Teaser Tuesday (31st March)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

But in my experience, the problems generated by emotional eating may not be enough to stop you from turning to Ben & Jerry’s.  Over the years I’ve counselled countless people who wanted nothing more than to stop using food to meet their emotional needs, but they just couldn’t seem to do it, even with their health on the line or an important event looming, such as their own wedding.

~p.p. 214 Cinch! by Cynthia Sass

I’m not sure whether I’m going to try the Cinch! way of eating (4 meals a day each consisting of around 5 key food types), but I am finding it an interesting read, especially the benefits of certain foods, and ways that our eating habits can affect our weight and our health.

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Review – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

the book thief by markus zusak

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Published: Jan 2007

Publisher: Bodley Head

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction

Source: Library

My Rating: 5/5

Goodreads

Told by Death, The Book Thief is the story of a young girl, Liesel, during the Second World War. Death first sees Liesel when her younger brother dies on the train to Germany. He follows her to her brother’s burial, where Liesel picks up a book – the first of what will become a collection of stolen words. This book ‘The Gravedigger’s Handbook’ inspires Liesel to read and understand the world around her, especially as it gets ever more dangerous when her foster family takes in, and hides, a Jew.

I’ll be honest, when I first picked up The Book Thief it was because of the writer’s name as I needed a ‘Z’ for my A-Z 2014 challenge. Unfortunately it took months to borrow it from the library so it was January before I got the chance to read it. Even though I no longer ‘needed’ to read it, I did, and I am so glad I did as this book is amazing.

Not only is it set during one of my favourite times in history, World War II (and by favourite, I mean, most interested in), but the book is about Liesel’s love affair with words. I, obviously, love words and reading, but sometimes it’s easy to forget how incredible the right book can be. For me, The Book Thief rekindled my love of reading, and desire to write about what I read.

I enjoyed every aspect of this book, from the unusual way sections are introduced (giving you a list of what is included), the way it is written from Death’s point of view, and that is shows a unique viewpoint of the start of the war, and how regular people in Germany were affected.  While I’m not sure I would say I liked all the characters, they were well-written and they all played a vital role in Liesel’s life. They all had their own histories which made them who they were, just as everyone in the world has.

I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone and everyone, no matter their skill in reading. I think a book like this could make a huge difference in young people’s lives, both in understanding the Second World War, and in creating a love of words, learning, and thinking of all sides of the argument.

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Teaser Tuesday (17th March)

teasertuesdays2014e

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

He was tall and strong; on the delicate skin of his head, his fair hair was arranged with infinite care.  Usually his face had a smooth, defiant look of an old cat purring by a warm stove, but he was so tired from the previous day that it couldn’t but show and his weak jaw suddenly dropped like a corpse.

~p.p. 36 Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

Musing Mondays (16th March)

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Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

My Musing:

One thing I love about books is they can show us a glimpse into times and places we cannot imagine without them.

When I think about the Second World War, I think about what it was like in Germany, being a soldier, or living in Britain at that time.  But every now and again I find words that make me consider something or somewhere else.

I’ve just started reading Suite FranÇaise by Irène Némirovsky and that’s exactly what it has done – shown me a world I hadn’t even considered. It is set in France, and starts in Paris, going on to the characters leaving Paris. I feel I should have known about the mass exodus of Paris at that time, but at the same time I know there is no obvious reason why I should have known about it. Of course it was important, but schools can only provide so much information (and I was taught a lot less about World War I), and there will always be gaps. I’m now realising that what happened in the rest of Europe is something I know nothing about; it was a gap I wasn’t even aware I was missing.  I know I can never know everything, but at perhaps knowing what I don’t know is at least a place to start.

Through my love of reading I am constantly learning, constantly challenged. New worlds, the past, different ways of thinking, are all available if we just look for them. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, but sometimes it’s important to remember why we love to read.

Has a book ever changed your perception of something?

Review – Bound and Unbroken (Out of Bounds #1) by Skye Callahan

Note: This book contains explicit sexual content (including BDSM themes), graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: M/f anal play, bondage, spanking, exhibitionism.

bound and unbrokenTitle: Bound and Unbroken

Series: Out of Bounds #1

Author: Skye Callahan

Published: Feb 2014

Pusblisher: Skye Callahan

Genre: BDSM Erotica

Source: Author

My Rating: 4/5

When Lena is dragged to the bar by her flatmate, she didn’t expect to enjoy herself, and certainly not meet someone. But when a man starts talking to her, her curiosity is piqued, and leads to a shared cab ride and memories. Until she sees him at the school she teaches at.

Eric only returned home to look after his nephew, and wasn’t looking for a relationship, but after seeing the woman he shared an almost intimate cab ride with at his nephew’s school, he can’t get her out of his mind. But will she accept that a relationship with him involves so much more than anything she’s experienced before?

Firstly, yes, this book includes a lot of sexual scenes, however, I felt most of them were more about intimacy and the character’s growing relationship than simply kinky lust.  Because of this, they were so much more relatable to, than just a description of the physicality – I felt how Lena and Eric felt which only invested me more in the story. Admittedly, I feel there were more sexually charged scenes than strictly necessary, but most of them were important to the story, and nothing was there just to shock the reader.

The main thing I enjoyed about Bound and Unbroken was how real the world the author created was. There were no billionaires with limos and giant playrooms, but there were friends and family, and a BDSM club which I felt really added to the authenticity and believability of the story.  There were a lot of supporting characters that played important roles in the story, I only wish I knew more about them; as this is a series, I hope they are more clearly characterized as I it can only make the world more real.

The main characters, Lena and Eric, do have issues in life, but so does everyone. I think Skye Callahan could have shared more of their pasts within the book, as she only alludes to troublesome childhoods, without going into depth.  While I am glad the characters are fairly stable at the time their relationship starts, only having snippets of their pasts is quite distracting, as I’m creating it in my head (only for it to be disproved or changed by a later snippet), and therefore unsure of how their previous experiences have made them make the choices they do. While it is understandable that neither character wishes to push the other into explaining their issues before they are ready, this leaves the reader unsatisfied as this usually isn’t explored further.

As I said, I feel there may have been a few too many sexually charged scenes, but at the same time I would say at times I could have done with a little more physical interaction. Of course I want to know how the characters are feeling, but occasionally I had to reread passages to work out what was physically going on (and for some of them I still can’t visualise it) which took me out of the flow of the story. Other than that, however, my only other complaint is that the book could have been proofread better.

I would recommend Bound and Unbroken to anyone interested in the BDSM lifestyle, though this story is primarily a love story with extra kink.  Those who feel this kind of relationship can only be abusive will find this book confusing as there is never any signs of abuse or non-consent – in fact the safe word isn’t only discussed regularly, but the reaction to it is also experienced by the reader. However, you won’t like this book if you don’t like to read about sex or alternative relationships (including homosexual). It is a fairly quick read once you get into it, and I know I will continue to read the series as I want to know where the author is going.

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

[I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.]

Teaser Tuesday (10th March)

teasertuesdays2014e

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

St. Clair wanders around, picking up things and examining them like I did in Meredith’s room. He inspects my collection of banana and elephant figurines lined up on my dresser.

~p.p. 71 Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins