Book Review: Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou | @lauriepetrou @noexitpress @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

Two sisters. One fire. A secret that won’t burn out.

The Grayson sisters are trouble. Everyone in their small town knows it. But noone can know of the secret that binds them together.

Hattie is the light. Penny is the darkness. Together, they have balance.

But one night the balance is toppled. A match is struck. A fire is started. A cruel husband is killed. The potential for a new life flickers in the fire’s embers, but resentment, guilt, and jealousy suffocate like smoke.

Their lives have been engulfed in flames will they ever be able to put them out?

 

My Thoughts

Sisters of Mine is about the two Grayson sisters. They live in a small town and everyone knows who they are. The people in the town don’t know all of the secrets the two women hold though. One night the two sisters set a fire and the repercussions of that night will be long lasting in their lives!

On the cover of my copy of Sisters of Mine it has a sticker warning that readers will burn through the novel in one sitting and I have to say that this was absolutely true for me. I started reading this novel and it had me under its spell from the opening chapter and I didn’t move from where I was sitting until after I turned the last page!

This is a really suspenseful and mysterious novel. There is a really strong bond between Hattie and Penny, one that isn’t necessarily based on them liking each other. There is a strange dynamic at play in their relationship and for a long time it seems like one of them is pulling all the strings but then the power shifts somewhat. Ultimately, they’re both complicit in making their lives turn out the way they did, and a lot of it has to do with jealousy and perceived wrong-doings between them. The title of this book is so perfect. Going into the book it seemed like it was a reference to two sisters who are close but once I started reading the book I could see its more a reference to the power play between them and ownership over each other.

This isn’t a black and white novel; the two sisters each have good and bad in them and it’s impossible to point at one of them and say that what they did was worse. They involve each other in everything and so the lines become very blurred about who is ultimately responsible and who did the worst thing.

Sister of Mine has a really claustrophobic atmosphere to it. I felt like I was right there with Penny and Hattie and it was stifling at times seeing their lives up close. The writing is brilliant to make me feel that way though, it really is a beautifully written book.

Sister of Mine is a compelling, claustrophobic and stunning look at two sisters and what each is prepared to do for the other. I loved this book, it is still lingering in my mind now and it’s a few weeks since I finished reading it. I recommend this one!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Sister of Mine is due to be published on 20 June and can be pre-ordered here.

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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Book Review: The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett | @RachelAmphlett @BOTBSPublicity #TheFriendWhoLied

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About the Book

What she doesn’t know might kill her…Lisa Ashton receives a last-minute reprieve from death two weeks before her birthday. Regaining consciousness, she is horrified to learn one of her friends has been killed – and saved her life.

As she recovers, she uncovers a trail of carefully guarded reputations, disturbing rumours, and lies. Soon, Lisa begins to wonder if one of her friends is hiding a terrible secret.

Because five of them entered the escape room that day, and only four got out alive.

And someone is determined to cover their tracks before she can find out the truth.

Can Lisa find the killer before someone else dies?

 

My Thoughts

The Friend Who Lied follows Lisa, who as the book opens is just regaining consciousness and she has no idea what has happened. The novel then opens out as we follow the four friends as the secrets and lies that bound their group together may be about to break them apart!

The opening to this book is brilliant because we see things through Lisa’s eyes as she begins to come round, and for a moment I wasn’t sure what was happening! I wondered if she was being held somewhere but it quickly becomes clear that she is in hospital recovering from surgery that saved her life. We soon learn that five friends have been to an escape room but something has gone horribly wrong and one of them died.

Lisa’s friends are behaving oddly, they’re not visiting her as often as she would have expected and when she does see them she feels they’re keeping things from her. Then the police turn up asking questions about what happened in the escape room but Lisa can’t remember anything.

Lisa is the main character in this novel but we get the different perspectives of all four friends, and this made for a fascinating read. They have been friends since university, and I’m always intrigued by groups of people that remain friends long after they leave school/university as I never maintained my group of friends from that time because our lives moved in different directions. I’m in touch with some of them but not as a group. It seems this group of friends have things in common that will always bond them and I wanted to know more! The novel is mainly set in the present but there are chapters from their university days and that really ramps up the tension in this book as you start to understand who they are.

I didn’t trust anyone in this book – Hayley, David and Bec all seemed like they were out for themselves and very focused on how things would reflect on them. They all I loved how the focus shifted from one to another though because just as I thought I’d got to grips with what might be going on I got another viewpoint and my thoughts shifted again.

As you get further into the book you do feel the claustrophobia of the police closing in on this group as the investigation goes along. I thought it was really clever how these friends had done an escape room – a game where they were locked in and have to try and escape – and what happened there has led to them being in a real life escape room where their actual freedom is at stake!

I did have a growing suspicion about one of the characters as I got further into the book and I was proved right about them but there is more than one reveal as this book reaches its climax and I was stunned by most of them!

The Friend Who Lied is such a gripping thriller that had me hooked from start to finish! It was my first Rachel Amphlett novel but it absolutely won’t be my last, I can’t wait to read more from her! The Friend Who Lied is fast-paced, suspenseful and unputdownable; an all-round brilliant thriller!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

The Friend Who Lied is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

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Before turning to writing, USA Today bestselling author Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor and English Spy Mysteries espionage novels and theDetective Kay Hunter British police procedural series.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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A Brand New Book Haul (Stacking the Shelves)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

Birthday Books

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It was my birthday way back in January but I saved the book vouchers I got so that I could treat myself to some lovely books later in the year (it’s always nice to make a birthday gift last longer!). I finally spent the vouchers yesterday and got these three books! 🙂

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S by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

This book has fascinated me for the longest time as it’s a novel with marginalia that also tells a story plus it has notes and postcards and maps inserted amongst its pages. I’m so excited to sit down with this stunning book!

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Spring by Ali Smith

I love Autumn and Winter so I really wanted to get Spring in hardback too so I’m delighted to have this one. It’s even more beautiful in real life than it looked in pictures so I’m happy to own this one. I plan on reading this one very, very soon!

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The Girl Aquarium by Jen Campbell

I’ve been hearing about this poetry collection recently and am fascinated by its exploration of women and disability so I couldn’t resist buying it!

 

Purchased Books and eBooks

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

I’m a huge fan of Louise Voss (and have been since her first novel was published!) so I couldn’t resist grabbing the ebook of this while it was on offer this week. I’ll still be buying the paperback when it’s out to add to my collection!

How To Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics by Michael Pollan

I’m fascinated by how our minds work and so this book has been on my radar for a few months. I’m in the mood to read it now so decided to treat myself this week.

The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher

I first heard about this book on Linda’s Book Bag late last year and it’s been on my mind ever since so when I spotted it this week I simply had to buy it. I think this will be an emotional read so I’ll save it to read when I’m in the right mood but I am so looking forward to getting to it.

Someone is Lying by Jenny Blackhurst

I’ve seen some brilliant reviews of this book during the recent blog tour and decided that I simply had to get a copy. It sounds like such a gripping thriller and I can’t wait to read it!

The Mother’s Mistake by Ruth Heald

I saw a fabulous review of this book on the wonderful Meggy at Chocolate ‘n’ Waffles blog this week and I immediately bought a copy! I can’t wait to read this thriller so don’t think it’ll be on my TBR for very long!

 

Purchased AudioBooks

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Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

I’ve been wanting to read this book for absolutely ages so when I saw the audiobook on a deal of the day on Audible this week I immediately clicked to buy. I’m really looking forward to listening to this book!

 

ARCs

Take It Back by Kia Abdullah

I read the blurb for this book and was so intrigued that I immediately requested it on NetGalley. I was thrilled when I got approved and I can’t wait to read this!

Forget Me Not by Claire Allan

I read Claire Allan’s first thriller and really enjoyed it so when I realised she had a new one due out I knew I had to read it. This one sounds really intriguing and I’m so looking forward to it.

The Wave by Virginia Moffatt

This book sounds so interesting – it’s a thriller set at a time when a tsunami is bearing down. I’m really keen to get to this one soon.

How To Say Goodbye by Katy Colins

I requested this book on NetGalley after reading a very moving article about the author and how she came to write this book. I think this will be a moving and also heartwarming read.

 


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.

Book Review: The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean | @FelicityMcLean @PtBlankBks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #VanApfelGirls

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About the Book

‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’

Tikka Molloy was eleven and one-sixth years old during the long hot summer of 1992, growing up in a distant suburb in Australia surrounded by encroaching bushland. That summer, the hottest on record, was when the Van Apfel sisters – Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – mysteriously disappeared during the school’s Showstopper concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river.

Did they run away? Were they taken?  While the search for the sisters unites the small community, the mystery of their disappearance has never been solved.   Now, years later, Tikka has returned home, to try to make sense of that strange moment in time. The summer that shaped her.  The girls that she never forgot.

 

My Thoughts

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone is about Tikka Molloy, aged 11, and her friendship with the three Van Apfel sisters: Hannah, Cordelia and Ruth. The novel begins with Tikka in the present day where she’s living in Baltimore but she has to travel back to Australia to visit her family and she wants to know more about what happened to the Van Apfel girls.

This book is absolutely stunning. I started reading it in the garden on a beautiful sunny day and I just got lost in its pages. I was intrigued from the opening chapter and I just loved everything about this book.

Tikka is an interesting character and I like the way the book is framed both from her viewpoint as an adult reflecting on her childhood with the Van Apfel sisters but also from her viewpoint when she was an 11 year old. It really highlighted the way we remember things differently from the way they perhaps really were, and also how we just don’t fully understand things when we’re children and looking back through adult’s eyes puts a whole different spin on things.

The writing in this novel is mesmerising. I could feel the heat, I could feel the oppressive atmosphere of the Van Apfel family home when their parents were there. I had such a knot in my stomach reading parts of this book as I could see the things that 11 year old Tikka couldn’t quite grasp.

We know from the start of the novel that the Van Apfel girls all went missing but we don’t know then whether they ran away or were kidnapped, or if they came to harm so there is a mystery running through this book but it’s much more a coming of age novel. The Van Apfel girls felt almost ghostly to me throughout this book, even when we were there with them as young girls before they disappeared – it was as if they were right there but you could never got too close, you could never really get to know them fully. It wasn’t so much they had secrets as much as they were just set slightly apart from everyone else, even their best friends.

There was so much I could relate to in this book, I so remember that time when you’re wanting independence and feeling so grown up. You begin to feel you have a power but you don’t yet fully understand consequences. I felt such fear for Cordelia as she is so aware of her own body and the affect she’s having on boys (and grown men who should know better) and reading that as an adult was unnerving. I was willing her, and her sisters, to all be okay but it felt like this book was always leading towards something sad. There is a feeling of melancholy in the three sisters, and in the book as a whole, which I couldn’t look away from.

Running through this novel is the news story big in 1992 about Lindy Chamberlain who was cleared of killing her baby. She is the woman whose baby was taken by a dingo and never found. This gave another level to this novel as it did more than just reinforce when it was set but also the way that sometimes a child does just disappear. The thinking  when it happened was that the mother must have killed her baby, but her appeal in 1992 found that actually what the mother said happened was more likely to be true. This in relation to the Van Apfel girls has haunted me in the parallels and what it’s perhaps telling us about what really happened to them.

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone is ultimately Tikka’s story; it’s about her trying to come to terms to what happened the summer she was eleven. It’s haunted her whole life to date and she seems to be at a place where she needs some resolution that she just can’t find. This was so relatable, we might not have had the same experience as her but we all have things in our lives that haunt us, we all have those ‘what ifs’, and so often we believe if we’d just done something differently then things might have turned out better. It’s life though, and not everything works out.

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone is a captivating, mesmerising and haunting novel that I can’t stop thinking about. It’s such a beautifully written novel and I’m so glad that I got the chance to read it. I already know that this will be one of my top books of this year and I highly recommend it.

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

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Felicity McLean was born in Sydney Australia. She graduated at Sydney University with a BA in English and Australian literature and worked as a book publicist before embarking on a freelance career. Her journalism has appeared in The Daily Telegraph, The Courier Mail and the Big Issue, among others, and she has ghost-written celebrity autobiographies. THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE is her first novel. She lives with her English husband and two young children in Australia.

 

 

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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WWW Wednesdays (12 Jun 2019)!

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

The Swap by Fiona Mitchell

This is a really gripping read! I’m really intrigued to find out what’s going to happen for the two couples and their children.

Furious Hours by Casey Cep

I haven’t read as much of this over the last week as I wanted to as I just wasn’t in the mood for non-fiction but I’m keen to get back to this so will be making this a priority this week.

The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

This is a gorgeous and really interesting read. I love how it’s written in vignettes from train journeys and am deliberately reading this slowly.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

This is the second book I’ve reading from my 20 Books of Summer list and I adored this book. It’s such a brilliant novel and I’m so glad I read it. I hope to get a review of this written soon.

What Red Was by Rosie Price

I’m not sure how I feel about this book yet. I found the first half hard to put down but then I just wasn’t drawn to it and it’s taken me a few days to finish it. There were parts I loved and parts that I liked less. I will review this once I’ve got my thoughts together.

Every Mother’s Nightmare by Mark Thomas

This book was a difficult read because of the subject matter but also because the spelling and punctuation was awful. I wouldn’t recommend this one unfortunately.

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book was incredible! I had an ebook but I’d heard so many recommendations of the audio that I decided to buy that as well. I’m so glad I did because it’s a perfect audio book and I loved it. I hope to share my full thoughts on this soon!

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This was my first book from my 20 Books of Summer and I’m so glad that I finally picked this up. This was such a brilliant novel and I loved every minute that I spent reading it!

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

I listened to this on audio book and I found it interesting in places but it felt a bit flat in other places. It’s such a moving story though.

 

What I plan on reading next:

A Keeper by Graham Norton

This is on my 20 Books of Summer reading stack and I’m in the mood for reading this one so I plan on this being book 3 of my reading challenge.

The Friendship Pact by Alison James

I downloaded this book on a whim after spotting it on NetGalley last week. I love books that are set in the present but involve a mystery from the past so I think I’m going to really enjoy this one.

After the End by Clare Mackintosh

This was on my TBR for the last week but I didn’t manage to get to it so it’s going on my TBR for the week ahead. I feel like this is going to be an emotional read so I want to find a whole afternoon where I can just get lost in this book.

And Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

I was delighted to get pre-approved for this on NetGalley recently and I’m so keen to read this thriller as soon as I can.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesday or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Book Review: The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw | @claidlawauthor @AccentPress @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

There are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth…

Emma Maria Rossini appears to be the luckiest girl in the world. She’s the daughter of a beautiful and loving mother, and her father is one of the most famous film actors of his generation. She’s also the granddaughter of a rather eccentric and obscure Italian astrophysicist.

But as her seemingly charmed life begins to unravel, and Emma experiences love and tragedy, she ultimately finds solace in her once-derided grandfather’s Theorem on the universe.

The Space Between Time is humorous and poignant and offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even to those we have loved and not quite lost.

 

My Thoughts

The Space Between Time follows Emma from being a young girl to her becoming an adult. Her father is a really famous actor, and her grandfather is an obscure astrophysicist. As her father’s fame grows, her mother’s mental health seems to decline and Emma struggles to understand what is happening, while at the same time being deeply affected by it.

I really connected with Emma throughout this novel, there are so many things that she experiences that I could identify with. She goes through loss in different ways and her pain really radiated off the page. The way she feels grief was so palpable; the quote below is exactly how grief is.

Once, at a party, I smelled her perfume and came close to tears. I still feel that she’s close to by, almost within touching distance, her hand not quite on my shoulder, her lips not quite about to kiss the top of my head: not quite, and just out of sight. It’s as if she’s in another room, close by: her cremated particles reaching out, decaying on the breeze, becoming smaller, and smaller, and smaller.

I loved the parts of the book where Emma describes a photo of herself with her mum and dad at a film premiere but later we get another perspective on the photo as she works through her feelings about her father as he gets older. This made me cry, it so resonated with my own life and I felt I was right there with Emma. It captured grief and the slow acceptance of loss, but also the way we come to see things differently as we age. We perhaps understand more of our parents that we couldn’t possibly have grasped when we were younger and hadn’t got the reference points that being an adult ourselves brings. It’s also the acceptance that comes with getting older of taking people as they are, and that perhaps we expected more of them than they could give to us.

I came to love the fact that this book didn’t feel grounded in a particular time. There are references to things so you do know when it’s set but there is a real timeless feel to the novel. This is where the astrophysics comes into play – the idea of what is here now, and what was here before and what might be in the future. The whole novel seems to play with these ideas and Emma becomes interested in her grandfather’s work as she seeks solace from the loss in her life and it brings her comfort.

We all live in permanent chaos, however ordered our lives seem, with every innocuous action having lots of little consequences that are completely unpredictable.

There are some brilliant moments of humour sprinkled throughout too that made me properly laugh. The part of the book where Emma ends up at protest march with a man she slept with once is so perfectly written. Their argument ends up echoing the different banners around them and it’s utterly brilliant!

This is a novel that requires concentration and time so it took me a little while to get into it but there was a moment where this book just clicked for me and from then on I just couldn’t put it down. I fell in love with this story, it’s stunning!

The Space Between Time is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read and I’m so happy that I got the chance to read it.  This is a book to savour – I recommend reading it slowly and taking your time with it. There is so much of life – the beauty and the pain – contained within its pages and it’s a book where you won’t want to miss a thing. I highly recommend it!

Many thanks to Accent Press for my copy of this book and to Anne of Random Things Tours for my invitation to be on this blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

The Space Between Time is due out on 20 June and can be pre-ordered here.

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

The Space Between Time Blog Tour Poster

 

Book Review: A Modern Family by Helga Flatland | @HelgaFlatland @rosie_hedger @OrendaBooks @annecater

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About the Book

When Liv, Ellen and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s seventieth birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce.

Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history.

 

My Thoughts

A Modern Family follows three siblings – Liv, Ellen and Hakon, their partners, and children as they travel to Rome to celebrate their father’s 70th birthday. During the celebrations they find out that their parents have decided to divorce and this sends shockwaves through the family.

The novel is told from the perspectives of the three siblings and the way it unfolds is so well done. First we follow Liv, the eldest child, and she is someone who likes to feel in control who thinks she can keep everything together so the news from her parents knocks her world off its axis. When it moves to Ellen, the middle sibling, we see an overlap of the revelation of their parents announcement and her reaction to it before we then learn more about her life. She keeps herself to herself a lot more than her brother and sister. The novel then goes back to Liv, and then to Ellen again before we hear from Hakon, the younger brother and the baby of the family.

I’ve found it so hard to get my thoughts in any kind of order to write this review because I just connected with the novel so much. I’m one of three (and we have similar age gaps between us as the siblings in this novel) so the different perspectives all had something in them that I either recognised in myself or in one of my siblings, or in how we interacted with each other. I adored that the love the members of the family all have for each other is really clear, they have their conflicts but ultimately they do all care how the others are doing. But within that you see how the things that are small to one sibling can cause another to be crumbling inside and they just don’t get how or why they are reacting in the way they are. This is so heart-wrenchingly true that I wanted to cry at these moments.

Helga Flatland’s writing has a delicate poignancy that also really gets you in the gut at times. It’s insightful and it makes you think about situations you’ve been in with your own family.  I’m the eldest child in my family and I could understand how Liv felt a lot of the time. There is a pressure on being the oldest, right from childhood you’re expected to be more grown up and to look after, and be a good example for, the younger children. It stays with you into adulthood and it does shape who you become. I did find that I identified more with Ellen, the middle child in this novel, as the story progressed though. I felt for her as she struggled silently, privately and didn’t feel she could share what she was going through with her family. I could totally see why she didn’t say anything but I was willing her to. Sometimes the people we’re meant to have the closest relationships with are the very ones that it’s so hard to open up to. Hakon’s was the section that surprised me the most. Throughout the book, through his sisters’ eyes he’s someone who doesn’t want to conform to society’s stereotypes. He doesn’t believe in monogamy or marriage. I thought I knew the kind of person he was but when I got to see his perspective it was really lovely to see who he is behind all the big statements.

A Modern Family is a stunning novel – I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that so captured what it is to be a sibling, that captured the complicated dynamics of a family so perfectly and with such brilliant insight. At times this book made me cry, and at other times I was smiling to myself as I recognised a silly misunderstanding. I haven’t stopped thinking about these characters since I finished reading the book and I already want to read it all over again. I have to commend Rosie Hedger, the translator of A Modern Family, too because this felt like a novel that had been written in English. The way she has worked with Helga Flatland’s words is wonderful. I am certain that this will be one of my books of 2019, it’s incredible! I love it so much that I’m definitely going to buy a print copy (I read it on Kindle) to have with my favourite books on my bookcase! I can’t find all the words to do justice to A Modern Family but please just take my word for how beautiful it is and add it to your summer reading stacks now!

Many thanks to Orenda Books for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

A Modern Family is due out on 13 June and can be pre-ordered here.

 

About the Author

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Helga Flatland ( born 16 September 1984) is a Norwegian novelist and children’s writer. She was born in Notodden and grew up in Flatdal. She made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Bli hvis du kan. Reis hvis du må, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas’ debutantpris . The novel was the first in a trilogy, and was followed by Alle vil hjem. Ingen vil tilbake (2012) and Det finnes ingen helhet (2013). In 2015 she published the novel Vingebelastning, as well as the children’s book Eline får besøk. In 2015 Flatland was awarded the Amalie Skram Prize and Mads Wiel Nygaard’s Endowment.

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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Mini Book Reviews: Girl in Snow, I Know Who You Are, The Golden Child & Need to Know!

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Today I’m sharing some more mini book reviews as I continue my mission to catch up with my reviews!

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Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

This book is billed as a thriller but it’s more of an exploration of three characters, and once I realised that’s what it was I really quite enjoyed this novel. The premise is that a teenage girl, Lucinda, has been found murdered and the novel is told from the perspective of three other characters: Cameron – a teenage boy who is quite obsessed with Lucinda, Jade – a teenage girl who thinks Lucinda has a perfect life and she wants that for herself, and Russ – one of the detectives investigating the murder. I did hope for a bit more depth in these characters but having said that I did get completely invested in wanting to know what had made them the way they were, and how far Cameron and Jade’s fixation with Lucinda might have led them. It’s a book that really looks at what makes us who we are and makes us do the things we do, and what the consequences of that is. I’ll definitely look out for more books by this author and I recommend this one.

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I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

I loved Alice Feeney’s previous novel, Sometimes I Lieso I had very high hopes for this new book. I was gripped very quickly and found it really hard to put down. The novel is about actress Aimee Sinclair. She comes home one day and finds her husband missing but she can’t remember when exactly she last saw him. The police get involved and very soon suspect Aimee of knowing more than she’s letting on. Aimee is something of an enigma, she plays on her acting skills to get her through situations but she’s also convinced she’s being stalked and becomes increasingly anxious and on edge. Interspersed with the chapters from the present day we find out about Aimee’s childhood, which was a difficult time for her. I’d say I very much enjoyed the first 80% or so of this novel but I just didn’t like the ending at all. I read a lot of thrillers and I’m quite happy to suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride but the ending of this book was just too far-fetched for me. It brought me right out of the book and I was left disappointed. I still love Alice Feeney’s writing and I will definitely be buying whatever she writes next but this book just wasn’t for me in the end.

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The Golden Child by Wendy James

This is such a brilliant novel! It follows Lizzy who is a blogger and she shares her perfect life online; unfortunately the reality isn’t quite so perfect. There is a lot of tension with her husband, her mum and her mother-in-law; not to mention the normal trials and tribulations of her two teenage daughters. Then one day a nasty episode of bullying happens at her daughters’ school and the finger of blame is pointed at one of Lizzy’s daughters. You also get to see the other side of the story as the novel follows the mother of the girl who was so horribly bullied. It’s fascinating to see how the two women deal with the situation and how the whole thing slowly unravels. I found this book so difficult to put down once I started reading it. The multiple perspectives keeps the book moving at a pace, and the way the lives of the so-called perfect family unravels is so well done. This is such a great novel and I definitely recommend it!

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Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

I read this book quite a while ago now and that fact that it is still sticking in my head shows how good it is! It’s a novel about Vivien, a CIA analyst who works to try and uncover Russian cells in the USA. She’s also married with a young family so she’s juggling a lot. One day she uncovers something at work and can’t unsee what she’s seen. The slow realisation that everything she holds dear could now be at risk is terrifying for her and she’s put in the position of whether to protect family or country. This novel is a rollercoaster ride and one that I just couldn’t stop reading once I started it. And it has one of the most brilliant endings to a novel, I loved it! I can’t wait to read Karen Cleveland’s next novel, which I believe is due out very soon!

 

 

A Brand New Book Haul (Stacking the Shelves 8 Jun 2019)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

So, I haven’t shared a book haul for a couple of weeks so this is a rather large haul. I’m blaming Audible for having a fabulous sale (with books from my wish list in it!) when I actually had a few spare credits! Also, I went on NetGalley to leave some reviews and accidentally requested some more books… oops!

 

Purchased eBooks

The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen

I’ve seen so many fabulous reviews of this book so when I spotted the ebook on sale recently I couldn’t resist downloading it. I love the idea of a lost letter department so am excited to read this!

Feel Free: Essays by Zadie Smith

I bought this essay collection on a whim because I love Zadie Smith’s writing. I’ve recently enjoyed a couple of essay collections so I’m looking forward to dipping in and out of this one very soon.

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

I still haven’t read The Heart’s Invisible Furies but I feel sure I’m going to love it so I couldn’t resist buying another book by the author!

Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth

I forgot that I’d pre-ordered this book so I was delighted when I discovered it on my kindle the other day. It felt like a present from past me to now me! I’m really keen to read this one so am going to try and get to it in the next week or so.

The Girl Before You by Nicola Rayner

I bought this on a whim too after seeing some reviews by bloggers that I trust so am looking forward to getting to this one.

Anna by Patricia Dixon

I bought this book after the author posted a really lovely post on her publication day and I could empathise with what she wrote so immediately went and ordered a copy of her book.

Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews

This was a kindle daily deal this week so I snapped it up. I really enjoy Carole Matthews’ novels so am happy to have another one on my TBR stack.

Every Mother’s Nightmare by Mark Thomas

I bought this one this week and am now half-way through it. The formatting of the book is awful though, which is such a shame, and I’m not sure I’ll continue with it.

 

Purchased Audiobooks

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde and The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

I bought both of these audiobooks in a recent Audible sale when they had the first few books in a selection of series for £3 each! I’ve already got the first book so I can’t wait to start listening to these books!

People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Parry

This has been on my wish list for such a long time after a good friend recommended it to me. I decided to get the audio book in the recent Audible 2 for 1 sale!

Milkshakes and Morphine by Genevieve Fox

This memoir is a recent addition to my wish list so I was delighted to spot it in the same sale as the book above. I’m definitely going to be listening to this very soon.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

This is one of those books that I’ve heard so much about for so many years that I feel like I must have already read it but I actually haven’t. I do have a print copy of this on my TBR but couldn’t resist getting the audio book in the 2 for 1 sale.

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

This is another wish list book that was in the sale so I had to get to it. I’ve wanted to read this for a long time so I’m really happy to have a copy of it.

Tennison by Lynda la Plante

I’ve read quite a few books from this series but I’ve never read them in order so when I saw this first book in the Audible sale I decided to get it. I think it’s nice to re-read books in a different format than I first read it in to get a different experience of a story.

Mrs Pankhurst’s Purple Feather by Tessa Boase

I needed another book to go with the one above to get 2 for 1 and this one jumped out at me. It sounds like such an interesting read so I’m really glad I got it.

Help Me! by Marianne Power

This was an Audible daily deal recently and it sounded like an interesting listen. I went through a phase of reading self help books when I was in my teens and so this book seemed like it would be a fun look at those kind of books.

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

I love The Book Thief so couldn’t resist grabbing this new one by the author when it was on an Audible daily deal. I’m looking forward to getting to this one.

Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally

This was also an Audible daily deal so I decided to get it. I have tried to read the book when it was first published but I just couldn’t finish it. I’m hoping that I might cope better with it on audio.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

I actually downloaded this book via Scribd and have just finished listening to it. It was an interesting book but I was hoping for something more from it.

 

ARCs

After the End by Claire Macintosh

This is one of my most anticipated books of the year so I was thrilled to get approved for it on NetGalley recently. I’m planning to read this as soon as I finished one of my current reads!

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

This is another book that I’ve been keen to get my hands on so again it was great to get approved on NetGalley to read it.

