Reading my Collection

2017 – WHOLE year without buying books

2017 Challenge


So here it is, the 6th day of January of the year 2017 and so far it’s going ok. Today I started my fourth book and at a friend’s suggestion I tell you all about it but first, every story, no matter how unusual needs a beginning. This is mine.

Call me Nella, most people do and I feel that if I write this as if I am writing to someone, hopefully I wont ramble too much. This is how I ended writing book reviews. Most people make spur of the moment New Year’s resolutions, ‘I want to lose this much weight in 3 days’, ‘ I’m going only eat green vegetables’, ‘I’m never drinking again’ etc, whereas I have made the same resolution for years…’This year I will travel more’, and generally I have managed to go new places, see new things and take lots of pictures of beautiful (and not so beautiful) places. This year I wanted to do something different.

So In November 2016, I decided in 2017 that I wasn’t going to buy any books. I have shelves and shelves of them and so many unread. I love books, I love reading but have managed to make more time for buying, than reading them. Despite this initially being  a money saving idea, I might have had a sudden worry on NYE that I didn’t have enough and bought 8 more books ready for the year. This was equally about making more time to read and then very quickly it became a challenge. By 10am on the 2nd of Jan I had read 2 full books, cover to cover and I realised that with work and dedication I could read all my unread books by the end of the year (well at least all of the fiction).

So to clarify I set myself some  rules:

  • I will attempt to read the books I already own.
  • I can borrow books (from friends, family and even the odd library).
  • I can accept and read books as gifts.
  • I can buy other people books as gifts but not for self gain.

I have also set up a ‘Wishlist’ so every time I see a book I would normally purchase (both spur of the moment and on Amazon ) I will now add it to the list. This way when my birthday comes around people have an idea what to get me but also I feel like the ‘book-buying’  itch is appeased for a short period of time. Currently my list is over 20. I’m sure by the time this year is finished it will be in triple figures.  I have lots of non-fiction books and although I am not ruling them out of the reading list, I doubt i will read as many of them.

That is the background, but I ended up sitting here, writing this because a friend suggested that not only  should I blog about how I am doing but maybe review my reading list in a ‘non-pretentious’  way.  Just a 30-something, reading a range of books and telling you all about it. The plan is to give you an idea of how I am coping without book-shopping, an oversight of plot (without too many spoilers) and an idea of similar books or series links.

So dear reader, I am going to start by asking for your help. Any hints, tips and reminders of this task will be appreciated and obviously the loan of any book would be lovely. Wish me luck as I’m aware this is insanity!!

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A missing record, a missing person and long standing msytery.

The vinyl detective is back! This book I preordered last New Years Eve and it was sent back because it was delivered to the wrong address, so I have had to wait over a year to read this. I read the first one and immediately wanted this…and then had to wait, and wait, and wait. It was not ok.

The Vinyl detective is back with the whole crew, Nevada, Clean Head, good ol’ Tinkler and of course Fanny and Turk. We start with the recovery of a very rare record, as we’d expect but the journey has only just begun.


Pause for cat cuddles… and the cat just ran across the keyboard, just like fanny and Turk. The vinyl detective still remains nameless, and baring in mind he was nearly killed this time it would have been a very odd tombstone.

That’s right, this story is about the missing son of a sixties legend. In the search for him, we meet massive strong Americans, a dodgy shrink and the cats have learnt to be sneaky! In some ways, this story isn’t as exciting as the first… I think it is because this is about a missing person, not a missing record.

The change in dynamics is interesting, it is a partnership rather than a lone wolf on the hunt. It is the Scooby gang facing up to dangers like poisoned tea, grave-robbing and random trips to Morrocco.

This flowed as well as the first book, and I am enjoying the change so the series doesn’t become formulaic but i’d like book three to be back on the record trail.

Happy Reading!!

The boy on the other side of the creek and his missing father.


