Book Review: The Diary Of A Bookseller – Shaun Bythell

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Shaun Bythell owns The Bookshop, Wigtown – Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop. It contains 100,000 books, spread over a mile of shelving, with twisting corridors and roaring fires, and all set in a beautiful, rural town by the edge of the sea. A book-lover’s paradise? Well, almost … In these wry and hilarious diaries, Shaun provides an inside look at the trials and tribulations of life in the book trade, from struggles with eccentric customers to wrangles with his own staff, who include the ski-suit-wearing, bin-foraging Nicky. He takes us with him on buying trips to old estates and auction houses, recommends books (both lost classics and new discoveries), introduces us to the thrill of the unexpected find, and evokes the rhythms and charms of small-town life, always with a sharp and sympathetic eye.


 

My Thoughts 2

 

What a charming read. A pessimistic bookseller ( Shaun, the author ) reveals what goes down in his bookshop. Not the first person who had this idea for a book but, to be honest, I don´t mind that at all.

`The Diary Of A Bookseller` by author Shaun Bythell is the most charming ( with a less charming bookstore owner ) and charismatic non-fiction/memoir I´ve read this year.

 

Peculiar. Sarcastic. Amusing. Enlightening.

 

Online sales, customer dealings, employee interaction, book sales/trades/purchases,… So much wonderful insight presented in a diary format. This sounds like a book lover´s dream come true. And, it IS a book lover´s dream come true. For everyone else, this is probably the worst book that has ever ben published. The Diary Of A Bookseller

I really enjoyed this book but I would have enjoyed it more had it not been so repetitive at times.

The issue with a 310-page book that is filled with diary entries is: It´s hard to keep them exciting all the time. I admit- I felt a strong urge to skim every other diary entry, but I didn´t. I felt I owed it to the bookshop owner for some reason.

Here´s a guy who´s put so much time and effort into documenting his experiences. His snarky comments, the sarcasm, his voice… I fully appreciated everything. This book deserves attention from a book lover.

After having read this book I´m 100% positive that I never want to be a bookshop owner. Like- Ever. Hats off to Shaun, though. For keeping the bookstore tradition going.


 

Would I recommend this book? Yes. I would. If you love the diary format then you´ll love this non-fiction. Also a great read for fans of bookshop owner Bernard Black from the British sitcom Black Books!

Would I reread this book? Probably not. There are definitely parts I´d like to reread sometime but from start to finish? I don´t think I will.


 

 

The Cover – 4 Stars:  A perfect cover for this book. Very fitting.

The Story – 3 Stars:  The book is a memoir. The author graciously granted insight on the monotonous life as a bookseller. If it wasn´t for the dragging entries…

The Character – 4 Stars:   You could feel sorry for Shaun but then again- He chose the bookshop and it looks like the shop has turned him into a snarky yet humorous person. He´d be my friend in real life, I´m sure.

My emotional state after finishing this read – Satisfied.

 

4 stars

 

You can buy `The Diary Of A Bookseller on Amazon.com

 

Book Review: The Black Witch – Laurie Forest

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A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to hate and fear.


My Thoughts 2

This will be the hardest review I´ve ever written. Not because I´m not able to find the right words to describe my feelings towards this book – It´s more because I´m not able to form any thoughts without spoiling this story. And I feel that whatever I will say will most definitely spoil a good portion of the story. * sigh *

That´s why I´ll just tell you to read the synopsis very carefully. What´s revealed there is more than enough to either whet your reading appetite or to turn you off. black witch

What I will throw into this review is the fact on how controversial this book is. I see lots of people hating or loving `The Black Witch` ( The Black Witch Chronicles #1 ) by Laurie Forest. I found the story itself great. So great I´m actually looking forward to read more. You won´t get your every day, typical witchy read with this one because the story is dark and carries topics that evoke strong feelings from readers.

The characters are, in my opinion, strong and very diverse. Also good to mention would be the slow character development. Although this is something that usually brings me to the brink of insanity I found myself enjoying the slow growth. It added depth to the story. To a story that´s already interesting and exciting.

