Book Haul – October 2020

This month I managed to stick to my budget and bought reads that I thought was perfect for this season! Some cozy reads mixed in with some darker, gothic, reads as for the shorter, colder, days. Check out the GoodReads description for each title below!

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

From the author of Before the Coffee Gets Cold comes a story of four new customers each of whom is hoping to take advantage of Cafe Funiculi Funicula’s time-travelling offer.

Among some faces that will be familiar to readers of Kawaguchi’s previous novel, we will be introduced to:

The man who goes back to see his best friend who died 22 years ago
The son who was unable to attend his own mother’s funeral
The man who travelled to see the girl who he could not marry
The old detective who never gave his wife that gift…


The Little House by Kyoko Nakajima

The Little House is set in the early years of the Showa era (1926-89), when Japan’s situation is becoming increasingly tense but has not yet fully immersed in a wartime footing. On the outskirts of Tokyo, near a station on a private train line, stands a modest European style house with a red, triangular shaped roof. There, a woman named Taki has worked as a maidservant in the house and lived with its owners, the Hirai family. Now, near the end of her life, Taki is writing down in a notebook her nostalgic memories of the time spent living in the house. Her journal captures the refined middle-class life of the time from her gentle perspective. At the end of the novel, however, a startling final chapter is added.


Dracula’s Child by J.S. Barnes

Dracula returns…

It has been some years since Jonathan and Mina Harker survived their ordeal in Transylvania and, vanquishing Count Dracula, returned to England to try and live ordinary lives. But shadows linger long in this world of blood feud and superstition – and, the older their son Quincy gets, the deeper the shadows that lengthen at the heart of the Harkers’ marriage. Jonathan has turned back to drink; Mina finds herself isolated inside the confines of her own family; Quincy himself struggles to live up to a family of such high renown. And when a gathering of old friends leads to unexpected tragedy, the very particular wounds in the heart of the Harkers’ marriage are about to be exposed…


The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry

When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in her hometown, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won’t find the killer. After all, the year before her father’s body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids. So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can’t just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realises that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the centre. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will.


The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea

1686, Iceland. A cold, windswept land where they talk of witches and fear strangers . . .

When Rósa is betrothed to Jón Eiríksson, she is sent to a remote village.

There she finds a man who refuses to speak of his recently deceased first wife, and villagers who view her with suspicion.

Isolated and disturbed by her husband’s strange behaviour, her fears deepen.

What is making the strange sounds in the attic?
Who does the mysterious glass figure she is given represent?
And why do the villagers talk of the coming winter darkness in hushed tones?


Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Destined to destroy empires, the child raised in shadows made a promise on the day she lost everything: to avenge herself on those that shattered her world.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, and Mia must become a weapon without equal. Before she seeks vengeance, she must seek training among the infamous assassins of the Red Church of Itreya.
Inside the Church’s halls, Mia must prove herself against the deadliest of opponents and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and daemons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Church is no ordinary school. But Mia is no ordinary student.
The Red Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student.
The shadows love her.
And they drink her fear.


Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Olive Kitteridge: indomitable, compassionate and often unpredictable. A retired schoolteacher in a small coastal town in Maine, as she grows older she struggles to make sense of the changes in her life. She is a woman who sees into the hearts of those around her, their triumphs and tragedies.

We meet her stoic husband, bound to her in a marriage both broken and strong, and a young man who aches for the mother he lost – and whom Olive comforts by her mere presence, while her own son feels overwhelmed by her complex sensitivities.

Have you read any of these books? Are any on your own TBR? Let me know in the comments!

www.blackwells.co.uk

Monthly Wrap Up – September 2020

I can’t believe it’s time for another monthly wrap up already! This month I managed to complete my GoodReads goal of reading 70 books! This has been the most I have ever read in a single year, even before I had my book burnout, where I was just about managing to read one book a year, I never read more than 50 books. I’m not going to increase my goal as I’m just happy to see how the number ends up at the end of the year, but I’m still very pleased with how I’ve done!

As it was September, my Top Five Friday posts and my Thoughtful Thursday post was very much centred around university, regardless of whether you’re in your first year or last year. It was very nice to take a trip down memory lane, I hope the posts were useful to my student followers too!