I got a book for Christmas, I got a book for Christmas, I got a book for Christmas, I got a book for Christmas, I got a book for Christmas, I got a book for Christmas!! Yeah, that’s right this book was one of my Christmas presents. christmas-book

I have read about this book online and how it helped John Green understand his own mental health, so I was really keen to get started. Ignoring that this review is coming out in ermmmm….march, I started reading this on Boxing Day!



Aza is different. She worries and panics and frets about a cut on her thumb. She struggles with life and a break from routine and she thinks she has a heart of gold.  Aza and her best friend Daisy want a real-life adventure.

Daisy’s world is mainly Star Wars fan-fic, her way of escaping feeling poor, feeling neglected and a having a best friend that is very hard work. Daisy and Aza use coupons to have dinner at the diner whilst doing homework and it is there, they discovered the local billionaire has gone missing!

The $100,000 reward catches Daisy’s attention and they are off, rowing the creek, searching for hidden cameras and reuniting with old friends. This tale involves lizards, Doctors and proper high school romances, add Aza’s ever-tightening spiral of thoughts and Davis’s star-gazing, we have the making of a true John Green classic.

I laughed and fell in love and gasped along with the characters, I worried about my own issues with things having a set place but most of all I was so pleased that it was a classic whodunnit with a teenage twist.

For the first book and review of the year, this made me remember why I love reading.

Happy reading!

A gender bending circus detective… what more could you want?

AR_TheBulletCatchersDaughter Good afternoon Dear Reader,

Its the funny bit between Christmas and New Year so what is the best thing to do…Read obviously. This year I got 2 books for Christmas, and its enough to keep me going until I can buy them again and I might have got my Amazon basket ready for New Year’s day.

I haven’t been sleeping very well as an old shoulder injury is making it difficult so instead I put my headphones on and listened to the end of my book.  Don’t get me wrong the gender-bending in this is simply a plot device and has nothing to do with a trans* character but I think some of the research for the characterisation has been amazing.

So what on earth am I talking about? Well, Elizabeth Barnabus lives on a houseboat ‘with her brother’, or does she? In fact, she lives alone and cross-dresses to become her brother a renowned private detective. She was raised in the circus as a bullet-catcher, an escape artist and pure illusionist. They are hired by a local aristocrat to find her missing brother, the twist is he is on the other side of the border.

This story set in the alternative history of the Luddite Rebellion means the Patent Office has a strict border and Elizabeth has the get through to infiltrate a travelling circus like the one she grew up in, to try and find the missing man. This wonderful steampunk AU is full of mystery, intrigue and best of all the start of a series. I have already got the next two lined up for when I got back to my silly commute. Evanna-Lynch

The best bits for me include the extracts from the ‘The bullet catchers handbook’ at the beginning of each chapter, the fact the Rod Duncan is very funny and that this book is a very good detective novel. This is a great book, easy to read and full of cunning wordplay. Happy New Year all, so let’s keep reading in 2018!

Christmas Eve and 7 days left!

Dear Reader, it has been a long year.

I’m not going to write a summary because I have 7 days left to finish my books and maybe even read a bit more. I am going to get another book in before the year is out and hopefully one more review. However, I am going to let you know that I am going to carry on the blog. I have paid for another year, although I am going to allow myself to buy books I will be careful.

This year has been a bit learning curve, not just because I have read a lot of books I wouldn’t have done if I was allowed to stay in my comfort zone but I have had a chance to talk to engage with online communities about them. I have learnt to love steampunk, I have seen the joys of small independent books that no one has heard of and I have really enjoyed talking about books with my friends and family.

Due to this resolution, I have been given books as presents, by members of my workbook club and sent recommendations by strangers. This blog has been an outlet and I thank you for your patience in my lack of posts. I am going to try and be better, I know I have said that in every post ever but ‘making time’ is my new year’s resolution. More time for me, more time for my partner and more time for life. I always say ‘I don’t have time for that’ but the truth is I DO. I have time I just have to use it better.


