December #TBR Pile

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It’s already been December for a while now and I am so not ready for Christmas! I have family coming soon from all over the place, presents are not sorted, I still need to buy some bits and pieces to complete my 1950s style outfit that I plan to wear on Christmas day as a little surprise for my Pop, and I have only just began finished week 2 of this study period at uni. You should all feel very sad for me because I actually have an assignment due on Dec 23rd! 😩 But I do have some exciting books that I hope to be able to review this month, plus some very nice Heavenly teas that I have been loving this week.

devil

Title: The Devil You Know

Author: Terry Tyler

Genre: Psychological Drama, Whodunnit

Description:

Every serial killer is someone’s friend, spouse, lover or child….

Young women are being murdered in the Lincolnshire town of Lyndford, where five people fear someone close to them might be the monster the police are searching for.

One of them is right.

Juliet sees an expert’s profile of the average serial killer and realises that her abusive husband, Paul, ticks all the boxes.

Maisie thinks her mum’s new boyfriend seems too good to be true. Is she the only person who can see through Gary’s friendly, sensitive façade?

Tamsin is besotted with her office crush, Jake. Then love turns to suspicion…

Steve is used to his childhood friend, Dan, being a loud mouthed Lothario with little respect for the truth. But is a new influence in his life leading him down a more sinister path?

Dorothy’s beloved son, Orlando, is keeping a secret from her—a chilling discovery forces her to confront her worst fears.

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW is a character-driven psychological drama that will keep you guessing until the very end.

war

Title: The Art of War

Author: Sun Tzu

Genre: Eastern Philosophy, Classics, Non-Fiction #DBowieBooks

Description:

Conflict is an inevitable part of life, according to this ancient Chinese classic of strategy, but everything necessary to deal with conflict wisely, honorably, victoriously, is already present within us. Compiled more than two thousand years ago by a mysterious warrior-philosopher, The Art of War is still perhaps the most prestigious and influential book of strategy in the world, as eagerly studied in Asia by modern politicians and executives as it has been by military leaders since ancient times. As a study of the anatomy of organizations in conflict, The Art of War applies to competition and conflict in general, on every level from the interpersonal to the international. Its aim is invincibility, victory without battle, and unassailable strength through understanding the physics, politics, and psychology of conflict.

(Original publication date was circa 500 BCE.)

princessbride

Title: The Princess Bride

Author: William Goldman

Genre: Fantasy, Classics, Romance, Adventure, Young Adult (Umm, what does this story not have!?)

Description:

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be…well…a lot less than the man of her dreams?

As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad’s recitation, and only the “good parts” reached his ears.

Now Goldman does Dad one better. He’s reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.

What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it’s about everything.

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Title: In Cold Blood

Author: Truman Capote

Genre: True Crime, Classics,  Non-Fiction #DBowieBooks

Description:

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.

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Title: Unrivalled (Beautiful Idols #1)

Author: Alyson Noël

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Mystery

Description:

Everyone wants to be someone.

Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Unrivaled is #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson NoĂ«l’s first book in a thrilling suspense trilogy about how our most desperate dreams can become our darkest nightmares

you

Title: It Was Only Ever You

Author: Kate Kerrigan

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction, 1950s

Description:

Set, like Maeve Binchy’s early bestsellers, in late 1950s Ireland and New York, this is the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.

Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.

But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

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Title: The Pretty Delicious Cafe

Author: Danielle Hawkins

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Description:

Food, family and fresh beginnings. For fans of 800 Words, Offspring, Josephine Moon and Monica McInerney.

On the outskirts of a small New Zealand seaside town, Lia and her friend Anna work serious hours running their restored cafe. The busy season is just around the corner, and there are other things to occupy them. Anna is about to marry Lia’s twin brother, and Lia’s ex-boyfriend seems not to understand it’s over.
When a gorgeous stranger taps on Lia’s window near midnight and turns out not to be a serial killer, she feels it’s a promising sign. But the past won’t let them be, and Lia must decide whether events rule her life or she does.
The Pretty Delicious Cafe will remind you of those special, good things we love about living. And the food is great.
A warm, witty novel, brimming with the trademark romance, friendship and eccentricity that Danielle Hawkins’s fans adore.

PRAISE FOR DANIELLE HAWKINS
Dinner at Roses
‘A cross between All Creatures Great and Small, Bridget Jones’s Diary and something the Topp Twins would write if there was only one of them and she was straight, this is a very funny book.’ Next Book Club
‘What really carries it is the quality of the writing. The dialogue is absolutely spot on. You would almost believe the author wrote for TV or writes sitcoms. It’s very, very funny.’ Paper Plus, Winter Reads
‘It’s so good that it’s hard to believe it’s a first novel. It had better not be her last. Please, Danielle’ Lee Matthews, Manawatu Standard
‘Reading this is better than sleeping!’ Sunday Star Times
Chocolate Cake for Breakfast
‘Another sweet, gently funny depiction of life in the back blocks of New Zealand.’ Next
‘Helen is frankly delightful – intelligent but oh-so-human … a plausible, relatable storyline and hugely appealing characters. A charming summer read, and a giggling good time’ Australian Women’s Weekly
‘The only problem I could see in the book was the Wallabies did not win often enough’ Jodie, GoodReads
‘This is a delightful, contemporary romance’ – Herald Sun

I wonder how many of these I will be able to make my way through by the end of the month? Stay tuned for some reviews coming soon, because I think I have some very enjoyable reading days coming my way soon!

