Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow | @mattthewcrow @CorsairBooks #BaxtersRequiem @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

Mr Baxter is ninety-four years old when he falls down his staircase and finds himself resident at Melrose Gardens Retirement Home.

Baxter is many things – raconteur, retired music teacher, rabble-rouser, bon viveur; but ‘good patient’ he is not. Indeed, Melrose Gardens is his worst nightmare. Then he meets Gregory.

Greg is just nineteen years old, but he has already suffered a loss so heavy that he is in danger of giving up on life before he even gets going. Seeing the boy’s pain, Baxter decides to take him under his wing.

Together they embark on a spirited journey to the war graves of Northern France, for Baxter to pay tribute to the love of his life; the man he waved off to fight in a senseless war; the man who never returned.

As Baxter shares his memories, Gregory starts to see that life need not be a matter of mere endurance; that the world is huge and beautiful; that kindness is strength; and that the only way to honour the dead, is to live every last second we have while we’re here.

 

My Thoughts

Mr Baxter is 94 years old and not happy to be a resident at Melrose Gardens Retirement Home. Greg is 19 and ends up working at the care home where he meets Baxter. Initially it doesn’t seem possible that a directionless young adult and forthright Baxter would get along but somehow they forge a connection.

I started reading this after lunch one day and I literally didn’t put it down until I’d turned the last page later on that afternoon. I was pulled into this story from the opening pages and I just had to keep reading.

I had a soft spot for Baxter from the start, he gives off a grumpy vibe but you can see very quickly that he has a great sense of humour. There is a moment very early on in the book when Baxter has a chat with his doctor about music and I properly laughed when I read it. My husband loves jazz and I can’t bear it so me and Baxter were like kindred spirits from the off!

‘”Are you fond of music?”

“I like jazz.”

“So that’s a no then […] If you can’t carry a tune then learn a f*cking trade”.

Baxter also has a real caring side for those who are struggling, he doesn’t show it all the time but you can sense it’s there. Greg made my heart ache; it’s so awful to read about a young person who is carrying so much on his shoulders. He has been through the most awful loss and he has no one in his life that he can talk to. His dad has shut down and won’t face up to things and so Greg is on his own with his grief. He ends up working at the retirement home and Baxter immediately realises that Greg isn’t just a sullen young man but is actually in such pain and torment.

‘[Greg] felt like there was a lifetime of conversation inside him, somewhere, and hoped that one day he’d find a companion who would encourage it to emerge.’

The friendship that grows between Greg and Baxter is heartwarming, I absolutely adored seeing them getting to know each other. It’s never mawkish despite the heartbreak that each of them has gone through – Matthew Crow hits the most perfect tone in the way these two men get to know more about each other. Baxter begins to bring Greg out of himself a bit more, and Greg seems to brighten Baxter’s days without even realising he’s doing it. Alongside this present day story we get to hear Baxter’s back story and I was enthralled. He found the great love of his life as quite a young man and for a while they lived in a cocoon in Baxter’s house. They were hopeful that one day they could go out as a couple but for that moment in time they were just so happy to have found each other. But then the war broke out and Thomas is called up. I shed tears when this happened, and again when he actually left. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like to see your soul mate go off to war not knowing if you’ll ever get them back home with you again.

“When she passed […] it blew through me like a f*cking hurricane. Nobody understood, you see. Nobody had lost what I had lost. We’d all suffered, granted. But grief, it’s a different shape for everyone”.

“It’s a different size, too.”

Over the course of the novel we learn more about Greg’s story and, for me, it just began to feel like Greg and Baxter were destined to meet. Their paths crossed at a time when they both had a growing need for closure, for someone who would make time for them and they forged a beautiful friendship. I loved how Baxter helped Greg gain a bit more confidence to make friends with people around the home. It was wonderful to meet Winnifred – I want to be her when I grow up!

I almost didn’t sign up to read this book for the blog tour because I find it really upsetting to read about men lost in the war. My late Nan lost her first husband in the Second World War and finding the ‘missing presumed dead’ telegram about him after she died was one of the most heartbreaking moments in my life. It still makes me want to weep when I think about it all these years later. I’m so glad that I did pick Baxter’s Requiem up though because the tears I cried whilst reading it were cathartic and healing, and ultimately this book has a lot of joy radiating from its pages too.

I read this book a few weeks ago now and I still keep thinking about Baxter and Greg. They are two wonderful characters that I won’t ever forget! Baxter’s Requiem is one of those really special books that steal a piece of your heart, it’s now firmly on my favourites shelf and it will be a book that I re-read. It’s beautiful and moving, heartbreaking but also life-affirming… there just aren’t enough superlatives to do it justice, I just urge you to please go read it!

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

Baxter’s Requiem is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

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Matthew was born and raised in Newcastle and began freelancing for newspapers and magazines whilst still at school, writing about the arts and pop culture.

He has written four novels, Ashes and My Dearest Jonah – the second of which was nominated for the Dylan Thomas Prize for Literature – and one book for young adults, In Bloom, which was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and the North East Teen Book Award, and listed in the Telegraph’s Best YA of 2014 List.

His fourth book, Another Place, is also be for young adults and was published by Atom in August 2017.

Matthew’s most recent novel, Baxter’s Requiem, was published in September 2018 by Corsair.

 

You can follow the rest of the tour at the following blogs:

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This Week in Books (17 Apr 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

Song of the Robin by R. V. Biggs

I just started this book last night but it’s got me gripped already and I’m looking forward to reading more of it over the coming days.

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins

I loved Fiona Cummins first novel and I’m enjoying this one even more! It’s full of intrigue and it’s really creepy!

The Hate List by Jennifer Brown

This is my current audio book and I’m enjoying it, I’m intrigued to see where the story is going to go.

TWA 800: The Crash, The Cover-Up and The Conspiracy by Jack Cashill

I’ve read a bit more of this book over the last week and I am finding it really interesting. There’s just a lot of people and references throughout and my brain is struggling to keep track at the moment but I hope to get back to this properly very soon.

 

Then

The Case of Mary Bell by Gitta Sereny

This book was fascinating and it’s left me with lots to think about with regards to how children who kill are dealt with. I loved Gitta’s writing style and I definitely want to read more of her non-fiction books in the future.

Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

I adored this novel, it’s one of my favourite books of the year so far! I reviewed it on here yesterday so you can read my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Between the Regions of Kindness by Alice Jolly

This book was chunkier than I was expecting it to be but I still read it in just two sittings as it’s such a brilliant and absorbing novel. I really did love this one and keep thinking about it ever since I finished it. I’ll be reviewing it on Friday for the blog tour so please keep a look out for that.

 

Next

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond

I’ve got a copy of this one on my kindle and I’ve been so looking forward to reading it so this feels like it might be the week to pick it up!

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

This is another ARC and as I’ve loved previous books by the author I’m really keen to read it asap so hopefully I’ll get chance to start it this week.

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne

I’ve had this book on my TBR for a while now and I’ve kept putting it off because it sounds a bit too creepy for me. I’m just in the mood for it now though so I think as soon as I’ve finished reading The Neighbour I’ll be picking this one up!

Furious Hours by Casey Cep

This is a non-fiction book that I got from NetGalley and I’m really intrigued by it so I think this will be my next non-fiction read!

 


 

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 Ringmaster by Vanda Symon | @VandaSymon @OrendaBooks @AnneCater #TheRingmaster #SamShephard

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About the Book

Death is stalking the South Island of New Zealand

Marginalised by previous antics, Sam Shephard, is on the bottom rung of detective training in Dunedin, and her boss makes sure she knows it. She gets involved in her first homicide investigation, when a university student is murdered in the Botanic Gardens, and Sam soon discovers this is not an isolated incident. There is a chilling prospect of a predator loose in Dunedin, and a very strong possibility that the deaths are linked to a visiting circus…

Determined to find out who’s running the show, and to prove herself, Sam throws herself into an investigation that can have only one ending…

 

My Thoughts

I adored getting to know Sam Shephard in Overkill and I’m thrilled to have the chance to share my thoughts on the brilliant second book in the series featuring her, The Ringmaster!

The Ringmaster follows Sam as she investigates the murder of a university student. In the course of the investigation Sam ends up looking in to the circus that’s in town as it seems possible that there is a link. Sam has recently been promoted and has moved to Dunedin but her superior officer isn’t happy with this and makes Sam’s work life difficult but she is determined to prove herself.

Throughout The Ringmaster I loved seeing Sam build a working relationship with her fellow Officer Smithy and hope to see more of him in future novels. I also enjoyed seeing her tentatively embarking on a new romantic relationship. Sam is such a down to earth woman – she isn’t perfect but she’s very likeable and works really hard – so that seeing her go about her day having the sort of mishaps that happen to me at inopportune moments just really endears her to me. I feel like I could be friends with her. I said in my review of Overkill that I thought I might have found a new detective to fill the Kinsey Millhone-shaped hole in my life and now I can absolutely confirm that I absolutely have! Sam Shephard is such a brilliant character!

The opening of The Ringmaster is shocking, perhaps not quite as shocking as the opening chapter of Overkill, but very nearly! It seems a young woman may have been lured to her death and there’s something so terrifying and devastating about the idea of someone being killed like that by someone they trusted and cared about.

The Ringmaster is a novel that really explores at how it is to be other, to feel on the outside, to be marginalised. Sam is new to the Dunedin and made to feel like an outsider at work, she’s also having to stay with her friend Maggie’s family so doesn’t have a home of her own at the moment. The circus workers that get questioned over the murder are of various nationalities and this seems to heighten suspicion around them regarding the murder. I know what it is to other and it’s so hard when you feel that people have pre-judged you on something you can do nothing about. My circumstances are very different to the workers from the circus but I still felt an empathy for them as they tried very hard to fit in.