Now, as for the controversial issue: I don´t mind books that tackle strong and often unlikable topics. I can oversee these while reading and just appreciate a story for what it is: A story about a witch. ( that´s in a nutshell, y´all. I can´t go into more details, I SWEAR!) It´s a fantasy with magic and all.

With that being said- If you´re a reader who wants their Heroes / Heroines squeaky clean and completely flawless then `The Black Witch` might not be for you. There are no hearts and flowers or rainbows and unicorns here. Also- If you´re the sensitive type then just go ahead and skip this read. There´s no reason to read this book knowing full well you´ll be appalled.

If you´re like me and can set your own personal beliefs aside then go for it. Have fun with the story. Just keep in mind that it´s not for everyone. You´ll either love it, like it or hate it.


 

The Cover – 5 Stars: This is the type of cover I would love to see more often. It´s quality. The whole thing is just harmonious.

The Story – 4 Stars: The story isn´t anything new but I did enjoy the vibe it gave. Plus the writing was great.

The Characters – 4 Stars: Although I did have a few hiccup moments I ended up loving these characters for who they were. Without them- the story wouldn´t have been what it was.

My emotional state after finishing this read: Excited for the next installment.

4 stars

Buy the book! Amazon.com ◊ Amazon.co.uk


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Book Review: His Wounded Light ( The Light In The Wound #2) – Christine Brae

synopsis book 2

The perfect life. 

The perfect marriage. 

The jilted lover. 

Their worlds collide.

Fate intervenes twelve years later and their paths intersect once again. All three will question whether the heart is truly capable of dividing and being divided; each will decide whether it matters who you loved first or who you love last. 

Together they will learn that in the end, there can always only be one.


My Thoughts 2

It´s truly a rare moment when you favor book #2 more than book #1. Maybe it´s because I read `His Wounded Light`( The Light In The Wound #2 ) by Christine Brae before I read `The Light In The Wound`? I´m not entirely sure but I will say this:his wounded light

I totally enjoyed this book. It was deep. It made me say “Oh shit.” more often than I thought it ever would. It´s one raw piece of romance that seeps into your bones and stays there.

This book confronted me with real life issues I didn´t necessarily want to be confronted with.

You know- Those situations where you have to make life changing decisions? The “What would happen if this and this or that would happen to you/to us…”

This book has those types of situations and it´s not pretty to read about. But even life´s ugly sides can turn an everyday romance into something great.

There was so much tension in this book. So much devastation and longing and fear. I´m telling you, it´s deeper than the first book by a long shot.

And that´s basically what I loved about this story. It has more of everything.

  1. The pacing was much better.
  2. The character development was great.
  3. The issues dealt with were brutally realistic
  4. The romance / romantic aspect was captivating

You felt the love between the main characters. You felt the nasties this couple went through because the author painted out a horrific picture of it all. She made me believe with the right words / the right emotions the characters felt. I know this because I personally have dealt with at least one of the included issues myself and have seen another of the included issues happen to close friends.

As much as I enjoyed this read there were two minor things that didn´t sit well with me.

  1. The third-party. I didn´t necessarily like seeing one of the love interests from book 1 in this book. He felt out of place. The story itself was strong enough without him.
  2. The rich people party. This is not really something to complain about because, in the end, this is just a story. But I would have loved it if the characters were more poor – middle class. Would have made the characters more relatable. Not all of us can just effortlessly buy a plane ticket and fly across the country to clear our minds.

As I´ve said- this is a minor issue. I just don´t like characters with money. I´d rather see them financially suffer, like the rest of us.  Lol.

All in all I truly enjoyed this read and do NOT regret having read book #2 before book #1. While I understand that this might not work for others… it worked really well for me ( because I don´t care )


Would I recommend this book? Yes and no. This book carries topics such as: miscarriage, depression, drug abuse, and cheating. I can see readers being triggered left and right. If you´re anything like me and can stomach any of these topics then I´d say- go for it! It´s a romance with a great ending.

