Booking Ahead: May 2017

Booking Ahead is a feature on Pages and Tea where I glance through my never-ending TBR list/pile and select a few potential reads for the coming month. If I’m not reading books I love talking about books I’d like to read, so this post is a perfect excuse to do just that.

Welcome to Booking Ahead. As always I’m picking a mix of newer books and books from the TBR list as I’m doing Beat the Backlist and have almost reached the original target I set myself. It was a very low target, but I’m usually so bad at picking up the books I already have that I was really surprised when I realised how close I was to it.

New Books

I’m totally in the hands of my local library this month, so my reading is going to depend how quickly they receive their stock of new books. Assuming it’s quite soon I hope to read…

The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey – I am so excited for this one! I have lost count of the number of times that I’ve said how much I enjoyed The Girl With All The Gifts (you can check out my review here), and this book is set in the same world. So. Excited. I guess I shouldn’t get too hyped up, but sometimes you can’t help it.

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams – Imagine my reading delight when this appeared on the library catalogue whilst I was browsing recently. I’ve started reading more Fantasy lately, and I’ve seen some good reviews for this book.

Books from the Backlist

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher – I can say with confidence that this month will definitely be the month I (finally) read this book, because I started the first few pages recently. Talking cats? I’m in. I’m fairly new to all things Fantasy but talking cats is one I’ve not come across before.

And I think I’d better stop now because as always the books that have captured my attention are pretty long, so I’ll do well if I manage to read these three this month. Hopefully by the time Bout of Books comes around, which is one of my favourite readathons, I’ll be totally engrossed in one of these reads.

What are you hoping to read this month, and are you taking part in Bout of Books?
Have you read of my picks, and if so what did you think?
See you again next month for another Booking Ahead.

Top Ten Tuesday: I Will Instantly Read That Book If…

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week they provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in with their own top ten list.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This weeks theme is:   Top Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want To Read A Book

  • A Post-Apocalyptic scenario – I do love a good ‘end of the world as we know it’ type story, so much so that I devoted a whole Top Ten Tuesday post to the subject.
  • A brilliant villain – Heroes are good, but where would they be without a great villain or adversary to play off?
  • Or an even more fascinating anti-hero – I love characters who fall into this category. They’re not totally bad, but sometimes their actions make them impossible to call the hero of the tale.
  • Unique magic and epic world-building – I love the escapism of a great Fantasy tale, so the more magic and the more detailed the world the book is set in the happier I am.
  • Zombies – If you’re going for ‘end of the world’ then why not add in a few zombies to make things interesting?
  • Page count of over 500 pages – I don’t actually do this deliberately and set out to read massive books, but for some reason everything that catches my eye is always so long. I set myself a lower Goodreads target this year because even though I say I’ll try to go for shorter books it never happens.
  • Certain authors – Everyone has a certain few authors they’ll always read, right?
  • A striking cover backed up by an intriguing summary – I know, I know – you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. In general I don’t, well, not the cover alone, but several times recently I’ve been caught by a striking cover. Give me a great summary to go along with it and I’ll probably pick up the book.
  • A slow burn romance as part of a greater plot – I like tension between characters. I’m not a big romance fan in general but if there’s a slow burn to the point where you’re really willing the characters to get together then I’m in.
  • That totally random thing that just grabs my imagination and insists that I read that book – Occasionally I wont even know exactly why I feel inspired to pick up a particular book, and those are often the most enjoyable reads of all.

So, do you have any recommendations for me after reading my list?
What sort of things will guarantee that you will pick up a book?

The School Subjects Book Tag

The school subjects tag was created by Not So Modern Girl 

I spotted this one during a visit to Lynn’s Book Blog and thought it looked like fun. So, here goes…

1. Maths – What’s a book that left your head spinning in circles?

The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan, in the best possible way. I’ve just finished reading this and I didn’t want it to end. It’s the final book in a trilogy and a really great conclusion. Definitely a series worth reading.