I struggle with understanding circuses that use animals, it doesn’t sit right with me at all. I was felt particularly sad reading about Cassie the elephant in her enclosure. In one part of the novel something really awful happens at the circus, which leads to heartbreaking scenes and I found myself in tears at this part of the book. Vanda Symon has such a brilliant way of writing scenes such as this though – she doesn’t shy away from the harsh reality of the situation but at the same time there is a real sensitivity to her writing that makes me want to keep reading.

The Ringmaster has an underlying tension running through it as you look with suspicion at quite a few characters wondering if they might be the murderer. I enjoyed the psychology aspect of the investigation as Sam, with help from Maggie, tries to profile the murderer in order to try and get a lead in the case. This is definitely a whodunnit crime mystery but it’s also very much a whydunnit so even if you think you know who the murderer is you’ll still have to work out the why. I loved that there was more than one element and it certainly kept me on my toes as I was reading. The why was more of a shock to me than the who but I was still left utterly reeling by the end!

Vanda Symon is such a brilliant writer who brings something really fresh to crime fiction, a genre that I read a lot of but Vanda’s books really do stand out in the crowd.  The Ringmaster is an emotional, powerful and gripping novel. I loved it and highly recommend it!

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

The Ringmaster is out now and available here.

 

I’ve previously reviewed Overkill, the first book in this series, here.

 

About the Author

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Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.

 

 

You can follow the rest of the tour at the following blogs:

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Book Review: Amazing Grace by Kim Nash | @KimTheBookworm @HeraBooks @rararesources

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About the Book

She’s taking her life back, one step at a time…

Grace thought she had it all. Living in the beautiful village of Little Ollington, along with head teacher husband Mark and gorgeous son, Archie, she devoted herself to being the perfect mum and the perfect wife, her little family giving her everything she ever wanted.

Until that fateful day when she walked in on Mark kissing his secretary – and her perfect life fell apart.

Now she’s a single mum to Archie, trying to find her way in life and keep things together for his sake. Saturday nights consist of a Chinese takeaway eaten in front of the TV clad in greying pyjamas, and she can’t remember the last time she had a kiss from anyone aside from her dog, Becks

Grace’s life needs a shake up – fast. So when gorgeous gardener Vinnie turns up on her doorstep, his twinkling eyes suggesting that he might be interested in more than just her conifers, she might just have found the answer to her prayers. But as Grace falls deeper for Vinnie, ten-year-old Archie fears that his mum finding love means she’ll never reconcile with the dad he loves.

So when ex-husband Mark begs her for another chance, telling her he’s changed from the man that broke her heart, Grace finds herself with an impossible dilemma. Should she take back Mark and reunite the family that Archie loves? Or risk it all for a new chance of happiness?

 

My Thoughts

Amazing Grace is the story of Grace who is separated from her husband and is trying to re-build her life along with her ten-year-old son Archie and dog Becks. She’s ambling along in life – she has a nice house and a job she enjoys but she’s not feeling very fulfilled and her life is lacking some sparkle. Then one day Vinnie arrives and it might just be that Grace is going to get a chance at happiness.

I loved Grace from the minute I started reading this book. She’s so easy to identify with and I was rooting for her to get her happy ending from the start. She’s such a warm person and someone who wants to do right by the people she loves but she ends up spreading herself a little thin at times. I also adored her friend Monica who decides to help Grace makeover her life with a new wardrobe and some matchmaking!

Grace’s ex-husband Mark is such an arrogant, smarmy man and Grace is left agonising over whether she should forgive his affair and give him another chance because in doing so she’d no longer have to share custody of their son and she could be with Archie all the time. I was hoping she would give herself time to think about this became Grace is clearly way too good for Mark. I’m not a violent person but he really made me want to slap him at times in this book!

Vinnie on the other hand is a wonderful man who seems to just want the best for Grace.  I have to admit that I was a little suspicious of him for a while as he seemed almost too good to be true. I soon decided that he was genuine and I was rooting for him and Grace to get together. I loved seeing Grace getting to know him though and finding her feet on the dating scene again. It’s not easy putting yourself out there after a long-term relationship and Monica’s ‘help’ wasn’t always the most useful (although some of the dates did make me giggle!).

Amazing Grace has some really moving, heartfelt moments throughout as Grace is still very much missing her mum who died a few years previously. I really felt for her as she so badly wanted to hear her mum’s voice or to ask for some advice. There is one moment in particular with Grace and her mum that made me sob when I read it but it was healing, happy tears. I really could identify with Grace, I still miss my mum so much and Kim Nash captures the loss of a mother so beautifully and poignantly. Amazing Grace retains its lightness throughout – Kim has such a deft way of writing heartache that shows the reality of it without it ever feeling heavy.

Kim has a huge talent for writing characters that feel so real – everyone in this book feels like someone I might bump in to. It takes real care to make even the more peripheral characters memorable but Kim does it brilliantly! The older couple that she met in the park for example are so vivid in my mind even now, and they were only in the book for a few pages.

Amazing Grace is one of those really special books that I will treasure. It made me snort with laughter, and it made me shed a few tears but most of all it made me feel happy, smiley and comforted – I adored every single second that I spent reading it. It’s an amazing book, one I would recommend to absolutely everyone. Amazing Grace is one of my favourite books of the year and I now can’t wait to read whatever Kim writes next!

Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and Hera Books for my copy of the book and the invitation to be on the blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

Amazing Grace is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

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Kim Nash lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter Roni, is PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture and is a book blogger at www.kimthebookworm.co.uk.

Kim won the Romantic Novelists Association’s Media Star of the Year in 2016, which she still can’t quite believe. She is now quite delighted to be a member of the RNA.

When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog, reading, standing on the sidelines of a football pitch cheering on Ollie and binge watching box sets on the TV. She’s also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!) Kim also runs a book club in Cannock, Staffs.

Amazing Grace is her debut novel with Hera Books and will be out on 10th April 2019

Connect with Kim on Social Media here:
Twitter: (@KimTheBookworm) https://twitter.com/KimTheBookworm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimTheBookWorm/
Instagram: @Kim_the_bookworm

 

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

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Stacking the Shelves with a New Book Haul (13 Apr 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 didn’t manage to post about my book haul last week so this post is a bumper two week book haul! I’ve acquired way too many books over the last fortnight but I’ve not been well and I can’t resist temptation when I’m not feeling great (that’s my excuse anyway!!).

 

Books I Bought

To Throw Away Unopened by Viv Albertine

I still haven’t read Clothes Music Boys but I couldn’t resist grabbing a copy of this as it sounds like a book I will love. I hope to get to it soon.

The Dark Circle by Linda Grant

I’ve wanted to read this book ever since it was first published but I never seem to remember about it when I’m book shopping but this week I finally bought a copy and I can’t wait to read it!

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

This was an impulse by on Kindle as the blurb grabbed me and I couldn’t resist!

To Catch a Killer by Emma Kavanagh

I also bought this on Kindle as I love this author and I believe this book might be the start of a series so I’m really keen to read it soon.

Freefall by Jessica Barry

Another impulse buy on Kindle!

The Great Swindle by Pierre Lemaitre

I love Pierre Lemaitre’s writing but somehow missed buying a copy of this book when it came out but I’ve rectified that now and I’m looking forward to reading this.

I Thought I Knew You by Penny Hancock

I read another book by this author quite a long time ago and remember really enjoying it so I couldn’t resist picking this book up when I spotted it.

Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin

I’ve not read anything by this author before but the blurb sounded really good so I bought this on Kindle.

Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen McManus

I enjoyed the author’s first book so when I saw this on the Kindle daily deal this week I snapped it up!

Beneath the Bleeding by Val McDermid

This was an Audible purchase as I’m enjoying listening to books at the moment so grabbed this one on a whim when it was deal of the day.

 

ARCS I Received

Call Me A Liar by Collette McBeth

I received a surprise copy of this in the post last week and I was thrilled! I love Collette McBeth’s writing and have been eagerly anticipating this book being released.

Constellations by Sinead Gleeson

I read an extract from this book in one of the papers last week and I knew then that I had to read the book. I was delighted to be approved to read it on NetGalley and will be reading it very soon.

The Carer by Deborah Moggach

This is another of my highly anticipated 2019 releases so I was so happy to be approved to read it on NG this week.

Dead Inside by Noelle Holton

I’ve been so looking forward to reading blogger-turned-author Noelle’s debut novel so am thrilled to have a copy on my kindle and will definitely be reading this one very soon!

How to Treat People by Molly Case

I requested this book on NG as the premise sounded really interesting.

I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

I loved Alice Feeney’s first book so have been keen to read this second novel.

The Perfect Betrayal by Lauren North

I’d forgotten I’d requested this book on NG so it was a fab surprise when I got an approval email for it.

The Water Cure by Sophie Macintosh

It was lovely to be sent a pre-approved link for this NG book as I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages. I hope to get to this very soon.

Furious Hours by Casey Cep

I downloaded this book from NG on a read now as it sounds fascinating. It’s about a murder that Harper Lee was researching but she ended up not writing a book about it. I couldn’t resist that premise.

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

I’m delighted to have been sent this book as Orenda Books are always brilliant and this one sounds so good. I’ll be reading this one soon as I’m going to be on the blog tour for it next month.

Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald

This is another Orenda book and I’m so keen to read this one. I’ve enjoyed the author’s previous books but this one sounds even better!

Song of the Robin by R. V. Biggs

I’m going to be on the blog tour for this book and I’m really intrigued to read the book. I wasn’t sure if it was for me at first but now I can’t wait to start reading it!

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

This sounds like an emotional but also uplifting book and I’m really enjoying books like this at the moment so it won’t be long before I pick this one up.

We Never Said Goodbye by Helene Fermont

I’ve read a previous book by Helene Fermont and very much enjoyed it so I’m delighted to have another of her books to read.

The Tapestry Bag by Isabella Muir

This is another blog tour book, it’s an audio book so I expect I’ll be listening to this in the coming week as I find audio is the easiest way for me to read books at the moment.

