Event: Reading Cram 2.0 – Chills and Thrills – Challenge #1: TBR

Welcome to my first challenge of Reading Cram 2.0 – Chills and Thrills Readathon. Not spotted my intro post? Read it here!

#1: The TBR Challenge 

Book 1: The Angel Inside (The Luminosi Brotherhood Series #1) by Rea Ford

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This is a book I was approached to review and has been waiting on my TBR pile for far too long. It looks like a great short-ish book to start with!

Spooky theme: Paranormal / Angels

Book 2: The Vampire Next Door by Angela Snyder

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I had been eyeing this book on Amazon UK for quite a while but when I heard that it was on sale, I quickly snapped up this intriguing read.

Spooky theme: Vampires

Book 3: Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter

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I bought this book in it’s physical form as a treat to myself a few weeks ago. I love the writing of Gena Showalter and the Alice in Wonderland stories so I’m excited to see what an amalgamation of the two with added zombies will be like.

Spooky theme: Zombies

Book 4: The Wolf’s Mate Book 6: Logan & Jenna by R.E. Butler

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I found this book as an Amazon Kindle freebie and I’m not going to lie, I just got it for the cover. Phwoar!

Spooky theme: Werewolves

Book 5: The Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness

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I have been trying to get around to reading this book for far too long and it really needs to go back to the library soon. Really hope I get round to it this time!

Spooky theme: Vampires, Witches & Demons

~*~

Well, that’s my list! I may get through it, I may not. I will certainly give it my best shot though. I look forward to seeing what everyone else decides to read!

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Event: Reading Cram 2.0 – Chills and Thrills Readathon

Chills and Thrills

 #ReadingCram: Chills and Thrills Readathon

Friday 24th October – Friday 31st October 2014

Hosted by:

Juliababyjen // DanaSquare // A Perfection Called Books // Little Red Reads

Welcome to my intro / sign up post for the Reading Cram 2.0: Chills and Thrills Halloween Readathon! This readathon was introduced to me by the wonderful Ashley of Perks of Being a Late Night Reader after #Octobathon had sadly ended. I adore readathons and (basically) any excuse to get my book out.

So, a Halloween themed readathon – what on earth do you read?! Well, if you haven’t already guessed: Paranormal, Witches, Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, Thriller and Mystery books. Spoilt for choice really!

My Goals:

  • Finally read Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter
  • Take part in whatever Challenges I can – being mindful of getting up the next day bright and early for work.
  • Enjoy myself!

And thats it from me for now. I will be posting my reading list on (or around) the 24th!

Want to join in too? Sign up here!

Event Write Up: Octobathon – 17th-19th October 2014

Well it’s been a fantastic weekend but #Octobathon is, for me, complete. At the time of writing it’s only 11pm here in the UK but I must be up far too early in the morning for work to stay up until the bitter end. That I will happily leave to others taking part.

Overall it was a relatively quiet weekend but I was extremely pleased not to be alone. Thank you to everyone who took part – you were utterly fabulous!

Over the weekend I joined some of you in the wonderful Reading Sprints, with others chatting about books (heaven!) and congratulating so many who completed books – more than one for some.

So, to tally up my reading:

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Book 1: The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah.
This is a new Hercule Poirot mystery, a continuation of the character and books by the wonderful Agatha Christie. I found the book to be one continuous puzzle with twists and turns galore. I enjoyed the characters and loved the complete mystery of it all. Hard as I tried though, I didn’t quite manage to work the whole thing out before the end!
Complete review to be added later.
Number of pages: 400

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Book 2: The Christmas Bake Off by Abby Clements.
As a massive fan of the UK’s Great British Bake Off I was immediately hooked on this book. It was an extremely short story but so sweet and with such lovely characters I wished the story was so much longer. It took only 10 minutes to read but a great introduction to the author and a break from the miserably wet world outside. Fortunately there weren’t too many characters to keep track of but those that there were, were well rounded and likeable. I wish the book were longer.
Number of pages: 25

