Ninja Book Swap!


I got my Ninja Book Swap parcel today (it had been delivered to my neighbour, I don’t just have a really keen postman) and it was so perfect I almost can’t believe it.

I got this adorable mug to drink tea from when I’m reading (which bears more than a passing resemblance to my own elderly bunny, Bambi). 


I also got this cute Cat Lovers colouring book and some pencils and clearly I love cats. And colouring. 


And finally a copy of The Art of Being Normal which has been on my wishlist for ages. I’m very excited to read it!

Bookshop Day!


I was slightly concerned that I wouldn’t get a chance to go into any bookshops on Bookshop Day but luckily old Hastings town came to my rescue! I stumbled across Albion Books in amongst a hunch of curiosity and antique shops and obviously had to have a rummage. 

I absolutely love second hand bookshops and a lot of the time I’m looking specifically for a certain type of author. At the moment I’m beefing up my Stephen King collection, but previously I’d always head for V or W to find Kurt Vonnegut books or John Whyndham novels. So, to me, secondhand bookshops are great for sci fi and horror books in the cheap.

My local second hand bookshop (Baggins) always had a few Stephen King books, but generally they’re bought up by me fairly quickly. I’ve not found a complete Green Mile outside of the big commercial bookshops though, so I was very excited to pick it up (along with another collection of short stories) for a mere fiver. It’s one of the few Stephen King films I can bring myself to watch because it’s not horror (although I probably should face watching more seeing as I’m an adult).

But Albion Books was a dream for me; completely ridiculously piled high with no real organisation. Perfect for someon who will also happily discover whatever new things are available. I found a whole load of kids books (including Animal Ark and Heartland which were my favourites as a kid) and the longest wall was mainly crime, horror and sci fi. I feel like that’s a general formulas for most of the second hand bookshops I’ve ever visited! 

What bookshops are you visiting this weekend?

Accidental Book Haul

  
I discovered something odd about Amazon yesterday and that is that if you order an already published book at the same time you preorder a book they’ll send them to you whenever they bloody we’ll feel like it. So, I’d forgotten I’d ordered most of these books when they turned up yesterday afternoon! Which was a nice surprise but a bit of a pain as I swore I wouldn’t buy any new books in April. Technically I suppose I had already bought them so I can forgive myself.

In any case, I got:

The Missing by CL Taylor- I loved The Lie and The Accident, they were gloriously twisted thrillers so I am so excited to read her brand new book about a child that has gone missing (incidentally, such an accidental theme on my Kindle I have had to make its own collection)

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters- I actually took part in the cover reveal for this book back in February and it sounded like such a cute story about a young woman finding love after her husband dies that I had to preorder it for myself!

Paper Weight by Meg Haston- I think this one was recommended to me after a YA Amazon binge. About a girl who has been sent to an inpatient facility for an eating disorder, but who plans to die on the anniversary if her brother’s death anyways. It looks like something that will make me cry.

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey- I read and reviewed The 5th Wave recently so of course I had to find out what was you to happen to Cassie and the rest of human civilisation.

Speak by Louise Hall- I’ve had my eye on this one for a while so I’m  glad it arrived quicker than amazon predicted! This one is a sci fi about dying AI.

Ninja Book Swap

  
My Ninja Book Swap parcel arrived today! I absolutely love it, it was so thoughtful and creative.

My gifter (swapper?), Platon, sent me some delicious sounding lemongrass tea, a funny cliffhanger bookmark, some Dutch stroop waffles (which I am wolfing down) and a crime story based dice game. As well as, of course, a book from my wishlist.

  
I’ve been wanting to read this one for ages after seeing people rave about it online. So I’m very excited!

Stephen King Haul!

  

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with horror as a genre. At twenty four I am basically unable to watch any scary film with an eighteen rating without hiding behind a pillow. I am, essentially, a wuss.

Yet I find horror books to be strangely compelling. One of my favourite things to do at the gym is to put a zombie-esque dystopia book on my kindle, play a creepy playlist and run up stairs like my life depends on it. Recently I started reading Stephen King short stories and was inspired to pick up some of his longer novels. 

I read Carrie when I was about fourteen and absolutely loved it. The film is also one of the few horror films I’ve been able to stomach (presumably because it’s old enough to be able to see the wires that make up the special effects). I briefly read part of The Stand a few years ago but for some reason I never managed to finish it, I think I got caught up with uni work.

So I already own a few of his books. A while ago I decided I’d quite like to start reading all of his bibliography, but it’s taken until now to start building up a little collection of his work. Out of the three books I bought today I’m most excited about The Bachman Books because it’s an older edition that includes his out of print novel Rage. I remember age about fifteen deciding that I wanted to read it because I found the subject fascinating, but disappointed because it seemed to be only available in old editions.

So, a small book haul from one of my favourite second hand bookshops (I urge anyone passing through Rochester to visit Baggins Book Bazaar), but a pleasing one considering it’s essentially seven novels for £6.50!

What’s your favourite Stephen King novel? Which one should I read next?

London Bookshop Crawl


I have a hobby, although my family would probably call it a bad habit, and it’s meeting people from online for adventures. It’s stood me in good stead so far, having explored Poland with a woman who is now one of my closest friends and hopped around America doing everything from sight seeing, to kareoke to drunkenly chasing deers while naked and trying to kayak to Hawaii from Washington (turns out, you can’t).