After Christmas, I will tell you I how have planned some time with Carol, (it’s a Christmas present so… no spoilers) but I am going to use my travel time better. I am going to use my weekends better and I am going plan time with my friends. This time last year I made a resolution I wasn’t sure I could keep and yet this year I am doing the same thing.

It’s Christmas eve and I have time so I’m off to read. Merry Christmas and happy reading!

I’m still reading!

Sorry its been so long, I am still reading, but in the 2 months since my last blog I have moved house, been away from home far too many days, not had the internet and then to top it all off. WE GOT A CAT!


So I do apologise for the lack of posts, however, I still haven’t bought a book. I am 10 and a half months in and am only reading books that I own or have been bought for me. I’m super impressed with myself.

I have updated my ‘story so far‘ page with the books i have read or listened to in the last couple of months. If I can I will write retrospective reviews but I want to get back on top things first.

So my next review will be “A Natural History of Dragons; A memoir by Lady Trent’ by Marie Brennan or ‘The Word is Murder’ by Anthony Horowitz as I finished that audiobook on the train yesterday.

French engineers, Spotted custard and a lioness.

BOOK FEELINGS: I love Gail Carriger’s books. I have tried to read other things but this steampunk extravaganza is in fact addictive, I currently have several books on the go, which I don’t like doing but they keep calling me back.

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So I have had this book since very early this year, but i have had the sequel for over a year, and i have finally got round to reading it. After all the Parasol books, I took a break with other books, a few of the audio variety and few with real pages. The recent beautiful weekends have been helping, sitting in the garden with sun beating down and a cold one (to be honest normally a cup of Redbush) and a good book. Feet up, eyes down and lost in another world.

Life has been very busy, I have in fact bought a house. Not alone, but I will soon be moving to a house with a garden, a desk (so I can work from home) and most importantly with all my books! This is an amazing but terrifying prospect but equally i can’t wait to live with Carol.

download (3)REVIEW:  This book is ridiculous, wonderful and fantastic. This series revolves around the adventures of Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama, or Rue to her friends. The metanatural is going on an adventure, with Queen Ivy’s daughter Primrose and son Percival and Madame Lafoux’s adoptive son, engineer Quesnal. The purpose of this adventure… well obviously it is for the greatest treasure in the world. Tea.

Having loved the ‘Parasol’ series, I had great expectations but was equally wary. I made the mistake of reading the comments, and there were a few people that were not too impressed by this series. I think the critics are wrong. I loved the journey to India on ‘The Spotted Custard’, I mean what a great name for an airship, did I mention it was decorated like a giant ladybird. prudence-fan-art

In India, Rue is frivolous with Prim’s reputation, daring with her wardrobe and finds more supernaturals to transform into outside the standard werewolf and vampire. Percy and Quesnal fight over everything, Prim can’t handle anything but tea and Spoo is the wonderful boy that isn’t, well a boy that is.

I didn’t like putting this down, or putting it aside and when I did the most catastrophic thing happened… I BROKE THE SPINE. I took this to mean, that I shouldn’t put it down until I finished it.

It was a delight reading the adventures of the grown up children of characters I came to love. The limited touches of Alexia, Paw and Dama added a hint of the old days, the unexpected joy of reading that Uncle Lyall was also in India was wonderful and made me smile far too much. That is enough for any protectorate lover to read this book, but if need more there is were-monkeys, a lioness, and of course Tea.

Can the nation’s newest Sundowner follow in her parents footsteps? Is it even possible for her to cause more trouble then her mother? My dearest readers, I have even started the sequel.

So for now… Happy Reading!

Hard Magic!

So I found this audiobook in the recommendations after listening to the Glass and Steele series and the Parasol protectorate and sure enough the algorithm was right. I loved this book.


Jake Sullivan is a ‘Heavy’ unless you ask him, then he is a gravity spiker. Faye is a traveller and Heinrich is a fade. Dan is a mouth and Lance, well he is cog. You need to find out how these 5 take on the Imperium.

It is a book full of quotes and alternative history.