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

I love Claire Douglas’ novels so was delighted to get an email saying that I was pre-approved on NG for this new one. I love the premise of this one and hope to get to it very soon.

Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

I also got pre-approved for this one on NG and while it wasn’t on my radar at the time I’ve since seen some brilliant reviews of it and I think this will be a great read.

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

This book isn’t due out until next year so I was surprised to get approved to read it straight away. I really want to read this one but feel like I should hold off until a bit nearer publication.

The Au Pair by Emma Rous

I requested this on a whim after seeing reviews of it. It sounds like my kind of book and one that I will likely devour over an afternoon!

The Friendship Pact by Alison James

I downloaded this on NG when I was browsing. It sounds like my kind of book and I can’t wait to get to it.

Horizontal Collaborations by Navie

I’ve already read this graphic novel set during the second world war. It’s got beautiful artwork and the story was very moving. I’ll be reviewing this one for the blog tour later this month.

The Sea Refuses No River by Bethany Rivers

I’ve also already read this poetry collection. It’s a beautiful collection looking at grief and I found it very moving. I’m on the blog tour for it this month so will be reviewing it then.

Don’t Feed the Bear by Rachel Elliott

This was a lovely surprise ARC that arrived a couple of weeks ago. It’s such a gorgeous book and I’m looking forward to reading it.


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.

Book Review: We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont | @HeleneFermont @BOTBSPublicity

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About the Book

Is it ever too late for love?

When Mike dumps Louise on their 20th Wedding Anniversary, her entire world comes to an end.

Devastated and confused, she attempts to make sense of what happened and returns to a city she’s avoided for two decades.

Will she be able to move on with the man she left behind or will Mike’s increasingly violent and unhinged behaviour continue to haunt and ruin her life? When the reason Mike left her at long last is revealed Louise’s life is in serious danger.

 

My Thoughts

We Never Said Goodbye is the story of Louise. The novel opens with her waiting for her husband to come home so that they can go out and celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. Instead he phones her to tell her that their marriage is over!

This is the second novel I’ve read by Helene Fermont and she writes character driven plots that also have gripping storylines. She takes time to let us get to know all of her characters and to get to grips with their motivations.

We predominantly follow Louise in this novel and I felt that I really got to know her. She’s understandably devastated by her husband leaving her, and it’s made worse by the way he did it. She has really good friends in her life who take care of her as she grieves the loss of her marriage and she eventually starts to feel more herself again.

In the meantime her estranged husband Mike is becoming increasingly self-centred and vicious with everyone in his life. He treats his friend and business partner with no respect and in his new relationship with Abby he likes to show who’s boss.

The central thread in this novel is about Louise and Mike but the off-shoots off this story are also riveting. I felt completely invested in finding out what was going to happen to everyone in this novel and this kept me turning the pages!

The novel is set in both London and Malmo in Sweden. I really enjoyed exploring Malmo through this novel as Helene Fermont really brings the place to life and I could really envision everywhere she described. I loved the way the storyline went in Malmo, as we get to know more of Louise’s family and more about her background.

I really enjoyed We Never Said Goodbye and recommend it if you like domestic thrillers with great character exploration!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

We Never Said Goodbye is out now and available here.

 

 

About the Author

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Hélene Fermont writes character-driven psychological crime fiction with a Scandi Noir flavour. Known for her explosive, pacy narrative and storylines, she has published three novels – Because of YouWe Never Said Goodbye and His Guilty Secret – and two short story collections – The Love of Her Life and Who’s Sorry Now? Her fourth novel is due for release in the summer of 2019. After 20 years in London, Hélene recently returned to her native Sweden where she finds the unspoiled scenery and tranquillity a therapeutic boost for creativity. Enjoying a successful career as a Psychologist, when she’s not working her ‘day job’, Hélene spends her time writing, with friends and family, or playing with her beloved cat, Teddy. All three novels can be purchased via her website helenefermont.com/books/
Social Media Links:
 

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

BLOG TOUR (5)

Book Review: The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright | @sewelliot @simonschusterUK

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About the Book

Cornelia Blackwood lives a quiet life. When she goes to the corner shop to buy milk, people whisper behind her back.
Her one constant, her rock, is her husband. But when he doesn’t come home from a work conference, she is left alone to try to pick up the pieces. And before long, the secret he has hidden from her for all these years is laid bare.

Everyone knows what Cornelia did all those years ago.
But no one knows what she will do next. 

 

My Thoughts

Cornelia Blackwood is trying to live her life as best as she can but people look at her and talk behind her back. She seems like a broken woman. She has a loving husband but he has his own secrets and their marriage is perhaps not quite as solid as she thought it was.

I started reading The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood early one afternoon and I lost myself in its pages. The next thing I knew it was early evening and I was turning the last page. The writing in this book is stunning and the way the story of Cornelia gradually unfolds is so brilliantly done.

We meet Cornelia as her husband is about to go off on a work trip. She feels very unsettled about him leaving and she hates waiting for him to go. It’s clear that she is an anxious person but initially you don’t know why. The novel then moves in time between this point and a few months later. There is also a slow reveal of what has happened in the past. I had no idea what was coming in this novel so I’m going to keep this review short and a little vague as I don’t want to risk any spoilers.

I will say that I felt a real connection to Cornelia. She is such an unhappy woman and clearly has issues that she’s not coping very well with. I couldn’t envisage that she could have ever done anything terrible but her behaviour throughout the book can be seen as somewhat questionable. At the same time I just felt so sorry for her. I love it when books leave me unsure of a character’s motives but at the same time make me want them to be okay.

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood is disturbing at times, and it’s such an emotional read, but it’s so beautifully and sensitively written that it felt impossible for me to put it down. I’m in awe of this book and it’s one that I keep thinking about. This was my first Susan Elliot Wright novel but I will absolutely definitely seeking out everything she has ever written.

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood is out now and available here.

This Week in Books (5 June 2019)!

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

 

Now

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This is one of my picks for my 20 Books of Summer and is the one I wanted to prioritise so I picked this up on Monday. It’s really drawn me in and I’m definitely hooked. I’m reading a heavy hardback and the font is quite small for my poor eyes so this is a book I’ll take my time with but I’m very much enjoying it!

What Red Was by Rosie Price

I’ve had an ARC of this on my TBR for a few months now and I finally picked it up this week. I’m really enjoying this book and am intrigued to see what’s going to happen.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

I just started listening to the audio book of this yesterday but I’m finding it a really interesting, albeit very sad, listen. I’ve heard so much about this book so I’m glad to be getting to it now.

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep

I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while so couldn’t resist starting it yesterday. I didn’t know anything about the case in the book until I started reading and it’s utterly horrifying. I’m interested to see how Harper Lee became interested in the case.

The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

I’m very much enjoying this book, it’s a really beautiful and thoughtful book and one that I want to read slowly to really appreciate it.

 

Then

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

This was my first Rachel Amphlett and it definitely won’t be the last! I was intrigued by the opening chapter, and that feeling of wanting to know what was going on and what had happened in the past was there throughout the book. It was a really good read! I’ll be reviewing this one for the blog tour later this month!

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

This was such a fitting finale for this much-loved series. I reviewed this yesterday so you can read my full thoughts here.

The Sea Refuse No River by Bethany Rivers

This is a beautiful poetry collection that I found very moving. I’ll be reading it again before I finish my review but in the meantime I recommend it.

Horizontal Collaboration by Navie

This is a graphic novel set during the second world war and I found it a really moving book.

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

I was eagerly anticipating this novel as I loved Alice Feeney’s previous book (my review of Sometimes I Lie is here). I really enjoyed the first three quarters of this novel but I didn’t like the ending so I’m still weighing up how I feel about this book.

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

This novel took me a chapter or so to feel like I was invested in it but once I got grabbed by it I honestly couldn’t put it down. It’s novel that really struck a chord with me and it’s one that will stay with me. I’ll be reviewing this soon.

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet

I found this an enjoyable audiobook but I didn’t feel the emotional pull from it that I was expecting. I would still recommend it though as the writing is lovely.

 

Next

Histories by Sam Guglani

I’ve had this book on my TBR for way longer than I should have but I’ve made it one of my 20 Books of Summer so I’m planning on reading it next. It’s a short story collection about hospitals so I think it could be a moving read but also an interesting one.

After the End by Claire Macintosh

I got approved for this one on NetGalley just a few days ago and I can’t wait to read it, I’ve loved the author’s previous books and this one sounds brilliant! I really hope to get to it in the coming days.

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

I’ve been really keen to read this book ever since receiving an ARC so I’m going to try and pick it up this week.

 

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Book Review: I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

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About the Book

When Angela Clark’s best friend Jenny invites her to join a press trip to Hawaii, three days of sun, sea and sleep sounds like the perfect antidote to her crazed life.

At work in New York, she’s supposed to be the face of Having It All. But the only thing Angela feels she excels at is hiding in the printer cupboard, eating Mini Cheddars and watching Netflix on her phone and if this is living the dream, she’s more than ready to wake up.

A few days away with Jenny sounds like exactly what she needs but Angela’s talent for getting into a scrape guarantees nothing goes to plan – and not even the most beautiful beaches, blue skies and daiquiris will get her off the hook…

 

My Thoughts

I have read and loved all of the I Heart… series and was really quite sad to discover that I Heart Hawaii is to be the last book. I’m very happy to say that it lives up to all the previous books though and is a fitting finale!

In I Heart Hawaii we catch up with Angela as she starts back at work, in a new job, following her maternity leave. She also gets invited to join a top mommy group and is immediately suspicious of why they want to recruit her. Jenny then invites Angela, plus their friend Louise, to join her on a work trip to Hawaii and it’s something they can’t refuse!

I Heart Hawaii had all the elements that I’ve loved in this series – humour mixed in with the occasional poignant moment. Angela is doing great as a new mum, and is as in love with her husband Alex as ever but she’s struggling to get everything done and to get back into professional mode. Jenny is as brilliant as ever – she is quite manically trying to pull together the few days in Hawaii to maximise the press and influencer coverage so her and Angela don’t get as much time together as had been hoped. The usual Jenny hi-jinx ensue when there’s a mishap with a firework but all’s well that ends well!

The ending of this book is sheer perfection. I don’t think I’ve ever shed tears over a contemporary fiction book before but I did cry towards the end of this book. The way Angela writes about friendship is so moving and so beautiful. It made me miss my best friend all over again.

I don’t know if this book would work as a standalone as I’m so invested in the series as a whole now – I suspect you probably would need to read the other books to really appreciate this one. It’s absolutely worth your time to start at the beginning though, it really is such a wonderful series!

I Heart Hawaii was a perfect end to a brilliant series, and is one I won’t forget. I’m sure I’ll re-visit Angela and Jenny one of these days as I love them too much not to!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

I Heart Hawaii is out now and available here.

Mini Book Reviews: Ordinary People, Salvage the Bones, The Furies and Entanglement!

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Today I’m sharing some mini book reviews of another handful of books that I’ve enjoyed recently!

 

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Ordinary People by Diana Evans

I had an ebook of this from NetGalley and I’ll be honest that I was struggling to get in to it so I bought the audio book, and once I started listening to this I just didn’t want to stop. It’s about two couples, although there is more focus on one of them, and it’s bookended by the election of Barack Obama and the death of Michael Jackson. I thought this was such a brilliant examination of relationships, of how things can go so wrong for one person and their partner doesn’t see it happening. At its core it’s a novel about the things a person loses when they commit to someone, when they become a parent, when life is pulling them in all kinds of directions but they have no time for who they are anymore. I thought this book was stunning, and it’s one that is really staying with me. I may even re-read it at some point. I recommend it!

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Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

This is the first book I’ve read by Jesmyn Ward and I can say for sure that it won’t be the last. This novel grabbed me from the first page and held me in its spell until after I’d finished reading. It’s a book about a family who are attempting to prepare for Hurricane Katrina, but in the preparations you get to see the dynamics of this family and how they work as a group. They are poverty-stricken, they have lost their mother and they’re trying to survive. The writing in this novel is breath-taking at times. Ward captures the darkest of moments but the beauty in her words kept me reading, when the storyline made me want to look away. I can’t recommend this book highly enough!

 

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The Furies by Katie Lowe

This book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting it to be but I did very much enjoy it. It follows Violet, a teenage girl who is trying to come to terms with the loss of her dad and younger sister in an accident. She moves to a new school and there she meets Alex, Grace and Robin. She’s soon a part of their clique, and yet someone always on the periphery because she doesn’t know all of the secrets. The school has a dark history, the site the school stands on is the scene of where a witch was supposedly burnt in the 17th century. The witchcraft forms a part of the girls’ obsessions and things get dark. Once I got into this novel I found it hard to put down. On the surface it’s another novel about girls gone bad but actually it has so much more depth to it than that; it’s a real exploration of what makes people tick and how others can get drawn into things that they know they shouldn’t be doing. I recommend this one!

 

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Entanglement by Katy Mahood

This is a beautiful novel that manages to weave quantum physics into a stunning story. It’s a novel about two people whose lives keep interlinking and overlapping but they’re not fully aware of each other. It’s such a clever book as we follow both Stella and Charlie through their lives as they sometimes vaguely recognise the other but no where from, and yet we the reader know they were present at some really important moments in each other’s lives. These two characters have their own lives, their own relationships and their own heartaches to bear. It was wonderful to see them grow and to see how closely they got to each other before being moved further away again. It’s such an unusual way of telling a story but I was completely engrossed in it. Before starting the book I assumed this was going to be a love story, and while it is a story about love and relationships and how important a random connection can be, it’s more a story about love. I highly recommend this one!

 

#BookReview: Dead Inside by Noelle Holten | @nholten40 @KillerReads @BOTBSPublicity

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About the Book

The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.

And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

 

My Thoughts

Dead Inside was one of my most anticipated books for 2019 and I’m so happy to say that it more than lived up to my expectations. The novel is about domestic abuse. Three wife beaters are found dead and police believe there is a connection between the deaths. We see a newly formed unit, the Domestic Abuse and Homicide Unit investigating the crimes and looking into the backgrounds of the men and the people connected to them. The novel follows quite a few characters and this allows us to see the story from multiple points of view and gives such a real insight into domestic abuse.

I was gripped by Dead Inside from the opening few pages and I read it in just two sittings. I loved Noelle Holten’s writing style, it’s incredibly readable. And the cast of characters all made me want to keep reading just one more chapter (and one more, and one more etc!).