2. English – Which book do you think has beautiful written expression?

So mainly books have beautiful writing, so i’ll choose a few fairly recent reads…

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters.
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry.
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford.

3. Physics – Who is your favourite scientifically minded character from a book/film?

Carys from Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan is probably the most scientifically minded character I’ve read about recently as she tried to figure out ways to save herself and Max as they were adrift in space and running out of air.

4. Biology – Who is your favourite book/film/series character?

We could be here a while on this one. Okay, I’ll do my best to keep it short…


Evie O’Neill from The Diviners by Libba Bray.

Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series.

The Stark girls from A Song of Ice and Fire – I love Arya’s bravery and strength, and Sansa’s whole progression from innocent little girl who believes in songs and stories into a strong-minded young woman is great.

Claire from Outlander – I’ve only read the first book so far but I love her strength and the way she deals with the situation she ends up in.


Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I watched this for the first time recently and Newt instantly became a new favourite. What’s not to like about him and his case of fantastic creatures?


Daryl and Carol from The Walking Dead.

James Delaney from Taboo. I finished watching this recently. Delaney is terrifying at times, and pretty dark, but so so watchable.

5. Chemistry – Who is your favourite literary couple?

Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester. I love their story so much.

I also really like Margaret Hale and John Thornton from North and South. I love the way they clash so often and have so many misunderstandings before they finally get together.

And for something a little more recent I like Claire and Jamie from Outlander. They’re a great team and I’m looking forward to reading more of their adventures.

6. French – What is your favourite foreign book/film/programme?

Book – The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Film – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Programme – The Killing, Borgen and The Bridge are all pretty good.

7. Art – Have you ever judged a book by its cover, even if you weren’t meant to?!

So many times I’ve gone into the bookstore and wonderfully eye-catching covers, or the sight of a particular author’s name has drawn me over to a certain book, eager to read the blurb and find out more, so I’d say covers definitely influence my choices when I’m out and about and generally looking around at books, but judging the book by the cover, probably not altogether, unless it’s one of those books with a really vague synopsis, then you don’t have much else to go on, and the cover can go some way to either hooking your interest or not.

Some of the recent book covers that caught my attention and also featured a great story…

8. History – What was the last historical book you read?

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford features 18th century New York.

9. Drama – What’s a book that you think has a lot of over-dramatic hype?

Having seen all the publicity for Caraval for what seemed like AGES before the book came out I was SUPER hyped to get my hands on it. I literally couldn’t wait for the day. Inevitably I ended up a little bit too hyped. I enjoyed the book, but not as much as I was expecting to.

10. Geography – Which literary destination would you really like to visit? (They can be real or fictional!)

Oh dear, what a question! None of the places I’ve read about recently are places I’d be likely to survive for very long for various reasons – cell phone zombies, a mass forest taking over the world overnight, you know, the usual…

I can’t help but choose Westeros, especially Winterfell. Dorne sounds amazing but would probably be too hot, so it’s North for me.
I’d also like to go to the Scottish Highlands of Outlander.

So there’s my School Subjects Tag.
Not done this one and fancy trying it? Consider yourself tagged! Let me know how you get on…

The Spring Has Sprung (2) Book Tag

It’s Book Tag time!
I haven’t done a tag for a while, even though I have SO MANY to catch up on. I first completed the Spring Has Sprung tag last year (you can see those answers here) after being tagged by Cristina from My Tiny Obsessions, and I thought I’d revisit the tag as Spring is now underway again…


The Essex Serpent
by Sarah Perry. The cover is beautiful, and I’ve recently seen a different edition with shades of blue on the cover which looks lovely too.
The story is very character driven and I really liked the writing as well.


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – I imagine this is an amazing spectacle seen live on stage but somehow I just couldn’t seem to get into it in script form.


I’m certain I mentioned the Jeeves books by P. G. Wodehouse last time I completed this tag but they really do have some great humour, so they’re making a reappearance this time too.


To the Bright Edge of the World
by Eowyn Ivey. It follows a journey upriver into the wilds of Alaska and is told in a really vivid way. The landscape sounds wild and beautiful, and the sense of adventure made this a great read.