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Book 3: Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1) by Stephanie Perkins
I wasn’t sure at all what to expect from this book but I was extremely pleasantly surprised and soon well and truly hooked. It was definitely a Young Adult story and one I (a little past my teen years) could get my teeth well and truly into with alarming alacrity. The story was extremely well written and I was so sad to say goodbye to Etienne and Anna at the end.
Complete review to be added later.
Number of pages: 396

Total number of books read: 3
Total number of pages read: 821

But what now? Well, I’m planning on holding another Readathon Event! This will be around the end of November / beginning of December. I will certainly be planning it a little earlier than this one – there was an entire 3 days notice! – so watch out for an introductory blog post.

If you have any ideas for the readathon, any dates I should miss during that period (and a reason for doing so please) or want to help promote or plan it then please give me a bell at: jenny bees book blog at gmail dot com (simply change to the usual email format) with the title ‘Readathon 2014’.

My thanks and love to all who made #Octobathon so fantastic,

JennyBee x

Octobathon Reading List

After a rather tiring time at work today it’s been a wonderful hour (yes, that long) that I’ve spent going through my bookshelves, kindle and library loans to find the books I really want to read this weekend for Octobathon.

For those unaware, Octobathon is my version of a readathon. It runs from tomorrow, Friday 17th October to Sunday 19th October. All are welcome to join in, mainly via Twitter – just tweet along with the hashtag #Octobathon 

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I have no idea how many people will be joining in – I only came up with the idea on Tuesday as a good way to fill my weekend – so it will be interesting to see if I shall be on my tod or not! Oh well, the fridge is stocked with nibbles for my 3 day long reading fest and the fuzzy slippers, warm blankets and comfy chair are all calling my name already.

As for reading material, I’ve gone with the advice of the wonderful Heather Van Fleet (author of Finding Her Way Back) and chosen some (hopefully) pleasurable reads. All of my chosen books are library loans. Working in a library part of my time, you always get to see some fantastic books going across the desk. Personally I think I’ve chosen a few complete stonkers:

Book 1: The Monogram Murders (Hercule Poirot Mystery #1) by Sophie Hannah

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Since discovering that a new Hercule Poirot mystery was being released, I have been beyond excited to read it. Unfortunately as soon as I got it through the door, my darling parentals nabbed it to read themselves! I have finally managed to grab it back for the weekend and I cannot wait to get stuck in. I adore Poirot and really hope Sophie Hannah has kept his little ways and means and not changed things too much.

Book 2: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness

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This is a library book I have had on loan for what seems like aeons. The first book, A Discovery of Witches was one I read at the end of July (see my review here) and was a complete revelation to me. I loved it! For whatever reason though, I never got round to picking up book 2 and I’m taking my chance now. Very much looking forward to it.

Book 3: Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1) by Stephanie Perkins

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Since I started blogging in May this year and talking with other book bloggers, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews of this series and I was delighted to find my libraries had a copy in stock. I swiftly requested it and it’s in my hands ready for the weekend. I really hope I love it – it would be so awful to be disappointed but I am none-the-less looking forward to trying it for myself.

 

So, have i tempted you to join in with Octobathon yourself? I hope so! Simply tweet along this weekend using the hashtag #Octobathon . Not sure what a readathon is or if you’ll have time to read? Just take a look at my Octobathon intro post here for some guidelines and explanations.

Event: Octobathon – 17th-19th October 2014

Readathon: An hour, two or an entire weekend. Settle in with a stack of books, a cosy chair and a mug of something. A blissful way to spend your time.

It’s been a while since I last took part in a Readathon and, given the ever more horrible autumnal weather here in the UK I think it’s the perfect time to snuggle down under a blanket and get stuck in to my massive TBR pile. I have therefore created a new Readathon (imaginatively!) named Octobathon!

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The idea of a Readathon is simple – over a set period of time, read! It doesn’t matter how little or how much you read, simply that you do.