I loved how there was real depth to this novel, the characters are all rounded and feel real and it shows how domestic abuse happens. The way it creeps into a relationship and catches a person off-guard, how initially you make excuses for the abuse and then you find you’re tiptoeing around the home to try not to trigger another assault. The main character, Lucy, that we follow in this novel is one such woman. She has a good career, she has good friends and yet her husband is beating her. It’s not just the physical violence, it’s the psychological abuse – the being watched, the lack of freedom and autonomy, that Patrick has done to Lucy. I very much appreciated the way this was shown because this is how it often is in real life. A person is trapped in the situation slowly and then it seems there is no way out. It’s not as easy as just leaving, it’s incredibly complex and difficult. Noelle Holten shows this so astutely.

Dead Inside is the first book in the DCI Maggie Jameson police procedural series and I already can’t wait for the next one. I found it interesting how Maggie isn’t the central focus of Dead Inside, although she is a prominent character, so there is still so much to learn about her in future books. I also liked that followed all sides of a story, it made for such an interesting novel.

This book kept me guessing all the way to the end. The reveal of the killer was a surprise to me, but it did all make sense. It’s not often that I don’t work out whodunnit so kudos to this book for keeping me on my toes!

This is a really gripping, fast-paced book that will keep you turning the pages long into the night. There is a real sensitivity to the story but at the same time Noelle never shies away from the reality of domestic abuse. It’s a really accomplished debut and I’m so looking forward to reading more by Noelle Holten!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Dead Inside is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

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Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the booklove via her blog.
Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

#DeadInside B L O G T O U R

That Was The Month That Was… May 2019!

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May was a month filled with books. I read 34 books this month – a mix of print, ebook and audiobooks and most were very good reads. This has been a bumper month of reading and I put it down to the lovely sunny days we had where I got to sit out in the garden, and then not been too well so needing more time to take it easy.

I was thrilled to discover that my blog now has over 9000 followers as of late May. Thank you to all of you that have stuck with my blog over the years, and to my newer followers, I appreciate you all.

Thank you also to everyone who has commented on my posts throughout May. I’ve been really struggling to type this month, and also with my eyes (looking at screens for more than a few minutes at a time is giving me awful headaches) so haven’t managed to keep up with replying but I do read and appreciate each one. I will try and reply to some of them but I likely won’t get to them all, so I’m saying thank you here.

 

Here are the books I read in May:

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

I loved this book about Mary, a menopausal probation officer who has reached the end of her tether. It’s a darkly comedic book and one that I think I’ll re-read at some point. Here’s my review.

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

This is a novel that captured my heart in a way that I wasn’t expecting. Tyler is such a great character and I was rooting for him to find a way to escape from the life his older brother had trapped him in. My review is here.

The Furies by Katie Sise

I enjoyed this novel about a group of teenage girls and the element of witchcraft that they are obsessed with. I plan to review it soon.

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond

This was a really good novel about the fall out from adoption and what happens when you keep secrets. I reviewed it here.

Missing Molly by Natalie Barelli

I bought this on a whim in a kindle sale and it was an okay read. I found it a bit too predictable overall but at the same time it did keep mew reading to the end.

Song of the Robin by R. V. Biggs

This novel is beautiful and mysterious and I very much enjoyed it. I’m so glad that I was given the chance to read this for the blog tour as I’m not sure I’d have picked it up otherwise but now I’m a fan of the author and will definitely seek out other books by him. My review is here.

Keep Her Close by M. J. Ford

I listened to this on audio book and really enjoyed it. This is definitely a series that I will continue on with and so I’ll be eagerly looking out for the third book to be published!

How To Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White

I still can’t resist books about organising homes so this one caught my eye. I actually enjoyed this one and as I struggle with pain and fatigue it was really helpful in showing me how even in just a very short period of time I can still have a housework routine.

By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham

I feel very torn about this book – there were parts of it that I loved but also a lot of parts of it that felt very self-indulgent. I do enjoy Cunningham’s writing but this isn’t his best work.

10 Things to do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe

I loved this thoughtful and moving novel about a teenage girl coming to terms with the death of her dad, and her subsequent depression. She finds a list he’s left and spends her last year at school trying to complete it. My review is here.

The End of the End of the Earth by Jonathan Franzen

I won a copy of this in a giveaway earlier this year and it caught my eye on my shelf as I was in the mood for an essay collection. I actually really enjoyed reading this and it’s reminded me how much I enjoy reading essays.

We Are Not Such Things by Justine van der Luen

I’d heard good things about this book so when I spotted it on Scribd I decided to listen to it. I found it such a fascinating book about the murder of a young woman and the subsequent tensions in the area. It wasn’t exactly the book the synopsis made out it would be but it was still a really interesting read.

The Treatment by C. L. Taylor

I loved this fast-paced YA thriller and would recommend it!

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

I listened to this on Scribd having read some good reviews. I enjoyed it but I didn’t feel as gripped by it as I’d hoped I would be. I’ll definitely look out for more books by this author though as I loved the way the book was written.

At The Birth of Bowie by Phil Lancaster

I can’t seem to read enough biographies of David Bowie so I was looking forward to this one about his first band. I really enjoyed the stories in this book but it wasn’t quite as well written as I would have liked. I’d still recommend it if you’re a Bowie fan.

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

I loved this debut novel! I won’t say anymore here as I’ll be sharing my full review tomorrow. I will say that I highly recommend it though!

The Family Man by Tim Lebbon

This is a book that had been on my TBR for ages so I decided to make the effort to read it this month. Unfortunately I didn’t get on with it all that well. It did keep me reading until the end but it wasn’t really for me.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Orinkan Braithwaite

I’m so glad I picked this book up because it was so good and deserves all the praise it’s been getting. I was fascinated by the two sisters in the novel and the way their relationship works. This is a book that is really staying with me.

Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand

This is a beautiful poetry collection that also has fabulous photographs in it. I loved reading this and it’s a book that I will go back and dip in and out of in the future. I’ve already reviewed this one here.

Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor

This was such a funny novel but also a book that made me think. It’s a book all about whether the grass is always greener. I recommend it! My review is here.

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

I’ve had the audio book of this for ages but it felt like I’d missed the moment to read it. Then I saw that a follow-up book is coming out soon so I decided to listen to this one now. There wasn’t much in here that I hadn’t already heard but it was still shocking to hear all this stuff in the one book.

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

Sadly I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I’d hoped, I think perhaps I’m the wrong age for it. Also I couldn’t even identify with the characters when I thought back to how I’d been at their age. I did love the writing though and am planning on reading Normal People as part of my 20 books of summer challenge!

We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont

This is the second book I’ve read by this author and I enjoyed it. I’ll be reviewing this book later this month so please keep your eye out for that!

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I completely and utterly fell in love with this novel, it was absolutely brilliant! I’m so glad that I finally picked it up. I enjoyed it so much that I now want to go back and re-read The Mill on the Floss. It was studying that novel under pressure at Uni that put me off reading anymore Eliot but reading a classic in my own time was wonderful and I feel sure that re-reading The Mill on the Floss with fresh eyes might be a completely different experience.

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright

I read this book in one afternoon because I just couldn’t put it down. It’s heartbreaking novel but so beautifully written. I hope to get my thoughts together soon so I can review it.

The Wych Elm by Tana French

I got an ARC of this but I also bought the audio book so I could part-read and part-listen and I’m so glad I did because it was such a brilliant book. I’m a fan of Tana French anyway but I think this might be my new favourite book by her. I hope to get my review posted on here soon!

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

I read this book out in my garden over the course of a couple of sunny afternoons and it was sheer perfection! This is such a haunting, yet gorgeous book and I loved it. This is a book that will stay with me. I’ll be sharing my review later this month for the blog tour.

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

This is a book that really got to me. It’s about three siblings and is told from each of their perspectives. It’s such a brilliant portrayal of sibling relationships and I adored it. I’m still getting my thoughts in order on this one but I definitely recommend it!

Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson

This is another book about siblings – two sisters and their partners. It’s a look at family ties and where loyalties lie. This book got to me way more than I thought it would, it’s a brilliant read. I’ll review it once I get my thoughts together!

The Holiday by T. M. Logan

This is a gripping thriller about four women who’ve been friends since their university days and are now turning 40. They go on holiday with their respective husbands and children and as secrets and lies are uncovered one of the party ends up dead! I will be reviewing this one soon but in the meantime I recommend pre-ordering it for your summer holiday reading!

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

I got a copy of this from NetGalley and then discovered the audio book on Scribd so I part-listened and part-read this. I really enjoyed it and was drawn to reading it every spare minute I could find. I’ll review this properly soon!

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

There’s a sticker on the front of this book warning that the reader will burn through it in one sitting and it turns out that’s absolutely true! Once I started reading this I knew I wouldn’t be able to put it down until I’d read to the end. I very much enjoyed this book and will be sharing my review later this month.

Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

This book was wonderful. It’s a book that I’d been much anticipating and it more than lived up to my hopes for it. I’ll be reviewing it later this month for the blog tour.

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet

I just finished reading this last night. It was a good read but it was lacking the emotional resonance that I was expecting it to have.

 

 

May Blog Posts & Reviews:

I managed to post reviews of fourteen books in May, which I’m really pleased with. I’m still reading more books than I’m managing to review but it feels good to be getting some written up and posted. I also wrote shared my regular weekly This Week in Books posts, my Stacking the Shelves posts.

I started off May by wrapping up Aprilwhich had been a good month of reading and blogging. I then reviewed The Tapestry Bag by Isabella Muir, which was such a fun audio book that I now plan on reading the rest of this series! My next review was of Doug Johnstone’s Breakers, which was a book that really got under my skin and I’m still thinking about now. I then read and reviewed The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond for the blog tour. This was a novel about adoption and was a great story plus it made me think. My next review was of R. V. Biggs’ Song of the Robin. I’m so glad that I was offered a chance to read this book because it is such a beautiful, surprising book and I highly recommend it. I was delighted to have the chance to read and review a wonderful poetry collection in May – Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand. This is a gorgeous book and one I will definitely continue to enjoy.  Next I did a summer thriller recommendations post which encompassed mini reviews of four really enjoyable novels (The Blame Game by C. J. Cooke, The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath, Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke and Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox!).  I then read and reviewed a wonderful novel about a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father in 10 Things to do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe. The next book I reviewed was a brilliant, darkly comedic novel about menopausal Mary and I loved it – The Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald is one I won’t forget! After that I took part in the blog tour for Helene Fermont’s Because of You and shared my review. I was then hugely excited to finalise my planned TBR for the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge! It was hard to decide on a definite 20 but I got there in the end and I can’t wait to start reading! I was thrilled to be invited to read Jennie Ensor’s new novel Not Having It All for the blog tour and got to share my review a few days ago. I loved this book and recommend it! And last but most definitely not least I shared my review of The Blue Bench by Paul Marriner yesterday. This book has such an impact on me and I know I won’t ever forget it.

 

The state of my TBR:

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So my TBR…. Well, I’m starting to think that I’m wasting my time updating it here because I just can’t seem to control my book buying! At the start of May I had 2526 books on my TBR and now, even though I read so many books in May, my TBR stands at 2538! It’s only an increase of 12 but when I look at my plan to reduce my TBR by 20 each month this year my TBR should currently be at 2347! I just can’t resist the books! I am going to cut down a tiny bit on blog tours after June so that I can focus on reading the books I already own. I also need to try and stay away from NetGalley so that I can’t be tempted! Wish me luck!

 

 


 

How was May for you? I hope you all had a good month and that you read lots of good books. Did you read many books? What was your favourite book of the month? Please tell me in the comments, I’d love to know. Also, if you have a blog please feel free to leave a link to your month’s wrap-up post and I’ll be sure to read and comment back. 🙂

#BookReview: The Blue Bench by Paul Marriner | @marriner_p @annecater @audibleuk #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

Margate 1920. The Great War is over but Britain mourns and its spirit is not yet mended.

Edward and William have returned from the front as changed men. Together they have survived grotesque horrors and remain haunted by memories of comrades who did not come home. The summer season in Margate is a chance for them to rebuild their lives and reconcile the past.

Evelyn and Catherine are young women ready to live life to the full. Their independence has been hard won and, with little knowledge of the cost of their freedom, they are ready to face new challenges side by side.

Can they define their own future and open their hearts to the prospect of finding love? Will the summer of 1920 be a turning point for these new friends? As the body of the Unknown Warrior is returned, can the nation find a way forward?

 

My Thoughts

The Blue Bench is a novel following four characters in the aftermath of the first world war. Edward and William have returned from the front but they are forever changed by what they have been through. Catherine and Evelyn are two young women keen to get on with their lives. The book is about their journeys as they each try to look to the future. The novel is predominantly told from the perspectives of Edward and Evelyn but all four of these characters feature all the way through.

The Blue Bench opens with a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which for the people concerned is an annual pilgrimage. The book then goes back in time to 1920 when we meet Edward, William, Catherine and Evelyn. It is such a beautiful and moving novel. It is a melancholy book but there are moments of lightness to balance the dark. It’s a meandering story that follows these four characters as they each try to build a life for themselves in the new world they find themselves in post war.

Edward was the character I was most fascinated by. He has suffered an horrendous facial injury in the war and has to wear an uncomfortable tin mask. He suffers great pain and requires more and more painkillers to get any kind of relief and this leads to him procuring these medications by whatever means necessary. I felt such sympathy for him as he struggles. I have no idea what it is to go to war but I do know what it’s like to have an obvious disability and to suffer with chronic pain, Paul Marriner captures this so well. Edward is a wonderful pianist, he enjoys playing piano and it seems to take him out of his real life for a while. People really enjoy his playing but it still is shocking to some of his audiences when they see his face; it’s as if the beauty of his playing is somehow cancelled out for people by the injury to his face. There is always something of a distance around Edward, even when his closest friend William is with him, it’s as if he can no longer allow himself to fully engage with people and life. I could feel his loneliness even when he was with people. I was rooting for him all the way through the novel and was hoping that he would beat the odds and find some happiness and calm in his life.

William is different to Edward, he’s more outgoing and a bit of a ladies’ man but he does have a caring side to him. He looks out for Edward, and tries to keep his mood buoyed up. Catherine and Evelyn are great characters too. I loved their friendship and the way they supported and encouraged each other. It’s so wonderful to find a novel where there are female characters who have each other’s backs, I really enjoyed reading about their growing friendship and seeing where life took them.

