The Haul of Mysteries

Hello bookish fiends!

‘Tis the month of October where darkness falls upon the land and I rush to my favourite haunt: The Library. In anticipation of rainy days and cold nights, I’ve borrowed some creepy and dark and mysterious books to keep me company.

A Fever of the Blood

A Fever of the Blood by Oscar de Muriel

This is probably the book I’m most excited to have picked up. I recently finished reading the first book in this Victorian-era mystery series and had a great time reading it so I wanted to get my hands on the next instalment asap! This one is about witches in Lancashire and will hopefully be just as creepy as the first book.

Murder As A Fine Art

Murder As A Fine Art by David Morrell

I’ve been on a bit of a Victorian-era murder mystery binge lately. I’ve always enjoyed these kinds of stories but now I am really in the best kind of mood for them. This one follows a writer who has become the latest suspect in a mass murder case as the murders seem to be eerily familiar to those described in one of the essays the protagonist has written.

Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula

Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula by Loren D. Estleman

I mean, Sherlock Holmes plus the Count himself. Possibly the best (monster) mash-up I’ve heard of. Hopefully the story lives up to the concept. It’s relatively short at only 188 pages so it should be a quick, fun read.

Poirot #1

The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie

What’s a mystery haul without the Lady of Crime Fiction herself? I’ve watched many an adaption of Agatha Christie’s stories and I feel like it’s about time I read one. This is Poirot’s first appearance so I’m starting from the beginning.

Goth Girl #1

Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell

These books are very well-loved and since Halloween’s coming up, it seemed like the perfect time to pick up the first book in this series. It seems quite charming and dark and whimsical which is exactly what I like to find in a children’s novel. Also, the illustrations look wonderful.

Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

I’ve seen this book on a lot of people’s autumn reading recommendations lists so I thought it might be a good time to give it a go. It’s had pretty mixed reviews but I enjoyed Blake’s previous novel, Antigoddess, so hopefully I’ll like this one too. It’s about three siblings who have to fight each other in a game of life or death in order to become Queen.

The Diviners

The Diviners by Libba Bray

This is another murder mystery, but this time set in an atmospheric 1920’s New York. From the blurb I’m guessing there might also be supernatural or paranormal elements? Hopefully because this book sounds exactly like my cup of tea. It’ll be really interesting for me to read a murder mystery set in this era, halfway across the world, too.

Monstress

 

Monstress by Marjorie M. Liu

I first heard about this wee gem from Thoughts on Tomes and we tend to have very similar taste when it comes to graphic novels in particular. The story seemed complex and the art style looked so very beautiful (which it is, holy crap). I’m currently reading this and loving it. It covers some really dark themes, so it’s probably best to do a little research before you pick this one up (I’ll speak about CWs in more detail once I’ve finished it).

Fantasy Encyclopedia

Fantasy Encyclopedia by Judy Allen

This was the only book I bought in this haul and I am so happy that I did (for only £2.81 yay bargains). It has some great illustrations and contains a little information on every imaginable creature from folklore and legend, plus quite a few I’d never before heard of. This is a great coffee-table type of book to flick through and dip in and out of when you need a bit of a break from the real world.


So that’s it for this library haul. What are some of the books you’ve borrowed lately? Any creepy books you can recommend me?
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The Summer Reading Challenge

Hello bookish friends!

The Summer Reading Challenge is essentially a readathon created by libraries that encourages children to continue reading over the summer period. The challenge is to read a book for each week of the summer holidays. Each year there is a different theme for the challenge. This year was called ‘Animal Agents’ where a crime had been committed and, with each book read, another sticker would be received, so that when you’ve completed the challenge, you will have also figured out who committed the crime. It’s always quite an interactive challenge, with there being lots of extra quests to complete alongside the main challenge.

As a volunteer for the Summer Reading Challenge, you have to ask children questions about the book(s) they’ve read each session they come to and ask them whether or not they liked it, who their favourite characters were, who they’d recommend the book to, etc.

