friday first and lasts

Friday First and Lasts Round 2

Happy Friday bookish people! Today I am bringing you the second round of my newest series Friday First and Lasts. The series in which I take the first sentence of one book and combine it with the last series of another book to see what we get.

For this round I will be giving you three sets of first and lasts, the books up first are:

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik and Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T A Willberg

“I decided that Orion Lake needed to die after the second time he saved my life/ however long it took” – This sentence actually turned out really well. It creates a very dramatic line.

Up next are the books:

Capturing The Devil by Kerri Maniscalco and Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

“A blast of frigid air greeted me as I unlatched the carriage door and stumbled onto the street/filled with thoughtless joy I turned Priestbane to follow” – this one doesn’t work quite as well as the first set, but it still works and has a good flow to it.

The final set for today are from the books:

The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict and The Gilded Cage by Lynette Noni

“Snow is falling/and then she would be dead” – This is the one that probably works the least out of the three sets but it has an intense and sinister ring to it that I quite like.

That’s it for today, I hope you all enjoyed it! If you’ve got any good ones, please leave them in the comments below, on my Instagram @the_blind_scribe or on Twitter @oliviatempleto6.

Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

Where’d I Leave It Wednesday – Tuesday Troubles

Happy Wednesday everyone! It is time for a new Where’d I Leave It Wednesday story and the one I will be putting here today is about my trip to the Theatre yesterday, I went to see The Dresser with Julian Clary, it was very different to what I usually go and see but I enjoyed the performance immensely.

The moments of the story focus on two points. One thing that happened before I went into the Theatre and one thing that happened during the half-time interval.

Tuesday Troubles

I met my Mum, who I was going to the Theatre with, in town on the Tuesday afternoon and we had to buy some Christmas gifts – we like to be prepared early- and some cards for family birthdays. We went into the market for a while, then when we came out we were walking up the street chattering away as we do when I stopped completely dead. I was frozen where I stood in the middle of the street, in the pouring rain. I suddenly had this thought that I had no idea where I had left my white cane. I couldn’t remember any of the places that day that I had had it with me. I was panicking while rain was going down my neck and coming through my shoes. My Mum looked at me confused and looked down at my hand. I was holding my cane in my hand. Well, I felt a little embarrassed but then I laughed because that is something my Mum does all the time, she asks where her glasses are and they are always on her head!

The second thing that happened was during the Interval. In the Theatre I always try to be sitting in the front row to give myself the best chance of seeing the shows. But this means that when it gets to the interval the front row has to wait in their seats for the silver barrier to come down before we can go to the bathroom. This meant that yesterday a woman got there before me. I use the disabled toilets in most places because I struggle with others and it gives me more room. This room went rushing past me to get into the disabled toilet before me. I never judge because disabilities aren’t always visible however for the purposes of this story I will say, this woman did not have any problems with her legs as she pushed past me. I was happy to wait for the bathroom, I wasn’t in a rush. When she opened the door again to exit the toilet, she seemed to notice me for the first time and as she walked away, she started limping. My Mum and I both looked at each other and it reminded me of a scene in the TV show Outnumbered where Sue, the Mother, uses a Disabled toilet and when she leaves she puts on a limp because there’s someone in a wheelchair waiting outside. It really reminded me of that.

That’s it for today’s story, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Book Reviews

Book Review: My Haunted House – Araminta Spook by Angie Sage

Happy Monday bookish people! Today I am bringing you a book review of one of the books in a series that I loved when I was a child. I thought I had owned the entire set but it turns out that I didn’t and two more were released after I stopped getting them. However, I recently re-read the first few books in the series and now I am uploading my review of the first book.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

My Haunted House Plot:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I think this book touches on a lot of important themes for children in a very interesting way that will help children, and others, to enjoy the book. The main plot is that Araminta Spook lives with her Aunt and Uncle and her Aunt decides they are going to sell the house, but Araminta doesn’t want to leave. This is something that happens to a lot of children and I think it is good to see it feature in more books. It is a great set-up for the rest of the series because it introduces the house, the characters and their personalities very well.

My Haunted House Characters:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Araminta Spook is the main character in this book. She is very strong-willed and I enjoy her character because the book is written as though from her perspective, she sees herself as the leader and that comes across. One of the characters who arrives in the first book is wanda, and she is set up to become Araminta’s friend/sidekick. She has a less strong personality and often comes across as younger than Araminta but I like their dynamic together. I also love Uncle Drac, he’s a vampire who is either sleeping or talking about his favourite bat.

My Haunted House Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

There’s not much I can say about this category, the writing was clear and although it felt a little young for me, as it is a book aimed at children, I still enjoyed it.

My Haunted House Overall:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I gave this book four stars because I enjoyed it as a child and I enjoyed it still as an adult.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Araminta Spookie lives in a wonderful old haunted house, but her crabby aunt Tabby wants to move. Aunt Tabby is determined to sell their house—Araminta “has” to stop her!