I very much appreciated how real events and people were interwoven into this novel, particularly the way the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier came to be. I found these parts of the novel incredibly moving. I knew about the unknown soldier but to see the story of this brought to life in this story gave me goosebumps. It’s a real gift to write a work of fiction but to bring in real elements of history and make you feel as if you were there, to give you a new understanding of just how much something mattered.

I listened to The Blue Bench on audio book and the narrater, Colleen MacMahon, is wonderful. The pacing of the book was just right and she struck the right tone for the nature of the novel. She really made this book a joy to listen to and I will definitely be looking out for more audio books narrated by her. The audio is nineteen and a half hours long but it was one of those books that I was loving so much that I just didn’t want it to end.

I felt really quite bereft on finishing this novel. I loved every minute that I spent listening to it and I miss the characters. I still find myself wondering about them, they became so real to me. The Blue Bench is an incredible novel and one I won’t forget. It is a melancholy read, there is pain and sadness running through it but there is also fun and laughter and love – the novel may be set just after the Great War but the themes are universal and timeless in many respects. It’s a true reflection on how life is and I adored it beyond words. This will be one of those rare books that I will re-read in the future because I loved it so very much. I recommend this to everyone, it really is a stunning novel!

Many thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours and Paul Marriner for my copy of this audio book. All thoughts are my own.

The Blue Bench is out now in audio book and available here. It is also

 

About the Author

Paul Marriner Author picture

Paul grew up in a west London suburb and now lives in Berkshire with his wife and two children. He is passionate about music, sport and, most of all, writing, on which he now concentrates full-time. Paul has written four novels and his primary literary ambition is that you enjoy reading them while he is hard at work on the next one (but still finding time to play drums with Redlands and Rags 2 Riches).

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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#BookReview: Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor | @Jennie_Ensor @BombshellPub

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About the Book

Neuroscientist Bea Hudson fears she is a bad mother and that her career will be thwarted by family life. When her husband suspects Bea of having an affair with her best friend, a chain of events is triggered, leading to a crisis in Bea’s life.

Bea Hudson, a neuropsychologist living in Godalming, is struggling to cope with the challenging behaviour of her obsessive husband Kurt and their disruptive four-year-old daughter Fran. On top of this, her boss is pressuring her to get results from her research. Bea has her work cut out.

Things come to a head when Kurt goes away on an extended business assignment. While sacking staff and drinking heavily, Kurt’s insecurities run amok and he becomes convinced that Bea’s close friend Madeleine is seducing his wife and unduly influencing his daughter.

Meanwhile, childless artist Madeleine sees her friend torn between the demands of work and offers to help with Fran. But when she reveals a startling desire to her unsympathetic therapist Mr Rowley, he advises her to focus on the attention of Colin, a man she met in a lift.

Can Bea survive the demands of her career and the turmoil in her marriage without having a breakdown? Can Madeleine survive Kurt’s anger and find happiness with Colin? And can love survive marriage, middle-age, alcohol and ambition?

 

My Thoughts

Not Having it All is a novel predominantly about Bea. We follow her as she tries to keep some semblance of order in her hectic life. She has a big research project on at work, an absent husband and a demanding daughter. The pressure is building from all sides and Bea is increasingly fraught.

I love the title of this book, particularly the way it’s used on the front cover. The ‘Having it All’ and with the ‘Not’ slapped in front of it because this sums up the novel so perfectly. On face value most of the characters in this book, from an outsider’s point of view looking in, do have it all. Great careers, lovely homes etc but the grass always seems greener. Bea is a very successful neuropsychologist but the demands of her research, her young daughter and her husband, not to mention the nanny, are leaving her frazzled. She’s not got enough hours in the day. She looks at her best friend Maddie and sees a single, indendant woman with no children or commitments and she can’t help but be wistful. But we also get to see Maddie’s life and she’s not happy either. She longs for a child, a family of her own and wishes she had a lot of what Bea has. This takes a darkly comedic turn when Maddie starts seeing a Freudian therapist!

Then there’s Bea’s husband Kurt. He has to work away a lot and this leads to him becoming fixated on how much time Bea either has alone or with Maddie. He wonders if an affair could be happening. He takes desperate measures to try and find out. This all went way too far and I wanted to slap him but there was also something very amusing about where his obsession led him, like him involving his nosey neighbour in his plotting.

Bea and Kurt’s nanny, Katie, is a funny character. The scene with the dog in the park made me laugh out loud, I could picture it so vividly. She’s quite a demanding nanny but she also has to put up with a lot as the daughter Fran, aka Little Fiend, comes across as a brat. As a reader I felt sorry for Fran because of how the adults around her behaved and it obviously affects her. The nanny doesn’t have the all-seeing eye that the reader has though so I felt bad for her too as she deals with all the fall-out.

Not Having It All is predominantly told through journal entries, emails, letters and text messages, which really adds depth to the book, and to the characters. We get to find out their innermost thoughts and frustrations, which I loved. It keeps the novel moving at such a pace that you just don’t want to put it down!

I very much enjoyed this novel and I felt like I knew all of the characters really well as they’re all so fully rounded and well written. I keep wondering how Bea and Maddie are getting on! Not Having It All really does show that the grass isn’t always greener, and that asking for help or putting a bit more effort into what you already have might just bring you the happiness and calm you crave. This is a light-hearted read but also a book that made me think, and I loved every minute that I spent reading it.

Not Having It All is witty and fun, and makes you appreciate the life you have all the more! I recommend it!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Not Having It All is out now and available here.

 

I’ve previously reviewed Jennie Ensor’s The Girl in his Eyes.

 

About the Author

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Jennie Ensor lives in London and has Irish roots. During a long trip overseas she obtained a Masters in Journalism and began her writing career as a journalist, covering topics from forced marriages to accidents in the mining industry. Her debut novel BLIND SIDE was published by Unbound in 2016. In January 2018 her short story ‘The Gift’ was placed in the Top 40 of the Words and Women national prose competition. Her poetry has appeared in many UK and overseas publications, most recently Ink Sweat and Tears. She sings in a chamber choir.

 

 

You can find the rest of this blitz at the following blogs:

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This Week in Books (29 May 2019)!

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

 

Now

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet

This is my current audio book, which I got from Scribd on a whim and I’m really enjoying it. The narrator is great and the novel itself has drawn me in very quickly so I’m keen to have more time to listen very soon!

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

This book is so good! The opening chapter made the book seem like it was going one way and then it turned out to be completely different to what I was expecting so I was hooked from then on. I’m about a quarter of the way through this and am so intrigued to find out what happened!

Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

This is such a lovely read and I’m very much enjoying it. I was a little concerned that it might stray into being a bit mawkish with the protagonist counting down the remained days of her life (having being given a terminal diagnosis) but it’s not at all. It’s funny, it’s heart-warming and very moving in places.

 

Then

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

The cover of this book has a sticker on it that says ‘Warning: you will burn through this in one sitting’ and I can honestly say they weren’t wrong! I picked this up on Monday afternoon and I didn’t put it down until I’d finished reading. It was such a good read! I’ll be reviewing this one for the blog tour in June so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime I definitely recommend this one!

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

This is my second Karin Slaughter novel and I loved it, this is my favourite book of hers so far! I found it really hard to put down, it was so gripping. I think I need to look into starting her Will Trent series books next as I’m definitely now a fan of her writing!

The Holiday by T. M. Logan

I really enjoyed this book, it will make a perfect holiday read so I recommend pre-ordering it now. It’s about four friends who all go on holiday together with their husbands and children but secrets and lies unfold and someone ends up dead!

Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson

This book was really good. It’s about two sisters and their partners but life gets messy and the fallout is shocking. It’s a great look at relationships and I really enjoyed it.

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

This book is incredible. It follows three adult siblings – each section is narrated by one of them and you get to see situations from their different viewpoints. It’s one of the best written books I’ve ever read about what it is to be a sibling and I adored it. I’ll be reviewing this one for the blog tour in June so please look out for that.

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

I loved this book too. I read most of it out in the garden in the sunshine over the course of a few afternoons and it felt like a real treat. There’s something really haunting about this novel and it’s one that I think will stay with me.

The Wych Elm by Tana French

I had an ARC of this book but I also bought the audio and I part listened and part read it. I really enjoyed this novel, it had me hooked all the way through and was very hard to put down. The audio was excellent so I recommend that if you like listening to books.

 

Next

The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

I’ve been sent this for review and am very much looking forward to reading it. It sounds like it’s something a bit different to what I’ve been reading recently so I think I’m going to enjoy it.

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

I keep hearing really good things about this and as I loved her previous novel I’ve been keen to get to it. I have a copy on my Kindle so am planning to make this my next ebook read!

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I posted my 20 Books of Summer reading plans yesterday and this book is on there. This is the book that I most want to get to this summer so I’m aiming to start my challenge with this book on Monday. I can’t wait to get started!


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

20 Books of Summer for 2019!

 

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I’ve decided to join in with Cathy at 746 Books challenge to read 20 book over the summer! The challenge is running from 3rd June to 3rd September and you can challenge yourself to read either 10, 15 or 20 books over the three months.

My previous attempts at this challenge have always gone somewhat awry. I’ve always managed to read twenty books but generally tend to deviate completely from my planned reading but I really want to be strict this year and try my best to read the books I’ve picked!

I’ve decided to attempt to read 20 physical books this year as I tend to read more ebooks or listen to audio books these days so I’m using this summer reading challenge as a push to focus on print books for a while. I’ve also picked a couple of very chunky books that have been on my TBR for such a long time so it really will be a challenge!

 

So, without further ado… here are my 20 books of summer!

 

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This is my number one book that I want to read this summer and if I read nothing else off this list this is the one I have to get to! I’m a huge Donna Tartt fan so I’ve been saving this one but it’s been calling to me from my TBR so now is the time! Also, I feel bad that my lovely mum-in-law bought me this gorgeous hardback edition when it was first published and that was a few years ago now.

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A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

I bought this in hardback as soon as it was published but have put off reading this one because it’s the last Penny Vincenzi book and that makes me sad. She has been my go-to author for so many years but I do really want to read this and this summer feels like the time. Once I’ve read this one I can try and make time to go and re-read some of her older books.

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After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

This is my must-read non-fiction pick for this summer. I have wanted to read this book for a long while now and I finally treated myself a couple of months back but I wasn’t in the right headspace to read it. I definitely want to devote some time to reading this one in the coming months.

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Take Courage by Samantha Ellis

This is another book that I bought in hardback when it first came out and then put it on my TBR bookcase and there it has stayed. I’m finally getting back into reading classics this year though and as Anne Bronte’s novels are some of my favourites it seems like the perfect time to pick this biography of her up.

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Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

My husband bought me this for my birthday a couple of years ago and I’m really sad that I haven’t read it yet. I love Jon McGregor’s writing and I know I will love this book so it’s time that I get to it.

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Normal People by Sally Rooney

This is a recent purchase but I’m quite keen to read it. I just finished reading Conversations with Friends which I didn’t like but I’ve seen quite a few reviews now that seem to show that quite a lot of people who didn’t like it did go on to love Normal People so I’m wanting to read this while the first book is still fresh in my head.

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A Keeper by Graham Norton

I got this book for Christmas and I’m so excited to read it so I’m putting it on my Summer TBR so that it doesn’t end up languishing on my shelves like so many other books. I’ve heard good things about this!

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In The Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

This is already getting embarrassing but this is another book that my husband gave me for Christmas three years ago, and it’s a signed edition and I was so excited to get it… and yet I still haven’t read it. It has such a summery cover so it seems perfect to put it on my TBR for this summer.

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The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

Yep, this is another gift from my husband. I read and adored Three Things about Elsie so am excited to read Joanna’s first novel. This is set over the summer so it absolutely had to make my TBR!

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Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

Another gift that was bought for me when this was first published… I am just in the mood for this book though and very nearly started reading it this weekend. Then I realised it was perfect for my summer reading challenge so I’m going to hold off a bit longer.

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The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

I can’t remember where I got this book from but when I was sorting through my books the blurb does sound like a book I would be interested in so I’m adding it to the TBR. This is one of those books that I don’t have a connection to it as an object so if I don’t get to it this summer I’m going to pass it on to charity.

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Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

I got this book for Christmas 2018 and I’m so excited to read this. The blurb of it sounds like exactly the kind of book I would have adored when I was a child so I feel nostalgic to read it even though I’ve not read it before (if that makes sense!).

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We Own the Sky by Luke Allnutt

I got this book in a bookswap and was so keen to read it but then it disappeared into the TBR bookcase (which has shelves that are three books deep…). I think this will be an emotional read but it’s good to have a tearjerker on the TBR.

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Histories by Sam Guglani

I was sent this book for review quite a long time ago now and I just didn’t get to it but I do still want to read it so it’s going on the summer TBR stack. I think it’ll be good to have a short story collection in there to give a bit of variety.

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The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews

This is another book that I was sent for review (unrequested) but it sounded good so I kept it. I have an awful feeling that I may have put this book on my summer challenge last year and didn’t get to it so I’m going to really try and get to this one this year.

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Inhuman Resources by Pierre LeMaitre

This is a more recent review book that I requested and was thrilled to be sent as I love this author’s writing. His books always unnerve me and yet I can never put them down so I can’t wait to start this one.

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The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

This was a very, very recent review book so I was intending to get to it very soon anyway so adding it to this list gives me an extra incentive to read it before too much longer.

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Take Me In by Sabine Durrant

I love this author’s books and this one sounds like it’ll be a good thriller to read in the summer so it absolutely had to make the list!

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Still Lives by Maria Hummel

This book is one I’ve been wanting to get to for the last couple of months but haven’t been in the right mood for it but I think it is one I will enjoy reading over the summer.

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The July Girls by Phoebe Morgan

This book was sent to me very recently and isn’t due out until July so it was calling out to be added to my summer reading stack!

 


 

So all in all quite a daunting amount of reading with the stack including a couple of huge books but I’m so looking forward to getting started! What are you planning, or hoping, to read over the summer months? Are you joining in with the 20 Book of Summer Challenge?

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My New Book Haul | Stacking the Shelves (25 May 2019)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

Purchased eBooks

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

I love Sophie Kinsella’s writing and did originally get a copy of this through Pigeonhole but I couldn’t manage to read on my phone screen so I was delighted to find Surprise Me on the kindle daily deal this week. I’ll either read it on my kindle or I might also buy the audible version so I can listen. Either way I’m excited to get to this book!

