30 January 2015

Winners of the Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop 2015 Announced

Thanks to all those who entered my Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop this year, and thanks to Shelleyrae from Book'd Out for hosting this great bookish event. I enjoyed hopping around all the blogs and entering many of the giveaways, and had a record number of entries in my own giveaway, with 52 book lovers sharing their reading plans for Australia Day. 

There was a great variety of books from almost all genres, with representations from popular fiction, non fiction and the classics. Alas, there can only be two winners, so without further ado...

1st Prize
Congratulations to Catherine G, you've won a $25 gift voucher from Boomerang Books.

2nd Prize

Congratulations to Nat H, you've won a new print copy of The Wrong Girl by Zoe Foster (thanks to Random House Australia).

As well as being announced here, winners will be notified by email today of their win.

Thanks for celebrating Australia Day with me via the Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop and I hope we can do it all again next year.


'Til then, Carpe Librum!

28 January 2015

HFVBT Review and Blog Tour: The William Shakespeare Detective Agency - The School of Night by Colin Falconer

02_The William Shakespeare Detective Agency-The School of Night_Cover
* Copy courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours *

Colin Falconer is currently touring the blogosphere for the first book in his William Shakespeare Detective Agency series, The School of Night, from January 10 - February 6 and I'm pleased to be taking part. Before I review it though, here's some info about the book.

Blurb
"My name is William Shakespeare. No, not that Shakespeare; and no jests please, I’ve heard them all. I’m the other one, the ne’er do well cousin, the loafer, known to family and friends as the dunce, the one who could not recite Cicero or Horace, who could never be as good as his clever cuz, the one who has just come to Bishopsgate from Stratford with silly dreams in his head and a longing to make something more of himself than just a glover’s handyman.” 

What he finds in London is Lady Elizabeth Talbot, who is willing to pass a few shillings to this blundering brawler if he will help her find her husband. Poor William does not realize the trail will lead to the truth behind the death of Shakespeare’s great rival, Christopher Marlowe - or to a lifelong love affair with a woman far above his station. Each book tells the story of William’s adventures as England’s first gumshoe, set against turbulent Elizabethan politics; of his romantic pursuit of the impossible Elizabeth Talbot; while charting the career of his up and coming dramatist cousin, the bard of Stratford, but just Will to his family.

My Review
The William Shakespeare Detective Agency - The School of Night by Colin Falconer is a brief and entertaining read, and very quick to get into. Historical fiction is my favourite genre and so it should come as no surprise that I quivered with pleasure reading words like nosegay and cudgel in the same sentence!

Colin Falconer is a great writer and I enjoyed his novel When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra so much that's it's one of my top 50 books of all time. While enjoying The William Shakespeare Detective Agency, I was reminded of his writing prowess when I read the following line from page 11: "I had luck on my side," he said, squeezing out of the vocabularial corner in which he had placed himself.

Essentially, The William Shakespeare Detective Agency - The School of Night by Colin Falconer is a whodunnit set during the reign of Elizabeth I and featuring the great William Shakespeare as a supporting character. After reading the blurb above, you might be wondering if this works well, and I can assure you it does. Heartily recommended!

My rating = ****

Colin Falconer

About the Author
Born in London, Colin first trialled as a professional football player in England, and was eventually brought to Australia. He went to Sydney and worked in TV and radio and freelanced for many of Australia’s leading newspapers and magazines. He has published over twenty novels and his work has so far been translated into 23 languages. 

Colin travels regularly to research his novels and his quest for authenticity has led him to run with the bulls in Pamplona, pursue tornadoes across Oklahoma and black witches across Mexico, go cage shark diving in South Africa and get tear gassed in a riot in La Paz. He currently lives in Barcelona. For more information please visit Colin Falconer’s website. You can also find him on Facebook or follow on Twitter.

