The London Scene by Virginia Woolf

Hello gentle reader,

last weekend I went to the National Portrait Gallery to visit the temporary exhibition about the Life, Art and Vision of Virginia Woolf. It’s an amazing exhibition and I really recommend it if you find yourself in London before 26 October 2014. I find there’s nothing quite as inspiring as seeing a great writer’s personal notes, letters and photographs. It gives us a ‘behind the scenes’ look at their life, struggles and inspiration.

VirginiaWoolf

Following my visit to the National Portrait Gallery, I decided to read one of Virginia Woolf’s works. I chose The London Scene, and again, I recommend it if you’re interested in London and beautiful writing.

The London Scene

From Goodreads:

Virginia Woolf was already an accomplished novelist and critic when she was commissioned by the British edition of Good Housekeeping to write a series entitled “Six Articles on London Life.” Originally published bimonthly, beginning in December 1931, five of the essays were eventually collected and published in 1981. The sixth essay, “Portrait of a Londoner,” had been missing from Woolf’s oeuvre until it was rediscovered at the University of Sussex in 2004.

A walking tour of Woolf’s beloved hometown, The London Scene begins at the London Docks and follows Woolf as she visits several iconic sites throughout the city, including the Oxford Street shopping strip, John Keats’s house on Hampstead Heath, Thomas Carlyle’s house in Chelsea, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and the Houses of Parliament.

These six essential essays capture Woolf at her best, exploring modern consciousness through the prism of 1930s London while simultaneously painting an intimate, touching portrait of this sprawling metropolis and its fascinating inhabitants.

It’s a very short read (about 100 pages), yet incredibly powerful. Virginia Woolf managed to capture the essence of London in these essays, showing both what the city was like in the 1930s and what makes it utterly timeless. If you love London as I do, or if you dream of going there one day, then I strongly suggest you read The London Scene. You won’t regret it.

What have you been reading this week? Have you read any of Virginia Woolf’s books? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

Book of the Week – Every Ugly Word

Hello gentle reader,

You may remember that in November 2013, I interviewed my friend Aimee L. Salter as she self-published her debut BREAKABLE. Today I’m delighted to share with you some fantastic news about Aimee’s book: it has been acquired by Alloy Entertainment and it’s being published TODAY with the new title EVERY UGLY WORD.

Here is an extract from the press release:

Today, Amazon Publishing and Alloy Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. Television Group, announced a digital-first imprint that will focus on young adult, new adult and commercial fiction.(…) Every Ugly Word will be one of the first of three titles to be released under the newly launched imprint. Alloy Entertainment will also look for opportunities to develop acquired titles as television series, feature films, and digital entertainment.

Here is the book’s new cover:

Every Ugly Word

And here is the book’s new blurb:

When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school, bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.

Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.

Perfect for fans of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY and THE LIST, EVERY UGLY WORD is a gripping and emotional story about the devastating consequences of bullying.

Aimee L. Salter2

Here is what Aimee says about her book’s shiny new version:

“It’s slimmer, richer and 100% better than the original, in my opinion. Same premise and basic plot, same characters – but a lot of new content and a completely new delivery of the ending.

I’m so excited because this story, which has always been so close to my heart, has finally found a home — a home with people who are mind-blowingly talented, passionate about my characters and story, and so much fun to work with that I’m keep waking up and pinching myself to make sure it’s all real.”

And here are a few quotes from other authors who’ve read EVERY UGLY WORD:

“Original. Authentic. Heart-breaking….Officially one of my favorites!”
— Cora Carmack, New York Times Bestselling author of Losing It.

“A gripping story about a teen facing her demons with twists you won’t see coming, Every Ugly Word is a chilling and heartbreaking debut with raw emotion searing every page. I couldn’t put it down.”
— Katie Sise, author of The Boyfriend App.

“Every Ugly Word is a punch to the gut from chapter one. The tension and mystery build through every page to an inevitable showdown that left me breathless. With a splintered protagonist you can’t help but root for, you’ll battle through the worst of humanity’s ugliness to emerge at the end dirty and broken and full of hope.”
— Mary Elizabeth Summer, author of Trust Me, I’m Lying.

And here is where you can buy EVERY UGLY WORD for your Kindle.

Congrats, Aimee!

Book of the Week – 26

Hello gentle reader,

A while ago I wrote a post about the books which successfully build a bridge between literary and genre fiction. The book I just finished reading belongs to this narrow category. It’s entitled NIGHT FILM and it was written by Marisha Pessl. It’s a literary thriller which was published in January 2013.

Night Film

From Goodreads:

Everybody has a Cordova story.

Cult horror director Stanislas Cordova hasn’t been seen in public since 1977. To his fans he is an engima. To journalist Scott McGrath he is the enemy. To Ashley he was a father.

On a damp October night the body of young, beautiful Ashley Cordova is found in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Her suicide appears to be the latest tragedy to hit a severely cursed dynasty.

