Sunday, 29 September 2013

Alma Evergreens Giveaway

It hasn’t just been a big year for my book blogging experience. This year Alma publishing won Independent Publisher of the Year 2013. Now, Alma Classics have just released a new selection of stylish and elegant editions of classic books, Evergreen Classics, perfect for students and book lovers alike. They are beautifully produced with extra material, new translations and a fresh editorial approach. All are competitively priced at £4.99 and are made to last collectables.

The first four titles are:

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë – the tale of Heathcliff and Cathy’s untameable love and suffering, and the effects of their passion on their families.
The Evergreen edition includes pictures and material on Emily Brontë’s life and works.

Praise of Folly by Erasmus – a controversial and witty essay combining culture, theology and philosophy.
The Evergreen edition is a new translation and includes other works by Erasmus exclusive to Alma books.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert – a bored woman’s quest to make her fantasies a reality have shocking consequences for herself and those around her.
The Evergreen edition contains extra reading and visual material.

The Prince by Machiavelli – a classic yet controversial study of power and politics.
The Evergreen edition includes a newly translated essay, extra reading and visual material.

More titles will be added regularly to the series after the initial launch in September.



I have a copy of each of the above books to give away. To win you can do either of the following:

·         Follow me on Twitter (@booksbutterfly) and retweet the picture of the title you would like to win. (feel free to retweet all four books!)

or

·         Like my Facebook page and leave me a message/comment with the title you would most like to win. (http://m.facebook.com/pages/Bookshelf-Butterfly/242889892521980 )


Must have completed both parts on Twitter or Facebook to be in with a chance. Open internationally! Entries closed 6pm on Tuesday 1st October. Winners chosen at random and announced on Wednesday 2nd October.


Good luck!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

One Year Blogoversary!

On this day last year I posted my very first review on my newly created blog. That review was Jemima J by Jane Green, a favourite book of mine; a comfort read that I return to when in need of familiar escapism.

Since then, I have shared some of my favourite reads and authors and discovered some new ones along the way. I have reviewed books from best selling novelists, indie authors and debut writers; you never know where you may find a hidden gem of a book!

Through the blog and social media I have been extremely lucky to build relationships with some very generous and diverse publishing houses, along with some talented and brilliant editors, publicists, literary agents and booksellers.

When I started the blog I mainly wanted to share my love for books; initiate conversations about any book related topic going. I also aimed to showcase my writing and develop my social media and blogging skills which I hope I have gone some way to achieving.

Over the last year I spent some time on a publishing internship which gave me a fascinating insight into the publishing industry and the life cycle of a book. I was very happy early on my blogging to take part in the Quick Reads campaign which encourages people with reading difficulties to find a new love in books, which is something I would very much like to champion again in the future. I have taken part in blog tours and guest posted on other blogs. I also attended my first book event, the Glamour Live Book Club, which I really enjoyed. There are always book launches, literary festivals, author talks and other book related events around so I hope to attend more of these in the future.

I didn't realise when I started how much reviewing and blogging would come to mean to me. I look at books in a whole new light, and when I get especially excited about a new story (which happens often) I can’t wait to review and recommend it.

Over the course of the next year I hope to broaden my range of reading even more if possible. I aim to write up more book events, book news and include more features. I also hope to get other people involved with guest posts and discussions galore! If you have enjoyed any of my posts, I would happily receive any comments that you want to make; I love to talk books. Any feedback on current posts, or what you would like to see more of in the future, is hugely appreciated.

A big thank you to all my fellow bloggers, generous authors and publishers who have in any way shape or form been involved in my blog and of course a thank you to all the readers, public and anonymous, who make it all worthwhile.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Shadows Over Innsmouth by H.P. Lovecraft and Others

Edited by Stephen Jones


Welcome to the town of Innsmouth, New England. Although it’s not as welcoming as you may like. A decaying, half abandoned fishing village hiding strange treasure, fishy looking people and unspeakable evil lurking in nearby sea. 

Innsmouth is the dismal setting of H.P. Lovecraft’s eerie story The Shadow over Innsmouth, a horrifying tale written in 1931 which helped spawn the mythos behind Cthulhu and other horrid denizens of the sea. This anthology gathers together seventeen other horror writers and their tales inspired by the Innsmouth original. 