 

 


 

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.

This Week in Books (10 Apr 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

Between the Regions of Kindness by Alice Jolly

I just started reading this last night so am only a few chapters in but it’s grabbed me already and I can’t wait to read more. It’s a long book so I’m hoping to get an afternoon where I can just get completely lost in this story!

Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

This is a wonderful book – it’s a gorgeous novel but it’s ended up being a more cathartic read for me than I was expecting. I think this is going to become a firm favourite of mine!

TWA 800: The Crash, The Cover-Up and The Conspiracy by Jack Cashill

I’ve not read much more of this over the last week or two as I had some books I needed to read first for blog tours. I’m planning to get back to this in the coming days though as I was finding it really interesting.

 

Then

The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon

This book was so good! I loved Vanda Symon’s previous novel and this one is every bit as good! I’ll be reviewing this soon for the blog tour but in the meantime I definitely recommend it.

Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry

I’ve had this on audio for a while and seeing the adverts for the new documentary on Sky I decided to listen to it. I found it an interesting book and it definitely gave more insight than I got from listening to Serial. I now need to watch the new documentary asap!

Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow

This book is incredible! I read the whole book in one afternoon as it just pulled me into the story right away and I couldn’t put it down. It’s a beautiful book and I know it’s going to be going onto my favourites shelf! I’m on the blog tour for this so will be reviewing soon for that.

Sleep by C. L. Taylor

I loved this book, it’s my new favourite by Cally Taylor! It’s so gripping and tense and I couldn’t put it down! I reviewed this one yesterday so you can find my review here if you’d like to know more.

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

I finally made time to finish this book this week and I’m so glad that I went back to it.

 

Next

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

I was sent an ARC of this and it’s calling to me from my TBR so I think I may well pick it up this week, I’m really looking forward to it. Orenda Books can do no wrong in my eyes so I’m sure this will be a great read!

Mindhunter by John Douglas

I’ve had this on my TBR for a few months now and as I’ve finished The Innocent Man I think this might well be my next non-fiction read.

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins

I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while so I might make this the week I get to it!

The Murder of Harriet Monkton by Elizabeth Haynes

I bought this when it was published last year and have been so keen to read it. Elizabeth Haynes is an auto-buy author for me as I’ve loved all of her books so I’m really keen to read this one soon.


 

 

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. 🙂

55 by James Delargy | @JDelargyAuthor @simonschusteruk @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles and miles of unexplored wilderness. It is home to Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, who is proud to run the town’s small police station, a place used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints.

All that changes on a scorching day when an injured man stumbles into Chandler’s station. He’s covered in dried blood. His name is Gabriel. He tells Chandler what he remembers.

He was drugged and driven to a cabin in the mountains and tied up in iron chains. The man who took him was called Heath. Heath told Gabriel he was going to be number 55. His 55th victim.

Heath is a serial killer.

As a manhunt is launched, a man who says he is Heath walks into the same station. He tells Chandler he was taken by a man named Gabriel. Gabriel told Heath he was going to be victim 55.

Gabriel is the serial killer.

Two suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?

 

My Thoughts

55 is a novel about a quiet town in the middle of nowhere in Australia that has not one but two men turn up at the small police station on the same day each claiming that the other one kidnapped and planned to murder him, and that they would have been victim number 55! Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins has a huge job on his hands as he listens to each story and tries to work out what on earth is going on!

Gabriel walks into the station first and he’s believed to be the victim he says he is and dealt with accordingly as his statement is taken. A short while later Heath turns up at the same police station and tells an almost identical story, and this leaves the police with a serious problem on their hands. Who is the killer and who is the victim? Or are they both killers? Or could they possibly both be victims?

Chandler is really frustrated when a more senior police officer arrives to take charge of the case. We soon find out that Chandler and Mitch used to be really close when they were younger but their friendship ended badly. This novel is told in two timelines – the present day and a few years earlier when Chandler and Mitch were helping search for a man missing in the wilderness. This was a great way to tell the story as we get to find out how close they were and how things went wrong alongside where they are now. It also felt at times like things in their friendship were mirroring elements of the story in the present day which had my brain ticking over even faster trying to see if there were any connections.

I really liked Chandler and never stopped wanting things to work out for him throughout the novel. It felt like he was always trying to do the right thing and to be fair with his staff and his family but was torn in so many directions. I think his story had me almost as tense as the main one about Gabriel and Heath because I so wanted him to be okay.

I spent the whole novel swapping and changing my mind about who I thought the guilty man was. The reveal about whodunnit is shocking – the mystery twists and turns at great pace throughout the novel but when we find out it’s almost like slow-motion as your brain takes in what happened! I’d worked out a small element of the story but nowhere near enough to fit it all together. The final pages of this novel were gobsmacking! This book has one of the best endings to a thriller that I’ve read in a really long time, it’s one of those endings that made me sit in silence for a few minutes after I put the book down trying to process it. And even now, weeks later, I still keep thinking about it!

I was drawn to this book as soon as I read the blurb, it was irresistible to me. I’m so happy to say that this novel totally lives up to the blurb and is such a unique take on a serial killer thriller novel! This is a perfect book for readers who think they can always work out whodunnit as this one will keep you guessing until all is revealed! I don’t think I’ll ever forget this book and I’m sure it will be on my best books of the year list – I highly recommend it! It’s fast-paced, addictive and utterly brilliant!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Many thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours for my invitation to take part on this blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

55 is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

James Delargy Author Photo

 

James Delargy was born and raised in Ireland but lived in South Africa, Australia and Scotland, before ending up in semi-rural England where he now lives.

He incorporates this diverse knowledge of towns, cities, landscape and culture picked up on his travels into his writing. He would like to complete a round-the-world series of novels (if only for the chance to indulge in more on-the-ground research).

His debut thriller, 55, will be published in June 2019 by Simon & Schuster and 17 other international publishers.

 

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

55 Blog Tour Poster

Audio Book Review: Chickens Eat Pasta by Clare Pedrick (narrated by Colleen MacMahon) | @ClarePedrick @matadorbooks @audibleuk @rararesources

Chickens Eat Pasta audiobook cover

About the Book

Not just another romance, but a story of escapism, coincidences, friendship, luck and most of all… love.

Chickens Eat Pasta is the tale of how a young Englishwoman starts a new life after watching a video showing a chicken eating spaghetti in a mediaeval hill village in central Italy.

“Here I was, 26 years old, alone and numb with boredom at the prospect of a future which until recently had seemed to be just what I wanted.”

Unlike some recent bestsellers, this is not simply an account of a foreigner’s move to Italy, but a love story written from the unusual perspective of both within and outside of the story. As events unfold, the strong storyline carries with it a rich portrayal of Italian life from the inside, with a supporting cast of memorable characters. Along the way, the book explores and captures the warmth and colour of Italy, as well as some of the cultural differences – between England and Italy, but also between regional Italian lifestyles and behaviour. It is a story with a happy ending. The author and her husband are still married, with three children, who love the old house on the hill (now much restored) almost as much as she does.

Chickens Eat Pasta is Clare’s autobiography, and ultimately a love story – with the house itself and with the man that Clare met there and went on to marry. If you yearn for a happy ending, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a story that proves anything is possible if you only try.

 

My Thoughts

Chickens Eat Pasta is the memoir of Clare Pedrick detailing her life as she came out of a relationship break up and on something of a whim bought a run-down house in Italy. She fell in love with the place after seeing a video of chickens eating pasta in a hall in Italy and she immediately makes plans to go there!

I was drawn to this audio book as soon as I saw the gorgeous cover, and once I read the blurb I started listening immediately! This is a gorgeous book that really draws you in to Clare’s story from the very start. I could see how she decided to move to Umbria without a huge amount of thought and planning – it can feel irresistible to make changes after life has turned out different than you expected.

You know from the blurb that things work out for Clare in Italy but whilst I was listening I was so caught up in her life as it was being recounted that I felt I didn’t know how her story would end. I was enthralled by her relationships with the locals, and her romantic interest. There are also some mouth-watering descriptions of food throughout this book that made me want to seek out some recipes!

The narrator of this audio book is Colleen MacMahon and she does a wonderful job. The brilliant writing by Clare combined with the excellent narration by Colleen really give this memoir life. All the characters, and the description of the place were so vivid and I adored it. As a side note I discovered on twitter that Colleen also painted the stunning picture that is the cover image on this book!

If you don’t often read non-fiction, this would be a perfect place to start because it reads with the ease of fiction and you do get completely absorbed in the Clare’s story.

Chickens Eat Pasta made me feel like I was right there with Clare in Umbria, it gave me such a vivid and evocative depiction of the place and the people. I loved listening to this book and I miss it now I’ve finished it. I can’t travel anymore but listening to this book gave me some wonderful escapism and I adored it. I definitely recommend this book.

Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the blog tour invitation and my audio copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Chickens Eat Pasta is available as an audiobook from here.

 

About the Author

Chickens Eat Pasta Author Photo

Clare Pedrick is a British journalist who studied Italian at Cambridge University before becoming a reporter. She went on to work as the Rome correspondent for the Washington Post and as European Editor of an international features agency. She still lives in Italy with her husband, whom she met in the village where she bought her house.​

You can follow Clare on her Facebook Book Page, her own Facebook page and on Twitter.

Read her blog about life in Umbria here

 

Giveaway to Win an audiobook copy of Chickens Eat Pasta (Open Internationally)

  • Winner gets to pick between audible and ibooks audio code

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494211/?

 

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

Chickens Eat Pasta Full Tour

Book Review: Sleep by C. L. Taylor | @CallyTaylor @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K #sleep

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About the Book

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

 

My Thoughts

Anna was involved in a fatal road accident, she was the driver and ever since then she is struggling to sleep. She has nightmares, and is struggling to get back to any kind of normal. She decides that she needs a fresh start and takes a job at a hotel on a remote Scottish Island. The novel then becomes something of a locked room mystery as seven guests check in and they are all at the mercy of the weather and somewhat trapped there. Anna is convinced that one of guests wants to harm her but she doesn’t know which one!

