Book Box Club Unboxing

Month: September

Theme: Into the Wild

This month saw another release of the subscription box ‘ Book Box Club’ but this wasn’t any old box as it was the 2 year anniversary of the company. This meant that there was an extra goodie within for those who bought the box.

Upon opening the box you are presented with the leaflet stating the theme and what’s included alongside the envelope with the date of the exclusive book club meeting.

These leaflets are always beautifully illustrated and this months was no exception. It was fitting with the themes as it features simplistic trees along side a bear and a fox.

Within the box there is an abundance of bookish goodies including a campers picnic bag by http://www.sassandbelle.co.uk so you can take your snacks on your adventures with you. There is also an into the woods scarf by Book Box Club which features quotes from the featured book. There is also a massage bar by Naked Sister to relax yourself after your exciting adventures alongside a Caveswater Candle. On top of all those goodies there is also a little pad to keep your plans together.

A lost boys notebook designed by Georgine Makes is also included in the box so you can journal and plan all your exciting adventures alongside sample chapters from Neal and Jarrod Shustermans book ‘Dry’.

As this was the two year anniversary of the company we were treated to a bonus book. The bonus book is ‘Damsel’ by Elana K. Arnold which isn’t due to be released until November. This book features a handsome prince, a distressed damsel and a fierce dragon with excitement throughout.

The featured book this month is ‘The Other Side of Lost’ by Jessi Kirby which is a story about when you take the time to remove yourself from technology and take an adventure. It follows a social media star who swaps her technology dependant life for a solo hike into the woods.

Yet again I highly recommend this subscription box and hope that you would enjoy Kate and Libby work as much as I do.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if your are subscribed to book box club or have ever read the featured book)

Jinxed by Amy McCulloch (Mini Review)

 

jinxed

Jinxed by Amy McCulloch is a YA science-fiction book that centres around a world of engineering and coding. In this world there is a young girl named Lacey Chu whose dream is to become a companioneer for the tech company Moncha. This company created the BAKU, your very own robotic companion who replaces the role of your smart phone.

I found this book was really entertaining and exciting as you got the chance to learn about this world and about what happens with the BAKU. It is also exciting to see a book based upon engineering and coding with a female lead character. The character of Lacey is very likeable and realistic and I think would resonate with young female readers as she shows that you can achieve your dreams. Lacey is a talented engineer whose best friend is a talented coder who are exciting as it allows the book to promote strong female leads in a world once thought of as a male world.

This book mixes the world of new technology and inventions with teenage drama and friendships. I think this is also a reason as to why I liked this book as it blends the excitement of the BAKU battles and new school drama effortlessly. You see Lacey deal with making new and maintaining friendship whilst exploring this exciting and eventful new world.

The ending leaves questions as well as answers as it ends leaving us wonder what happens to Lacey and her BAKU. It ends on a cliffhanger which leads you to think there is potential for a blossoming series within this technology focused world. Overall I really enjoyed this book as it was entertaining and realistic with strong leads. It didn’t really feature any of the hard-hitting topics that I would usually read about which added some light relief to my reading experience.

I would highly recommend this book and feel that it was well-written, structures with good characters.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to comment your opinion on this book or whether you intend on reading it)

John Green Books

I have previously read three of John Greens books and I really liked them. I have read ‘The Fault in our Stars’, ‘Looking for Alaska’ and ‘Paper towns’. John Green has released many YA novels that look at teenage life in many ways.

the fault in our stars

‘The Fault in our Stars’ is a very well known book and has had a film adaptation made from it. I read the book after the hype of the film came about. Everyone seemed to be raving about the film and I never watched it for ages and decided to read the book instead. I think the book is very well written in a way that it talks about a serious illness yet it isn’t complicated and is romantic. I was sat on the couch one night and read the book in one sitting as I couldn’t put the book down. This book both tackles the highs and lows of being a cancer patient whilst being a novel about teenage romance. I have to admit I did cry upon reading the ending as it was so powerful. This book was very well received with high ratings on websites such as good reads and YA Book Central. It is an emotional rollercoaster that made you laugh, cry and smile and a book I would highly recommend. (PS I never did get round to reading the film)

looking for alaska

Looking for Alaska’ was also a great book and one that I would highly recommend. It looks at a teenage boy is dragged into the world of the new girl at school. It is a well written teenage book and I think it is realistic and easily comprehensible. The characters are interesting and well developed which helps to add to the realism. It is written in a way that is easy to understand and is not complex in a way that would make you think of anything but the intended storyline. It really explores teenage life at a boarding school with a mysterious new pupil.

paper towns

‘Paper towns’ shares the story of two teenagers who go on a midnight adventure and soon one of them becomes a mystery. The one who disappears and left the other trying to find her. But what will he learn along the way? It is well written and does keep you engaged in the story as well. I love the characters however I do feel as though they were a little predictable as they reminded me of the characters in Looking for Alaska, A teenage boy who is trying to reach out to the girl who is unattainable. Saying that they are well developed and intriguing even although they are similar. I think that upon reading other reviews it is not just my opinion that both Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns seems to follow the same formula and although they are different stories they seem to based upon the same plan. However, I would recommend this book but I would just warn you that it is a good book, I would read it again but it is similar to Looking for Alaska.

