go amiss either – so when Daisy comes across Elaine and Jo, she breathes a sigh of relief. But her new friends are dealing with dramas of their own . . .

As Daisy wrestles the garden into something resembling order, her feelings for handsome Irishman George, begin to take root. But Daisy’s heart’s desire – her parent’s garden – is under threat, and she is forced to confront nosey neighbours and fight greedy developers. Village life is turning out to be far from peaceful.

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