Author: Rachel

Avid reader & book blogger. Lover of Business. A fan of drinks & dancing. Ever optimistic. Feminist.

Review: The Life and Loves of a He Devil

The Life and Loves of a He Devil by Graham Norton, published October 2016 by Hodder.

The Life and Loves of a He Devil Book Cover

Read: March 2017
Genre: Non-Fiction/Autobiography/Memoir
Source: Purchased
#Pages: 304
Get It Now: Wordery

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Goodreads Synopsis: Who wouldn’t want a friend like Graham Norton? A little bit naughty, full of frank advice, bursting with gossip about the world’s biggest stars – but most of all with an emphatic love of life and all its joys, big and small.

Join him – glass of wine in hand, faithful doggy friend by your side – and delve in as he shares the loves of his life.

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Review: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between

Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between by Jennifer E Smith, published September 2015 by Headline. 

Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between Book CoverRead: April 2016
Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Contemporary
Source: Publisher
#Pages: 248
Get It Now: Wordery

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Goodreads Synopsis: One night. A life-changing decision. And a list…

Of course Clare made a list. She creates lists for everything. That’s just how she is.

But tonight is Clare and Aidan’s last night before college and this list will decide their future, together or apart.

It takes them on a roller-coaster ride through their past – from the first hello in science class to the first conversation at a pizza joint, their first kiss at the beach and their first dance in a darkened gymnasium – all the way up to tonight.

A night of laughs, fresh hurts, last-minute kisses and an inevitable goodbye.

But will it be goodbye forever or goodbye for now?

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International Women’s Day Book Recs!

#BEBOLDFORCHANGE

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #BeBoldForChange – to help women and girls achieve their ambitions; challenge conscious and unconscious bias; call for gender-balanced leadership; value women and men’s contributions equally; and create inclusive flexible cultures.

The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. This is too long to wait. Around the world, IWD can be an important catalyst and vehicle for driving greater change for women and moving closer to gender parity. Check out the official IWD Videos.

International Women’s Day Non-Fiction Recs

International Womens Day NonFiction Books

  • Bad Feminist (4.5/5*) – I read this book a couple of years ago, and it awakened my inner feminist! Fantastic, accessible read. Full review of Bad Feminist.
  • Hot Feminist (4/5*) – Polly Vernon tackles the difficult questions surrounding modern-day feminism with sarcasm, insight, and wit. Full review of Hot Feminist
  • The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success (4/5*) – While not marketed directly to women, this book touches on many of the qualities deemed necessary to get-ahead, that women tend to struggle with, in their battle to be assertive and remain “liked” in the workplace. Full review of The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success.
  • I Call Myself A Feminist (3.5/5*) – Is “feminism” still a dirty word? This book contains short essays from 25 women under thirty, dissecting what feminism means to them.
  • Full Frontal Feminism (3/5*) – While this isn’t a favourite of mine, there are interesting and useful nuggets of information in this text. A good introduction or all-rounder, it wouldn’t be my go-to recommendation, but it does add to the conversation.
  • Lean In – I shamefully started, but have yet to finish this one. From what I’ve read it’s full of eye-opening anecdotes and facts, and it’s definitely the kind of book you need to read with a pen and paper handy to take notes!
  • Why Women Don’t Ask – I’m in the middle of this read, and it’s another great one that looks at the innate differences between genders, and how these can be overcome, as well as how to work within the constraints of societal perception, for women to succeed in the workplace!
  • I Am Malala – One that is on my bookshelf, and I have yet to get to. If ever there was an inspirational woman, Malala Yousafzai is she.
  • Everyday Sexism – Another I have on my TBR, what started as a TED Talk and anonymous online forum, has now become a phenomenon, and published text. This book argues that sexism has been normalised. And it’s time for change.

International Women’s Day Fiction Recs

International Womens Day Fiction Books

  • The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh (5/5*) – One of my favourite books of 2016, this novel is based on the true story of Mother Ross, a brave and fierce Irish woman. When her husband is taken as a soldier, Kit enlists in the Duke of Marlborough’s regiment, disguised as a man, to follow him across war-torn Italy. And that’s just the beginning! Full review of The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh.
  • Through the Barricades (4.5/5*) – This is a story of friendship, love, war and revolution. She was willing to sacrifice everything for her country. He was willing to sacrifice everything for her. Full review of Through the Barricades.
  • Asking For It (4.5/5*) – A brutal, important, relevant, and emotional novel, based on true events. A book all ages and genders should read. I was compelled to write #NotAskingForIt upon finishing the book. Full review of Asking For It
  • Only Ever Yours (4/5*) – Suppoesedly reminiscint of The Handmaid’s Tale, this debut novel will make you stop and question the society around you. eves are designed, not made. The School trains them to be pretty. The School trains them to be good. The School trains them to Always be Willing. Full review of Only Ever Yours.
  • The Handmaid’s Tale – I recently purchased a copy of this, and have heard nothing but good things about it. A dystopian novel where women’s rights are completely revoked. Is the truth stranger than fiction?