So, here are a few basic guidelines:

  • Use the hashtag #Octobathon on Twitter to tweet what you’ve been reading
  • Octobathon lasts from Friday 17th October – Sunday 19th October 2014. There are no set times during those dates; I am aware people will likely be working, socialising, in different time zones and so much more.
  • Read whatever YOU want to read – eBooks, paperbacks, hardbacks, fiction or non-fiction, new or old.
  • Read as much as YOU are able – it may be a paragraph, a page, a chapter, an entire book or 2 or 3.
  • Like to plan ahead? Let us know through Twitter (#Octobathon) what you’re planning to read!
  • If you have a blog, how about writing an intro or ending post about what you’ve read – I will!
  • Most of all though – Enjoy yourself.

If you want to take part or have any ideas for the weekend, please let me know via my email: jenny bees book blog at gmail dot com – I would love to hear all your suggestions. If possible, I may put together a chat (if anyone is interested) and/or a giveaway.

Love,
JennyBee x

Event Review: #SexMeUpReadathon & #Sunathon

Today (Sunday) sees the culmination of seven days of wonderful reading time. Firstly with #SexMeUpReadathon running Monday to Friday and (at the same time) #Sunathon running Monday to Sunday.

I have to say, apart from the craziness of having both running at the same time I’ve really enjoyed both of them. I haven’t read nearly as much as I have wanted – work, darn! – but I have loved sitting back in the evenings with a good book and the motivation to read instead of watching telly.

The two readathon’s were run by different groups/individuals and came across completely differently. Both were based on/in Twitter which made following and interaction easy and quick – at least until I managed to be a complete idiot and take Twitter off my phone; my usual method of following. After that it was back to the PC when I was able.

Although I had put together a list of TBR books at the beginning of the challenges, I didn’t end up following it. Instead I read (or began to read):

The Right Side of Mr Wrong by Jane Linfoot (#SexMeUpReadathon) – Reviewed 21st July 2014
The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam (#Sunathon) – Reviewed 25th July 2014
The Story of O by Pauline Réage (#SexMeUpReadathon) – Still reading
Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett (#Sunathon) – Complete but not reviewed
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (#SexMeUpReadathon) – Still reading
Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie (#Sunathon) – Complete but not reviewed
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (#Sunathon) – Still reading

 

#SexMeUpReadathon:

The #SexMeUpReadathon was a fantastic way to ‘big up’ erotic fiction and to really talk about it with other readers and the authors themselves – having an itinerary to follow also helped! I will admit that it did get a little confusing in the end with things like blog posts going on through different platforms (many of which didn’t seem to get a great deal of interaction unfortunately from those involved) and three different hash tags to follow. Two of the hash tags were in use generally on Twitter so following via those was near impossible. The two were: #StaySexy and #LetsGetItOn. I did enjoy the #SexMeUpReadathon takeover on the last day (Friday) by The Hot Bed; a group of 4 women with a love of erotic fiction who all work at the publishers Simon & Schuster. Unfortunately this partially involved using another platform; Tumblr – one I don’t tend to use at all.

I had been hoping to extend my #SexMeUpReadathon over the weekend but gave this idea up in favour of savouring my last two days of #Sunathon. I think the general consensus by those involved to extend their reading over the weekend rather confused matters so the end of the #SexMeUpReadathon was very up in the air. Despite the things mentioned however, I did love taking part and would do so again in a heartbeat. The TBR pile of erotic fiction I have waiting is still rather large and only getting larger thanks to freebies on Amazon!

 

#Sunathon:

#Sunathon was very different and fantastic in it’s simpleness – Tweeting about what you’re reading and posting the odd picture. Retweeting, favouriting and conversing! I loved that #Sunathon went over the weekend too – I don’t know a great number of people with the leisure time needed in the week to really get their teeth into a book. The only thing that would have been better would be the readathon starting the Friday evening beforehand to include 2 weekends! I look forward to the chat going on at 8pm tonight to see how that will work.

