About Me

My photo
A-red-lipstick-wearing bibliophile extraordinaire. Word nerd & Joss Whedon fangirl; Literature lover & book reviewer. Lady Libertine; Tea collector; Potterhead.

Monday, 31 December 2012


Tomorrow is The Big Bad Booklist's First Birthday!

Not on this exact blog (it humbly began on Tumblr), but the concept was born almost exactly a year ago and I've got to admit I couldn't be happier about it. I never ever thought I'd still be doing this a year on and that I'd still be enjoying it as much as I do. I'm forever getting bored with things and I find I've never really updated my blogs as much as I say I'm going to.
A huge thank you and masses of love going out to all of you who take the time to read my reviews and for the continued support, it really means the world to me.

My first ever reading challenge went incredibly well, 11 books over my target! (I tried to take a picture of them all. but they just wouldn't fit. I gave up.) I'll be raising the bar to 65 books in the coming year. It's still a massive challenge and a huge commitment but I feel it can still be accomplished.

I've had a lot of literary based opportunities in 2012, from participating in World Book Night to being in a reading group for The Guardian First Book Award. As well as reaffirming my love for the written word I have recently been getting to know the world of spoken word, which has been a real treat for me. I'm hoping that I have even more fantastic literary based memories in 2013, I have a few ideas hiding safely under my wizard's hat but more on that later.

I've received a fair few books over the Christmas period (some will technically be re-reads), so I already have a lot of ammunition for this coming reading challenge. I honestly can't wait! I'm so excited! Although, I really have no idea where I'm going to start.

Happy New Year, you fabulous, amazing, wonderfully inspiring people! I'll see you in 2013.
And as always, happy reading!


Friday, 14 December 2012

Review: The Black Book of Secrets

I picked up this book up for about 80 pence from a charity table at a supermarket. It was a whimsical purchase on my part, I didn't even look at the blurb when I decided to buy it. As soon as I saw that Eoin Colfler was quoted on the cover, I suddenly couldn't wait to get home and read it. (I highly recommend Artemis Fowl, a YA Sci/Fi Fantasy about a boy villain. It's brilliant!)

Our story begins in a dank basement room in the City, a place so vile and dirty it doesn't even deserve a name.
Ludlow Fitch has discovered that he has just been betrayed by his parents, in order to escape he hops on to the back of a carriage and rides away to safety.
He finally ends up in a small town called Pagus Parvus where he meets the strange Joe Zabbidou, a man who calls himself a the secret pawnbroker.

Ludlow learns that the pawnbroker trades secrets, and not goods, for money and is hired to write down the confessions of all those who come to Joe in the dead of night.
It is here he learns of betrayals, murder, thieving, blackmailing and bodysnatching. Not knowing whether he can trust his new master, Ludlow becomes afraid that his own murky past may come back to haunt him.

What I love most about reading is the sheer pleasure I get from when a story really surprises me. Reading this was an absolute pleasure, not only was it an addictive read but it had such a wonderful flow to it, too.  It's not the best dark children's story I've read but nonetheless, it's very entertaining and Higgins has tried really hard to make an original storyline here and I think she's done really well in that respect.
It had the perfect balance of macabre and humour, although it was dark at times- most of the confessions were usually a folly and can be enjoyed by both adults and children alike. I would have probably liked to have seen more darkness in it though, but as a children's book I couldn't really ask for much more.

The only downside is the way that it ended, I was left reeling with millions of questions and because it is a one shot, those questions will never really be answered. The plus side to this is that it is indeed a series of books documenting the goings on in the City, although I'm doubtful that any of the characters will be connected in any other way. Regardless of that fact, it's certainly something I'll be reading more of in the near future.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Review: Who Could That Be At This Hour? (All The Wrong Questions, #1)


The first in a new 'All The Wrong Questions' Series, "Who Could That Be at This Hour?" follows the account of a young Lemony to a town called Stain'd-by-the-Sea which is surrounded by a waterless sea and a treeless forest.
We are treated to an adventure surrounding the reclaiming of a not-actually-stolen, priceless (as in, it is worth nothing) object.

Lemony, who is a 13 year old apprentice to the last-in-the-ranks spy S. Theodora Markson, must figure out the mystery of this nothing town while mysteriously trying to contact his ever mysterious, er, contact.
I don't think there is a simple way to explain, the only way I can sufficiently describe this book is to turn a noun into an adjective;
Snickety. A word which here means, to be a lot like Snicket.

