12:56 Jazz Blackwell 0 Comments

I went on a day trip to the Metro Centre with three of my best friends yesterday. The general idea of the holiday was to go shopping for holiday clothes, and I did come away with a new top and four new pairs of shorts, so there was some success in that department.

And then we went to Waterstones. And this happened;

I am a beacon of a sin

I have no self control.

I did manage to come away with a kick ass new bag and five books for myself, as well as a super secret something for a certain someone who may or may not be reading this blog, and may or may not have a birthday approaching soon. My lips are sealed.

First up, I'll show you the non-readable thing that I got. If you've been to Waterstones in the past few months, chances are you've seen these gorgeous tote bags floating around that are designed to look like the covers of old school Penguin Books, usually a classic or a modern classic. I've eyed them up in the past, but I don't really have a Waterstones locally and my nearest one never really had a title that gripped me enough to justify the rather sizeable £12.99 price tag. So when I was at the Metro, and I spotted this beauty hanging on the front of the checkout - well, I just couldn't say no.

People who know me probably know that I went through a bit of a crazy obsessive Beat Generation phase a couple of years ago. During that phase, I regarded Jack Kerouac's semi-autobiographical novel On The Road as the single greatest piece of literature ever created. These days, other things have surpassed it on my favourites list, though I still love it. The reason this bag called to me so much was because it gave me real nostalgic feelings to fondly remembered (if slightly cringe-worthy) days when I thought reading Kerouac and Ginsberg was the height of intellectuality. 

Next, the real money munchers. Books really are to me what methadone is to most of the gangster-wannabes who live in my town. I just can't get enough of the damn things. I usually buy them second hand. I love the smell of a pre-owned book and nothing delights the glazballs more than dog-eared, yellowed pages and a cracked and broken spine. Sometimes, however, I find myself in WHSmith or Waterstones and I just can't help myself. As lovely as old books are, and as much as they'll probably always be my favourite, I do love the feel of a crisp, sleek brand new book in my hands. 

A* photography skills, cutting off letters and everything. 

The first novel I picked up - Rob McCarthy's The Hollow Men - is an absolute brand spanker, published only last month. It's McCarthy's debut novel and the synopsis on the inside of the dust jacket reads; 

"Dr Harry Kent. Former Army medic, hospital registrar, police surgeon, drug addict and defender of anyone the world would rather brush aside. His critics say he has a weakness for lost causes. Usually his police work means minor injuries and mental health assessments. But Solomon Idris's case is different. Solomon Idris has taken eight people hostage, and is demanding a lawyer and a BBC reporter. Harry is sent in to treat the clearly ill teenager... before the seige goes horribly wrong. When Solomon's life is put in danger again from the safety of a critical care ward, it becomes clear he knows something people will kill to protect. Determined to uncover the secret that drove the boy to such desperate action, Harry soon realises that someone in the medical world, someone he may even know, has broken the doctors' commandment 'do no harm' many times over. And now only he stands in the way of them causing further hurt..." 

I'm super excited about this book, to be perfectly honest. I love a good crime thriller, and this one absolutely intrigued me. After looking it up online, I've found only good things said, and you can expect a review on it in the not-so-distant future. 

The next book I picked up is Robert Brockway's The Unnoticeables, which is less new and was published last year. I assume you can see from the photos why this caught my eye. It's practically luminous green and it stuck out among the others on the shelf like a great big sore thumb. The blurb describes the book as follows; 

"In 1970s New York City, all Carey wants to do is drink cheap beer and dispense ass-kickings. He doesn't care about the rumours of tarmonsters in the sewers, or unkillable psychopaths invading the punk scene, that is until strange kids with unnoticeable faces start abducting his friends. In present-day Hollywood, stuntwoman/waitress Kaitlyn is trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life when an angel appears outside her apartment, a former teen heartthrob tries to eat her and her best friend goes missing. There are angels. There are demons. They are the same thing. It's up to Carey and Kaitlyn to stop them. The survival of the human race is in their hands. We are well and truly screwed." 

Honestly, this book just appealed to every single part of me. It's a thriller with horrific/fantastical elements, with features of punk. It doesn't get much more up my alley than that. Not to mention the fact that Robert Brockway is an editor and columnist over at Cracked.com. But the thing that really sold the novel to me was the high praise it received from Publishers Weekly, who said; 

"Full of  mayhem and weirdness... like Hunter S Thompson went drinking with Stephen King." 

As soon as I read that, I just had to have it. 

Now, I know not to judge a book by its cover. Preach it from the mountain tops, in fact. So I'm sure you'll forgive when I say this book doesn't look like one I'd normally be interested in. The cover honestly just didn't really grab me that much, but Julia Heaberlin's Black-Eyed Susan was stacked on a table by itself in the 'Thriller' section, so I was instantly drawn to it. The blurb reads; 

"Left with three other girls in a grave shrouded by black-eyed Susans, Tessa alone survived, her testimony helping to put a killer behind bars. Now, sixteen years later, he is about to be executed. But Tessa feels no relief. Because someone is planting black-eyed Susans outside her window. Someone is sending her daughter sinister messages. And there's a lawyer telling her the man about to be put to death is innocent. Which can mean only one thing; the wrong man has been sentenced, the real killer is still out there and Tessa might not be the last Black-Eyed Susan..." 

Again, a crime thriller. I enjoy a good serial killer novel as much as the next thriller nut, so the blurb is really what sold this book to me. I've not really read anything else of Heaberlin's or heard much of anything about her, so let me know if you've read any of her other works/pieces and how you felt about it. 

Now here's an author I have heard of. I started reading Julian Barnes's England, England a few years ago before the book was left on some form of public transport, or else mysteriously vanished into the ether, and I've got The Sense of an Ending on my TBR. Barnes widely regarded as a fantastic thriller writer, so I was excited to see that his new book, The Noise of Life, was available in Waterstones with £3 off. The blurb reads; 

"In May 1937 a man in his early thirties waits by the lift of a Leningrad apartment block. He waits all through the night, expecting to be taken away to the Big House. Any celebrity he has known in the previous decade is no use to him now. And few who are taken to the Big House ever return." 

This book was nothing short of intruiging to me. At 180 pages, it's no great tome and I have plans to read this soon, so you can also expect a review on this shortly. 

The next book that I picked up is Library of Souls, the third installment in Ransom Riggs's Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series. The blurb reads: 

"As the story begins, sixteen-year-old Jacob discovers a powerful new ability, and soon he's diving through history to rescue his peculiar companions from a heavily guarded fortress. Accompanying Jacob are Emma Bloom, a girl with fire at her fingertips, and Addison McHenry, a dog with a nose for sniffing out lost children. They'll travel from modern-day London to the labyrinthine alleys of Devil's Acre, the most wretched slum of Victorian England. It's the place where the fate of peculiar children everywhere will be decided once and for all." 

 I've read the first book and reviewed it here on my blog. I haven't actually gotten round to reading the second, though I own it, and I was honestly gonna wait for Library of Souls to come out in paperback before I bought it. But out of curiosity, I removed the dust jacket in the shop and the sheer beauty of this book compelled me to buy it. I mean look at how gorgeous it is. Do any of you guys own the other two in hardback? Do they look this this too? Should I be investing in them? Please, do let me know. 

So that's all the books that I picked up in Waterstones. Expect at least a couple of reviews in the next few weeks, and if you guys want to see it I'll haul the rest of the non-book-related stuff that I picked up in a future post. 

Happy reading, 
Jazz xo 

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