Overall, I would say from what I have read that John Green is a very good YA author and writes books that do appeal to the target audience and I would recommend the books I have mentioned. I would like to read more of his novels in the future.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if you have ever read one of John Greens novels or intend to)

‘The Lost Witch’ By Melvin Burgess

the lost witch

 

The Lost Witch by Melvin Burgess was part of a recent subscription box service I received that I have written a previous blog post on and I have just finished reading it. It is based upon a young girl, Bea, who discovers she has powers. These powers are something that she has never experienced before and she has to come to terms with this alongside a witch hunt headed straight for her. The book is a young adult fiction and one which I enjoyed reading.

This is a book that I generally would not have chosen and I am glad it was a part of this subscription box as I really liked the novel. It has a good balance of character development, mystery and magic to create a great novel. I liked the structure of the book as well as it is chapter based with each chapter being reasonably small in length which allows for easy progression and targets.

The characters in this book are a real strong point as all of the main characters are extremely well thought out and developed. The main character of Bea is likeable and realistic even although she is a witch. She has a real innocence about her as she tries to come to terms with the new discoveries she makes every day and you see a real vulnerable side throughout the book which would be expected with a young teenager.  The other witches you meet throughout the book are also very well developed. This is something I didn’t expect however as there are a few of them and they are not necessarily the main character. Each witch is explained and met in a concise yet informative manner which allows for an insight into who they are and why they are that way. However, I feel as though when we meet back up with Bea’s dad his mental state wasn’t explored enough and I didn’t comprehend fully how he got to that stage.

I found the storyline intriguing and it kept me wanting to read on however I felt as though the ending didn’t do the rest of the book justice. The whole novel is leading up to a climax where it is the witches versus the hunt however I felt as though it was very anti-climactic. It was expected to be a big immense battle which it wasn’t. I also felt as though it was rushed. A lot of time was spent building this moment up but when the ending occurred I felt kind of disappointed. I feel as though even although there was a conclusion it wasn’t one that left me feeling as I had completed this book. I think the ending would have been a lot better if it had a few dedicated chapters specifically to it to be able to explore the possibilities and why it had ended in the way it had. Either that or chapter dedicated to what happened after the moment between the hunt and the witches and to see how Bea handled it alongside the other witches.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book as it is a great read with a great adventure. It has a young female lead and a great storyline. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would love to read other books by this author.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if you have ever read this book or would like to in the future)

What would make me give a book a 5/5 rating?

  1. Well-developed characters. To me this is the most important part of a book. If a character is not well-developed then they can often be unrealistic or hinders the intended storyline. You may be more focused on trying to understand the character rather than exploring the storyline and events.
  2. It has to be well structured. This can mean different things to different people so it is completely personal. I prefer having shorter and a larger number of chapters rather than one continuous prose or large sections as it allows me to see progress much easier and provide myself with reading targets. For example to read a chapter before I go to sleep. Even although this is preferred I have read book that are more of a continuous prose and enjoyed it however it has to be written in an engaging way to keep me reading.
  3. It stimulates your brain. A good book has to engage your thoughts and allow you to regularly form your own opinions and feelings for the book and its characters. You must be fully invested into the book and want to continue reading in order to fully enjoy the storyline.
  4. Well-written. The book has to be well-written in an engaging way. This completely depend on the genre and target audience but if, for example, your boo is aimed at a younger audience or children then you have to write it in a way that engages them. Easy to understand language and quick sentences. Whereas crime novels may focus on the correct terminology and language. A book that I have read that was extremely well-written was ‘Call Me by Your Name’ by Andre Aciman. It is written in a beautiful manner that is almost like poetry in the way it flows throughout the pages.

These are a few important factors that I judge a book off of but this isn’t what everyone would prioritise. I personally prioritise character development whereas others may choose the structure. This is my opinions and I hope it helps you to find yours.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment what makes you rate a book 5/5)

WARLORD by Chris Ryan

warlord

Warlord by Chris Ryan is the fifth installment in the Danny Black series and is a great read. I have just finished reading this novel and absolutely loved it. It is at times brutal and quite gruesome however, I do feel this adds to the realism as it something that would actually occur. As it is the fifth installment and I hadn’t read the previous books I initially thought I would struggle to keep up with the characters. I do not feel as though I did struggle however as the characters and story line was well developed. There were certain small references to the previous books but not enough to confuse the story line of this book. As a whole this book is one in which reading the previous installments are not vital.

