Saturday, January 24, 2015

Book Haul #1: January Sales

I have to admit that I wasn’t blown away by the New Year’s Day Sales online this year. After recovering (somewhat) from a bottle of champagne on New Year’s, I curled up with my laptop to do some 2015 shopping. I was just about to give up on sales hunting when I struck literary gold on With up to 90% off former best-selling titles, I couldn’t resist the temptation and ended up buying six books for under $30. Some steal or what?

Let's pretend the "bargained price" stickers aren't there, shall we?

Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon

Played out against the bazaars and mosques and faded mansions of this knowing, ancient Ottoman city, Istanbul Passage is the unforgettable story of a man swept up in the dawn of the Cold War, of an unexpected love affair, and of a city as deceptive as the calm surface waters of the Bosphorus that divides it.

I’d never heard of the author or the book before seeing it on and  only ended up with this novel because I thought it had a gorgeous cover. But considering how hardcore a 007 fan I am, this seemed right up my alley. I mean, who doesn’t love a good spy novel?

The Secret Daughter of the Tsar by Jennifer Laam

A compelling alternate history of the Romanov family in which a secret fifth daughter—smuggled out of Russia before the revolution—continues the royal lineage to dramatic consequences.

I studied history in college and most of my classes ended being about Russia, but the Romanovs have intrigued me ever since I heard their tragic story and the mystery of Anastasia as a child. I’m not reading this for a history lesson, but I can’t resist a novel about the Romanovs. I’m kind of expecting to derive some guilty pleasure out of this book. Stay tuned.

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

On Writing Well is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet.

I’ve had my eye on Zinsser’s book for a while now and honestly don’t know why I only just bought it. I have a thing for good reference books, and this book is supposed to be up there with E.B. White’s Writing with Style. I don’t exactly expect this to have me at the edge of my seat, but I’m always interested in learning about how to improve my writing.

400 Healthy Recipes by Good Housekeeping

Three great favorites from Good Housekeeping are now collected here in one must-have volume. Enjoy vegetarian and whole-grain dishes as well as low-calorie meals that won't leave you hungry. Thanks to triple-tested-for-perfection recipes plus invaluable tips throughout, this cookbook makes eating well simple and satisfying.

I knew that I was going to need a cookbook if I was ever going to manage to make healthy, low calorie meals for myself. And since I’m not a great cook, I needed recipes that I’d actually be able to pull off. Then I saw this book with the words “healthy,” “easy,” “delicious,” and “low-calorie” right on the cover. It was fate!

I’m really looking forward to trying out some of these recipes and letting you know which ones are my favorite!

Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Bring Up the Bodies, the sequel to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn.

I am a disgrace to Tudor history buffs everywhere. While I have Wolf Hall, I still haven’t read it…and now I just bought this, its sequel. I really have to get through the massive tome that is Wolf Hall before I can even look at this.

Z by Therese Anne Fowler

When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.

I’ve heard many great things about this novel, so I hope it lives up to my expectations. I know very little about Zelda Fitzgerald except for what I saw in Midnight in Paris starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, but F. Scott Fitzgerald is F. Scott Fitzgerald.


I hope to read all of these at some point this year, and I'll let you know what I think of them when I'm done.  Have you bought any books or read anything you absolutely love yet this year?

*Synopses are taken from


  1. Ah you should definitely read Wolf Hall! I have just finished (and reviewed!) it and am now reading Bring Up the Bodies which I am really really enjoying :)

    Also, because it might not be as big a deal in the US, the BBC have just started showing an amazing tv adaptation of it, in case you fancy reading then watching! Have you seen that yet?

    Beth x

    1. I've heard great things about it, and both books are in my HUGE to-read pile next to my bed.

      I'm really excited about the BBC adaptation, but I don't think that it's started to air in the US yet. We're always behind when it comes to BBC shows. :(

  2. Love a good book haul! Definitely need to get myself some writing help books.

    1. Me too! I'm a huge fan of Elements of Style <3.