With the help of a haunted suit of armor named Sir Horace, a ghost named Edmund, and a lot of imagination, Araminta hatches a plot for an Awful Ambush that is so ghoulish, it just might work!

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

Where’d I Leave It Wednesday: Passagers

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope you’re all having a good day today. My story today is about my trip to the Theatre last night. It wasn’t quite what I expected.

My mum and I decided to go and see this show called ‘Passagers’ at the Theatre after seeing a poster advertising it. On the poster the show reminded me of the circus, with the aerial acts and the acrobatics. So I went in expecting an exciting circus acrobatic performance.

The first thing I thought when I sat in my seat was thank goodness I was on a corner. Usually, because of how limited my sight is, I have to sit front row but this time I was sat in the second row and because I was on the corner there was a gap between the two chairs in front of me. There is nothing worse than being sat in the second row and having a six foot something person sat in front of you. Yes, this has happened to me before.

Then the show started.

Now, the show itself started with an interesting dance number. I knew it would be hard for me to see but there was so much going on, multiple people dancing in different parts of the stage and it felt like my eye was pacing the amount of back and forth it was doing.

When the acrobatic elements started I realised the show was going to be more difficult than I thought. The aerial acts were beautiful and I think my mouth was open the entire time I was watching their outlines. I say outlines because they were so far away I couldn’t see any more of them. It was like watching stick figures dancing in the air.

Then there was the juggler. My Mum said he was talented and with the amount of cheering the audience were doing they must have been great. The things he was juggling, they looked like bowling pins and as soon as they left his hands – poof! They disappeared in midair. Then they were suddenly in his hands again.

The music of the show was beautiful and kept me entertained as much as the parts of the show I could see.

That’s it for this post I hope you all enjoyed it!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Once Upon A Crime by Robin Stevens

Happy Monday bookish people! It’s time for another book review and the one I am bringing you today is for Once Upon A Crime by Robin Stevens. This book is a collection of short stories from the world of the Murder Most Unladylike series by Robin Stevens and I got it so that I could have a taster of the series before going out and buying them all.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little bit about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

Once Upon A Crime Plot:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was intrigued to see how the short stories would all be plotted and I ended up really enjoying most of them. I felt some of them were a little long for a short story but they were filled with subtle details that made the world come to life. One of my favourite short stories in the collection was May Wong and the deadly flat because it was different to the others both in character and in plot. Reading this collection made me excited to pick up the main series.

Once Upon A Crime Characters:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The two main characters in this series is Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong. I think the characters are written beautifully and are very distinct. Personally I liked Hazel more because she is the quieter intelligent type and I can relate to the quietness of her character more than I can to the character of Daisy who is a lot more outgoing.

Once Upon A Crime Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really liked the writing in this book. Although it is a middle grade novel the writing didn’t feel too young. I felt comfortable reading it and enjoying it.

Once Upon A Crime Overall:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I gave this book four stars because I thought it was a great introduction to the characters and the world and I’m looking forward to starting the main series.

Blurb/Synopsis:

A thrilling new short story collection in the number-one bestselling, award-winning Murder Most Unladylike series.

Featuring six marvellous mini-mysteries, including four original, brand-new and never-seen-before stories:

The Case of the Second Scream
: set aboard the ship carrying Daisy and Hazel back from Hong Kong

The Case of the Uninvited Guest: Uncle Felix and Aunt Lucy’s wedding is the target for an unlikely threat

The Hound of Weston School: the Junior Pinkertons investigate a mysterious arrival

The Case of the Deadly Flat: introducing Hazel’s little sister May, who’s determined to be the greatest spy ever

The Case of the Missing Treasure: the detectives crack fiendish codes to catch a daring thief who is targeting London’s famous museums

The Case of the Drowned Pearl: murder follows the Detective Society wherever they go, even on holiday…

The perfect book for all Detective Society fans and avid readers of the Murder Most Unladylike series.

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Where'd I Leave It Wednesday

Where’d I Leave It Wednesday: Braille Lessons

Happy Wednesday everyone! I am back with a new Where’d I Leave It Wednesday post and today it is all about the braille lessons that I’ve started taking.

So, a little bit of background might be helpful to you. I am registered as Severely Sight Impaired (Blind) but I still have a little bit of sight. Then September 2020 I was sitting in my living room and I got a pain in my left eye, a few minutes later I could only see colours out of that eye. Which is rather terrifying but I’m used to how that eye is now. As this blog is mainly a book blog I’m sure it is pretty obvious that I love to read, and I struggle sometimes with e-books because of looking at a screen for any length of time so I read physical books mainly and I have worried about if I might lose the sight in the right eye as well so I decided it was time to learn braille, just in case.