The authors are Basil Cooper, Jack Yeovil, Guy N. Smith, Adrian Cole, D.F. Lewis, Ramsey Campbell, David A. Sutton, Peter Tremayne, Kim Newman, Brian Mooney, Brian Stableford, Nicholas Royle, David Langford, Michael Marshall Smith, Brian Lumley and Neil Gaiman. 

Some of the stories are based in the original setting of Innsmouth, New England, whilst others take the concept to other coastal regions such as the south of England and Ireland. A main theme running through the stories is the descriptions of the Innsmouth inhabitants, many bearing the Innsmouth look; i.e. bulgy eyes, large flat heads, general fish-like or amphibian exterior. 

Not only is their unusual appearance notable but also their animosity towards strangers, their secrecy and their longings for the sea. Combined with the detailed descriptions of the decrepit town itself, most of the stories were creepy and unnerving in parts. I really enjoyed how each writer adapted and evolved the Innsmouth mythology, especially the creatures, for their own tales, which is something Lovecraft encouraged during his lifetime. 

I also liked how the interpretations varied in eras of time. Some stories were set in or around the late twenties when the original story was set, providing old fashioned, darkly styled tales. Other stories were spread through the years into modern times, involving the use of science and technology, all of which were interesting and equally disturbing variations of the Innsmouth tale. 

My favourite story other than Lovecraft’s original was Neil Gaiman’s Only the End of the World Again, whose mix of Innsmouth mythology combined with a werewolf lead and his quirky writing style made for an entertaining yet grisly read. 

This is a great collection of Innsmouth short stories, chilling and engaging, enhanced by some awesome artwork illustrating the weird and wonderful Cthulhu mythology. 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Nevermore by David Niall Wilson

On the borderline of North Carolina and Virginia stands the Lake Drummond Hotel where a gifted artist and a writer meet one dark and fateful night that will change their lives forever. 

The artist, Lenore, has the ability to see spirits trapped within trees and sometimes within other objects, and she draws them to set them free. She meets the writer Edgar Allan Poe whose travelling companion is a crow named Grimm after the fairytale writing brothers. 

Together they are drawn into the old legends and fantastical secrets of The Great Dismal Swamp, where spirits are trapped but not all should be set free. Nevermore is set in 1800s America blending history, romance and the paranormal into a dark tale of magic and mystery. 

There are references to folktales, Poe’s works and Grimm fairytales, which I always love in literature. It takes a talent to be able to mix the works of Grimm and other legends into a unique tale of its own and I think that was achieved very well here. 

The story is wonderfully descriptive and I particularly enjoyed the imagery of Lenore’s drawings to reveal and then release the trapped spirits, which I thought was a distinctive and elegant aspect of the story. I've only recently started becoming more familiar with Edgar Allan Poe’s work after reviewing Beyond Rue Morgue. Nevermore is one version of how Poe came up with his famous poem “The Raven”. 

I love the gothic, dark elements incorporated into the tale including ravens, witches, spirits, and the spooky lake setting was the perfect location for the otherworldly occurrences. This story really did tick a lot of boxes for me and I finished it in one sitting. Nevermore is full of intrigue and atmosphere and well worth a read. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Tempting Fate by Jane Green

As something of a Jane Green fan I was hugely excited to be given the chance to review her latest book. Leading lady Gabby has a secure marriage, lovely daughters and good friends. 

But as she feels her youth slipping away she becomes restless, and when she gains the attentions of a young, sexy and successful man it only takes one reckless moment to destroy all that is important to her. In the aftermath of one fateful decision, can Gabby return to the life she once had or will her betrayals ruin her life for good? 

I raced through this novel, I found it utterly compelling. Although it is fairly easy to predict the course of the action, you still end up getting emotionally caught up in the characters’ lives. Jane Green has a way of writing that is honest and emotive that really makes you care for the characters involved and the outcome of the story. 

Gabby was both a lovable and frustrating character and I was rooting for her all the way. It was almost addictive to be privy to the intimate details of her marriage to Elliott, the events that unravel it and the consequences of her actions. 

Jane Green is hailed as “women’s fiction royalty” and it’s a book like this that proves that statement correct. Jemima J is still my favourite Jane Green book ever but Tempting Fate is still a great example of women’s literature at its best. 

It is a fascinating and heartbreaking insight into the sanctity of marriage, the bonds of family and the cost of thoughtless actions that affect those issues. Entertaining and riveting, Tempting Fate is a must read for fans of this genre. 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher

Beyond the desolate 40-Mile Desert, Nevada, there is a strange cattle town with more than its fair share of unnatural secrets.