This month I have read some amazing books, some of my favourites in the year so I feel very lucky with my book choices this month. 

Books read this month

This month I read a total of 12 books (7 physical books and 5 ebooks)

  1. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
  2. Jessicaca by Suzy Blackledge (Review Request)
  3. The Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon 
  4. Hagen’s Curse by James Emmi (Review Request)
  5. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang 
  6. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (ARC)
  7. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  8. The Broken Hearts Honeymoon by Lucy Dickens (ARC)
  9. Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey
  10. The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
  11. Crowned a Traitor by Kate Callaghan (ARC) 
  12. Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
www.blackwells.co.uk

Favourite books read this month

The Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon
This novel probably has one of my favourite friendships in a novel this year. I just completely adored Twig and Flea and could have read an entire series about their adventures. Additionally, this novel had so many unexpected twists and turns that it was a joy to read and I had no idea how it was going to end. 

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
You’ve probably seen a lot of people talk about The Poppy War by now and all I can say is that it deserves all of the praise that it has been getting. Kuang’s novel is such an amazing, albeit difficult at times, read and it has me excited to read the rest of the series. 

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
I’m a complete sucker for modern retellings of classic Shakespeare plays and this is easily one of my favourites that I’ve ever come across. Who knew that 1920s Shanghai would lend itself to be a perfect setting for such a classic tragic romance? Regardless of if you love or hate Romeo and Juliet, Gong’s These Violent Delights is definitely a novel you should look out for when it is released on 17 November 2020! 

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
I thought that Hamnet would win the award for most heartbreaking novel of the month, but then along came The Song of Achilles. I already knew, for the most part, the story of Achilles and Patroclus, but nothing could prepare me for this novel. I loved Miller’s interpretation of one of the best Greek heroes in mythology and offered some brilliant insight into some of the actions of some of the Iliad’s major players.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
This book was such a delightful surprise, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a collection of stories set in a time travelling cafe. I knew I would enjoy it but within a few pages it became a favourite of the month. Each story was so touching for a variety of reasons and I felt myself tearing up multiple times. I’m very excited to read even more of the tales in the second book!

Lastly, on a different note, today is the last day of my current blog theme as over the weekend I will be taking the site offline whilst I update the theme and upgrade to a domain. I feel much more positive with this blog and blogging experience, than I ever did with my previous book blog. I’ve already been testing the changes (which will be fairly minor) on a test site and I’m very happy with the outcome and I’m excited to share the new look with you!

How has your month been? Are you sad Summer is over or excited Autumn is finally here? Let me know in the comments!

www.blackwells.co.uk

Book Haul – September 2020

My September 2020 book haul

This month I went a little rogue and went over the budget I allow myself for books… But I just couldn’t resist! I think a lot of these books have an autumn feel to them, books that I can get all cozy with. After reading the most books I’ve ever read in a month in August, I was very excited to restock my shelves! Check out the GoodReads description for the books below. 

The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld 

I thought about being too small for so much, but that no one told you when you were big enough … and I asked God if he please couldn’t take my brother Matthies instead of my rabbit. ‘Amen.’

Jas lives with her devout farming family in the rural Netherlands. One winter’s day, her older brother joins an ice skating trip; resentful at being left alone, she makes a perverse plea to God; he never returns. As grief overwhelms the farm, Jas succumbs to a vortex of increasingly disturbing fantasies, watching her family disintegrate into a darkness that threatens to derail them all.


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship–the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.


The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes

Jocasta is just fifteen when she is told that she must marry the King of Thebes, an old man she has never met. Her life has never been her own, and nor will it be, unless she outlives her strange, absent husband.

Ismene is the same age when she is attacked in the palace she calls home. Since the day of her parents’ tragic deaths a decade earlier, she has always longed to feel safe with the family she still has. But with a single act of violence, all that is about to change.

With the turn of these two events, a tragedy is set in motion. But not as you know it.


On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family’s history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.


Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

What would you change if you could go back in time?

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.

In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.

But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .


The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang

In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.


Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.

There is one other person in the house-a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.

Have you read any of the books I got this month? Are any on your wishlist? Let me know!

www.blackwells.co.uk