Degrees of Guilt by H. S. Chandler

I read a fab review of this book on Kaisha’s blog (The Writing Garnet)  recently and just had to immediately buy a copy. I’m really looking forward to reading this book, I do love a thriller that gives you something to think about.

 

ARCs

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

I forgot to put this book on my Stacking the Shelves post last week so I’m adding it now. I’m halfway through reading this already and I’m loving it. It’s a family drama told from different sibling’s perspectives and it’s so good, and so believable.

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

I also missed this one off my post last week so it’s also being added a week late. I am so looking forward to reading my first thriller by this author so think this may well be the next book I grab off my TBR.

The Lost Properties of Love by Sophie Ratcliffe

I was delighted to be invited to take part in the blog tour for this novel as it sounds like such a brilliant and different novel. I’m really keen to get to this one too!

Death and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor

This book was already on my radar as being one I needed to read as soon as it was released so you can imagine how excited I was to get an ARC. I think this will be a moving read but one that I can tell I’m going to love.

The Honeymoon by Rona Halsall

I’m going to be honest and say that I was drawn to this book by the stunning cover! Once I read the blurb I knew I had to grab this one on NetGalley. I love books about relationships, especially thrillers and this one sounds like the perfect thriller to read over the summer!

I Heart Hawaii by Lindsey Kelk

I’ve really loved reading this series and am sad that this one is the last one but at the same time I can’t wait to find out what Angela and Jenny are getting up to now.

I Spy by Claire Kendall

I read my first Claire Kendall book a few months ago and really enjoyed it so I was delighted to find she has a new book coming out. The premise of this one sounds really gripping so I couldn’t resist it on NetGalley.

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

I also downloaded this book on NG this week. I somehow thought this was Karin Slaughter’s new novel (she actually has a newer one due out soon) but none-the-less I’m really intrigued by this one. I love the idea of someone reacting out of character when in a difficult situation and then us getting to find out what happened in her past. I can’t wait to get engrossed in this one!

 


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.

#BookReview: Because of You by Helene Fermont | @HeleneFermont @BOTBSPublicity #BecauseOfYou

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About the Book

When Hannah and Ben meet at a friend’s party, he knows she’s The One. But Hannah’s in an intense relationship with Mark and planning to return to her native Sweden to embark on a teaching career.

Desperate to make Ben fall in love with her, rich spoilt heiress Vanessa sets in motion a devious string of events that ultimately changes the course of four people’s lives indefinitely.

Hannah is the love of Ben’s life, yet Vanessa will stop at nothing to claim the man she is convinced is her destiny.

 

My Thoughts

Because of You spans 36 years of Hannah Stein’s life – from being a teenager on a gap year in London through until her middle years. It was wonderful to read a book with a long timeline, it was refreshing to get to stay with these characters and see how their lives changed over the years.

I very much enjoyed reading about the older members of Hannah’s family – particularly her grandmother Zipporah, and the older lady, Ella, that Hannah stays with when she first moves to London. I loved how they guided Hannah through her early adulthood and tried to keep her secure without crowding her. I loved Hannah’s relationship with her parents and brother too, it was nice to read about such close bonds within a family and to explore how roles change as everyone gets older. I don’t think this is often covered in novels as the usual short time span doesn’t allow for seeing how everyone ages and changes so it was refreshing and enjoyable to follow all the characters lives in this book. It was moving to see Hannah’s parents age to read about how that then changed the relationship – it comes to us all in life but it’s not often in  contemporary fiction that we get to see people go from still quite young and full of vitality through to old age and all that comes with it. Seeing Hannah become the age her parents must have been at the start of the novel brings it all around full circle.

There is a darker side to this novel – mainly from Hannah’s boyfriend Mark when she first arrived in London and after a while we see that he’s becoming quite controlling and then obsessed with her. Later in the novel Hannah suffers at the hands of an obsessive colleague who won’t take no for an answer. Because of You doesn’t shy away from difficult topics and, although at times the storylines were hard to read, it was actually good to see these issues covered in contemporary fiction because these things do happen to people in real life.

Because of You is a great mix of contemporary fiction and noir. I’d recommend this novel to anyone who loves long novels that are cross genre. I’ll certainly be looking out for more books by Helene Fermont in the future, I can’t wait to read whatever she writes next!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Because of You is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

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Born into a bilingual family (Swedish/ English) Hélene Fermont enjoyed an idylic childhood on the outskirts of Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city and major cultural hub. Growing up in the 1970s she had a brief musical career on Swedish TV and radio. Hélene lived in London for over 20 years but has recently returned to Sweden. Hélene is a former teacher, a practising psychologist, and currently the author of three novels, all of which are psychological suspense with a nordic noir flavour. Her fourth novel is coming soon!

You can find Helene Fermont at the following sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helenefermontauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/helenefermont

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/helenefermont/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/helenefermontwriter/

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

BLOG TOUR (2)

This Week in Books (22 May 2019)! What are you reading this week?

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

 

Now

The Wych Elm by Tana French

I’ve had the ARC of this book on my TBR for a little while now but decided to buy the audio book so I could part listen and part read. I picked it up yesterday and I’ve already read over half of it. It’s such an engrossing read, I’m loving it as much as her murder squad series so far!

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

I also picked this up yesterday and am already completely invested in learning more about the family in this novel. It’s such a good book and I’m really looking forward to getting back to it tonight. Plus, hasn’t it got the most stunning cover?!

Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson

I’m really enjoying this novel too and it seems I’m all about family orientated novels this week as this one is about two sisters and their partners, but we know from the prologue that something terrible is going to happen to one of them. It’s really good so far!

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

I’m loving this book so much. It’s about three sisters who went missing but only one came back. Now it’s a few years later but the mystery is still haunting for the people who were around at the time. It’s beautifully written and I’m deliberately reading this one slowly.

The Holiday by T. M. Logan

This is a really great read and perfect for these sunny days, I’d recommend it for your holiday reading this summer. The sun and heat in the book really comes through and the drama between a group of old friends and their families is gripping!

 

Then

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I’ve been reading this a bit every day for the past four weeks and I’ve absolutely loved it. I finished the novel yesterday and I’m kicking myself for not reading this sooner. I don’t know when classics started feeling intimidating to me because they never used to but Middlemarch has reminded me why I love them and I will make more effort to read them from now on.

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright

I read this whole novel on one afternoon as it gripped me from the opening chapter and I just couldn’t put it down. It’ll be a hard back to review as I wouldn’t want to accidentally spoil anything but I will try and get a post up soon. In the meantime I definitely  recommend this one!

We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont

I’m reading this one for a blog tour next month and I really enjoyed it. It’s the second novel I’ve read by this author and I do find that I get swept away in her novels.

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

This was my second attempt with this novel and I’m sorry to say that while I did finish it it wasn’t for me. It did work better on audio than when I was reading it but I just couldn’t connect with the characters at all. It might be that I’m older than them and it didn’t reflect how I was at their age at all. I will say that the parts of the book when Frances suffers with her periods was brilliantly written, I don’t think I’ve read a novel that shows what this is like as well as this book does. I have Normal People on my TBR so I will read that at some point.

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff

I bought the audio book of this in an Audible sale last year but because I didn’t listen to it sooner it felt like I’d missed the right moment. Then I saw that the author has another book on Trump coming out soon so decided I would listen to this. It was I thought it would be and even though I knew most of this stuff about Trump it was still eye-opening.

Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor

I read and loved Jennie’s previous novel last year (my review is here if you’d like to read it) so was thrilled to be offered the chance to read her new book. This is completely different to The Girl In His Eyes but it still showcases Jennie’s fabulous writing. I very much enjoyed this book and will be sharing my review on 30 May.

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

I’ve been so looking forward to reading this one and I’m so happy to say that I loved it. It’s about a woman who’s sister is a serial killer but it’s more about their relationship and how they are with each other. I recommend this one!

 

Next

The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett

I’ve been really looking forward to reading this book ever since I first heard about it. It’ll be my first book by this author and I’ve read so many great reviews of her previous books so I feel sure that I’m going to love this!

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

I’m going to be on the blog tour for this book next month so have an ARC to read for that. I really like the premise for this novel and am really keen to start reading it.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’ve had an ARC of this novel for a while now but somehow haven’t managed to read it yet. I keep hearing amazing things about it and I definitely want to read it really soon – hopefully in the coming week.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

#BookReview: Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald | @FitzHelen @OrendaBooks @AnneCater #WorstCaseScenario

Worst Case Scenario Cover

About the Book

Mary Shields is a moody, acerbic probation offer, dealing with some of Glasgow’s worst cases, and her job is on the line.
Liam Macdowall was imprisoned for murdering his wife, and he’s published a series of letters to the dead woman, in a book that makes him an unlikely hero – and a poster boy for Men’s Rights activists.

Liam is released on licence into Mary’s care, but things are far from simple. Mary develops a poisonous obsession with Liam and his world, and when her son and Liam’s daughter form a relationship, Mary will stop at nothing to impose her own brand of justice … with devastating consequences.

 

My Thoughts

Mary is a probation officer and she works hard but she’s fed up and moody at dealing with all she has to put up with. Liam is a man who was put in prison for the murder of his wife but he’s about to be released and Mary is to be his probation officer. Liam becomes something of a fascination for Mary and this leads to trouble!

I’m going to start this review at the beginning… the opening line to Worst Case Scenario is this:

Every time Mary tried to relax in the bath, a paedophile ruined it.

and I was hooked from this very moment on! How can you not be intrigued? And how can you not want to know more? It’s one of the best openings to a book that I’ve ever read and I just knew this was going to be a riot of a novel!

I love Mary Shields! She’s moody and annoyed and she’s dealing with the menopause and all that comes with that; her patience is at rock bottom and on top of that she barely even cares that it’s so! I’m at the very beginning of this menopause journey but I could so identify with Mary and the short fuse that she seemed to be permanently on. I know that I care less and less what people think these days and Mary is that to the Nth degree!

Worst Case Scenario is a dark book but it’s also hilariously funny. One minute I was horrified at what I was reading and the next I was properly laughing out loud. Helen Fitzgerald really captures how hard I imagine it must be working in the probation service when people are expected to take on more and more work but do it in less and less time whilst making sure that no one is re-offending. We see the seriousness of this and it’s never belittled but Mary goes down a dark path in her growing obsession with Liam and this is where the dark humour comes in!

Mary finds herself growing attracted to Liam as she reads sections of his book of letters but at the same time she’s infuriated at him, and the other men she is dealing with at work, and their inability to just do what is asked of them. She just wants to quit her job and be done with it. Her husband is an artist and has been discovered so it seems that she may be able to afford to give it all up soon. This leads to her caring even less about what people think of her professionally. Mary’s life increasingly spirals as the novel goes on. She drinks more and smokes more joints, she’s careless with her webcam and she just isn’t bothered.

I loved Worst Case Scenario! It’s so different to what I was expecting but it’s the most brilliant, messed up and hilarious book I’ve read in ages. It’s such a perfect book, it’s very funny but also moving at times. It does take things to another level in some ways but in others it’s a book that you can identify with or you find you know someone a bit like a person in the book. It’s unsettling and uncomfortable (rather like the menopause!) but it really will really make you laugh out loud too. It’s impossible to do this book justice, I simply adored it! Please just go buy a copy and read it, you absolutely won’t regret it!

Many thanks to Orenda for my copy of this book, and Anne for my blog tour invitation. All thoughts are my own.

Worst Case Scenario is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

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Helen FitzGerald is one of thirteen children and grew up in country Victoria. After graduating with honours in English and History she left Australia to go travelling, meeting and marrying Scots-Italian journalist, Sergio Casci, along the way. They live in Glasgow and have two children.

 

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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#BookReview: 10 Things to do Before You leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe | @BernardOKeeffe1 @AnneCater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

Ruby has had a difficult year to say the least. Just before she started Sixth Form, her father died from a heart attack. In the difficult months that followed Ruby became so depressed that she attempted suicide. She missed a lot of school, but now she’s about to go back and she’s worried. Is she well enough to get through her final year? Will the depression return? Should she apply to university? The night before term begins, Ruby finds something that makes the prospect even more daunting: an envelope addressed to her in her father’s handwriting. Inside is a list: ‘Ten Things I Hope You Do Before You Leave School’. It makes no sense. She can’t understand why he’d want her to do these things, let alone whether she’ll be able to do them.As Ruby navigates her way through UCAS, parties, boyfriends and A-Levels, she decides to give the list her best shot, but her efforts lead her into strange situations and to surprising discoveries. Will Ruby survive her last year at school? Can she do the ten things on The List? Will doing them make any difference?

 

My Thoughts

10 Things To Do Before You Leave School is the story of Ruby. She has had a really awful year – her dad died suddenly, which led to her becoming increasingly depressed and she attempted suicide. The novel opens with her making her return to school and we see all the anxiety that goes with that. Right before she goes back to school she finds an envelope with her name on and it’s written in her dad’s handwriting. Inside is a note of ten things he hopes she’ll do before she leaves school.

This is such an incredible novel and one I’m so glad that I read. Ruby is such a believable, real character and I could feel her pain throughout this book. She carries so much guilt about her father’s death and she’s still grieving his loss. Then she’s dealing with her recovery from depression and trying to come to terms with her suicide attempt. Not to mention all the normal teenage stuff that all teens deal with – boyfriends, school and exam pressures,  wanting to fit in. She has such a great attitude considering all she’s been through, or perhaps even because of it, and I was rooting for her to find her way through it all. It’s many years since I was Ruby’s age but I can remember what it felt like to be a teenager. I also had a very hard time during my A-Levels and really empathised with Ruby as a result.

I still haven’t got that study habit back, that feeling that I’m reading properly and that everything’s going in the way it used to. Maybe it’s the drugs. Or maybe (and this is a more frightening thought) what’s happened has changed me for good and I’ll never be the same again.

I know the pain of losing a parent, albeit I was in my 20s when my mum died. It changes you in so many ways to lose someone who you believed would somehow always be there. Facing life knowing your parent won’t be there makes everything different and Bernard O’Keeffe really captures the sense of loss.

I loved the relationship that Ruby has with her younger brother. They are typical siblings who argue and wind each other up but they also absolutely have each other’s backs. They are there for each other when they need to be and I adored that.