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The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight #bookreview

Fast paced thriller with a complex teen heroine. outliers

The Outliers began with such an interesting concept. Kimberly McCreight wrote that she became interested in the highly emotional frequency that her daughter and many of her female friends often operate on. This is often seen as a flaw in character, but the idea that perhaps it’s actually a great strength led the author to explore this concept in The Outliers.

I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel. A lot of people would say that I’m far too sensitive and emotional, but I have recently begun to see some of the benefits this can bring. I often look back to times where people or situations made me feel uncomfortable and more often than not hindsight tells me that I should have listened to what my gut instinct was telling me!

The main character, 16 year old Wiley, suffers from extreme anxiety and agoraphobia which has gotten much worse since her mother passed away in a recent car accident. Even though her relationship with her best friend, Cassie, has been on the rocks lately when she goes missing Wiley knows that she has to help her.

Wiley and Cassie’s boyfriend, Jasper, decide to drive across the country to rescue Cassie when they start receiving text messages from her asking for help. I have to admit that it is a little bit unbelievable that Wiley was able to leave the house so easily, but you never know how strong you can be until you’re in the middle of an emergency.

There are so many plot twists to Wiley and Jasper’s trip to rescue Cassie that I probably shouldn’t get too much into this part of the novel to avoid spoilers. It’s incredibly fast-paced and expect to have everything that you thought was going on turned on its head at least a couple of times.  I’m definitely hanging out to read the second installment of the series after the huge plot twist at the end!!

Description

It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help.

Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.

This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice: she has to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.

But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?

Details

Title: The Outliers (The Outliers #1)

Author: Kimberley McCreight

ISBN: 0062359096 (ISBN13: 9780062359094)

Published:  May 3rd 2016 by HarperCollins
Genre:   Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: Paperback 468
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Amazon US

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Amazon AU

Goodreads

#Review: Broken Sky by L.A. Weatherly

Broken Sky is the first book of the Broken trilogy, set in a dystopian America that is brokenskyreminiscent of the 1940s. The book has a very noir feeling to it, the technology, dress and entertainment in this world are true to the 1940s war-time genre, but the world in Broken Sky has a lot of differences. In this world nuclear war has been banned after WWII and disputes between countries are settled by pilots who are known as Peacefighters. America has been split into sections, with the leader of the Central States running his country based on Astrology.

In the Broken Sky world having the wrong star sign can be fatal. Basically, everybody in the Central States has their Astrology charts done and if there is anything in their stars that could mean trouble they are labelled ‘Discordant’ and sent to concentration camps very similar to Nazi Germany. The evil leader of the Central States is looking to increase his power of course. I really enjoyed the comparisons between Discordants and Jews and how well it highlighted the inhumanity of the Holocaust and punishing a group of people simply for the circumstances of their birth.

The main character, Amity, is a Peacefighter for the Western Seaboard which once used to be part of the USA. Amity is a brilliant YA heroine. She’s tough but fair and is one of the best Peacefighters for the Western Seaboard. She has to battle deception, betrayal, and corruption to protect herself and her family.

Broken Sky is also written from the point of view of Kay who is an astrologist in the Central States. She doesn’t believe in Astrology in the slightest but she is skilled at reading people and telling them what they want to hear. During the novel she manages to work her way up to becoming the top Astrologer for the Central States, so we learn a lot about the evilly enigmatic Central States leader through her.

Broken Sky is perfect for all the dystopian lovers out there. There is plenty of action, adventure, deception, romance, and betrayal. The world is just similar enough to 1940s America to be familiar, but the Astrology spin added a refreshing point of difference. I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t much about my own star sign though. Hopefully somebody in the next book is an Aquarian! This is the kind of YA novel that can be enjoyed by all ages, with just the right amount of romance to add to the story. And make sure you’re sitting somewhere you will be able to hold onto your seats for the crazy twist at the end! I can not wait to read the sequel now…

Corrected to add that there is an Aquarian character and just as I suspected they are on the Discordant list!

Description

Welcome to a ‘perfect’ world.

Where war is illegal, where harmony rules.

And where your date of birth marks your destiny.

But nothing is perfect.

And in a world this broken, who can Amity trust?

From the bestselling author of the Angel trilogy comes Broken Sky – an exhilarating epic set in a daring and distorted echo of 1940s America and first in a new trilogy.

Details

Title: Broken Sky

Author: L.A. Weatherly

ISBN: 9781409572022

Published:  March 1st 2016 by Usborne
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 500
Source: Review copy from publisher (HarperCollins Australia)

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads