Last night I was ever so slightly distracted from my reading by browsing book blogs. I started browsing the book blogs listed in a thread on The Book Addicts group on Goodreads, and I came across a few reading challenges, and book blog memes, and adding these blogs to my reader, a couple to my blogroll, and whilst I wouldn’t call this a book blog, I do like to write about books every now and again so I thought this ‘in my mailbox‘ meme that I found on a few blogs linking back to The Story Siren was a very nice idea, especially seeing as I always seem to end up bringing home stray books from the charity shop. I’m a bookworm. I love reading and I love collecting books to read, so it just suits me.

I think it’ll be best to keep it sporadic, as I’m not constantly buying books, though it will be a Wednesday thing. What it basically is f0r me is a chance to mention any books I’ve got my hands on recently without them going forgotten in a small corner of my overcrowded bookshelf, because I have this lifetime habit of buying books and not getting around to reading them.

As this is my first installment, I’m going to cast my mind back a couple of weeks, because I picked up a few in the charity shop the last time I was in.. must have been the 13th of December, and I did get a couple of good ones for Christmas as well, I also ordered one in from Amazon. Did I mention that book collecting is a small addiction of mine? It’s nice to have a lot of choice for my next read depending on my mood.

Behind a cut because it’s a big ass post, and clicky the covers for their Goodreads pages if you want to read a bit more.

Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

“Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers…”

This one caught my eye not only because it’s one of the modern classics listed in a lot of the ‘books to read before you die’ lists, but also because it shares a resemblance to Jane Eyre, which I read for my A level English Literature course and loved it with its’ hints of the gothic, and the male protagonist being somebody who we really should dislike but find ourselves loving all the same. I love to read a classic, whether it be from the 1800s or the 2000s, they’re called ‘classics’ for a reason.

This one of the books I spotted in the charity shop while I was sorting books upstairs and had to have. It has a small note on the title page too, which I’ve always thought added a certain charm to the book. This one says: “D. Hope this isn’t too big for the bed!! Enjoy. Love, Mx.” Clearly it was because it ended up in a charity shop but I’m looking forward to reading it when I get chance.

The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch

“The Thorn of Camorr is said to be an unbeatable swordsman, a master thief, a ghost that walks through walls. Hald the city believes him to be a legendary champion of the poor. The other half believe him to be a foolish myth. Nobody has it quite right.

Slightly Built and barely competent with a sword, Locke Lamora is, much to his annoyance, the fabled Thorn. He certainly didn’t invite the rumours that swirl around his exploits, which are actually confidence games of the most intricate sort. And while Locke does indeed steal from the rich (who else would be worth stealing from?), the poor never see a penny. All of Locke’s gains are strictly for himself and his tight-knit band of thieves: The Gentlemen Bastards.

The capricious, colourful underworld of the ancient city of Camorr is the only home they’ve ever known. But now a deadly mystery has begun to haunt the city, and a clandestine war is threatening to tear the underworld apart. Caught up in a murderous game, Locke and his friends will find both their loyalty and they ingenuity tested to the breaking point as they struggle to stay alive…”

While browsing different books on Goodreads one day, I was going through a few reviews, which I always do just to see how a book has been received in general, and noticed this had been described a few times as being similar to an Ocean’s Eleven style fantasy. The premise of the story itself had already interested me, but when I mentioned this to the other half, his ears pricked up and it went to the top of my wishlist as one we’ll both read. So you can imagine my delight when I spotted a hardcover copy sitting on the shelf in the charity shop. I love finding books on my wishlist in there, it feels almost like a treasure hunt. I’m not certain, but I think it might even be a second edition, not that that really means anything these days.

How to Train Your Dragon – Cressida Cowell

“Hiccups Horrendous Haddock III was a truly extraordinary Viking Hero. Warrior chieftain, awesome sword-fighter and amateur naturalist, he was known throughout Vikingdom as ‘the Dragon Whisperer’, on account of his power over these terrifying beasts.

But it wasn’t always like that…”

Admittedly, we’d been to see the film at the cinema in 3D and I absolutely fell in love with the story and Toothless the dragon. When I found out it was based on a book (because I’m a bit slow sometimes and don’t realise until I’m waiting to see who the hell that actor actually was so that I could imbd them later and spot ‘based on the book by..’ in the credits) I went with the whole, “Oh, I’ll have to read that sometime.” And of course I didn’t really have an Amazon wishlist at this point so it fell by the wayside. It wasn’t until my birthday when Dan bought me the movie on DvD with the book “How to Train Your Viking” that I remembered I’d wanted to read the books, and when a week later I went into the charity shop and found 3 of the books in one of the donation bags, I couldn’t resist buying them, I was pretty happy to find them in there in such good condition. Thanks to Dan for the reminder!