I found it interesting that we don’t get to see what’s on the list Ruby finds right away. We see her thinking about it and wondering how on earth she’s going to ever be able to do all of these things. We then see her going about her life and at certain points in the novel we see one of the things on the list as she ticks it off. At first I was frustrated because I wanted to know what was on it but actually I really appreciated seeing Ruby achieve each item and to have the satisfaction along with her that she’d accomplished something. I did wonder if the list would come to be something else that added pressure to her when she’s already quite fragile but it really does help her. It made me wish I’d had a list when I was her age and that something outside of myself had propelled me to the things that scared me, or that I didn’t have the confidence to do. I won’t spoil what’s on the list or whether Ruby manages to complete it but there are difficulties along the way, which made this book all the more real for me.

I recommend this book to everyone but particularly to teenagers – it’s a book that I wish I could have read when I was that age. It’s raw and honest and moving but it also gives you hope. I loved it!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

10 Things to do Before You leave School is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Bernard O Keeffe Author Picture

After graduating from Oxford, Bernard O’Keeffe worked in advertising before training as a teacher. He taught for many years, first in a North London comprehensive, then at Radley College, where he was Head of English, and most recently at St Paul’s School in London, where he was Head of Sixth Form.

He has reviewed fiction for Literary Review and The Oxford Times and, as an editor of The English Review, has written over a hundred articles for A Level students on subjects ranging from Nick Hornby and Roddy Doyle to Jane Austen and Shakespeare. In 2013 he published his first novel, ‘No Regrets’.

 

Website: http://www.bernardokeeffe.com/

Twitter : @BernardOKeeffe1

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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Recommended Summer Thriller Reads! #MiniReviews #BookReviews #Thriller

MONDAY MINI REVIEWS 20 MAY

I seem to be reading more books than I’m reviewing again so I thought I’d share a selection of mini book reviews today of thrillers that would make great summer holiday reading!

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The Blame Game by C. J. Cooke

C. J. Cooke is one of my favourite authors so I always look forward to a new book from her and I’m happy to say her latest book was fab! It follows a family who are on what seems to be a dream holiday but odd things start to happen. They feel they are being watched, and something just isn’t quite right. Then on their way home an accident happens and from there things begin to unravel. The novel is told in two timelines – the present day and then 22 years ago when Helen and Michael met and a tragedy befell their group. I was equally hooked on both timelines and was desperate to find out how these two events were connected. It’s a thrilling read, and a real page turner. I think what I loved most though was that at its heart it’s a novel about why we keep the secrets we do, and the power they can have over us when perhaps things might have been different if we’d not kept quiet at the time. I love books that are thrilling but also give me pause for thought and this book certainly did both! I recommend it!

 

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The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath

I read and enjoyed Mel McGrath’s previous novel so I was thrilled to get approved to read this latest book on NetGalley. I’m so happy to say that it more than lived up to my expectations and I loved it! A group of friends get together in a remote holiday home in the present day and the book goes back and forth between here and a few months previously when they all went to a festival together and witnessed something that changed everything! I loved how this book went back and forth in time like this but also how the present day is told going forward, and the story of what happened at the festival goes backwards from the end of the night to the start. This made for a really gripping read as you piece together who did what and when, and how it all connects to the bigger picture. This is a group of friends who seem to be desperately trying to hang on to (or possibly re-create) their younger days and it feels like they don’t have a huge amount in common anymore. It fascinates me to read novels where people remain friends with a group of people from earlier in life as, for me, it doesn’t seem possible for a whole group to retain a closeness over the years. The characters in this novel aren’t particularly likeable either but I just couldn’t stop reading about them! I really did enjoy this book and highly recommend it!

 

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Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke

I was really pleased when I got an email to say I was pre-approved to read this from NetGalley as I’ve enjoyed previous books by the author. I have to say that I think this book is her best yet, I found it hard to put down. The story is about a family’s bid to prove what they believed really happened to their daughter Meg. Meg died by suicide ten years previously but her family always believed her boyfriend had more to do with her death than was ever found. Meg’s parents and her cousin Jen set up a charity helpline to try to help other people who felt like Meg, and one night get a call from a young woman who they think might be the new girlfriend of Meg’s boyfriend. This leads to a tangled web as Jen becomes increasingly involved in trying to solve the mystery. The first two thirds of this novel were so tense and it was a hard book to put down. I did feel the end fell a little flat to me because I’d worked out what had happened to Meg earlier on in the book and was really hoping to be proved wrong. That said I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book because it had me gripped from start to finish!

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Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox

I really enjoyed this crime thriller novel. The story features private investigator Ted and his sidekick Amanda as they investigate the disappearance of a child. I didn’t realise going into this book that it’s the third book in a series but I followed the story perfectly fine. I did love Ted and Amanda so much that I’m definitely going to go back and read the previous two books though, they are such brilliant characters and they really made this book for me. The case they are investigating is a missing child, who was left alone along with a group of other kids of a similar age, who has disappeared from a hotel. There is no evidence that the child left the hotel either alone or with someone so the crime becomes ever more mysterious. I didn’t work out where this book was going so the ending was a shock to me.  I recommend this one!

Stacking the Shelves with a brand new book haul (18 May 2019)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

Purchased eBooks

After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott

Jo Malone: My Story by Jo Malone

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

The Secretary by Renee Knight

 

Purchased Audio Books

The Hoarder by Jess Kidd

Rival Queens by Kate Williams

 


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.

#BookReview: Take Me To The Edge by Katya Boirand | @Katyahazel @Unbounders @annecater #RandomThingsTours

Take Me To The Edge Cover

About the Book

FIVE WORDS IS ALL IT TAKES TO PROVOKE A CHAIN OF CREATION. That is what Katya Boirand discovered the first time she asked a friend for five words and then turned them into a poem, using the words and the subject as her inspiration. This spark started a movement, and soon Katya was asking friends and strangers alike for their five words of choice. Take Me to the Edge is a selection of these poems, sitting alongside a portrait of each subject, in this stunning and joyous celebration of language, connection and art.

 

My Thoughts

Take Me To The Edge is a collection of poems which all stem from just five words that different people in Katya Boirand’s life had given her. The words are random and often seemingly completely unconnected but Boirand has taken these words and written some gorgeous poems that are collected together in this beautiful book.

The book itself is a lovely hardback and it felt like a real treat to sit down and read. Each poem is on a double page spread with one side being the poem and the other a stunning photograph of the person who gave her the five words. It really is a delight to read the poem and to take time to appreciate the fabulous photography too.

I adored the interconnectedness throughout this book in that the poems each come from five words a friend has given her. Then the photo of her friend is taken in such a way to encapsulate  the poem that came from those words. It was such a special experience to notice this and it really made me slow down to take each page in.

There are poems, like the one taken from Matt McCabe’s five words, that had a greater effect on me when combined with the fabulous photo of him on Westminster Bridge in London – it really made me stop and ponder the poem a little longer, and to think of the importance of the words ‘Fold fear beneath love / Feel peace in its prime‘. There are poems like the one created from Trish Campbell’s words that captivated me. This poem is one I read quite a few times and really sat and thought about. The photo of Trish in the sea is so perfect in combination with the poem that it brought a lump to my throat. Then there are the poems that feel really intimate, such as the poem that gave the collection its title, using words from Naurija Ziukaite – ‘Ah love, my one / I implore you / Take me to the edge‘. All so different and showing so many aspects of what makes us human.

The poems cover a wide scope but there is such a connection to the ones that went before and the ones that came after because of how they came to be. They are a snapshot of each person’s life but also of life in general and I certainly found there were a few poems that really spoke to me.

I love that at the back of the book there is a brief biography of each person who contributed five words, along with the five words they had given Boirand. When I discovered this I immediately went back and read each poem again, whilst referencing against the words they had picked. This was such a lovely thing to be able to do and I really appreciated that on getting to the end of the collection there was more for me to learn.

The thing I loved most about this book was the pure joy that I found in reading it. It’s a beautiful object, with stunning photographs and gorgeous poems. It’s a celebration of life and it was a welcome escape from all the trials and tribulations of the world we’re living in at the moment. I definitely recommend this book, I know I’ll be buying copies as gifts for people that I know will love this every bit as much as I did.

Take Me To The Edge is beautiful, captivating and a wonderful escapism!

Many thanks to the Unbound and Anne of Random Things Tours for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Take Me To The Edge is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Katya Boirand Author Pic

Katya Boirand is an actress, dancer, writer and poet. She has travelled the world but now has roots in London. Take Me to the Edge is her first poetry collection.

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

Take Me To The Edge BT Poster

This Week in Books (15 May 2019)! What are you reading?

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

 

Now

Take Me To The Edge by Katya Boirand

This is a poetry collection and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve already read this once but am reading it again to get my thoughts together. I’ll be reviewing this for the blog tour on Friday so look out for my thoughts then.

Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor

This is really different to Jennie’s previous book The Girl in his Eyes (which I reviewed here) but it’s such a good read. I’m very much enjoying it.

The Family Man by Tim Lebbon

I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages so when I spotted the audio book on my subscription service I decided to part listen and part read. I’m glad I got the audio because I think I may have DNF it if I was reading it as it’s not what I was expecting. It’s an okay read.

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I’m still very much enjoying reading this book and wishing I’d got to it much sooner. I’m about two thirds of the way through it now and am going to really miss it once I’ve finished reading it.

 

Then

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten

I loved this book! It’s hard to believe it’s a debut novel as it’s really good. I’ll be reviewing this one in a couple of weeks time for the tour but I definitely recommend it in the meantime!

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

I listened to this book on audio this week and really enjoyed it. It wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping but it was a really enthralling novel. I’ll be looking out for more of her books in the future.

At The Birth of Bowie by Phil Lancaster

My lovely mum-in-law gave me this for my birthday earlier this year and I’ve been keen to read it so picked it up one afternoon this week. I ended up reading it in one sitting. It wasn’t the best written book but the stories Phil Lancaster tells are brilliant to discover.

We Are Not Such Things by Justine van Der Luen

This was my non-fiction audio for the last week and it was a fascinating listen. It wasn’t exactly the book I thought it was going to be but it was such a good book.

The Treatment by C. L. Taylor

I’ve had a copy of this book for a while too and have part-read and part-listened to this one too. It was a fast-paced and gripping novel and I enjoyed it.

10 Things To Do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe

This was a really moving read about a teenage girl coming to terms with the loss of her father whilst going into her final year of school. It was a really good read, I recommend it.

The End of the End of the Earth by Jonathan Franzen

This was such a good essay collection, I got a lot more out of it than I was expecting.

 

Next

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

I was sent an ARC of this last week and it’s been calling to me from my TBR – I don’t think I can wait any longer to pick this up so I hope to get to it this week.

We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont

I had hoped to start this over the last week but didn’t manage to get to it so it’s on my TBR for the coming week.

The Holiday by T.M. Logan

I got a copy of this on NetGalley and it sounds like such a fast-paced summer read so I might pick it up and read it in the garden while the weather it so glorious!

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

Stacking the Shelves with a Bumper Book Haul (11 May 2019)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

I’m not sure how I’ve missed joining in with Stacking the Shelve for the last four weeks but somehow I have. So today I’m sharing all of the books I’ve got in the last month! It’s rather a lot but I’m excited to read them all!

 

Purchased Books

Becoming by Michelle Obama

The Good Enough Mother by Bev Thomas

The Swap by Fiona Mitchell

Midnight Chicken by Ella Risbridger

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

On The Front Line with the Women Who Fight Back by Stacey Dooley

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

The Nanny by Gilly MacMillan

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down by Allan Jones

Apple of My Eye by Claire Allan

Love You Gone by Rona Halsall

No Way Out by Cara Hunter

Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott

The Passengers by John Marrs

 

Borrowed Books

Keep Her Close by M. J. Ford

We Are Not Such Things by Justine Van Der Luen

ARCS

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Stop at Nothing by Tammy Cohen

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor

The Holiday by T. M. Logan

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

When I Lost You by Merrilyn Davies

 

 


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week (or month)? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.

 

#BookReview: Song of the Robin by R. V. Biggs | @RVBiggs @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

The whispered voices and unsettling dreams were puzzling enough, but when the visions began, disquiet crept into Sarah Richards’ heart.

Living a joyless and unfulfilled existence, Sarah’s life, however, is ordered and routine. But one autumn morning she sees a figure waving to her, the figure of a man more ghostly than real
Several times he appears, but is the spectre harmless, or are his intentions malevolent?

Disturbed and intrigued, Sarah endeavours to understand the mystery, to identify her unknown stalker.

But with each visitation, she becomes ever more bewildered, and as her ordered life begins to unravel, she questions the reality of all that she knows, and with mounting horror, even her own sanity.

My Thoughts

Song of the Robin is a novel about Sarah who starts having unsettling visions and losing track of time. Her life seems very unhappy and unfulfilling, and she becomes increasingly focused on the person in her visions rather than her real life.

I found I sympathised with Sarah from the start as she’s stuck in an unhappy marriage with a man who doesn’t seem to have much respect for her. She’s increasingly on her own and feeling frustrated with how much she has to do around the house. The visions she has are creepy and unsettling to read about as it’s not clear what’s going on initially – is it a ghost, is Sarah hallucinating, is she ill? As the book progresses I became frightened for her as her life seems to descend out of control. Her friend tries to get her to see a doctor but Sarah is too lost in trying to work out who she is seeing and hearing in her visions to be able to help herself. I suffered with PTSD for many years and one of my symptoms was absences where time would pass and I would literally have no concept of it. This isn’t what is wrong with Sarah but it gave me a real connection to her as I know how frightening it is to one minute be in one place and another to realise you’re somewhere else with no memory of getting there. This aspect of the novel is very well written and I was absorbed in it.

I gradually began to work out what might be happening to Sarah but I didn’t really get it right. It was so unsettling as flashes of her visions began to make some sense to me but I could never fully put my finger on what was going on. I loved that it kept me guessing until all was revealed.

Alongside the storyline with Sarah’s visions we learn more about Sarah’s life. She lost her mum a while ago and she misses her terribly. There is a moment in the book when she goes to visit her mum’s grave and something happens that brings her immense comfort. I admit I cried at this point in the novel. My mum died a decade ago and I still miss her – sometimes I can still smell her perfume and I find it so comforting. I highlighted the section in the book and I will re-read it on the days when I feel in need of some solace. There is a real exploration of the strong bond we have with loved ones, even when they’re no longer with us, throughout this novel. There is a sense that we will always find our way back to the people we love in one way or another and I adored the way these parts of the book were written.