It features SAS team member Danny Black and his team who try to fight the world of drugs, violence and cartels in Mexico. This novel features a fair amount of violent scenes and shocking events so do be prepared for that if you are going to read the book.

I feel as though Danny Black is a likable character. He is a very serious and determined man however he does show his fear and grief. His reputation is portrayed as a trusty and brave man who has been through a lot but has yet came out the other side. The characters are all well developed and understandable even though it is the fifth book. The characters are all portrayed excellently and are very realistic.

This novel is fast-paced and filled with action that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. The book is very well written and you can see how Chris Ryan’s personal experiences influenced and aided this as it felt as though you were there with the characters and within the story line throughout.

I would highly recommend this book however you should be prepared for gritty and violent events within as well as a multitude of emotions. It is an emotional roller coaster which sticks with you even after reading.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to comment your opinion on the Danny Black series or other books similair)

New Book Haul

I recently purchased two new books and I am really excited to read them so I thought I would share them with you. I went into the bookshop looking to spend my vouchers and decided to spend it on the following two books;

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

murder on the orient express

Murder on the Orient Express is a book I have heard of for years but it wasn’t until the movie was released in 2017 that I had actually thought about reading it. It seems like a book that I would really like and I am surprised it has taken me so long to buy it. It is based upon the mysterious murder on the train, the Orient Express. The victim was stabbed numerous times in his compartment however the door is locked from the inside. With the train stationary due to a snowdrift everyone must find out who the murderer is as the ‘Murderer us with us – on the train now…’

It is the 10th instalment in the Hercule Poirot however you can read this book without reading the others without feeling confused. Due to the fact it was originally published in 1934 it has gained many fans and with the new movie it has become more popular again. In December 2014, the novel was included in Entertainment Weekly’s list of the Nine Great Christie Novels.

I have heard that this is a great novel to read in the crime/mystery genre which makes you think and engages you throughout and I am really excited to read it.

 

Talking with Female Serial Killers by Christopher Berry-Dee

talking with female serial killers

I tend to read fictional novels however I decided to take a look at the non-fiction crime sections whilst I was browsing the shop. I came across this book by Berry-Dee which took my interest. I find documentaries and films/TV programmes on real crime and serial killers really interesting and so therefore I think that I will find this book intriguing. It shares the stories of female killers such as Beverley Allitt and Suzanne Basso alongside women who kill under the influence of their male accomplices such as the famous serial killer Myra Hindley. It shares information and the cases of the women who not only kill but kill repeatedly.

This book was originally published in May 2018 so it is a recent publication so therefore may include more details that other books may not necessarily include. I have looked this book up on Goodreads and it does have mixed reviews with people saying the title may be misleading. Despite this there are good reviews and I am excited to read this book in order to make my own decision on the quality of this book.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to comment your opinion on these books or if you have any new book recommendations)

My to-read list

I have many books that I come across and really want to read so therefore add it to my to-read list. I have decided to share this list so if you are looking for a new book to read you can have a look at these

 

perfect silence

  1. Perfect Silence by Helen Fields. This book is yet to be released and is expected to be published on the 23 August 2018. It is the fourth instalment in the DI Callanach Series and if you have read previous blog posts you will know I am a big fan of this series. It follows DI Callanach and DCI Ava Turner as they investigate yet another brutal case whilst facign their own personal lives. I am very excited for this book to be released and I cannot wait to read it.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36589626-perfect-silence?ac=1&from_search=true

 

 

diane-jeffrey
Cover not yet released
  1. He Will Find You by Diane Jeffrey. This is yet another book to be released and is due to be available in August 2018. This is the second book by the author following on from her 2017 best selling physiological thriller ‘Those Who Lie’. I really enjoyed this book buy Diane Jeffrey and therefore I am looking forward to reading another one of her novels. IT follows Kaitlyn Best. A girl who becomes pregnant after a one-night stand and begins a new life with her school crush Alex. But is Alex all what he seems?

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40773724-he-will-find-you?ac=1&from_search=true

pretty little things

 

  1. Pretty Little Things by T.M.E Walsh. This novel is a book that I have wanted to read for a few weeks now after having read ‘All Our Sins’. This book is about an investigation into girls who have gone missing but their bodies found. It follows a mother who is doing all she can to keep her daughter safe after these events and the investigation by DI Madelaine Wood into the murders. Do they know everyone the way they think they do?