The seven guests that arrive on the island soon after Anna began working at the hotel all have their own secrets and all appear shifty at one time or another. I had my suspicions early on but I was completely wrong (which I loved, it’s great to be surprised in a thriller). I really enjoyed seeing the back stories of the characters unfold alongside the tension and drama of the storyline ramp up. It’s definitely a book that has you on the edge of your seat!

Anna is a sympathetic character, it’s hard not to feel for her after everything that she’s been through. I didn’t feel that she was always a reliable narrator though as there is that fine line between paranoia and someone actually being out to get you and I wasn’t sure of her thought processes. I was always on her side though and was hoping she’d come through this and find happiness again.

This novel keeps coming back tot he issue of guilt. Anna is burdened with guilt even though the accident wasn’t her fault, she knows she should have been more aware and it’s haunting her. Then there are the people who feel like they’re doing the right thing but they’re not and should feel guilty. And then there are the people who have done us a perceived wrong and we think they should be consumed with guilt but they appear not all that affected. I think most people fall on a scale of guilt for things they’ve done – whether it’s things they meant to do or not. Sleep really makes you think about guilt and it’s handled so brilliantly!

I loved that this novel had layers to it and every time I found out a new bit of information I was re-thinking what I’d previously thought. There is one central story that the novel focuses on but you get to see how that leads to other things happening, there are consequences that are unexpected when people are trapped together and they all have their burdens. The end of this novel was gobsmacking and left me reeling but it was the perfect ending.

Sleep is absolutely brilliant, I just couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. I’ve loved all of C. L. Taylor’s books so far but I have to say that this is her best one yet, I highly recommend it! It’s tense, gripping and so hard to put down!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book and the invitation to be on the blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

Sleep is out now and available here.

 

Links to my reviews of C. L. Taylor’s previous novels:

The Escape

The Missing

The Fear

 

About the Author

Cally Taylor is an award-winning English author of romantic comedies published by Orion Publishing Group, and more recently, a Sunday Times Bestselling author. As C.L. Taylor, she publishes psychological thrillers through HarperCollins.

 

 

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

Sleep_BlogTourP1

Book Review: Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech | @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #CallMeStarGirl

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About the Book

Tonight is the night for secrets…

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.

Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after twelve years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.

Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

 

My Thoughts

I’m a massive fan of Louise Beech’s writing so I was thrilled beyond words to read Call Me Star Girl for this tour.

Call Me Star Girl is the story of Stella who is about to do her last ever late night radio show and she wants her listeners to share their secrets so that she can share hers. We get her story told in two timelines – the time around the murder and the present day. Stella was left by her mother as a young teenager and it’s something that she’s struggled with all of her life since then. Her mother Elizabeth is the other narrator of this book – it’s told alternately between them so we gradually get to fill in the back story of Stella’s life and to see what made her who she is.

Stella is in a fairly new relationship with Tom and she is very insecure about it. She’s convinced that one day he’ll realise that she’s boring and she’ll be left alone again. I felt so sorry for her as I learnt this about her. She clearly just wants to feel happy and secure with someone and will do anything to try and have that. Her relationship with Tom escalates and I worried about how it was all going to work out for Stella.

Stella works on a late night radio show and always feels okay about walking home alone. But then one night a book is left for her in reception with an intriguing note that doesn’t make sense to her, and later she finds that that same night a young woman was murdered in an alley nearby.

This novel is haunting! From the very beginning there is an uneasiness that settles around you as you read and yet you just can’t put the book down. This is Louise’s first crime thriller and she brings to it her incredible way of writing characters that are so real and believable. No one writes characters like her.

I felt really unsettled as Stella’s last show progresses. It’s clear that Stella is feeling on edge about being in the studio alone and she’s never felt that before. The murder is playing on her mind, it having happened so close to where she works and it feels like an element of paranoia is working its way into her thoughts. The writing is so evocative – I felt like it was me in that studio, I could feel the darkness encroaching and felt as if someone were right there waiting to attack.

Louise always works in an element of coincidence that often seems incidental but causes a huge shift for the characters it affects. In this novel there is more than one coincidence and the way these are threaded through the novel and how the strands interweave and separate again is so incredibly done. Throughout this novel there are stars – Stella is the first and her mother’s perfume in the bottle with the beautiful star top is the second and also a lot of of this novel is set at night and Stella likes to open a window to let the cold in. It is so emotive then that at its heart this is a novel about fate (things being set in the stars). As you get further into the novel it seems like Stella is on a collision course with fate – the way her mother abandoned her and came back and then Tom comes into her life and it seems like things might get better. Fate has her plan and things often happen outside of us, outside of our control but it’s like it was destined for certain things to converge.

The thing I love most about Louise’s writing is the way she always makes me feel such strong emotions as I read. I wondered whether it would be the same with Call Me Star Girl, which being a thriller doesn’t seem like it would but it absolutely does! I cried, I felt uneasy and tense; I also laughed at the idea of news being reheated (and as an avid listener of late night radio I shall forever think of the repeat news bulletins as reheated!).  Oh, and it made me so happy to find Bob Fracklehurst in this book! I just fell in love with this novel, and with Stella.

Call Me Star Girl is my top book of the year so far, it deserves all of the stars! It’s stunningly beautiful at the same time as being satisfyingly dark and gripping; it’s impossible to put down (and I really do mean impossible because even though it’s a couple of weeks since I read it, I still keep thinking about it). It’s stolen a piece of me. I can’t do it justice in this review but please just go read it for yourselves, I promise that you won’t regret it!

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

Call Me Star Girl is out now in ebook and is available for pre-order in paperback here.

 

I’ve previously reviewed these books by Louise Beech:

How to be Brave

Maria in the Moon

The Lion Tamer Who Lost

 

About the Author

Louise Beech Author Photo.jpeg

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a GuardianReaders’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

 

You can follow the rest of the tour at the following stops:

call me star girl blog poster 2019

That Was The Month That Was… March 2019!

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March is the month that disappeared! I haven’t been up to much as my health’s not great at the moment and yet the days have flown by.  I have been doing lots of reading – mainly audio books as my eyes are still not great – but some print books too. I’m trying to spend less time looking at screens so apologies if I haven’t commented on your posts or shared things as often recently. I hope to get back to it soon.

 

Here are the 23 that books I read in March:

Ordinary People by Diana Evans

I’d had this book on my NetGalley shelf for almost a year but I finally picked it up in March and I loved it so I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. I will review it soon but in the meantime I definitely recommend it!

Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie

I loved this crime novel, it has such a good sense of place and great characters. I’ve already reviewed this one so click the title above if you’d like to know more.

Don’t You Cry by Cass Green

I listened to this on audio and it was an okay listen. I enjoyed it while I was listening but it’s not a book that’s really stayed with me.

Past Life by Dominic Nolan

This book is so good! It has so much depth to it and kept me hooked all the way through. I’ve reviewed this one so click the title to find out more of what I thought.

Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross

This book is so hard to define but it was impossible to put down! I really enjoyed it. My review is already up so click the title to learn more.

Entanglement by Katy Mahmood

I had this book on my NG but I also got the audio book so part read and part listened to it. I very much enjoyed this one and hope to get my review finished and posted soon.

The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath

This book is so good! It grabbed me from the first page and had me gripped right to the very end. I’ll be reviewing this one soon too!

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

This is another really good read! I think I read this in one sitting pretty much and love how even though I thought I had it all sussed there was more to come! My review is posted so please click the title if you want to know more.

Hold My Hand by M. J. Ross

I downloaded this on audio after reading Meggy’s great review of the second book in the series. I loved this and already have the next book on my phone to listen to soon!

Not Fade Away by John Gribbin

This was a really enjoyable book looking at the music of Buddy Holly.

Goodnight Malaysian 370 by Ewan Wilson

I got this one on my Kindle Unlimited free trial and it was an interesting read but there was nothing in it that I hadn’t already read from articles online.

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

I’ve had a copy of this on my NG shelf for way too long so when I spotted the audio book on my Scribd trial I decided to listen to it while reading. I adored the writing in this novel and will definitely be looking to read more Jesmyn Ward in the future.

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

This book was brilliant! I finished it a couple of weeks ago but it’s still going round in my head. I will be reviewing it once I get my thoughts together but in the meantime I recommend it!

White Lies by Lucy Dawson

I listened to this on Audible and really enjoyed it. It was gripping and I was keen to find out who was telling the lies!

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

I listened to this one on Scribd too. It’s a book I’ve wanted to read for ages and I enjoyed it but it’s not the best book by the author.

It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany

This was also a Scribd listen and I was engrossed all the way through this book. It’s a great read and it really makes you think as you listen to both sides in the aftermath of a sexual assault.

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

This book is incredible and I feel sure it will be in my top books of the year. I was utterly absorbed in the story and I feel sad to have finished it. I highly recommend it and if you want to know more click the title for my review.

C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton

I’m slowly re-reading all of this series so when I found this one on Scribd I decided to listen to it. It’s not my favourite in the series but I enjoy all of the books. Kinsey Millhone is great!

The Point Of Poetry by Joe Nutt

This book gave me some of my confidence back for reading poetry and got me to see poems I already knew in a new light. I recommend this book to everyone! Click the title to read my full thoughts.

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

This book is stunning! I loved every single second that I spent reading it and I’m sad to have finished it. This is also a contender for my top books of the year!

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

I’ve wanted to read this one for a while so when I saw it on Scribd I decided to listen to it. It’s a brilliant book and I now want to get a physical copy to have on my bookcase.

Milkman by Anna Burns

I had the book of this but decided to listen to the audio while also reading it and I completely and utterly adored it. I feel like my thoughts on this book will keep developing for a while but I 100% recommend it!