This is the second year I’ve participated in the Challenge and I think I enjoyed myself even more than last year. It’s such a wonderful experience, listening to children tell you about their passion for reading. Particularly when it’s a Roald Dahl book or a Harry Potter book! I had one child who was telling me about Chamber of Secrets (after having read it for the first time) and I asked her if she had seen any of the films. She said she had only seen the first one and was planning to read each book and then watch the corresponding film afterwards. I had such a huge grin on my face. That child made my day. I also felt so jealous! Imagine experiencing all that magic again for the first time!? She was so lucky!

I guess the point of this blog post is to encourage people to, if they can, participate in the Summer Reading Challenge next year. With all the library cuts in London, staff need volunteers now more than ever and, honestly, there’s no better feeling than seeing how happy a child gets when they have completed their sixth book. If you’re not sure if you’ll be any good around children, don’t worry, I’ve always felt the same. Turns out, kids are just tiny people and they’re actually pretty easy to talk to and have jokes with. Also, they all genuinely love reading and get really excited telling you about the books they’ve read. So you’ll be fine!

I had the best time this summer volunteering and cannot wait to do it again next year. If you want to know anything else about volunteering for your local library, please don’t hesitate to ask me anything you like! I also work in a university library, too, so if you ever find yourself wondering about libraries and how they work from a behind-the-scenes point of view, hit me up!

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Library Haul #1

Hello bookish friends!

I don’t tend to buy books very often and when I do, they tend to be either new releases or Birthday/Christmas presents, so hauls aren’t really a thing I can ever really do on my blog. BUT, library books are a different matter entirely. Some people have a book-buying problem. I, however, have a library-borrowing problem.

So I thought it’d be cool to share all my recent borrows from the various libraries I’m a member of. I have a much lower threshold for borrowing books, too. Usually, when I buy books, I’ll look it up on Goodreads for the reviews and take a long time weighing up whether or not I actually need to own the book. But, with library books, if I think a book looks interesting, I’ll borrow it on a whim. Which makes my reading life a lot more exciting!

The Hidden Kingdom

1. The Hidden Kingdom by Ian Beck

I’d never heard of this one before I picked it up but the cover really intrigued me. I looked it up later on Goodreads and it’s meant to be a Japanese-style fantasy world which sounds incredibly interesting to me since I’ve mainly only come across European type of fantasies. Also, the prologue mentions demons and Hades so I’m all in!

Under the Never Sky

2. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

This one has been on my radar for a while. It had a bit of hype when it first came out in 2012 and I heard really great things from reviewers I trust, so I’m pretty excited to start reading it. The only thing that had put me off until now was the cover because, I mean, look at the state of it. Eurgh.

Steelheart

3. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

I’ve been making my way through all of Sanderson’s Cosmere books and I’ve never before read anything else of his so I thought I’d start with his Reckoners series. I’ve heard it’s action-packed and fast-paced so I’ll be interested to see if I like his other non-Cosmere works, too.

Graceling

4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

This is another fantasy series I’ve heard great things about and have been meaning to pick up for a while. I really like the idea of this series being companion novels, too. Also, the main character sounds badass and I am all about that.

The Dream Thieves

5. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

I read The Raven Boys about a year and a half ago and gave it a solid four stars. No idea why I haven’t picked the sequel up yet! I think that’s a common theme throughout this post – books I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages!!

The Rasputin Dagger

6. The Rasputin Dagger by Theresa Breslin

This is another one I knew nothing about when I picked it up. The title is what originially intrigued me – I love anything to do with 20th Century European history. It’s set in 1916 St Petersburg, Russia and follows Nina, who is looking to escape her past and Stefan, who wants to change Russia for the better. The synopsis mentions the royal family, Rasputin (obviously!) and two mysterious daggers. My kind of thing!

The Name of the Wind

7. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I’ve never seen this one at any of my libraries before so I was so happy to see this on the shelf! It’s a long-ass book so I’m not sure when I’ll be motivated enough to pick it up but this is a very well-loved book/series so I’ll get to it soon. Promise!


So that’s it for all the library books I’ve borrowed in the last couple of months. Have you picked anything exciting up from the library lately?
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