So I had high hopes for yesterday’s #LondonBookshopCrawl and I wasn’t disappointed. I didn’t get neatly enough photos, but the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram is full  of people who did a much better job than me (and @mattdawhit’s Storify is great) Our plan was to meet in Foyles cafe at Charing Cross and then move on as a group of 23 around @ninjabookswap’s list of shops that were expecting us.
First… Orbital Comics.

Now, I’ve always had a fairly negative relationship with comics, having lived with a guy who told me I should be reading them instead of ‘books by dead Russian authors in prison for their political beliefs’. But I’ve mellowed recently and I do see the joy they bring other people. Not my thing, glad so many people love them, that makes me happy. I gather that it’s a wonderful store, and the layout was great for even a comic cretin like myself. I even bought myself a couple of bargain comics as souvenirs! Staff were friendly, everyone seemed happy.

I won’t show you the comics I bought as my flatmate has since inspected and shook his head sadly – they were more to do with Watchmen and less to so with Alan Moore – but they only cost me 25p.

Then on to… Any Amount of Books and Cecil Court!

I didn’t actually make it into Any Amount of Books, having spent too long wandering around Cecil Court but that place was incredible.


The gang, or part of it, surrounded by bookshops. Heaven!

I went in every shop for a nosey, but I was particularly enamoured with Peter Ellis, who sold me James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk. The shelves were lined with lovingly wrapped first editions and very well laid out. And, who I presume was Mr Ellis himself although I could be wrong, was a very welcoming man who happily, if somewhat confused, signed my piece of paper to say I’d bought a book there. Marchpane was another favourite, with an entire section dedicated to Alice in Wonderland.

And then there was Goldsboro Books, which broke my heart with it’s selection of first editions. So many of my favourites, so much more than I could hope to spend on books.



In fact the whole of Cecil Court has reignited my love for my favourites, particularly PG Wodehouse, who seems to be a collectible favourite.

Next… Lunch. A few of us stopped by Byron’s, predominantly because it was there, for burgers, fries and milkshakes. This vegetarian had a salad because there are only so many veggie burgers you can have in a lifetime.


Now on toPersephone Books!

Persephone were expecting us and gave us the warmest of welcomes. We were treated to a small tour of this tiny publishing house and a talk on the history, aims and some book recommendations tailored to whoever asked. There’s a genuine love here and it’s a fine example of people who love and breathe what they do. They have 115 books in their catalogue, mainly by women, all well thought out. Each has a grey jacket and a printed endpaper based on a fabric produced in the year the book was originally published. Which is a wonderful touch.


I debated over three for the whole time we were there and eventually decided on They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple. Although I could easily own the whole collection.

  
ThenLondon Review Bookshop.


This was a lovely bookshop, made more lovely by the welcome they gave us. Discount and some goodies never go amiss. I could have spent hours in there, but forced myself to a budget and in the end bought Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life after being recommended it a while ago by a colleague.

Our final stop... Waterstone’s Piccadilly.

Probably the biggest Waterstone’s I have ever been in but by this point in the day all I wanted was cake and a sit down. So @giants_orbit and I went down to the cafe for the largest slices of cake I have ever seen.


It was one of the best days out I have had. There’s something lovely about meeting up with people with a specific interest and I’m already planning my next bookshop trips and to go along to a  book club run by @HaggyT.

Looking forward to next year

Christmas book haul!

  
So, it’s Boxing Day and I’m laying on my mum’s rug… Full of food and trying to ignore the footie going on in the background. This Christmas was good for books, mainly because my wish list consists of books and books alone. I ended up with seven of the ones I wanted the most. I have finished one of them already…

The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubbs by David John Griffin who, coincidentally, is from the same county as me. 

Described as a ‘gothic horror’ (my favourite genre at school) this one appealed to me because it doesn’t sound like anything I’ve read in a while. I love a good horror and this one looks like it’s surreal, creepy and full of twisted characters.

Forget Me Not by Luana Lewis

A tragic suicide? Or the perfect murder?

Female written thrillers were like my genre of 2015 and this one, about a mother trying to solve her daughters death, looks like all of my favourites rolled into one.

Second Life by SJ Watson

I absolutely loved Before I Go to Sleep and so I was very excited when my brother got his newest book. I can’t even remember asking for it, my brother clearly just knew.

My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologies by Fredrik Backman

I’ve been looking for this book for ages. No bookshop I’ve been in has had it. I have a massive soft spot for books about old people getting up to mischief written by Swedish authors (it’s a thing, I promise) and I am do excited to read this one!

The Girls by Lisa Jewell

I need to review this one at some point today… Having finished reading it by the time I went to bed on Christmas. Lisa Jewell is one of my favourite authors and this book, about the complicated and slightly toxic relationships between young girls, was no disappointment.

Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

I think I originally requested this one on Netgalley, right before it was released. The paperback version is beautiful though and I’m glad to have the physical copy. Kidnap-lit was another big theme of 2015 but Pretty Is, set after the return of two twelve year old girls, looks like an interesting take.

The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern

I always get my mum a Cecelia Ahern book for her birthday and Christmas, ever since she read PS I Love You and we watched the film together. This year I also got one! I’m reading her on my mums recommendation because I’ve never got round to reading them myself!