55 by James DeLargy

I finished this book yesterday and I’m still thinking about that ending! This is such a good read, it’ll be one that stays with me!

 

March Blog Posts & Reviews:

That Was The Month That Was… February

Stacking the Shelves on 2 Mar

Mini Book Reviews of The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal, Dear Mrs Bird by A. J. Pearce, Ivy and Abe by Elizabeth Enfield and Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey

Review of The Bridal Party by J. G. Murray

This Week in Books 6 Mar

Review of Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis Goff

Stacking the Shelves 9 Mar

Review of Are You The F**king Doctor? by Dr. Liam Farrell

Review of Past Life by Dominic Nolan

Review of Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie

This Week in Books 13 Mar

Review of Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross

Stacking the Shelves 16 Mar

This Week in Books 20 Mar

Review of Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Stacking the Shelves 23 Mar

Review of The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

This Week in Books 27 Mar

Review The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt

Stacking the Shelves 30 Mar

 

The state of my TBR:

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So I said in my February TBR update that my plan to reduce my TBR had gone somewhat awry. Well, in March it’s done waaay beyond that! Ooops! My plan was to reduce my TBR each month so that by the end of the year it would have 200 fewer books on it. At the end of February it was at 2482 and now it’s at 2500. That doesn’t seem too bad but it should be at 2387 if I was sticking to my plan. Ah well, I can’t really complain about having lots of lovely books to read. 🙂

 

How was March 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. 🙂

New Book Haul! (Stacking the Shelves 30 March 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!

 

Books I Borrowed This Week

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

I borrowed this audio book from Scribd as part of my free trial and I adored it. It’s such a brilliant book and I’ve now added it to my wish list to remind me that I must get hold of a print copy for my bookcase.

Milkman by Anna Burns

I do already own this in print but I’d heard it was a good book to listen to so I borrowed it from Scribd and am very much enjoying it. I think this could be a five star read!

 

ARCS I Was Sent This Week

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The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

It was a brilliant surprise last Saturday to received a leaflet with a bracelet about the magpie choosing me. Then in the week a copy of The July Girls arrived! This book sounds like my kind of read so I can’t wait to get to it!

The Wayward Girls by Amanda Mason

I read a sample of this a little while ago and have been keen to read more ever since so I was delighted to be sent an auto-approval link for NetGalley yesterday!

Those People by Louise Candlish

I love Louise Candlish’s writing so I immediately requested this one when I spotted it on NetGalley! I know I’ll enjoy this book.

As Long As We Both Shall Live by JoAnn Chaney

I saw this in the Read Now section of NetGalley this week and it sounds so gripping and fast-paced that I couldn’t resist downloading it!

What Dementia Teaches Us About Love by Nicci Gerrard

I downloaded this one from NG too. I know what it is to care for a loved one who is losing themselves so am very interested in this book. I need to be in the right frame of mind to read this but hopefully I can read it soon.

I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks

I downloaded this one from NG on a whim as the blurb just grabbed me! I don’t think I’ll be long getting to this one as I’m must in the mood for fast-paced thrillers.

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman

I didn’t realise how many books I’d got from NG this week until I started writing this post! This was another one I downloaded on a whim… this time because I love the title!

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

I’m going to be on the blog tour for this book in a few weeks time so will definitely be reading this NG book soon.

The Forgotten Sister by Caroline Bond

I’m also on the blog tour for this one and am really keen to read it as soon as I can.

 

 


 

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 Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt |@joenutt_author @unbounders @annecater #randomthingstours

The Point of Poetry Cover

About the Book

What’s the point of poetry? It s a question asked in classrooms all over the world, but it rarely receives a satisfactory answer. Which is why so many people, who read all kinds of books, never read poetry after leaving school. Exploring twenty-two works from poets as varied as William Blake, Seamus Heaney, Rita Dove and Hollie McNish, this book makes the case for what poetry has to offer us, what it can tell us about the things that matter in life.

Each poem is discussed with humour and refreshing clarity, using a mixture of anecdote and literary criticism that has been honed over a lifetime of teaching. Poetry can enrich our lives, if we’ll let it. The Point of Poetry is the perfect companion for anyone looking to discover how.

 

My Thoughts

I have a few favourite few poems from over the years but I aren’t much of a reader of poetry generally, I’ve always found it really intimidating. I did discover some love for poetry when I did an A-Level in English Lit as a mature student and was tasked with analysing Philip Larkin’s Mr Bleaney.  I loved reading and re-reading this poem, and went on to read everything Larkin had written. I still find other poets intimidating though. The Point of Poetry is a wonderful book that has opened my eyes to the joy of poems.

Joe Nutt opens this book with an introduction that immediately made me feel at ease and in safe hands. He takes away the fear of poetry very quickly. Each chapter looks at a different poem and Nutt takes us through the poem giving some background, relating it to present day and making you eager to actually read the poem for yourself and see what you can discover in it. I loved that the poem discussed is placed at the end of each chapter as by the time I got to it I was excited to read it, whether it was a poem I already knew or one I’d never heard of before.

I also really appreciate that Nutt didn’t just pick well-known poems, although there are some in the book, but also that he didn’t just pick poems that he loves. There are poems such as Vicki Feaver’s The Gun which he has issues with but still felt it warranted being read and explored in this book. The selection really made me think about my own reactions to the poems individually and as a whole as I got further into this book, and left me mulling over my thoughts long after I’d finished reading.

I think the chapter that grabbed me the most was the one about Holly McNish. I’d heard of her before but had never read (or watched her perform) her poetry before. I was fascinated by her poem Famous For What? and am definitely going to buy one or two of her collections very soon. I also very much enjoyed the chapter on Rita Dove’s The Bistro Styx, and the comparisons with Philip Larkin’s Church Going so I will be seeking out more of her work too.

I also want to mention the chapter on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I had to study this poem in my second year at secondary school and I hated it! I loved English, it was my favourite subject and I loved reading but the way the teacher taught us that poem made it feel never-ending and unbearable. I’ve loathed it ever since because it always takes me back to those lessons. However, Nutt’s exploration of this poem has made me see it in a different light – I’ve since sought out my copy and re-reading it now as a 40 year old I found so much more in it and I’m so glad that I had my eyes opened to it.

I’ve always been much more drawn to poems that make me feel something. Often poems that make me cry are the ones that stay with me. I feel like this book has reminded me that different poems bring out different emotions and that I should be more open-minded and actually have more faith in my own abilities to find things in poems from now on.

I do have to quickly mention how beautiful this book is. It’s a gorgeous hardback and the endpapers have a lovely illustration of keys on them (which immediately made me feel that perhaps this book could unlock the world of poetry for me, and it did just that!).

I absolutely loved this book! I feel that it’s given me back the confidence to start picking up more poetry collections again and to spend time reading poems out loud and taking time to really think about them. Not only that, it’s made me excited to read poetry again!  I’m so glad I read The Point of Poetry and I whole-heartedly recommend it!

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

The Point of Poetry is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Joe Nutt Author Picture

Joe Nutt’s nineteen years teaching experience in the UK unusually ranged from the highly selective, private sector to challenging, inner city state schools. In 2000, he was seconded to work on a Department for Education project from his English teaching post at the City of London School and quickly established a new, commercial career but continued to write for English Literature students. He has written books on Shakespeare, John Donne and most recently a Guidebook to Paradise Lost arguably the most difficult poem in the English canon, for one of the world’s leading academic publishers. He publishes educational research internationally and is a national, and international conference speaker. He is now one of the leading educationalists in the UK and writes a fortnightly column for the Times Educational Supplement.

 

 

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

FINAL Point of Poetry Blog Tour Poster

 

 

This Week in Books (27 Mar 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

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

I’ve wanted to read this book for ages so when I spotted the audio book on Scribd I decided to listen to it. I’m very much enjoying this one.

TWA 800: The Crash, The Cover Up and the Conspiracy by Jack Cashill

I’m trying to make sure that I read some of the older books on my TBR and this is the one that was picked for this week. I don’t really know what to make of it but it’s interesting.

55 by James Delargy

This book is so good, I’m utterly intrigued by the two men and have absolutely no idea who is telling the truth and how this novel might end. I would have read it in one sitting if it wasn’t for my eye problems.

 

Then

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

This book was brilliant! I’m not sure how to find the words to write a review but I can say that I completely and utterly adored it.

The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt

This was such a good book and has got me wanting to read poetry again. I’ve got a review of this on here today so you can read my full thoughts there if you’d like to know more.

C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton

I’m slowly re-reading all of this series before getting to the last book, which I’ve not read yet. I found this on Scribd so it was great to enjoy the book in a different format.

It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany

This is another book that I’ve been so keen to read so I couldn’t resist it when I spotted it on my Scribd audio book free trial. I thought this book was so good and really made me think. I recommend it.

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

This book was brilliant, I loved it and feel sure that it will be one of my favourite books of the year! I’ve already reviewed this so you can find my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

I listened to this book on Scribd too and enjoyed it. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations but it was a good read and I’m glad I read it.

White Lies by Lucy Dawson

This was a recent Audible purchase and it was a fast-paced listen that kept me gripped all the way through.

 

Next

Sleep by C. L. Taylor

This book has been calling to me from my TBR and so it’s definitely next up in my reading plans.

Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow

I’m on the blog tour for this book next month so I’m keen to start reading it this week to give me time to read it. My eyes are really slowing down my reading of physical and ebooks these days.

Between the Regions of Kindness by Alice Jolly

I just received a copy of this last week but I’m so keen to read it, hopefully I’ll be able to make a start on it in the coming days.

Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

I’ve been so excited to read this book by the lovely Kim and hope to be able to get to it in the week ahead.

 


 

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: The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby | @novelcarolyn @noexitpress @annecater #randomthingstours

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About the Book

Cora was born in a prison. But is this where she belongs?

Birmingham, 1885.