Hold Back the Stars
by Katie Khan. Carys and Max are in a really desperate situation, stranded in space with 90 minutes until their air supply runs out and I just had to keep reading to find out whether they would both survive and how they would be saved. I had no idea how it was all going to play out.


Hm, I can’t think of anything, mainly because these days I’m getting better at putting books down if I’m not enjoying them, but also I‘ve had a really good reading run of late. For some reason I used to plough on with books even when I wasn’t enjoying them, with the idea that I’d started it so I might as well finish it. With such a massive TBR pile I don’t do that so much any more.


So far this year I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve picked up. In general I don’t seem to go for many crime novels. I don’t mind watching a crime series on tv but I never seem to like the books as much.


Christmas Under the Stars by Karen Swan was just a lovely story.


Sins of Empire by Brian McClellan. I’m reading the final Powder Mage book at the moment and cannot wait to start the latest offering from this author.

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence also sounds really good, so I’m hoping to pick that up some time as well.

I could add an endless amount of books here but will leave it at those two for now.


I ended up really liking both Jamie and Claire from Outlander. And I have a whole series of huge books in which to follow their further adventures. Can’t wait!


I guess anything I would choose to re-read. There’s something comforting in revisiting familiar characters and stories, and even though you mostly know what’s going to happen there’s always something new to find.


Golden Hill
by Francis Spufford. The writing is great and brings the world of New York in it’s infancy to life really well. There are some intriguing characters and a great mystery at the heart of the story.


There were a few moments in Golden Hill by Francis Spufford when I found myself smiling.

So, there’s my latest edition of Spring Has Sprung.
As always, if you want to have a go at the tag then consider yourself tagged. Enjoy!

Booking Ahead: April 2017

Booking Ahead is a feature here on Pages and Tea where I glance through my never-ending TBR list/pile and select a few potential reads for the coming month. If I’m not reading books I love talking about books I’d like to read, so this post is a perfect excuse to do just that.

Welcome back to Booking Ahead. Time to choose some potential reads for the month ahead. As always I’ll be going through my TBR backlist pile and adding in some new books that caught my attention recently.

New Books

Carnivalesque by Neil Jordan – I’m going to let this one speak for itself, because it sounds so good…

It looked like any other carnival, but of course it wasn’t…

It had its own little backstreets, its alleyways of hanging bulbs and ghost trains and Punch and Judy stands …
And at the end of one he saw the Hall of Mirrors. There were looping strings of carnival lights leading towards it, and a large sign in mirrored glass reading ‘Burleigh’s Amazing Hall of Mirrors’ and the sign reflected the lights in all sorts of magically distorted ways.

To Andy and his parents, it looks like any other carnival: creaking ghost train, rusty rollercoaster and circus performers. But of course it isn’t.

Drawn to the hall of mirrors, Andy enters and is hypnotised by the many selves staring back at him. Sometime later, one of those selves walks out rejoins his parents – leaving Andy trapped inside the glass, snatched from the tensions of his suburban home and transported to a world where the laws of gravity are meaningless and time performs acrobatic tricks.

And now an identical stranger inhabits Andy’s life, unsettling his mother with a curious blankness, as mysterious events start unfolding in their Irish coastal town…

Books from the Backlist

The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan – The third and final book of the Powder Mage trilogy. I’ve wanted to read this one for so long now, but I’ll be sad to reach the end and leave these characters behind. Promise of Blood and The Crimson Campaign were both really good, so here’s hoping for a brilliant finale, in which none of my favourite characters meets a nasty end!

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher – I’ve had this book on my pile for absolutely ages now and it’s found it’s way to the top again, so perhaps April will finally be the month I manage to start the book.

What are you hoping to read this month?
Have you read of my picks, and if so what did you think?
See you again next month for another Booking Ahead.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for Reading the Day Away

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week they provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in with their own top ten list.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This weeks theme is:   Read In One Sitting Theme.