Would I reread this book? Yes.


The Cover – 4 stars: An improvement compared to the book cover for the first book.

The Story – 4 stars: Call me a schmuck because I do love myself a angsty story that puts me in a miserable state.

The Characters – 4 stars: Again, an improvement! I even liked the Heroine a lot more in this one.

My emotional state after finishing this read: Happy I read this one first because after the first one I don´t think I would have continued with the story.

4 stars

This book can be purchased on Amazon.com


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Book Review: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

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Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare …

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well – until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street, where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her . . . down to the very soul.


 

My Thoughts 2

 

Years…. It´s been eons when I found this little romantic gem and to this day ( 5 years after publication and purchase ) I´m still going back to this book for a reread (either the whole thing or reread certain parts of the book ).

An unforgettable emotional romance.

Unforgettable indeed! `On Dublin Street` by author Samantha Young belongs to those romances that has a wrecked Heroine and an Alpha sex God who´ll stop at nothing to have and love the one person who doesn´t want him. On Dublin Street

Back in 2012/2013 those stories were so damn popular and the book market was over flooded with romances like this one but none came close to Samantha Young´s story.

I won´t bother with a story description because the synopsis provides enough info to whet a readers appetite. Instead I´ll focus on a little character analyzing and revealing my emotions.

 

The idea of the story isn´t anything new. Woman meets prick. Prick wants woman. Cat and mouse chase. Dramatic moments. More dramatic moments. The big threat followed by a big emotional disaster. A big bang. The end.

But it´s still heart-strings – tugging romantic. How can I not love something as simple yet overly dramatic? You´re right. I can´t. I have to love the overbearing Hero, Braden, and his bossy behavior. I have to love Jocelyn, the Heroine, for being a difficult little booger throughout the whole book. Because these figures made this book right.

 

And in the end, everything was still very dramatic and exciting.

Will they? Will they not? What´s with the sub characters? Will they get their own book? Will we continue to see the characters from this book in other books from the author?

I can answer the 4th and 5th question for you: Yes. There are more books to the series and characters from `On Dublin Street` get their own book. We also get to see the main characters from this book in the following books. Something I really appreciated.


My Opinion Then vs. My Opinion Now

 

It´s been 5 years. Opinions can shift with time and certain world views often change, as do tastes in all areas.  Has anything changed for me regarding this book? Yes and no.

The love I felt for this book 5 years ago certainly has changed. The asshole-ish behavior from the Hero doesn´t appeal to me as it once did. I find it rather annoying to read about ANOTHER cocky, smooth, sharp minded Hero who has it all and so much more. Braden´s behavior is often questionable ( something I blindly ignored back then ). If I were single and I´d bump into someone like Braden NOW I´d definitely have a few things to say to him.

The same goes for Jocelyn, the ever push – away protagonist. I recognized her as a difficult character 5 years ago and today, I just think she´s just pushing it too far. The emotional damage her character has isn´t unrealistic but it dictates her life and affects everyone around her. It´s like having the case of ” If I can´t have fun then I don´t want you to have fun, either. But I don´t want you to know that so, please, continue to try to have fun.” Jocelyn is an exhausting little chica who´s like the Duracell bunny- She goes on and on and on….

What hasn´t changed was: My love for the sub – characters. I loved every bit about them, then, and still do. They make up half the story because they´re weaved into the lives of the main characters.


 Would I, after my POV shift, still recommend this book? I most certainly would. Because the story is great. It´s romantic and challenging. It´s an emotional rollercoaster ride that´ll have your heart melting or boiling. This book is for any NA, contemporary romance reader who loves a classical romantic alpha story with steamy sex scenes.

Would I reread this book? I´ve been rereading it for 5 years. That should say a lot.


 

The Cover – 4 stars ( I have the first released edition with a different cover. The new cover is nothing like the original one but still great.)