Born in a gaol and raised in a workhouse, Cora Burns has always struggled to control the violence inside her.

Haunted by memories of a terrible crime, she seeks a new life working as a servant in the house of scientist Thomas Jerwood.

Here, Cora befriends a young girl, Violet, who seems to be the subject of a living experiment. But is Jerwood also secretly studying Cora…?

 

My Thoughts

The Conviction of Cora Burns follows Cora in late 1800s Birmingham as she tries to find her place in the world. She’s just been let out of prison and has been offered a position as a housemaid in the home of Thomas Jerwood but she is haunted by memories of her past, and is desperately seeking answers.

Cora is born in prison, then raised in the workhouse. She has a forceful personality and struggles to reign herself in. While at the workhouse Alice Salt comes into her life and this friendship greatly impacts Cora. Later the girls become separated and something happens that leads to Cora being imprisoned.  The novel begins with Cora being released but then goes back and forth in time between then and a few years earlier when she was a child. Interspersed with those chapters are journal entries from Jerwood about his scientific studies, and occasional reports from a doctor who is using hypnosis to try and get a mute woman to speak again.

This novel was set in the late 1800s and this comes through so vividly. The sense of time and place was so richly drawn, I could envisage the streets and the prison, the homes of the wealthy and the slums. It’s all so beautifully described and woven through the rest of the plot.

This is very much a novel looking at nature versus nurture and I found this fascinating.  I really enjoyed the scientific excerpts throughout this novel. I did a sociology module at college years ago and read about Lombroso’s work on how to identify criminals  by their facial features so it was interesting to see this being referred to in this novel. I often wonder about how people come to do evil things – are they born that way or made that way? Looking at this through Cora’s life was brilliant because she’s such an interesting character and while she has done awful things, and she’s not always likeable, there is something about her that made me want her to find answers and to get her life together. I couldn’t help but have sympathy for her, even though I couldn’t condone all of her actions.

I don’t read many historical novels as I always think I don’t enjoy them but this book was an incredible read! I was engrossed from the opening chapter and I got completely lost in the novel. I loved the way it was written in two timelines and with scientific documents interspersed – I was engrossed in every aspect of the story and I just couldn’t stop reading once I started! I adored this book and keep finding myself thinking about it ever since I finished reading it. I feel sure that this will be one of my favourite books of the year so I highly recommend it!

Many thanks to No Exit Press for my copy of this book and to Anne of Random Things Tours for the blog tour invitation. All thoughts are my own.

The Conviction of Cora Burns is out now and available here.

About the Author

Originally from Sunderland, Carolyn Kirby studied history at St Hilda’s College, Oxford before working in social housing and then as a teacher of English as a foreign language.

Her debut novel, The Conviction of Cora Burns, (previously titled Half of You) was begun in 2013 on a writing course at Faber Academy in London. The novel has achieved success in several competitions including as finalist in the 2017 Mslexia Novel Competition and as winner of the inaugural Bluepencilagency Award.

Carolyn has two grown-up daughters and lives with her husband in rural Oxfordshire.

 

 

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

CURRENT Cora Burns BT Poster

Stacking the Shelves with a Book Haul (23 Mar 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!

 

Books I Bought This Week

In Pieces by Sally Field

I already have a copy of this book but when I saw the audio book on the daily deal on Audible this week I snapped it up. Audio books are my main way of reading just now with my eyes being such a pain so I’m glad to have this version of the book.

The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton

I got this book on a daily deal on Audible this week too. I haven’t read anything by this author before but I love the sound of this book so am looking forward to listening to this.

 

Books I Borrowed This Week

The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages so when I got a free trial of Scribd I immediately downloaded this book to listen to. I actually finished listening to it yesterday and I enjoyed it but it didn’t quite live up to my hopes for it.

It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany

I’ve also wanted to read this book for ages so downloaded this on Scribd and am listening to it now. It’s such a good read, really interesting.

 

ARCS I Was Sent This Week

Something To Live For by Richard Roper

I was thrilled to receive a copy of this book this week as it’s one I’ve been keen to read.

Between the Regions of Kindness by Alice Jolly

I’m going to be on the blog tour for this book next month so am delighted to have my copy of it arrive this week. I think I’ll start this one soon (eyes permitting) as I’ve been really 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: Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward | @_Annie_Ward @QuercusBooks #BeautifulBad

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About the Book

Maddie and Ian’s romance began with a chance encounter at a party overseas; he was serving in the British army and she was a travel writer visiting her best friend, Jo. Now almost two decades later, married with a beautiful son, Charlie, they are living the perfect suburban life in Middle America. But when a camping accident leaves Maddie badly scarred, she begins attending writing therapy, where she gradually reveals her fears about Ian’s PTSD; her concerns for the safety of their young son, Charlie; and the couple’s tangled and tumultuous past with Jo.

From the Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and finally to an ordinary family home in Kansas, sixteen years of love and fear, adventure and suspicion culminate in The Day of the Killing, when a frantic 911 call summons the police to the scene of a shocking crime.

 

My Thoughts

Beautiful Bad is the story of Maddie, a woman who met her husband when they both worked overseas and now they’re living in middle America with their young son Charlie. After an accident while camping Maddie seeks therapy and starts to explore her concerns about her husband. Slowly she reveals the story of their marriage.

This novel opens with a bang as a 911 call leads to detectives entering a house and finding blood and what looks like the aftermath of a struggle! The book then goes back and forth in time as we find out more about Maddie, Ian and Maddie’s best friend Jo; alongside short chapters showing what’s happening in the house as the police investigate.

From the moment I started reading this novel I just couldn’t put it down until I found out how it was all going to end. It grabs you from the beginning and the way it’s written moving back and forth in time means it’s near impossible to stop reading!

I didn’t really like any of the characters in this novel, they all have things about them that made me wonder if they had secrets or were as they appeared to be. I loved that about the novel though, it’s fascinating to read about people I don’t really like as I get an insight into what makes other people tick!

Beautiful Bad opens with a shocking scene and gradually fills in the back story until we’re back in the house and we find out what happened. I loved the reveals as they came, each one left me stunned and re-thinking what I’d previously thought was going on. Ultimately, I did have an idea how it might end and I was right… sort of! I say that because there was more to the reveal than I was ever expecting, and then the final chapter of the novel had me reeling, I didn’t see that part coming at all. I love when a book has shocks in store and this book definitely kept me on my toes! I highly recommend Beautiful Bad!

Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book and for the invitation to be part of the social media splash. All thoughts are my own.

Beautiful Bad is out today and available here!

 

About the Author

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Annie Ward has a BA in English Lit from UCLA and a MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute. Her first short screenplay, Strange Habit, starred Adam Scott and won awards at Aspen and Sundance Film Festivals. Ward lives in Kansas with her two sons and husband, who she met in the Balkans.

 

 

You can find the rest of this social media tour at the following blogs and instagram pages below:

Beautiful Bad social media tour poster

 

This Week in Books (20 Mar 2019)! What are you reading?

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 Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian

I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I first heard about it so I was thrilled when I discovered it on audio during my current free trial of Scribd! I’m very much enjoying this and am intrigued to find out where it’s going.

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

I’ve only read a couple of chapters of this so far as my eyes are struggling again but I loved what I’ve read and can’t wait to read more.

White Lies by Lucy Dawson

This is another audio book that I’m mid-way through and I’m enjoying it. There are lots of lies happening and now I’m keen to find out what the truth of the matter is!

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

This is my current kindle book so I’m reading it with the font huge to try and help my eyes. I’ve only managed one chapter this week but I’m back engrossed in this book and am keen to read more.

 

Then

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

I knew I was going to love this book but it was even more brilliant than I was expecting it. My mind is spinning at the moment as I only finished it shortly before putting this post together but I definitely recommend it. I hope to review this one soon… once I get my thoughts in order.

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

I’ve shamefully had this on my NG shelf for almost a year unread but when I spotted the audio book on Scribd I decided to half listen and half read. I really enjoyed this novel, it’s one that is staying in my mind. This was my first book by this author but it definitely won’t be the last.

Goodnight Malaysian 370: The Truth Behind The Loss of Flight MH370 by Ewan Wilson

This was an interesting read that I got as part of my free trial of kindle unlimited.

 

Next

The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt

I’m really keen to read this book, it sounds like it might be just the thing to give me some of my confidence back to read more poetry.

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

This book has been calling to me ever since it arrived a week or so ago and I just can’t wait any longer to read it. Eyes permitting it’s top of my list for the coming days!

Sleep by C. L. Taylor

I’ve been so eager to read this one too so it’s a definite for this week!

Chickens Eat Pasta by Clare Pedrick

This is an audio book that I’ve been sent to listen to for a forthcoming blog tour so I think now will be the perfect time.


 

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 New Book Haul (16 Mar 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!

 

Books I Bought This week

After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry

I’ve been wanting to read this book for absolutely ages so I finally treated myself to it with part of my birthday book voucher. I started reading it yesterday and it’s really hard going in places but it’s so well written. It’s a non-fiction book about the murder of the author’s mother.

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

This has also been on my wish list ever since it was published so when I spotted it on kindle for 99p yesterday I snapped it up. I think this is a book I’ll want to own in physical format but I like having it on kindle too.

The Case of Mary Bell by Gitta Sereny

This is another book that I’ve been intrigued by for a while and finally bought it this week. I’ll need to be in the right frame of mind to read this one but I hope to get to it soon.

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

I haven’t read any Diane Chamberlain for absolutely ages but this new one really appeals to me so I grabbed a copy. I don’t think I’ll be long getting to this one.

Operation Lighthouse by Luke Hart and Ryan Hart

I can’t remember where I read an excellent review of this book fairly recently but the title stuck in my head and when I saw it on the kindle daily deal yesterday I snapped it up.

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields

This is a recent audio book purchase from Audible. It was on a daily deal as I already have the second and third in the series on my TBR it seemed perfect timing to grab the first one. I can’t wait to get started on this series!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

This was another Audible daily deal purchase. I’ve enjoyed other Kate Morton books on audio so I’m really looking forward to this one.