How I love the idea of reading an entire book in one sitting.
It’s never going to happen when I keep choosing all these 5/600+ page reads but I can’t seem to resist really long books.
For that reason, this week I’m going for books that may make you read the whole day away.  (You still won’t have reached the end of the book by the end of the day, but you might have managed a good chunk of the story).

A Game of Thrones by George R R Martin – First in the Song of Ice and Fire series. It may be several hundred pages long but I soon became engrossed in the goings on in Westeros.

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling – I guess the first two or three books may be read-in-one-sitting length.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – First in the series of time travel stories featuring Claire, who finds herself going back 200 years in the Scottish Highlands where she becomes involved with a certain red-haired Scotsman. It took me a while to get into this actually, but once it hooked me that was it, and I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series.

The Muse by Jessie Burton – A recent read featuring two narratives, both of which were really engaging. History, art, a good mystery at the central of the tale, The Muse kept me reading for a good stretch of each day.

The Girl With All The Gifts by M R Carey – This one usually finds it’s way onto many of my Top Ten Tuesday posts.

IT by Stephen King – I can’t recall how many days I spent totally absorbed in the world King created in this book, but some of it was so vivid I can still remember it clearly years after I first read it.

The Trees by Ali Shaw – I couldn’t put down this post-apocalyptic read where the world becomes overrun by a mass of trees in an instant. The journey of a group of survivors is really good.

Christmas Under the Stars by Karen Swan – This one was a change from my usual reading choices and I really enjoyed the story of two people who meet under some pretty unique circumstances (I won’t say more and give it away). Although Christmas is in the title the majority of the story isn’t particularly Christmas-themed, so it’s one to pick up any time of year.

Any of the Jeeves books by P. G. Wodehouse – One of the few entries on my list that you actually may just about finish in one sitting, and have a good laugh during your reading as well.

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry – This has such a lot to offer; great story, descriptive writing and strong characters. I really enjoyed reading The Essex Serpent and lost many a day lost to its pages.

Have you read any of the books in my list this week, and can you recommend me any one-sitting reads?  As always, talk to me in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring TBR List 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week they provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in with their own top ten list.  Click on the link for more info and to find out about future topics.

This weeks theme is:   Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR

The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher – I can’t believe this one is still making my TBR-type posts because I’ve had it on my pile for the longest time. I’m in the mood for some Fantasy so I think this will have to be one of my first Spring reads.

The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams – As I mentioned before I’m in the mood for a good Fantasy novel and this one caught my eye a little while ago, so definitely adding it to my TBR.

Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan – This story is about characters trying to survive in space with only 90 minutes of air remaining.

The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan – This is the final book in the Powder Mage trilogy and I can’t wait to find out how it all ends. I’ve waited months for the library to get this one, so I was really pleased when I received the email saying it had arrived. Now to find out the fate of my favourite characters.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman – I recently finished Norse Mythology and decided I wanted to read more Gaiman so  I’ll probably check this out over the coming months. I bet I’ll end up watching the new series of American Gods too.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill – The Bailey’s Prize longlist was released recently and I noticed this book had made the list. I’ve seen the book compared to The Night Circus but I’m never sure whether that’s a good thing because I loved that book so much that it always leaves me with high expectations.

Hidden Killers by Lynda La Plante – I don’t really read much crime, but I am enjoying Tennison, or Prime Suspect 1973 as it’s known now there’s a tv series (which I haven’t started watching yet), so I’ll give the next book a try too.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth – I’ve only read one book by this author so I’m looking forward to giving this one a try.

Carnivalesque by Neil Jordan – The cover caught my eye in the first place, I loved the contrast of the colours. Then I read what the story was about, carnivals and a boy caught behind a magic mirror, and I had to pick this one up.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters – I read this one a few years ago but for some reason it’s back in my mind and I’d like a re-read. Not sure whether I’ll get round to doing that because I already have such a massive TBR pile, but this book makes the list because the intent to read it is there 😀

Have you read any of the books that made my list?  If so, what did you think?
What are you hoping to read over the next few months?