For McGrath, another death connected to the legendary director seems more than a coincidence. Driven by revenge, curiosity and a need for the truth, he finds himself pulled into a hypnotic, disorientating world, where almost everyone seems afraid.

The last time McGrath got close to exposing Cordova, he lost his marriage and his career. This time he could lost his grip on reality.

You may remember Marisha Pessl’s debut novel, SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS, is one of my favourite books of all time. Needless to say, I was eagerly anticipating her second book, NIGHT FILM. I had to wait 7 years for it, but it was definitely worth the wait. This book is amazing. Buy it or borrow it now, and read it as soon as possible.

Have you read NIGHT FILM? What did you think? What are you reading this week?

Feel free to leave me a comment below!

Book of the Week – 23

Hello gentle reader,

this week I’m reading Insatiable and its sequel Overbite by Meg Cabot (published in June 2010 and June 2011 by Harper Collins). It’s an Adult Urban Fantasy with vampires and romance.

Meg-Cabot-Overbite-and-Insatiable

I enjoy Meg Cabot’s books and I love vampire stories, so the only reason I waited this long to read this series is that Insatiable received bad reviews when it came out. I now wish I hadn’t paid attention to those reviews, because I really loved these books!

Meg Cabot cleverly re-tells Bram Stoker’s Dracula and sets her story in modern-day New York City. Her heroine, Meena Harper (!) is tired of fictional vampires invading her bookstore, her TV screen and her day job (she’s a writer for a soap-opera). She meets a Romanian prince and falls in love with him, until she realises he harbours dark secrets, like the fact he’s on the run from Vatican vampire-hunters…

Obviously, this isn’t your usual paranormal romance. Meg Cabot references the entire vampire mythology, from Vlad The Impaler to Sookie Stackhouse and Twilight. She mixes elements of a thriller (dead girls turn up in Central Park) with fun comedy moments.

It’s a truly enjoyable read, and I recommend it if you like well-written vampire stories.

What are you reading this week?

Book of the Week – 22

Hello gentle reader,

this week I’m reading Masque of the Red Death, and its sequel Dance of the Red Death, by Bethany Griffin (Published in April 2012 and June 2013 by Greenwillow Book). I won both those books in a giveaway hosted by Hannah at Once Upon A Time

These books were inspired by a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe in 1842 and entitled “The Masque of the Red Death”. In this retelling, the story takes place in steampunk/post-apocalyptic world. It has a very gothic atmosphere, an interesting heroine and a compelling plot. I’m loving it!

Masque of the Red Death

From Goodreads:

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population, and those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery makeup . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club, and Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find not just something to live for, but something to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

Have you read Masque of the Red Death? What did you think? And what are you reading this week? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

Book of the Week – 21

Hello gentle reader,

this week I’m reading Dodger by Terry Pratchett (published in September 2012). It’s a standalone book that doesn’t belong to the Discworld series. Instead it’s a YA Historical Fantasy that just came out in paperback, and I really recommend it!

dodgerterrypratchett

From Goodreads:

A storm. Rain-lashed city streets. A flash of lightning. A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught again? Of course not, because he’s…Dodger.

Seventeen-year-old Dodger may be a street urchin, but he gleans a living from London’s sewers, and he knows a jewel when he sees one. He’s not about to let anything happen to the unknown girl–not even if her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England.

From Dodger’s encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery.

Beloved and bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett combines high comedy with deep wisdom in this tale of an unexpected coming-of-age and one remarkable boy’s rise in a complex and fascinating world.

This book has everything I love: Victorian London, history mixed with fantasy, a wonderful main character, an incredible supporting cast, and a great mystery. If you like this genre, I recommend it!

What are YOU reading this week? Feel free to let me know in the comment section!

Book of the Week – 20

Hello gentle reader,

My choice for Book of the Week is Coldness of Marek by Rachel O’Laughlin. It’s an Adult Epic Fantasy book and the first book in the Serengard Series. It was released on 6th August 2013 and I received an ARC from the author for review.

ColdnessOfMarek-Cover

I’ll start by saying that I fully enjoyed this book. I love Epic Fantasy and this is a very well written and engrossing read.

The story is divided into two parts: the first part takes place before a political upheaval which is going to overthrow the reigning monarch and introduce a new regime. The second part takes place ten years later and deals with the aftermath of the rebellion.

I loved how effortless the world building was in this story: Serengard and its political, social and geographical features are introduced slowly and smoothly, making it very easy to get immersed  in this world.

The characters are rich and complex, with Trzl at the center of it all. She is a wonderfully multifaceted woman, clever yet passionate, cold yet loving. Around her, a web of men with their own agendas creates a great cast. I only wished there were more female characters.

The plot is well-paced and compelling, although I did enjoy Part II more, because the action and scheming really picked up then and I couldn’t put the book down after hitting the halfway mark.

Although this first book in this series has a satisfying ending, I finished the story longing to dive into Book 2 straight away. But Knights of Rilch will only be released in February 2014…

In the meantime, I recommend Coldness of Marek for lovers of Epic Fantasy!

What are you reading this week?