Check out Wordery’s top picks with up to 33% off RRP, and FREE delivery!

Do you have any recommendations to add to this list? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add them in to make one super list of recommended reads!

Author Spotlight: Interview with Denise Deegan, and Giveaway!

Through the Barricades Book CoverI recently took part in the blog tour for Through the Barricades by Denise Deegan, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I LOVED it. I reached out to the author to ask if she would like to be interviewed on my blog, and she said yes!

Check out the GIVEAWAY for a chance to WIN a paperback copy of the book (open INT!). Enter HERE!

The Through the Barricades ebook is just 99p on Amazon! Or pick up the paperback on Wordery for £12 with FREE international shipping.

Now, on to the interview!

R: Hi Denise, introduce yourself to Book Geek readers, and tell us a little about you – what do you do when you aren’t writing?

D: Hello, Book Geek readers! I’m an Irish writer of adult and young adult fiction. When not writing, I like to dream, read, watch movies, walk in nature with my dog (Homer), chat with my family, and eat out as often as possible. I’m a big fan of weddings! We won’t talk about the time I spend on social media.

R: I think we all spend a silly amount of time on social media! Writing can be a very difficult profession, so what made you want to become a writer?

D: I was doing a literature review for a Masters in PR. A book didn’t exist that should have. So I wrote it. As soon as it was published, I was struck by an overwhelming, inexplicable urge to write fiction. Without an agent, publisher or even an idea for a book, I gave up my business to follow my dream.

R: Wow! That was such a risk, but I’m do glad you did! Through the Barricades tells the story of Maggie and Daniel’s relationship, set during the Easter Rising in Ireland in 1916. Where did the inspiration come from for this story, and what made you want to tell it?

D: I’m a bit of a rebel at heart. I am also very proud of my Irish heritage. The centenary of the 1916 Rising was approaching and I wanted to write a story of a girl rebel who was prepared to sacrifice everything for what she believed in. And I wanted her to fall in love with a pacifist!

R: This novel has romance and the compulsory (and fantastic) Irish sense of humour, but it also has more serious scenes, including chapters set during the First World War, as well as the Easter Rising. How much research did you have to do for this novel, and how historically accurate are the events you include?

D: I spent two years researching this book. There were three big areas to cover:

  1. The Lockout of 1913 (Dublin workers were locked out of their jobs when they dared to strike),
  2. A specific Irish regiment fighting in Gallipoli during WW1
  3. The Easter Rising of 1916 (a rebellion that changed Irish history).

The research was both challenging and fascinating. I discovered that historical reports are subject to interpretation. As such, they vary. The secret was to find as much information from primary sources, such as witness statements of people who were actually there. Events included in the book are as accurate as they could possibly be. I wanted readers to be able to rely on what they were reading.
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Stacking the Shelves & Wrappin’ It Up Jan & Feb 2017

Stacking the Shelves

Somehow, the last time I did a monthly wrap-up was October 2016. I don’t even know how this is possible, so we’ll swiftly move right along! As per usual, I’m finding it difficult to stick to a regular blogging routine, BUT I’m still here and I’m still posting, even if I do have SO MANY reviews to catch up on…

The Books:

I think I’ve been a very well behaved Book Blogger lately. Since posting my annual book-spending review, I’ve been much more conscious of my book buying (especially because this year I’m also tracking books bought in a physical bookstore!). Also, since I finally acquired some new (and amazing) book cases, I’m acutely aware of how many unread books I own…

That being said, there have still been a few sneaky purchases since the start of the year, though nearly all of these were purchased with reward vouchers of some description for Amazon and The Works! Honestly, sign up for Quidco, people, you will not regret it.