 

Books I Borrowed This Week

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Hold My Hand by M. J. Ford

I borrowed the audio book of this from my audio book subscription service after reading Meggy’s fab review of the second book in the series. I’ve already listened to this whole book and I loved it so I plan on borrowing the second book very soon!

 

ARCS I Received This Week

The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon

I was so excited to open a package yesterday and find The Ringmaster inside! I read and reviewed the first book in this series last year and it was brilliant. I can’t wait to read this next installment!

Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

This book also arrived yesterday and I squealed when I saw it! I’m a massive fan of Louise Beech’s writing and have been eagerly anticipating this book. I’ll be reading this one very, very soon!

 


 

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: Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross | @dfr10 @orendabooks #HeadyHeights

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About the Book

Welcome to the Heady Heights

It’s the year punk rock was born, Concorde entered commercial service and a tiny Romanian gymnast changed the sport forever.

Archie Blunt is a man with big ideas. He just needs a break for them to be realised. In a bizarre brush with the light-entertainment business, Archie unwittingly saves the life of the UK’s top showbiz star, Hank ‘Heady’ Hendricks’, and now dreams of hitting the big-time as a Popular Music Impresario. Seizing the initiative, he creates a new singing group with five unruly working-class kids from Glasgow’s East End. Together, they make the finals of a televised Saturday-night talent show, and before they know it, fame and fortune beckon for Archie and The High Five. But there’s a complication; a trail of irate Glaswegian bookies, corrupt politicians and a determined Scottish WPC known as The Tank are all on his tail…

 

My Thoughts

I’ll be honest in starting this review and say that I don’t really know where to start with describing Welcome to the Heady Heights as it was so unlike anything I’ve read before but I can say that I absolutely loved it!

The novel follows Archie Blunt as he seems to go from one lot of trouble to another. He’s trying to look after his dad but he loses his job as a bus conductor and gets on the wrong side of people that he really shouldn’t have annoyed. The only thing that keeps him from being in serious trouble with some people is that he knows where the metaphorical bodies are buried. He’s not always the most likeable character and yet you can’t help rooting for him to succeed in life.

Archie finds a new job and discovers he’s to be a driver to Hank ‘Heady’ Hendricks. This leads to him unwittingly saving his life and finding himself in the position of being able to ask a favour. This then leads to Archie trying to put a band together to perform on Heady’s TV talent show and chaos ensues! I loved the process of Archie finding the members of his band and trying his struggle to get them to behave. The group trying to chose a name was so funny, it had me properly laughing to myself as I was reading it!

Glasgow is like a character in its own right throughout this novel. I’ve never been there but I could visualise it all so clearly and now feel like I know it so well. The use of Scottish dialect throughout the novel is also brilliant. I found myself reading the whole novel (not just speech) in a Scottish accent.

Welcome to the Heady Heights really does capture a point in time – when life was hard, people were struggling and women were still second-class citizens. The beauty in the novel is how it shows all sides of life. I felt so sorry for Barbara, the WPC, who is treated like a scivvy by her male colleagues, even the ones of similar rank but she is determined that she will achieve things within her career. No one makes it easy for her but she keeps going.

I loved how this book was set in the 70s and yet it felt like it was also gently mocking the modern era of reality TV and how it’s ended up being so fake and staged. It also made for uncomfortable reading at times as we see a group of men who all have their seedy secrets, some of those secrets being very disturbing and way worse than just seedy. These men aren’t named but the descriptions of the ones who aren’t main players in the novel are definitely recognisable. This is so much more of a commentary on how society has ended up where it is now than I was expecting but it made for such a fascinating read.

This is a novel that feels impossible to define but it’s utterly brilliant. It’s gritty and disturbing, it’s funny and poignant and just so readable! I found this hard to put down because I just couldn’t see how it was all going to turn out for Archie and I was desperate to find out! This is definitely an author I want to read more of and I’ve already bought a couple of his other books and I can’t wait to read them! I highly recommend Welcome to the Heady Heights!

Many thanks to Orenda Books for my copy of this book and the invitation to be on this blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

Welcome to the Heady Heights is due to be published on 21 March and available to pre-order here.

 

About the Author

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David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964 and has lived in Kilmarnock for over 30 years. He is a graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, an architect by day, and a hilarious social media commentator, author and enabler by night. His debut novel The Last Days of Disco was shortlisted for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award, and received exceptional critical acclaim, as did the other two books in the Disco Days Trilogy: The Rise & Fall of the Miraculous Vespas and The Man Who Loved Islands. David lives in Ayrshire.

 

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

heady heights blog poster 2019

This Week in Books (13 Mar 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 Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts

I’ve been wanting to read this for absolutely ages and I finally started it last night. I’m already gripped and can’t wait to read more!

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

I started reading this after watching the Netflix series based on it but then I found I just wasn’t in the mood for it so put it to one side. I do want to finish it though so I’ve picked it back up in the last couple of days.

Goodnight Malaysian 370: The Truth Behind The Loss of Flight MH370 by Ewan Wilson

I got this on my Kindle Unlimited trial and it’s an interesting read so far.

 

Then

Not Fade Away: The Life and Music of Buddy Holly by John Gribbin

I finished reading this book yesterday and it was such a good read. It’s a short book but covers Buddy Holly’s career – I very much enjoyed it.

Hold My Hand by M.J. Ford

This has predominantly been a week of audio books due to headaches and sore eyes (although my head is better than it was). I picked this one after reading Meggy at Chocenwaffles fabulous review of the second book in the series. I have the second book lined up and plan on reading it soon as I loved this first book!

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

I was sent an ARC of this but I bought the audio book so I could listen to it and I very much enjoyed it. This is one of those really addictive books that it’s impossible to put down. I’ll be reviewing this for the blog tour later this month but in the meantime I recommend it.

The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath

I really enjoyed the author’s previous novel but this one was even better. I was gripped from start to finish! I will try and review this book really soon.

Entanglement by Katy Mahmood

I had a copy of this from NetGalley but due to my eyes I sought out the audio book on my subscription service. I really enjoyed listening to this, it was am engrossing read that made me think. I loved it!

Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross

This was such a different read to what I normally read but it was so good! I found it hard to put down. My review is up today so you can check that out if you want to know more!

Past Life by Dominic Nolan

This book was utterly brilliant, I loved it. I’ve already reviewed it so you can see my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

 

Next

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

I didn’t manage to start this over the weekend as I hoped but it’s top of my list for the next couple of days.

Sleep by C. L. Taylor

This book has been calling to me ever since I was sent a copy and I think this week is going to be the week. I can’t wait!

On My Life by Angela Clarke

I love Angela Clarke’s writing so am really keen to read this standalone. Hopefully I’ll be able to get to it 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: Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie | @alisonbailliex @Bloodhoundbook

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About the Book

More than thirty years after thirteen-year-old Shona McIver was raped and murdered in Portobello, the seaside suburb of Edinburgh, the crime still casts a shadow over the lives of her brother Tom and her best friend Sarah.

When modern DNA evidence reveals that the wrong man was convicted of the crime, the case is reopened. So who did kill Shona?

Soon Sarah and Tom find themselves caught up in the search for Shona’s murderer, and everyone is a suspect.

The foundations of Sarah’s perfect family life begin to crumble as she realises that nothing is as it appears.

 

My Thoughts

Sewing the Shadows Together is about Tom, whose younger sister Shona was raped and murdered when they were teenagers. He still carries the guilt of not being there to protect her and it haunts him in the present day many years later. Sarah was Shona’s best friend and she is also still haunted by the loss. Tom and Shona meet again at a school reunion and while Tom is back in Edinburgh they find out the man convicted of killing Shona has been cleared with modern DNA techniques.

This novel is set in the present day but those chapters are interspersed with recollections from the past in the lead up to, and aftermath of, Shona’s murder. I loved the story being told in this way as I wanted to see how everything would connect up. I had my suspicions about who had really killed Shona, and while I can sort of claim that I guessed right I would really be fibbing a little bit as I suspected a lot of the people in this book!

Tom is such a great character. His life has clearly been hugely affected by the death of his sister. He’s lost his ambition to achieve big things in life and instead has been floating along aimlessly seeing what happens. It definitely felt like his life would have been so different had his sister not died. I really felt for him because losing someone young, when you’re also still young, is profoundly affecting and it changes you. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to lose someone in such a horrific and traumatic way though.

I also really liked Sarah. I did feel that she is something of a doormat within her family – she puts up with a distracted husband, a domineering mother, and is somehow not up to speed with what is happening in her (grown up) children’s lives. She is always doing her best though and she really does care. I can see how she ended up as she is, it’s that juggling act of trying to keep everyone happy and it so often being at the expense of yourself. I was rooting for her and hoping that she would find some happiness for herself.

Apart from Tom and Sarah I didn’t particularly like anyone in this novel but I do so enjoy reading about unlikeable characters. It worked so well in this book as it gave a lot of potential suspects. Everyone in the novel is well-rounded and there is a complexity to the characters – no one seemed all bad or all good and so it made it harder to figure out whodunnit.

Ultimately, Sewing the Shadows Together is a brilliant crime novel. It has a depth to it and while the solving the crime is the central plot there are other things going on that add interest and make this book near impossible to put down! I bought this book when it was first published but didn’t read it until recently and I’m really kicking myself for leaving it so long. It is such a brilliant debut and I’ll definitely be looking out for more of Alison Baillie’s novels in the future!

Sewing the Shadows Together is gripping, engrossing and an all-round brilliant read! I highly recommend it!

I purchased my copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.

Sewing the Shadows Together is out on 12 March and available here.