The writing in this novel is beautifully descriptive. Some of it is set in Scotland and I could visualise the landscape as if I was right there with the characters. I do love when setting in a book is done well, and it’s wonderful to feel like I’ve experienced a place that I’ve never been to before.

This book was so different to anything that I’ve read before and I’m so glad I took a chance and read it. This is one of those books that’s hard to define but it has something in it for everyone – it’s a mystery, it’s creepy at times but it’s also really comforting and beautiful. Song of the Robin is a book that I loved and I’ll be recommending it to everyone I can!

Song of the Robin is a captivating, mysterious and brilliant debut novel. I will certainly be looking out for more of R. V. Biggs’ work!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Song of the Robin is out now in ebook and paperback and is available here.

 

About the Author

R V Biggs Author Photo

R V Biggs lives in a small ex-mining village near Wolverhampton, England, with his wife Julie, and Mags the black lab. He has four grown up children and six grandchildren.

Walking with the dog is a favorite pastime and much of the story line for his first novel was developed during these lengthy outings.

Robert worked for 35 years in telecommunications but changed career paths to a managerial supporting role within a local Mental Health NHS trust. It was during the period between these roles that the concept for Song of the Robin was born.

Robert is a firm believer that destiny and co-incidence exist hand in hand and this conviction extends to his writing. He has a passion for holistic well-being and after first-hand experience of the potential healing powers of Reiki, a form of energy therapy, took a Reiki level 1 training course to heighten his spiritual awareness. Robert’s experiences in these areas helped conceive the ideas that led to Song of the Robin and its sequel Reunion, novels with central themes of fate, love and the strength of family. His writing however is not fantasy but is set in modern times involving real people living real lives.

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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This Week in Books (8 May 2019)! What are you reading at the moment?

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

 

Now

By Nightfall by Michael Cunningham

I’ve owned a copy of this book ever since it was first published but have only just got around to picking it up to read this week. I’m in two minds about it but I think on the whole it’s an engrossing read.

10 Things To Do Before You Leave School by Bernard O’Keeffe

This is great read. It’s really emotional at times but it also takes me back to what it was like being a teenager. I’m on the blog tour for this one so I’ll be reviewing it on 21 May.

The End of The End of The Earth by Jonathan Frantzen

I won a copy of this book a couple of months ago and was just in the mood to read an essay collection recently so I started this one. It’s really interesting and I’m enjoying it so far.

Dead Inside by Noelle Holton

This is such a good read, I’m finding it hard to put down!

Middlemarch by George Eliot

I’ve been reading this over the last couple of weeks and am loving it! I don’t know why I’ve put off reading it all these years.

 

Then

Keep Her Close by M. J. Ford

I really enjoyed this second book in the series and will definitely be looking out for the third when it’s published. I really like the lead character and am keen to see what’s next in her life!

How To Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana K. White

I read this author’s book on decluttering a few months ago and was keen to read this one too. I struggle to have a cleaning routine with my health and disability being the way they are and this book made me reminded me that the small tasks do add up over time.

Song of the Robin by R. V. Biggs

This book was really different to what I normally read but I very much enjoyed it. It was a much more emotional read than I was expecting and one I won’t forget. I’m reviewing this book on Friday so please keep an eye out for that.

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond

I really enjoyed this novel about adoption. It was emotional and thought-provoking, and a book that I think will stay with me. I’ve already reviewed this one so you can find my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Missing Molly by Natalie Barelli

I bought this on kindle in a recent sale and then discovered it on my audio book subscription so I part read and part listened to it. It was a good read but not one that will stay with me.

The Furies by Katie Lowe

I had a review copy of this book but again found it on my audio subscription so I listened to most of it. I very much enjoyed this one and definitely recommend it.

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

I adored this novel! I wasn’t expecting it to affect me as much as it did but it was so good. I’ve already reviewed it so you can find that here if you’d like to know more.

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

This book was brilliant! I’ve read and enjoyed other books by this author but this book was in another league. I loved every minute that I spent reading it. I’ll be reviewing this one later this month but in the meantime I recommend it!

 

Next

Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor

I loved Jennie’s previous novel (which I reviewed here) so I’m really looking forward to reading her next one this week!

We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont

I also read and enjoyed Helene’s earlier novel (review here) so I’m keen to get to this one.

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

I’m on the blog tour for this book next month and my copy of the book arrived a couple of days ago so I’m really keen to pick it up.

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep

I requested this on NetGalley a couple of weeks ago and was delighted to be approved for it. I’m really intrigued by the book so I think I’m going to try and pick it up this week!


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

#BookReview: The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond | @Bond2Caroline @CorvusBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

To lose your family is heart-breaking.

To be forgotten by them is unforgiveable.

Cassie and Erin are sisters. They are close – in age, looks and personality – but there is one crucial difference: Cassie is adopted.

At seventeen, Cassie sets out to find her birth mother. She is hungry for the truth, but she discovers her adoption was far more complicated than even she could have imagined. In uncovering her birth identity Cassie learns that her adoptive parents have kept a terrible secret from her her whole life, a secret that now threatens to destroy everything she has ever held dear.

 

My Thoughts

The Forgotten Sister is the story of Cassie, who was adopted by her parents when she was two. She’s had a happy, safe life with them but she is beginning to wonder about her birth mother. This leads to secrets and lies being uncovered and life as Cassie knew it could be about to be destroyed.

This novel is told predominantly in the present day, with some flashbacks to a few years previously. It opens with Cassie’s parents getting a phone call that she’s been hurt and then goes back to four months previously. I was gripped by this novel right from the beginning. The characters are all so real and believable and I was intrigued by how they got to where they were.

Cassie is such a great character. She has a normal relationship with her parents, and a close relationship with her younger sister Erin. She has a boyfriend who her parents don’t fully approve of so there is some normal teenage sneaking around but on the whole she’s honest with her family. Then one day she realises she wants to know more about her birth mother but when she asks her parents she senses that they’re not telling her the whole truth. Her parents do go down the route of trying social services to see if her mother can be found but in the meantime Cassie takes things into her own hands. Cassie now has secrets and she becomes very determined to do what she has to to find her birth mother. She develops quite an attitude at times, but whilst I could see how reckless and naive she was at times I never stopped sympathising with her.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to be adopted and to not know anything about your birth parents. The moment Cassie has the realisation that she doesn’t know if there are any illnesses in her family was startling to me, and I really felt for her as she reacted with shock at all the things she doesn’t know, and might never get to know.

I did feel for Cassie’s parents too. They made a decision when they adopted Cassie and have had to live with that ever since. I was shocked at the way they behaved at times but over the course of the novel I could see that they had done the best they could with the place they were in. What initially seemed like a cut and dry situation actually had many degrees to it, and this is what gave this novel its strength.

Ultimately, this is a novel that explores what makes a family, and how keeping secrets – even with the best of intentions – will always have consequences down the line. I felt that this novel was a very real, and emotional look at adoption from many angles and I really appreciated the insight it gave me.

The Forgotten Sister is a powerful and emotional novel that is very readable; it will linger in your head long after you’ve finished reading. I recommend it!

Many thanks to Corvus Books and Anne of Random Things Tours for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

The Forgotten Sister is out now in ebook and paperback and is available here.

 

About the Author

Caroline Bond Author Picture

Caroline Bondwas born in Scarborough and studied English at Oxford University before working as a market researcher for 25 years. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Leeds Trinity University, and lives in Leeds with her husband and three children. Her first novel, The Second Child, was published in 2018.

 

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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#BookReview: Breakers by Doug Johnstone | @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #TartanNoir #Breakers @annecater

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About the Book

Seventeen-year-old Tyler lives in one of Edinburgh’s most deprived areas. Coerced into robbing rich people’s homes by his bullying older siblings, he’s also trying to care for his little sister and his drug-addict mum.

On a job, his brother Barry stabs a homeowner and leaves her for dead, but that’s just the beginning of their nightmare, because the woman is the wife of Edinburgh’s biggest crime lord, Deke Holt.

With the police and the Holts closing in, and his shattered family in devastating danger, Tyler meets posh girl Flick in another stranger’s house, and he thinks she may just be his salvation … unless he drags her down too.

 

My Thoughts

Breakers follows Tyler, a seventeen year old boy, who is living in a really deprived area. His mum is a drug addict and incapable of looking after her family so Tyler is take care of his little sister Bean. He also has two older siblings, Barry and Kelly, who drag Tyler into their life of stealing from rich people’s homes. One night a burglary goes wrong and Tyler doesn’t know how to cope with what’s happened.

Early on in the novel Tyler is along with his brother and sister scoping out a home to burgle and Tyler had a bad feeling as soon as he starts going through the family’s belongings. Something isn’t quite right. Then the worst happens and the homeowner arrives home and Barry stabs the woman and leaves her for dead. At this point I was so angry with what they’d done but very quickly we see that Tyler has a conscience. He was forced to go along on the robbery and he tries to make right what has happened in the small way he can without implicating anyone. Tyler knows that if anything happens to him that his little sister will be taken into care and he refuses to let that happen to her.

This is a novel that shows the level of deprivation that people are living in, it was hard to read at times as Tyler has clearly taken on all responsibility for a sister that is only ten years younger than him. He hasn’t had much of a childhood and now at the point when he should be out with his friends and finding his feet in the world he’s having to be a parent to his sibling. He never begrudges anything that he does for Bean though, and she clearly trusts him to look after her so their bond is a beautiful thing in that shone through all the darkness in their lives. I never expected to feel so attached to Tyler. I soon had him weighed up and I was rooting for him all the way through this novel. There were moments when I could have cried for him, and moments when I wanted to swoop in and help. Mostly I was in awe of his ability to take care of his sister and his mum, and to never let his own fears and worries fall on their shoulders. He never loses compassion for his mum either, in spite of the mess she’s in and I found that incredibly moving. He gets frustrated with the situation she’s in but he never punishes her for it, he knows he might lose her to the drugs but part of him never lets go of the hope that she might one day find her way out.

Sometimes Tyler needs some time and space away from the weight of his family dramas and he breaks into houses for some peace, and to experience a short time of seeing what someone else’s family might be like. On one of these break-ins he meets Flick and they form a friendship. The contrast between Tyler and Flick’s lives was stark to begin with. Her family have money and Flick seemingly has everything she could possibly want. As the book goes on it’s apparent that they have more in common than it first appeared as both are looking for someone who understands them and accepts them for who they are. It seems like each may have found the person they need and I was willing for them to find a way to be together.

This is such a hard-hitting and devastating novel but it has such heart, which gives it a beauty that I wasn’t expecting. I knew I was going to like this book before I even started reading it but I didn’t expect that I was going to love it quite as much as I did. I finished reading this a few days ago and I feel like my love for it is just grown stronger. I keep thinking about Tyler and hoping he’s okay. It’s a book that gave me so much more than I was expecting and it’s left its mark on my heart. I now want to read everything that Doug Johnstone has ever written!

Breakers is fast-paced, gritty and dark but there is hope at its centre. I found this novel impossible to put down and I’m in awe of how good it is. I highly recommend it, it’s absolutely brilliant!

Many thanks to Orenda for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Breakers is out now in ebook and available for pre-order in paperback here.

 

 

About the Author

Doug Johnstone

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His ninth novel, Fault Lines, was published by Orenda Books in May 2018. His previous books include The Jump, shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Best Scottish Crime Novel, Gone Again, an Amazon bestseller, and Hit & Run (2012) which was an Amazon #1 as well as being selected as a prestigious Fiction Uncovered winner. His work has received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, William McIlvanney, Megan Abbott and Christopher Brookmyre.

Doug was recently Writer in Residence with William Purves Funeral Directors. He is also a Royal Literary Fund Consultant Fellow, and was RLF Fellow at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh 2014-2016. Doug was also Writer in Residence at the University of Strathclyde 2010-2012 and before that worked as a lecturer in creative writing there. He’s had short stories appear in various publications and anthologies, and since 1999 he has worked as a freelance arts journalist, primarily covering music and literature. He is also a mentor and manuscript assessor for The Literary Consultancy and Emergents in the Scottish Highlands.

Doug is one of the co-founders of the Scotland Writers Football Club, for whom he also puts in a shift in midfield as player-manager. He is also a singer, musician and songwriter in several bands, including Northern Alliance, who have released four albums to critical acclaim, as well as recording an album as a fictional band called The Ossians. Doug has also released three solo EPs. He currently plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a crime writing supergroup featuring Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Chris Brookmyre, Stuart Neville and Luca Veste.

Doug has a degree in physics, a PhD in nuclear physics and a diploma in journalism, and worked for four years designing radars. He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children.

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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#BookReview: The Tapestry Bag by Isabella Muir (Narrated by Penny Scott-Andrews) | @SussexMysteries @penandrews @rararesources #TheTapestryBag

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About the Book

In the quiet seaside town of Tamarisk Bay,the police appear to be doing little to find Zara.  Her friend Janie decides to make it her mission to track her down.   It’s the ‘swinging sixties’ and Janie fears that Zara may be mixed up with drugs, alcohol, or worse.  As Janie explores the strange circumstances of Zara’s disappearance, she starts to question the truth about Joel’s death.

Janie runs the mobile library and has a passion for crime fiction, especially Agatha Christie.  Can Poirot help Janie solve the mystery of Zara’s disappearance?

As she looks for clues Janie comes across some unsavoury characters who each have a reason for wanting Joel dead.  Can she untangle the web of lies and find out the truth?

 

My Thoughts

Janie is a young woman who reconnects with her old friend Zara but then soon after something terrible happens and Zara disappears. Janie then makes it her mission to discover what happened to her. Janie is passionate about crime and mystery novels, in particular Agatha Christie, so she uses her knowledge gleaned from these books to help her solve Zara’s disappearance!

I listened to this book on audio (from Audible) and I was very quickly drawn into the story. I felt like the narrator, Penny Scott-Andrews, really captured Janie’s spirit and personality and brought her to life. Janie is young, and a little naive, but she’s also enthusiastic and wants to be a part of things. Early in the novel we learn that Janie has recently re-connected with her old school friend Zara and the two women begin having fun getting to know each other again. I felt like Janie really was in awe of Zara and it brought out the younger side of her as she was back looking up to Zara and wanting to be confident like her. Janie is happily married and Zara has a boyfriend Jamie and all seems great until something terrible happens and Zara retreats into herself. Janie immediately goes to Zara’s aid and helps her through the heartach