The School of Night Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, January 10 
Spotlight at Historical Readings and Views 
Monday, January 12 
Review at Flashlight Commentary 
Tuesday, January 13 
Spotlight at Layered Pages 
Thursday, January 15 
Interview at Teddy Rose Book Reviews 
Friday, January 16 
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews 
Monday, January 19 
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing 
Tuesday, January 20 
Review at Book Nerd 
Thursday, January 22 
Review at Just One More Chapter 
Friday, January 23 
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation 
Saturday, January 24 
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession 
Sunday, January 25 
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog 
Monday, January 26 
Review at Boom Baby Reviews 
Wednesday, January 28 
Review at Carpe Librum
Thursday, January 29 
Interview at Mina's Bookshelf 
Interview at Books and Benches 
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book 
Friday, January 30 
Review at Brooke Blogs 
Friday, February 6 
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

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27 January 2015

Winners of the Vanessa Skye Giveaway Announced (7 books up for grabs)

Last week, I published my biggest giveaway ever, in consultation with Australian crime author Vanessa Skye.

Entrants were asked to tell us about their perfect crime for a chance to win the following:

1. One of two signed, complete sets of the Edge of Darkness series of novels (The Enemy Inside, Broken and Bloodlines) written by Vanessa Skye.

2. One eBook copy of The Enemy Inside, the first in the series.

Vanessa reviewed all of your entries and allocated the prizes, so congratulations to the following three winners:
Marcia B
Jessica (frellathon)
ManyLivesinOne



Marcia B and Jessica have each won a signed complete set of The Edge of Darkness series of novels by Vanessa Skye. ManyLivesinOne has won an eBook copy of The Enemy Inside. Winners, please email me your postal address within the next 7 days to claim your prize.

Congratulations to all three winners, and to everyone else who entered. Thanks to Vanessa Skye for the generous prizes; you can visit her website for more information.

Carpe Librum!

24 January 2015

Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop 2015

It's Australia Day soon and I'm participating in the 2015 Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop for the third year in a row.

The event is being hosted online by Book'd Out, and there are currently 41 Aussie bloggers, authors, booksellers and publishers offering great Australian themed giveaways and FREE stuff!

Carpe Librum is offering readers and followers the chance to WIN one of two prizes:
1st Prize
A $25 gift voucher from Boomerang Books.

2nd Prize
A brand new print copy of The Wrong Girl by Zoe Foster.

To Enter: leave a comment in the form below and tell me what you're reading this Australia Day. 

Eligibility: open to those with an Australian postal address only and entries close at midnight, Tuesday 27th January 2015.

Winners: will be chosen by random.org and announced within 5 days and notified of their win via email. The winners will also be announced here on Carpe Librum in a follow up post.

Once you've entered, please click here to find other exciting Aussie giveaways on offer.

Happy Australia Day and Carpe Librum!

23 January 2015

The Girl on the Train: A Novel | Paula Hawkins

* Copy courtesy of NetGalley * 

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins was released last week and is already being called 'the next Gone Girl' by many reviewers. 

Rachel catches the same train into London each day and enjoys looking at the houses that go by and imagining the lives of those inside. One day, she sees something that will set an entire chain of events rolling which steadily build to a thrilling climax.

I can understand why early readers of The Girl on the Train are comparing it to Gone Girl, as it contains first person perspective from - in this case, several - female characters and is a thriller with a cracking pace. I enjoyed the flawed characters and the urban tension was palpable.

I groaned out loud at certain peak points in the novel when characters behaved against my advice (don't you hate that?) and didn't see any of the events coming. I also didn't work out 'whodunnit' either, which makes for an entertaining read.

The Girl on the Train is an impressive debut and I very much look forward to watching this author in the future.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

20 January 2015

Book Blast and Massive Giveaway of the Edge of Darkness Series of Books by Australian author Vanessa Skye (7 books up for grabs)

Book Blast
I'm pleased to introduce you to the Edge of Darkness series of crime novels and the australian author behind them Vanessa Skye. The series features a strong female antihero and you have the chance to win one of two complete autographed series (3 novels in the series). Also up for grabs is an an e-book copy of The Enemy Inside, so check out the details below and enter for your chance to WIN.

The Enemy Inside
While exploring the darkness in others, Detective Alicia Raymond discovers her own. Chicago Detective Alicia Raymond, a.k.a. Berg, medicates her deeply buried depression and a brutal past with an obsessive desire to track down killers. Bringing murderers to justice is the only thing in her life worth living for.

So when she sympathises with a vigilante who is exacting sadistic revenge, Berg faces a perilous choice: surrender to the powerful evil inside, or finally acknowledge the past she would rather ignore.