I was both a little worried and ridiculously excited when I found out Snicket was releasing a four part series autobiography. I always am when it comes to an author I have such a deep love for, I was only a little worried when I discovered it is a sort of prequel to A Series of Unfortunate Events.
I say sort of because there are a few references to the Baudelaire stories; the continual appearance of things that look like question marks and of course, the organisation Lemony and Markson work for is conveniently unnamed. One can only assume it is the ever elusive VFD.

In a true Snicket fashion, there is mystery shrouded in confusion, wrapped in mystery and topped with a grim setting- and just for good measure, sprinkled with a generous helping of mystery. There are laugh out loud moments, the usual wonderful writing and wordplay; and a plot so topsy turvy it will probably give you a touch of motion sickness. Not to mention the plethora of bizarre and wonderful characters.
It really is, wonderfully, torturously; ridiculously... Snickety.
I absolutely cannot wait for the next in the series to arrive and if it's anything like ASOUE it can only get better from here. I'd ask when it's set to arrive, but I fear that might be the wrong question; so until then, I'll resist the urge to overturn a table and cry helplessly out of frustration.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

If you're not well versed in the world of Lemony Snicket, I suggest you become so. Immediately. There are very few authors out there who can entertain and infuriate you so well. You won't be disappointed,  I promise.  Luckily, (or should I say unluckily) 'The Bad Beginning', the first in A Series of Unfortunate Events is available online and absolutely free! You can find it here.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Review: The Diary of a Drug Fiend

There haven't been many books this year that give me writer's block when it comes to reviewing them. Aleister Crowley's The Diary of a Drug Fiend has pushed an Eiffel Tower sized boulder in front of my mind's eye, everything feels ill fitting- like I just can't do it justice.

The book follows the story of the newly appointed Lord, Peter Pendragon and the beautiful Louise Laleham. A whirlwind romance sees them travelling Europe, fuelled by nothing but love, cocaine, and heroin.
We follow the journey of drugs and adventure, as the world opens up around them, the couple find beauty and philosophy everywhere- one drug induced trip at a time. When their supply is quite suddenly (and inevitably) cut off, we witness their decent into madness and despair- it is only here they begin to discover the true nature of their drug addiction, and with this a whole new adventure into practical magick unfolds.

This is one of the most beautiful, heart wrenching, and dismal stories of love and hope, I have read in the longest time. Crowley is such a talent, he has a way with words that seem to figuratively cause my heart swell in a quiet adoration. I felt very connected to these characters; it was as though everything that was happening to them, was happening to me.
I rejoiced at their discoveries and perfectly understood the inexplicable spiritual ramblings of the intoxicated. Their battle scars glittered against my own skin, and at times their plight reduced me to into a pile of shuddering tears.
It might be because on some level, I relate to these star crossed lovers or it might be because when it comes to matters of the heart- I just like a bit of black despair thrown into the mix. I don't know, whatever it is, this book just has it. The kind of it that I usually adore. And adore it I did.

This wasn't the easiest read though, sometimes I found it quite difficult to chew through the despair and it took a while to get used to the writing style of Crowley, even the most basic sentence structure was extremely verbose.
Lord Pendragon, although wonderfully witty got a little irritating at times. It was a lovely break away when the story switched to Lou's point of view. I wasn't expecting it either, so it came as a nice surprise.

It's not exactly an informative outlook into the world of narcotics, you won't find fact here. If anything it's made more real by the simple fact that it is an almost autobiographical account of Crowley's own life. (The beginning of the novel states that the story is true but the names have changed.) The highs have indeed been romanticised and the come downs are dramatised, but that doesn't take away from what a wonderful read it truly is.
What I like most about it is the conversational tone the protagonist takes, it is as if you're sitting in an seedy drug den listening to the most interesting person on the planet recount his tales to you. I believe at one point, Lord Pendragon quite cuts himself off mid sentence and bluntly tells you to not disrupt his anecdote. It's just marvellous.

I can't say this book is for everyone, although I would recommend it to everyone. (All literature deserves a chance.)  Especially to those people who easily fall in love with beautifully crafted sentences. This novel is full of them.

Rating: ★★★★☆