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38091257-pretty-little-things?ac=1&from_search=true

 

how to stop time

  1. How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. This book is one I stumbled across whilst looking online and I was drawn to it. It isn’t something I would generally choose but the idea of it sounds like something that I might enjoy out of my comfort zone. It follows Tom Hazard, to anyone else he is a normal 40 year old man but this isn’t the case. He has been alive for hundreds of years and has had to change his identity regularly in order to survive. He now wants a normal life but can he find it?

I am really excited to read this book and see what it is all about. I would like to see how the author tackles this unusual storyline.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35411685-how-to-stop-time

can you hear me

  1. Can You Hear Me? By Elena Varvello is an Italian Thriller. It is an unbearably hot summer, not unlike many others. For sixteen year-old Elia Furenti, living an unremarkable life of moderate unhappiness, the summer promises little. That is, until the day the beautiful, damaged Anna – the mother of his new friend Stefano – returns to Ponte and firmly propels Elia to the edge of adulthood. Then everything starts to unravel. It is set in 1978 which would usually out me off as I prefer books set in current time however it sounds like a great read and I am looking forward to reading it.

https://www.waterstones.com/book/can-you-hear-me/elena-varvello/alex-valente/9781473654891

Many Thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to comment if you have read or want to read any of these books.)

The Carnivia Trilogy Review

 

The carnvia trilogy

The Carnivia Trilogy by Jonathan Holt is one of my favourite series and I think that it a series that engages your thoughts and draws you in. It is unlike anything I had read before as it is based in two different settings that intertwine. It is set in both reality (Venice) and an online world (Carnivia). In this online world you are completely anonymous and due to this it is both an exciting and scary world.

Venice as a setting is something that really helps with this story as it adds a new dimension to the plot. Venice is often romanticised in movies and literature however this book shines another light on the city showing the canals as a link to crime and death. The online version of Venice, Carniva, also shares this outlook with it being the setting of many crimes and secrets.

I found the books are complex however they are easily read. I find that there are multiple lines of story within the book but they link in a way that diffuses the confusion and allows for an enjoyable and engaging story. It is structured in a way that I enjoyed as it is short chapters which allows for a progression that you can aim for. It is a novel packed with characters and detail and action that is so engaging and exciting.

The books are also featured around a police procedural environment also as we meet Kat and Aldo who investigate these different crimes whilst stumbling upon this online world and having to deal with many twists and turns. The characters are both realistic and intriguing with keeps you enticed and wanting to read on. Each book leads onto the next as we wish to learn more about the characters and their part in this online world.  There are multiple more characters that are great to get to know and understand their place in the story also.

I would completely recommend this series and it is a series that would be enjoyed by most people as it is full of characters we love, exciting action, and extraordinary detailed. Set in both a reality and a virtual world which adds further dimension to the book.

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

img_20180627_1647178881891185354464362.jpg

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner is the first instalment in the DS Manon Series. It focuses in the investigation into a missing woman, Edith Hind, and how the police are dealing with this investigation with little leads and personal circumstances. This book features a police preocedural storyline however the characters are explored and can be seen as the main focus of the book. I agree that the character development is important in this book and seeing how the different characters deal with every situation is both intriguing and engaging. I like how the book isn’t necessarily set out in chapters but rather in character based sections. Each section is from a different characters viewpoint throughout the investigation which I feel was a great way to structure this book as each characters experience is important to the way the story is portrayed.

I find that character development is one of the most important things to me when reading a book. If the characters are not realistic or explored I feel as though the book is less engaging and enjoyable and I am glad this book features good characters with depth with likable and realistic characters.

DS Manon was the most developed character and I found her very likeable as a character and police officer. I think she is a strong character and she is realistically portrayed. She has realistic qualities which is relevant and relatable. She is affected by her job whilst dealing with her own personal circumstances and relationships. She is a strong character however she does show a vulnerable side which I think also makes her relatable and likeable as a character. Davy is also a likable character and seeing him through Manon section and viewpoint was good as you could see their relationship and friendship as he can see through her hard and negative exterior.

Even although I loved this book and would totally recommend it to anyone who is interested in police procedural novels that also features great characters. I do feel as though the ending was slightly rushed and not explored in a way that gave me a satisfying conclusion. The book explores the investigation and characters a lot throughout the majority of the book which I love whilst exploring new leads and twists however I feel that the concluding sections were as if the ending was not fully developed and I was slightly confused on first reading. I personally would have preferred for the book to be slightly longer to allow for further development of the ending sections as I loved the book and feel as though another section would strengthen my opinion.

Overall, I would say that this book is excellent at providing a book that features a police procedural storyline whilst giving a character development on multiple people. I would highly recommend this book and I am excited to continue reading the further books in the series and further books by Susie Steiner.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if you have read this series or one that heavily features police procedure and character development)