How to Speak Dragonese – Cressida Cowell

“Toothless has been captured, the nanodragon is about to be gobbled and Sharkworms are on the loose. Once again we are relying on Hiccup to be a Hero…”

Same as above. I did check through the bags and they were the only 3 I found. They are read but in good condition though after a quick Goodreads check, I am missing the second one, “How to Be a Pirate” which should be easy enough to get hold of though I doubt it’s too important to read these in precise order, they are just a bit of fun really, being children’s books. I’m really looking forward to reading them, and especially curious to find out what a Sharkworm is!

How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse – Cressida Cowell

“Can Hiccup find the antidote to deadly Vorpentitis AND fight the Doomfang? Can he brave the axe of Norbert the Nutjob and be the Hero YET AGAIN?”

Again, same as above, though I don’t think this one has even been read. There’s no spine creasing and it still has that new book smell, and I absolutely love the cover art – the dragon on it looks so sweet and mischievous.

Storm Front (Dresden Files #1) – Jim Butcher

“Harry Dresden is the best at what he does – and not just because he’s the only one who does it. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal capabilities, they come to him for answers. Because the everyday world is not as ‘everyday’ as it seems. It’s actually full of strange and supernatural things – and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a – well, whatever it is the police are having trouble with this time.

There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get… interesting.

Magic. It can get a guy killed.”

Where to start. This is the one I bought from Amazon. Mildly humorous story about that, actually, because Dan had popped into town and bought “Dead Beat”, feeling a bit annoyed he hadn’t bought book 1, and I turned around and said, “Well, that’s one I’d like to read as well, it sounds good and it has had a lot of high reviews and I’ve had it recommended to me a lot, so I’ll buy the first one.” That was December the 23rd at about lunchtime. About the same time on December the 24th, Christmas Eve, a small parcel arrived with the book inside. At this time of year, especially considering all of the trouble people had been having with presents not arriving in time, I was shocked to say the least.

Dan’s reading it at the moment, which is cool, because I did buy it for him primarily and I’m still working on the Farseer trilogy. He seems to like it so far and I’m quite looking forward to giving it a go. Highly rated Paranormal Urban Fantasy? Sounds good to me.

Assassin’s Quest (Farseer Trilogy #3) – Robin Hobb

[Spoilers if you haven’t read the first two yet!!]

“King Shrewd is dead at the hands of his son Regal. As is Fitz–or so his enemies and friends believe. But with the help of his allies and his beast magic, he emerges from the grave, deeply scarred in body and soul. The kingdom also teeters toward ruin: Regal has plundered and abandoned the capital, while the rightful heir, Prince Verity, is lost to his mad quest–perhaps to death. Only Verity’s return–or the heir his princess carries–can save the Six Duchies.

But Fitz will not wait. Driven by loss and bitter memories, he undertakes a quest: to kill Regal. The journey casts him into deep waters, as he discovers wild currents of magic within him–currents that will either drown him or make him something more than he was…”

I did my best to copy and paste that blurb from Goodreads without spoiling the second book’s ending but I failed, my eyes wouldn’t stop reading the first line. Bleh.

Anyway, slight annoyance aside, this was the first of the two book based Christmas presents, both from Dan. He knew full well that I wanted to finish this trilogy because I’d loved the first book so much and so bought me the final book in the Farseer trilogy. And it’s a huge one, which I’m glad about. I know there’s a lot more Robin Hobb around, but this is a story that I want to savour, and the longer it goes on for, the longer I can enjoy it for. This I’ll be reading next, when I finish Royal Assassin. This has made its’ way up to being one of my favourite series. It’s not difficult to read, it’s very well written, the story in the series isn’t obnoxious, the characters are realistic, which makes them more loveable than if they were this perfect Mary Sue style hero. Okay, I’m done gushing.

A Brief History of The Celts – Peter Berresford Ellis

“For centures the Celts held sway in Europe. Even after their conquest by the Romans, their culture remained vigorous, ensuring that much of it endured to feed an endless fascination with Celtic history and myths, artwork and treasures.

Peter Berresford Ellis, a foremost authority on the Celtic peoples and their culture, presents an invigorating overview of their world. With his gist for making the scholarly accessible, he discusses the Celts’ mysterious origins and early history, and investigates their rich and complex society. His use of recently uncovered finds brings fascinating insights into Celtic kings and chieftains, architexture, arts, medicine, religion, myths and legends, making this essential reading for any search for Europe’s ancient past.”

This was the other book based Christmas present, also from Dan. I’ve been wanting to read more history books, because I love history, especially anything pre-1600s, but during GCSE and A level history, we were forced to learn all about modern history. The furthest back we really went was to the 1800s. It’s all interesting, but not quite what I wanted to learn about. So, in an effort to learn more about the history I’m truly passionate about, I’d like to read a few history books and this brief history of the Celts is a great start, because I know next to nothing about Britain’s ancient culture and I’d really like to know more. I’m really looking forward to learning more.