The Story – 4 stars ( It´s more a relationship story than anything else. It´s about love and friendship. Trust and loyalty are big subjects.)

The Characters – 3 stars ( Slighty irrational. Slightly overbearing. Slightly too much when the MCs could have delivered the same emotional effect with less )

My emotional state after finishing this read – Still in love. I can´t help myself. I´m sentimental that way. Despite the negatives I still feel myself drawn to this book.

 

My 31-year-old self gave `On Dublin Street` ( On Dublin Street #1 ) by Samantha Young 5+ stars.

36-year-old me is giving `On Dublin Street` 4 out of 5 stars.

4 stars

 

Buy On Dublin Street On Dublin Street

 

 

 

 

Book Review: The Birthday list – Devney Perry

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Happily married to her college sweetheart, Poppy lived a blessed life with the husband of her dreams. Then everything changed. She is no longer a wife. She is no longer the envy of her single friends. Now, people look at her with pity as they whisper a single word behind her back.

Widow.

Years after her husband’s tragic death, years of pain and sorrow and wishing for the life she’ll never get back, Poppy decides to finish Jamie’s birthday list. She’ll do the things he wanted to most. Because maybe, just maybe, if she can complete his list, she can start to live again.

Poppy expects going through the birthday list will be hard. She expects it to hurt. But what she doesn’t expect is Cole. Could the man who delivered the news of her husband’s death and shattered her heart be the one to help her put it back together again?


My Thoughts 2

Beautiful.

Have a seat because this might become a shocker to some romance lovers:

`The Birthday List` by Devney Perry is a romance that´s not tacky. The book doesn´t even have the typical drama we´re usually presented in today´s romance novels. `The Birthday list` is NOT one of those reads. This book is so much more but on a deeper emotional level.

This book is a piece of beautiful romance that´s about love, loss and moving forward.

The birthday list

 

There´s emotional turnmoil. And that, my dear Padawans, works out wonderfully for this story. The main focus is on Poppy, her happiness and her unknown future.

A slow burn romance with heartstring tugging moments.

I think what I loved most about this story was how easily it felt to sympathize for Poppy ( Heroine ). You start out with falling for her and her relationship with her husband then the next minute you´re falling apart with her, mourning the loss of her wonderful love. It feels genuine and realistic. And heartbreakingly realistic. It´s easy to see and accept her life choices after her husband´s death, even though Poppy didn´t do anything dramatic per se… It was the way she dealt with the loss that made me fight some unwanted lumps in my throat. To be apart of her world and living through her pain and coping methods was simply great.

If Cole ( Hero ) were real I´m sure he´d create a new world record on having the most marriage proposals. Let´s just ignore the fact that he´s good looking ( because, aren´t they always? ) and concentrate on Cole as a character. He´s a kind, caring, gentle and understanding bundle of perfection wearing a uniform. That´s enough to melt hearts. And the way he treats Poppy and deals with her situation is just… Heartwarming. He makes it clear that Poppy does not have to suffer alone, or suffer at all. And in the process- he falls for her.

“I’ll take whatever you’ll give me.”

So many lines in this book that caused my emotional undoing. Did I survive this great read? I did. And I´m glad for it, too, because I don´t think my heart would have survived any more pages.

 

Would I recommend this book? Yes. `The Birthday List` is a great romance. Simple. Cute. Lovable.

Would I reread this book? I´m not sure. I don´t deliberately seak out books with sad- ish themes. Since this was a mood read for me I´d say that I´d reread it when the sniffle mood ever strikes again.

 

The Cover – 5 stars ( Exactly what I like. It doesn´t state the obvious. No character image. Two thumbs up.)

The Story – 4 stars ( The story is nothing new but it does have unique aspects to it, which I fully enjoyed. )

The Characters – 4 stars ( While I liked both, Hero & Heroine, I thought Cole was a little too perfect. I would have liked for more flaws regarding his character.)

My emotional state after finishing this read – Fully satisfied and beyond happy I picked this book up.

4 stars

Book Purchase Link- Amazon.com