The day of the first session it absolutely poured it down with rain, the lovely British weather, I had my umbrella with me but it didn’t give me that much protection. Mainly because I’m useless with umbrellas and it was swaying above me without the help of any wind. One half of me would be under the umbrella and the next second the other side of me would be. It was a nightmare. I turned up at the place leaving a trail of raindrops on the carpet. If I’d worn white or grey I could have looked like one of those ghosts of drowned people that I’ve seen on television. But I didn’t.

I went up to the reception, trying to peer underneath my hood. My head is so small that if I wasn’t wearing my glasses the hood would cover up to the bottom of my nose. I was wearing my glasses so my hood perched precariously on the top of those. I had to wait there, rainwater still dripping off me, for the receptionist to notice me before being told to wait in one of the chairs. I sat in the chair with my cane in one hand and my umbrella in the other. This is all before I’d even started the session.

Then I did start the session and it was like I had walked into another world and growing back down a couple of years – and by a couple I mean a lot.

We started by talking about why I wanted to do braille and then she got me to trace patterns on strips of wallpaper…. I assure you it felt as strange as it sounds. And my finger got lost, or I got lost with my finger, I’m not sure which but I got confused anyway. Then the session got weirder.

The woman took out an egg carton from a box she had beside her. At this point I had no idea what was happening but I did assume it was empty. It wasn’t. It was full of ping pong balls. I had to use them to create the braille shapes for some of the letters of the alphabet. I felt like I was inside the memory game of the brain training game my sister used to have for her Nintendo. If it secretly was a game like that – I passed.

Then the real work started. I learnt I’m a left handed braille reader. The fingertips on my left hand are more sensitive than the fingertips of my right hand. Did anyone else ever realise that one hand would be more sensitive to things it touches than the other? I certainly didn’t. It’s also pretty hard to read braille with your left hand, other than the obvious learning a new language thing I also have to take my hand across a piece of paper in a line – but I’m used to using my right hand for everything because I’m right handed so it feels like retraining my own hands.

I enjoy the sessions, as I said I’ve only had two so far but they are very good and I’m learning quickly. The amount of concentration it takes though makes my head hurt. The funniest thing is the sessions are an hour long, and about halfway through that some of the dots of the braille just stop being felt. Fingertips stop feeling things if they’ve been used too long that’s what I was told and it is a very unusual feeling.

That’s the end of this Where’d I Leave It Wednesday, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Monthly TBRs

October TBR

Happy Friday bookish people! I hope you’re all having a lovely day! It is finally time to share my October Tbr! It is the month for all things spooky and I thought I might as well join in with that and get out all the books that fit the season.

So, this month my TBR game was horrible to me and I got so many doubles. I always start by doing twelve rolls and after all my doubles I ended up with 25 books on my TBR. Yes, I’m worried about this too.

Onto the books I will be reading in October!

October TBR:

  • Once Upon A Crime by Robin Stevens – I found this in a charity shop and I’m excited to read it
  • Cream Buns and Crime by Robin Stevens
  • The Winterhouse Mysteries by Ben Guterson
  • The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino
  • The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid
  • Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco – I’m so excited to read the final installment of this series
  • Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T A Willberg
  • A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
  • Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff
  • The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton
  • City of Ghosts series by V E Schwaab
  • Take A Hint Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
  • Act Your Age Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • The Painted Dragon by Katharine Woodfine
  • Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
  • One of us is Lying by Karen M McManus
  • Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson
  • Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
  • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  • Legendborn by Tracey Deonne
  • People of Abandoned Character by Claire Whitfield

So that’s my TBR for the month of October and I’m excited but scared to start on it. I hope you all enjoyed reading about it!

Monthly Wrap Ups

September Wrap-Up

Happy Friday everyone! I’ll be putting up three posts today and this is the first of them. It’s a day or two late but I’m finally getting around to doing my September wrap-up.

So, the month of September was super busy for me and a lot of things happened. First, I moved in with my partner on the first of September and it has been quite the month getting used to living with someone new and learning how they are. This month I also found out that I have gotten onto the PhD that I wanted and now I’m just waiting for when I’m going to start. And finally, I found out that I got a distinction on my Master’s Dissertation.

As I said last month, I’m very surprised I read as much as I did this month, the only problem is that hardly any of the books that I read were from my TBR…. I’m sure you can guess that I didn’t finish my TBR. So, let’s get straight into what I did and didn’t read this month.