  • the Titanic did not sink, it was saved by an Active.
  • When he was elected President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was not in a wheelchair, having been cured of polio by a Mender as a child.
  • Dirigibles/Blimps are common air carriers.
  • National Socialism (Nazism) never rose in Germany, as Hitler was shot by a firing squad long before he developed any kind of following before the events in the books take place.
  • In the Great War, the Kaiser’s forces employed magic that turned all of the battlefield dead into zombies. At the end of the war, the remaining zombies were herded into Berlin and surrounded by a big wall to keep them in. They are still there to this day, and it is now referred to as “Dead City”.
  • The Great War was ended by the invention of the Peace Ray, a weapon invented by Nikolai Tesla (a Cog) capable of hitting any target with a 300-mile line-of-sight range and utterly destroy it. Now, all countries have Peace Ray installations, and out-and-out war is a thing of the past.

J Edgar Hoover is in charger of the BI and trades Jake’s jail time for his service in hunting down dangerous actives. During his pursuits he is reunited with Delilah and meet the rest of the Grimnoir. Upon meeting him, Faye tries to kill Jake thinking he is his brother Maddy, one Jane heals them both and together they go after the Chairman.

The flow is a little stunted sometimes, there will be chapters where no very much happens and others where you are overwhelmed with the progress but it seems to work. This book is funny, strange and very well written. I liked the narrator and how the thoughts of the characters were said in their voice, the writing echoed this.

Happy reading!!


Glass, Steele, Poison and Love.

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The whole crew is back; India, Matthew, Sheriff Payne and Letty. India is closer than ever to telling Matt her true feelings, Matt is frustrated that Chronos cannot be found and Sheriff Payne is after Matt. Letty hasn’t given up on marrying Matthew to the most appropriate eligible young lady, but he still is resisting. Willy, Duke and Cyclops play their part as always but nowhere near as much as they have before.

Still living in the glory of solving the mapmakers apprentice murder, Glass and Steele are after Chronos. Matt’s watch is still working but it doesn’t last nearly as long s it used to.  Again they are called upon to look at a mysterious death, this time an apothecary outside the guild.  Dr Hayle is in the paper for magically bringing back the dead. But did he really? India wants to solve this one as this time it is Matt in the firing line. Why would anyone think Matt killed this Dr?


It is quickly realised the Dr has been poisoned, our heroes have their lives threatened on multiple occasions and Letty finds her voice.  I like these two but some of the subplots surrounding them are distracting. I am bored of Letty and her matchmaking,  I do agree with keeping the books in-keeping with the time period but the whole high class proposals for business just don’t seem to fit with the ‘working’ level of the main plots.

Dear reader, this series is keeping me coming back. I like the magical elements, I like the mystery around Chronos and I want to know more but I think sticking with Duke, Cyclops and Willy is the better side of the stories. I like the humour and I love the chemistry between them, although the tension is just as fun. I am looking forward to seeing where it goes. I want to see what happens…If you haven’t started already. Read this book.

So dear Reader, it is time for me to sign off…no it wont be so long until the next one.

Dear Reader. A letter to you…

Good afternoon Dear Reader,

forgive me it has been a month since my last blog. I’m terrible at this. The truth is I have missed it, I have missed writing to strangers and apparently pouring out my life on a page, much like the author I have so much time for.

I could make a hundred excuses why I haven’t written about the books I have read this month. The truth is a mix of lack of time and severe lack of energy, although I love my job it is draining. The commute can be miserable, one night I left Marble Arch at 5:15 pm and didn’t get out of London until just after 8, not getting home until about quarter past nine. I am aware that this is a project for me and the fact that anyone takes time out of their day to read my random ranting is wonderful.

I thank you, its a kind of therapy and I have started to enjoy this bit nearly as much as the reading (and listening). So on that note I have a review or 2 to give you. I have been reading, just not as much as I would like. I have been listening (as I still can’t read on the bus) but I am after your input. Books recommendations please.

So until next time (soon I promise),


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