There is the town sheriff who bears noose marks around his neck and cannot die. A shady saloon owner who knows more about things than he is letting on. An outcast deputy with a wild side, to name but a few. Enter a stranger, a teenage boy on the run with a mystical power he knows nothing about. Welcome to Golgotha. 

New in town, Jim, is befriended by the local law enforcement and so has front row seats when stranger than normal occurrences threaten not only the town’s inhabitants but maybe even the world. An ancient evil is awakening in the darkness, and a motley crew of unlikely heroes amongst the townsfolk assemble to save the day. 

This book blew me away. As soon as we are introduced to the town, we flit back and forth between a wide array of characters, their dirty little secrets and their ultimate influence within the story. It’s easy to read but incredibly complex in terms of storyline and content. This book has a little of everything; religion, adventure, horror, romance, steampunk and mythology. 

The Wild West setting made the whole things unique and exciting, I really couldn't get enough. I think this would make an awesome TV series as there are plenty of diverse characters, an interesting location and tons of engaging action that would make for excellent viewing. 

A sequel is already in the works for this book and I seriously can’t wait for it! The Six-Gun Tarot is a masterpiece of a weird western and I strongly urge readers to go out and try this book for themselves. 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Coco's Secret by Niamh Greene

Named after famous fashion designer Coco Chanel, Irish small-town girl Coco Swan always feels she isn't living up to the exotic expectations of her glamorous namesake. She leads an ordinary life as an antiques dealer with her grandmother. 

At an auction, she ends up with the surprise find of a vintage Chanel handbag which turns her normal little life upside down. This is exactly the sort of bag her late mother would have wanted her to own. 

An old letter hidden inside the bag then puts Coco on a mission to find out where the bag came from and along the way uncovers secrets from the mystery owner’s past and also learns more of her own family’s secrets. 

This book hooks you in with the simple premise of finding the precious bag’s owner, but the journey that Coco and also the reader end up on is much more complex and riveting. As clues are solved and more questions arise, it makes you thirst for the answers that are only pages away. I adored Coco’s grandmother Ruth; a woman who knows what she wants and who guides and prompts Coco to live a little more. 

I've read a fair few Irish authors, Marian Keyes being one of my favourites, and I thought that this book was another fun and heart warming tale that reflects the nature of Ireland. The prose is easy to follow, funny in parts and sensitive when it needed to be. Coco’s Secret is a mystery book of sorts. Not of the crime variety but one that uncovers the truth about family, love and secrets that can span generations. 

I really liked the idea of the vintage bag being hidden and then found by fate. I like to think that if I found a hidden letter in a long lost bag, that I would try and learn its history just as Coco does here. Overall I found Coco’s Secret to be an endearing and delightful read. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Apocalypse Now Now by Charlie Human

Sometimes a book cover just screams for your attention. The cover for Apocalypse Now Now is one of those covers that has so much cool stuff to look at and it gives you a graphic taste of some of the weird and wonderful things waiting within. Surly school kids? Check. Hobo looking guy with a shotgun? Check. Zombies, demonic crows, evil spiders, a giant octopus and more? Check, check and check! 

Sixteen year old Baxter Zevcenko is a school yard entrepreneur on the up, leading a porn distributing syndicate of outcasts known as The Spider. He is making decent profits and hasn't yet been beaten up by rival gangs. 

But then his girlfriend gets kidnapped by forces unknown and he ends up enlisting the help of supernatural bounty hunter Jackie Ronin to get her back.Baxter is taken on a madcap journey into Cape Town’s supernatural underworld where they face not only dangers from the creatures they encounter, but from the apocalypse itself.

I loved the complete and utter weirdness of this book. The characters, the war-zone school environment, the creatures are all so bizarre. Even the chapter names are inventive; “The Zombie Horror Ninja Show” and “Rip Off My Face and Tell Me That You Love Me” were two of my personal faves. The basic storyline is boy trying to save damsel in distress and save the world. But it it’s wrapped up in a fantastic coating of school yard politics, supernatural underbelly infiltration and creature porn, to name but a few. 

I have two recommendations to make regarding this book. 1) Read this book, it is insanely good. 2) If you do read this book, do not read before bed as you may experience crazy dreams involving apocalypse creatures like I did! Overall a highly original tale that will keep you entertained from start to finish.