September TBR and Thoughts:

  • A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson – we are starting off well, I did read this one and I have posted my review of it.
  • All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace – I did not read
  • Assassins Apprentice by Robin Hobb – I did not read
  • Lore by Alexandra Bracken – I didn’t read this one either
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – I wish I had gotten around to this one but unfortunately I didn’t
  • Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty – I did not read
  • Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim – I did not read
  • Six Tudor Queens Katherine of Aragon by Alison Weir – I did not read
  • The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White – I did not read
  • The Switch by Beth O’Leary – I did not read

So… I only actually read one book from my TBR but I did read these nine other books:

  • Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain
  • The Woman in the Wood by M K Hill
  • The Crime Archives
  • The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  • The Chateau by Catherine Cooper
  • The Curry Compendium by Richard Sayce
  • Stalking Shadows by Cyla Panin
  • The Dinner Party by Sarah Gilmartin

That’s it for my wrap-up for September! I managed to read ten books which I am pretty happy with. I hope you all enjoyed it!

blog tours, Book Reviews

As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson Book Look and Top 5 Reasons to read.

Happy Wednesday bookish people! I am so excited to be part of the book tour for As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson, the third book in the Good Girl’s Guide to Murder Series. I absolutely love this series and I am excited today to be bringing you a ‘book look’ and my Top 5 Reasons for you to read As Good As Dead!

Thank you to TbrBeyond tours for having me on this tour and sending me an e-copy of this book.

So, first let me show you my book look! I looked at the colours on the cover, black, grey and red, and I chose a red top and a pair of grey jeans.

(This photo was taken in my hallway by the way, it’s the place that had the best light)

Onto my Top 5 Reasons To Read As Good As Dead…

Top 5 Reasons To Read As Good As Dead by Holly Jackson:

  1. If you have read the first book, or the first and second book in this series you’ll already know how good it is and can’t wait to pick up the third book – I felt like this and I was not disappointed, I thought As Good As Dead was brilliant.
  2. If you like school based murder mystery books like Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson then this book series would definitely be for you!
  3. The characters have you on their side before you even know you’re on their side. It’s really that quick and the characters are some of my favourites in YA books.
  4. The book has a large focus on family and friendship which is something I particularly enjoyed, if you’re like me and you enjoy seeing this in books there is plenty of it in this series.
  5. There is mixed media – like emails and transcripts of interviews which is a unique element that adds to the story.

Blurb/Synopsis of As Good As Dead:

The highly anticipated, edge-of-your-seat conclusion to the addictive A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series that reads like your favorite true crime podcast or show. By the end, you’ll never think the same of good girls again.

Pip’s good girl days are long behind her. After solving two murder cases and garnering internet fame from her crime podcast, she’s seen a lot.

But she’s still blindsided when it starts to feel like someone is watching her. It’s small things at first. A USB stick with footage recording her and the same anonymous source always asking her: who will look for you when you’re the one who disappears? It could be a harmless fan, but her gut is telling her danger is lurking.

When Pip starts to find connections between her possible stalker and a local serial killer, Pip knows that there is only one choice: find the person threatening her town including herself–or be as good as dead. Because maybe someone has been watching her all along…

You can find the rest of the tour schedule here: https://tbrandbeyondtours.com/2021/08/27/tour-schedule-as-good-as-dead-a-good-girls-guide-to-murder-3-by-holly-jackson/

Author Holly Jackson:

You can buy the book here:https://www.waterstones.com/book/as-good-as-dead/holly-jackson/9781405298605

And here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/As-Good-Dead-thriller-everyone-ebook/dp/B08T6YS245

That’s it for my post today, I hope you all enjoyed it!

Book Reviews

Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Happy Monday bookish people! Today I am bringing you the book review for one of my favorite books that I have read – Caraval by Stephanie Garber! I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you all.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little bit about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

Caraval Plot:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I happened to pick this book up in a WhSmith in one of those service stations on the motorway while on a long car journey because I liked the sound of a circus-y themed competition story. I didn’t know then that this book would start an obsession with all things circus, particularly books with that setting. I love the plot of this book, it is filled to the brim with magic and escapism and one of the things I always love in books – not knowing who or what you can trust. This book completely messes with your head while at the same time being joyously beautiful and whimsical, dashed with danger. I could not put this book down.

Caraval Characters:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Scarlett Dragna is one of two sisters, Scarlett and Tella, and in Caraval we follow Scarlett after Tella goes missing and Scarlett must compete in Caraval to find her. She is headstrong and fierce, especially in her loyalty to her sister. Scarlett is the character that I wish I could be (and who I will be dressing up as for YALC next year). The other character who features heavily in this book is Julian de Santos, he’s a cheeky, charming, mysterious man often described as looking like a rogue/pirate. As soon as I read that I knew I was going to love him, he’s definitely in my top five male book characters.

Caraval Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Stephanie Garber is an exceptionally good writer who has such talent that she drew me in from the very first sentence of the book and has captured my interest ever since. I have read the first and second book in the series so far and I find myself thinking on it all the time.

Caraval Overall:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I had to give this book five stars because as I said, it is one of my favourite books I have ever read.

Blurb/Synopsis:

A legendary competition.
A mesmerizing romance.
An unbreakable bond
between two sisters.

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it!