 

I loved that the two weren’t races to read. They were designed to encourage people to read and to share their love of the books they had encountered. Overall, the two very different readathons were a fantastic introduction for me as my joint first.

I greatly look forward to joining more in the future.

 

 

 

A final note: These are my honest opinions of events as I have experienced them. They are in no way meant to be attacking or condescending, merely my thoughts and memory for the future.

Review: The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam

21443281 Source: Goodreads First Reads
Format: Paperback ARC
Publish date: 28th August 2014 by Penguin
Price: N/A
Date Read: 24th July 2014

Note: I received this copy of The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam for free through Goodreads First Reads. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.

I was delighted to receive this copy of The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House through the post as it was one which greatly appealed to me. I was shocked to discover on it’s arrival that it is an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC), so I am not allowed to post any quotes from it – much as I may wish. At a little over 500 pages, this paperback book is rather thick but surprisingly lightweight with reasonably sized but not overly large text. I especially enjoyed the floppiness of the pages – it was a joy not to have to wrestle to open a book! The cover is somewhat sedate and rather dignified but striking – I adore it.

The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House is a story set in two different time periods. The scene is set in the seaside town of Helmstone, a place with sharp cliffs, holidaymakers, day-trippers, a fairground and a hotel – among other things. Chapter one begins the story in 1965 with the main character of that period Rosie Churchill. She is a young woman in her late teens and run away from home and sixth form to rent a bed in the rundown yet still beautiful Castaway House in Helmstone. Castaway House though has its secrets. Rosie is soon set on discovering who the mysterious ‘R.C’ is; a drawing of a man with the initials ‘R.C.’ is found wedged behind some skirting boards, a mysterious message is discovered carved and inked into the frame of a window and whispers of trouble years ago come to Rosie’s ears.

In 1924, a young and somewhat naïve nineteen year old Robert Carver makes his way to Helmstone to stay with his wealthier, older and more exciting cousin Alec at his beautiful home, Castaway House. He arrives to find that Alec has married, walking straight into the lives of a damaged, un-loving couple with far-reaching secrets. Little does Robert know that his summer at Castaway House will change his life and the lives of all he comes in contact with.

At 500+ pages, The Mysterious Affair at Castaway House rather intimidated me upon first glance. Once I started reading however I was hooked. The story is written in the first person, from the viewpoint of either Robert or Rosie depending on which year the chapter was set in. I think the span of time covered in both 1924 and 1965 was only a few months; the summer of 1924 and sometime from September in 1965 although there were links between the two. The story was brought to life by the author’s words. The characters were wonderfully flawed and exquisitely human. No one was perfect and each had characteristics and traits and got into situations that you could easily understand, feel and relate to.

This book was very much set in the UK – Helmstone sounded  to me like the seaside town of Brighton on the south coast of England. There were also many mentions of the 1st and 2nd world wars. In 1924 and 1965, both would still be very near memory to the population. Many would have lost parents, bothers, cousins, uncles or sweethearts in the fighting. There would still be reminders, especially on the coast – shops previously used as lookout posts and maybe a pier destroyed so it couldn’t be used to land enemy planes.

The story of Castaway House and its inhabitants in both 1924 and 1965 were linked wonderfully, with little tendrils of knowledge and hits at answers – and even more questions – coming throughout the story. The way the author intertwined the characters throughout the book and between 1924 and 1965 was magnificently done and I am completely in awe. I was kept guessing throughout the majority of the book until the full story was told and the characters truly unveiled. I will admit to making a few guesses which ended up evenly split between right and wrong!

The mystery of Castaway House and its inhabitants was one which touched many lives. I was completely enchanted and thrilled with the story and characters and didn’t want to finish reading. Unfortunately I had to in order to find out what had really happened.

This book is one I will keep going back to and will loudly praise to all who will listen. Why? Because it’s bl**dy brilliant.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