Like Dexter and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Enemy Inside challenges the concept of justice, asks if the need for vengeance sometimes justifies murder, and explores whether you can ever heal from a broken childhood.


Broken

A Chicago mother is murdered in a robbery gone wrong...
A teenager is raped and beaten, her life hanging by a thread...

For Chicago Detective Alicia Raymond, a.k.a Berg, the need for justice burns deep and fills the emptiness when therapy and relationships fall short. And while Berg wages a life or death battle against a sociopath who is always two steps ahead, an old adversary will stop at nothing to end her career.


As Berg fights to prevent another murder, she will cross the line between hero and villain—and there’s no turning back.


Bloodlines

Following the acclaimed debut of The Enemy Inside and its sequel, Broken, comes the stunning conclusion to The Edge of Darkness series by investigative journalist Vanessa Skye, Bloodlines.
Bloodlines was released
January 15, 2015

Detective Alicia “Berg” Raymond is lying. She’s lying to the Chicago Police Department, to her boyfriend, Captain Jay O’Loughlin, but most of all, she is lying to herself—about her past, her future, and her addiction.


As Berg investigates a series of brutal rapes, she juggles finding justice for the victims, keeping her own sordid past buried, and wrapping her damaged head around living in a state of domestic bliss she’s certain she doesn’t deserve.

But when enemies from the past threaten her present, she is once again vulnerable to the demons that have plagued her. It’s only a matter of time before the lies unravel and destroy the fairy tale she’s finally started believing.


Can she save anyone from the lurking darkness or will her own bloodlines drag her under—this time for good?


Up for Grabs
1. One of two signed, complete sets of the Edge of Darkness series of novels (The Enemy Inside, Broken and Bloodlines) written by Vanessa Skye.
2. One eBook copy of The Enemy Inside, the first in the series.

Giveaway
To enter: please leave a comment below in answer to the following question if you could carry out the perfect crime, what would it be?
Eligibility: the giveaway for print copies (signed complete series) is open to Australian residents only, however the eBook is open internationally. (If you are an international entrant, please indicate in your comment below).
Entries close: midnight Monday 26th January, Australia Day

Winners: will be selected in consultation with the author and announced here on Carpe Librum. Winners will have 7 days to email me their postal address or an alternate winner will need to be selected.  Good luck!

If you can't wait, The Enemy Inside is available for only 99c from Jan 8-29 from Amazon and Kobo for $1.05.

About the Author
Vanessa Skye has always had a love of words and spent her school years writing poetry, speeches and fictional essays. 
Author, Vanessa Skye

After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Print Journalism and studying Psychology at Charles Sturt University, Vanessa worked for 4 years as a journalist at Rural Press.

Thousands of stories later, she found herself studying a Master of Arts in Communication in Sydney and trying her hand at public relations. A few years later and Vanessa found herself studying various psychology subjects while managing a Sydney PR firm. Enthralled with examining the motivations behind people’s actions, Vanessa realised her dream in life was to combine her love of words with her fascination for human behaviour.

So Vanessa quit her PR career to begin the significantly more impoverished life of a professional writer and lives in Sydney’s northern beaches. You can find out more at www.vanessa-skye.com

16 January 2015

Review: Alex Cross, Run | James Patterson

Alex Cross, Run is the 20th novel in the crime series by James Patterson to feature Detective Alex Cross and was a solid addition to the series. I've only missed 4 books in the series so far, and have managed to keep up with what's happening as many of the novels can be read as a stand alone. 

Alex Cross hasn't changed much; he's still a workaholic, spends little time with his family and even less time on the basics (including sleep). Nana Mama (well into her 90s now) is the glue of the family, and it continues to annoy me how reliant Alex is on his family to continue with their lives with so little input from him.

Having said that, the situations Alex finds himself in Alex Cross, Run highlight his weaknesses and make for interesting reading as a consequence. There are two consecutive plot threads, the first concerns the murders Cross is called to investigate and the second (and what really held my attention) relates to a stalker who is keen on destroying his life.

Still to come in the series are Cross My Heart (#21) Hope to Die (#22), which I'm yet to discover.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!