Book Haul Feb 2017

  • When Breath Becomes Air: At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.
  • Scrappy Little Nobody: She was a grower, but I’ve slowly fallen a little bit in love with Anna Kendrick. I’ve already finished this one, review to follow soon!
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin: I preordered this one on Amazon (I know, given my preorder rant, I’m a glutton for punishment!). I. CAN’T. WAIT.
  • The Life and Loves of a He Devil: I LOVE Graham Norton, and I had heard bad things about this so stayed away from it. I’m almost finished it and really enjoyed it!
  • Mad GirlWhen Breath Becomes Air was part of a 2 for £7 deal. This was my “I’m a weak Book Geek” purchase.
  • Start With Why: This video was doing the rounds on Facebook, and I started following Simon to see what he’s all about. What he says intrigues me, so a book purchase was made. Simple thought process that one.
  • Why Women Don’t AskI’m hitting a career crossroads, of sorts, and know from other sources that women can inherently find it difficult to negotiate and understand financial self-worth (partly because we’re taught not to from a young age, and partly because of society’s belief that we shouldn’t). Consider this training and a pep talk for what hopefully lies ahead for me… speaking of…
  • Emotional Intelligence 2.0This has been available as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway SO many times. I’ve entered a ton of times, and never won. So I took matters in to my own hands. I started following the author, Travis Bradberry, on LinkedIn, and liked what he had to say, so I took the plunge.
  • Leadership 2.0: While I was picking up Emotional Intelligence, I spied this one. Bit of personal development never hurt nobody, right?

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Review: Rockadoon Shore

Rockadoon Shore by Rory Gleeson, published January 2017 by John Murray. 

Read: February 2017rockadoon-shore-book-cover
Genre:
Young Adult/Contemporary
Source: Publisher
#Pages: 304
Get It Now: Wordery

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Goodreads Synopsis: Cath is worried about her friends. DanDan is struggling with the death of his ex, Lucy is drinking way too much and Steph has become closed off. A weekend away is just what they need. They travel out to Rockadoon Lodge, to the wilds in the west of Ireland.

But the weekend doesn’t go to plan. JJ is more concerned with getting high than spending time with them, while Merc is humiliated and seeks revenge. And when their elderly neighbour Malachy arrives on their doorstep in the dead of night with a gun in his hands, nothing will be the same again for any of them…

Honest, moving and human, Rockadoon Shore is a novel about friendship and youth, about missed opportunities and lost love, and about the realities of growing up and growing old in modern-day Ireland.

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Review: The Secret History

The Secret History by Donna Tartt, published July 1993 by Penguin Books.

The Secret HistoryRead: February 2016
Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Literary
Source: Purchased
#Pages: 629
Get It Now: Wordery

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Goodreads Synopsis: Truly deserving of the accolade Modern Classic, Donna Tartt’s cult bestseller The Secret History is a remarkable achievement – both compelling and elegant, dramatic and playful.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and for ever.

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Author Spotlight: Interview with Stella Newman, and Giveaway!

seven-steps-to-happiness-book-coverI recently read and LOVED Seven Steps to Happiness by Stella Newman, so I’m delighted to interview her today on Confessions of a Book Geek, AND host a giveaway for FIVE copies of the book (UK only). I’m also offering one eBook copy for all of my INT readers!

Seven Steps to Happiness is currently available on Amazon for £3.99 for the eBook, and the paperback is just £6.15 on Wordery with FREE international shipping. Who can say no to that? 😉 

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!

R: Hi Stella, introduce yourself to Book Geek readers, and tell us a little about you – what do you do when you aren’t writing/blogging?

S: Hello fellow book lovers, and thank you, Rachel for having me. I’m Stella Newman, author of four novels including the best seller Pear-Shaped (woo hoo!) and two novellas.

I used to work in advertising, then at the BBC, then at The Observer newspaper; then I became a professional food taster and was paid to eat spaghetti (best job in the world, ever) and now I’m a full time novelist. When I’m not writing, I’m eating, reading or sleeping.

R: All my favourite things to do! So, what made you want to become a writer?

S: My grandma was a writer – not a famous one, but she instilled in me a deep love of books, as did my father. I grew up loving reading, writing and telling stories but never thought I could make a living as a writer, so instead pursued various alternative careers – some fun, some less so (looking after turkeys for a supermarket in the run up to Christmas being one of the latter.)

As I went through my thirties, I couldn’t shake the fear that if I never even tried to write a novel I’d regret it. So I tried, failed, tried again a little harder, and eventually signed my first book deal with Harper Collins.

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