 

About the Author

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Alison Baillie was born in Scarborough of Scottish parents and lived in County Durham, Somerset and the Yorkshire Dales before going to university in Scotland. She then taught English in several Edinburgh secondary schools before moving to Switzerland where she still lives now. She’s taught English as a Foreign Language in Finland and Switzerland.

When she stopped teaching full-time, she fulfilled a life-time ambition and wrote Sewing the Shadows Together, a psychological suspense novel inspired in part by events when she was teaching in Scotland. She is fascinated by the way we are influenced by the events of our past and has now written a second novel, A Fractured Winter, set in Switzerland, Scotland and Yorkshire.

She has two sons and three grandchildren and is proud of their international roots, having a mixture of Scottish, Swiss, Polish and Finnish heritage. As well as spending time with them, she loves travelling, walking in the mountains and by the sea, reading and writing.

 

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

Sewing the Shadows Blog Blitz

Book Review: Past Life by Dominic Nolan | @NolanDom @headlinepg @annecater #RandomThingsTours #PastLife

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About the Book

Waking up beside the dead girl, she couldn’t remember anything.
Who she was. Who had taken her. How to escape.

Detective Abigail Boone has been missing for four days when she is finally found, confused and broken. Suffering retrograde amnesia, she is a stranger to her despairing husband and bewildered son.

Hopelessly lost in her own life, with no leads on her abduction, Boone’s only instinct is to revisit the case she was investigating when she vanished: the baffling disappearance of a young woman, Sarah Still.

Defying her family and the police, Boone obsessively follows a deadly trail to the darkest edges of human cruelty. But even if she finds Sarah, will Boone ever be the same again?

 

My Thoughts

Past Life is about Abigail Boone who is suffering from amnesia following a traumatic incident where she was abducted and held for days before being found. Doctors haven’t been able to treat her memory loss so now she’s just trying to pick up the pieces of her life and to move on as best she can. She’s lost her career in the police, and her relationship with her husband and son is floundering as she has no memories of either of them. Boone decides that the best thing she can do to find herself is to get back to trying to find the young woman she was searching for at the time she herself went missing.

Abigail Boone is such a brilliant character. She has her flaws – she’s stubborn, she doesn’t listen to advice and she throws herself into situations without really considering the consequences but I loved her fierce determination! She tries so hard but can’t seem to find a way through to her past and so focuses on the here and now and what she can do. I really admired this trait.

‘Identity can be proved with papers, but how do you prove self? How do you measure a person, seek evidence of what they might be? Only in the past, Boone concluded, and in that thing constructed by the past that we call a mind.’

Boone is trying to find Sarah Still, who has been missing for a long time now but Boone feels sure that she was on the right track to finding Sarah before she was attacked. This leads Boone to meet Roo, the woman she was held with, and I adored the relationship that grew between these two women. They are so different to each other and there is something of a language barrier at times but the way they overcame this and developed a respect for each other was so great to read about. The friendship they have, along with Boone’s friendship with Tess (a woman Boone helped while still in the police force and has kept in touch with), were the anchors that Boone needed in a time where she no longer connected with the people she was close to before.

I felt that Boone’s stubborn need to find Sarah, rather than being home and trying to connect with her family, perhaps came from the fact she now knows what it is to be missing. Boone is there but she’s not there; she doesn’t know who she was before and the only reference points she has are what other people have told her. Sarah is physically missing from her life but the person she left behind wants her back as much as Boone’s husband Jack and son Quin want Boone back.

This is a gritty novel, and it’s very dark in places but it’s so believable and it’s very well written. There is an air of melancholy that runs through the novel but it never feels depressing. The brilliant Boone, along with Tess and Roo, keep you hooked and I felt like I was right along with them throughout this story. I so badly wanted all of them to come out of it and be okay.

Past Life is such a brilliant and gripping crime thriller but it’s also an excellent exploration into what makes a person who they are. What is left to cling to when you’ve lost who you are, or when you’ve lost the person you love. There is so much depth in this book, and there were moments that felt so profound to me that I had to put it down for a few moments just to process what I was reading. My disability took my physical abilities from me so while I still know who I am, I can’t be who I was before so I felt something of an affinity with Boone. This book came to mean such a lot to me and I know it’s one that will stay with me. It’s very rare for me to connect so much to a crime thriller but Past Life is something special.

This is one of those really compelling books that you just can’t put down – I simply had to know how it was all going to turn out for Boone! She’s such a real, authentic character that I felt bereft when I turned the last page of this book. I still keep thinking about her and wondering how she’s getting on. This is a book that I won’t forget and I think Past Life may well make my best books of the year come the end of December! It’s gritty and gripping, thrilling and very difficult to put down… plus Boone will steal your heart! I highly recommend this book!

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

Past Life is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Dominic Nolan Author Picture

Dominic Nolan was born and raised in north London. PAST LIFE is his first novel.

 

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

Past Life Blog Tour Poster

Book Review: Are You The F**king Doctor? by Dr. Liam Farrell | @drlfarrell @annecater #RandomThingsTours #IrishMed

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About the Book

‘General practice is the great unknown. We stand on the cusp of the beyond. Science takes us only so far, then the maps stop in the grey areas of intuition, imagination and feelings: here be dragons. Lurching from heart-breaking tragedy to high farce, we are the Renaissance men and women of medicine; our art is intangible. Anything can walk through our door…’

Family doctor, Irishman, musician, award-winning author, anarchist and recovering morphine addict, Liam became a columnist for the BMJ in 1994. He went on to write for many major publications, winning a series of prestigious awards; in 2005, he was the first doctor to win Columnist of the Year in the Periodical Publishers Association awards.

The book contains a selection of Liam’s best work, from his columns, blogs and short stories.Brilliantly funny, glittering with literary allusion and darkly wicked humour, this book is much more than a collection of stand-alone anecdotes and whimsical reflections, rather a compelling chronicle of the daily struggles – and personal costs – of a doctor at the coalface.

 

My Thoughts

Are You The F**king Doctor? is a collection of Dr Liam Farrell’s columns and blog posts from over a period of many years. The collection is comprised of the humorous and the moving, along with some short stories inspired by his experiences as a GP.

The opening of this book was unexpected as Farrell writes very openly and honestly about his becoming addicted to morphine, and his subsequent journey to getting off it. It initially seemed a little odd to me to open the book with this story but actually it was great to see such honesty right from the beginning and to have a real insight into the man behind the following chapters. As I got further into the book it felt that knowing the author’s own medical struggles meant I warmed to him as he wrote about his patients, especially the ones that somewhat tried his patience at times!

I loved the way that this book was full of humour and the way that Farrell uses humour to get his point across to his readers. The repeated references to the over-use of antibiotics, and to patients who seek antibiotics for every ailment they suffer from made a strong point, but it’s done in such a tongue-in-cheek way that it didn’t feel like being lectured to.

The pressures of being a GP are apparent throughout this book. It must be so frustrating to have such a short time for consultations and then to have that compounded by some worried well patients bringing a long list with them, while there are other patients that really do need more time and it just isn’t there. There is a piece that shows just how hard it is being a junior doctor in a hospital when Farrell was on duty in one department and called for a consult from another department. In a roundabout way he was told that he was doing both of those roles and to get on with it. The piece is written in a humorous way but it really did bring me up short to think of working under those pressures.

One of my favourite recollections in the book was the reference to his elderly aunt, who was rather difficult, and the Wii! I completely agree with the idea of putting Wiis in all old people’s homes – they are wonderful for giving people a fun way to gain better balance and strength. There is also an amusing moment when a patient reveals her new baby daughter’s name. It seems she’s unknowingly named her after a medication (although her husband may well have known)! This whole post made me giggle to myself!

I wasn’t expecting so many literary references when I started this book but I very much appreciated them. Many of the references I knew of but others I didn’t and it sent me off looking into them – it’s always brilliant when a book leads you to seek out further learning and insight.

Dr Liam Farrell really shows the other side of medicine – it gives such an insight for patients into what doctors have to deal with on a daily basis. This is such an engaging read and has something in it for everyone to enjoy and get something out of. It’s so honest, very amusing and downright brilliant! I definitely recommend it!

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

Are You The F**king Doctor? is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Dr-Liam-Farrell

Dr Liam Farrell is from Rostrevor, Co Down, Ireland. He was a family doctor in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, for 20 years, and is an award-winning writer and a seasoned broadcaster. He is married to Brid, and has three children Jack, Katie, and Grace.

He was a columnist for the British Medical Journal for 20 years and currently writes for GP, the leading newspaper for general practitioners in the UK. He has also been a columnist for the Lancet, the Journal of General Practice, the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish News. He wrote the entry on ‘Sex’ for The Oxford Companion to the Body.

On Twitter he curates #Irishmed, a weekly tweetchat on all things medical, which has a global following. He also co-curates #WritersWise, a regular tweetchat for writers, with novelist Sharon Thompson.
He was the medical columnist for the BBC Radio Ulster Evening Extra 1996-98; presented the series Health-Check for Ulster TV in 2002, and was medical consultant for both series of Country Practice in 2000 and 2002 for BBC Northern Ireland.

His awards include Columnist of the Year at Irish Medical Media Awards 2003, Periodical Publishers Association of Great Britain 2006 and Medical Journalist’s Society, London 2011, and Advancing Health through Media at the Zenith Global Healthcare Awards 2018.He was shortlisted for the Michael McLaverty Short Story Competition in 2008.

 

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

Doctor Blog Tour Poster

Stacking the Shelves with a new book haul (9 Mar 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!

 

Books I Bought This week

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

I’m going to be reading this book over the weekend (all being well) and am really looking forward to it. I got a copy as part of an online book group and can’t wait to take part.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’ve heard so many great things about this book so couldn’t resist buying it on a kindle deal this week. I’m going to buy the audible version as well so that I can listen to it.

 

ARCS I Received This Week

The Furies by Katie Lowe

I’ve been so keen to read this book so I’m thrilled to have a copy on my TBR. I don’t think this will be waiting long to be read!

The Blame Game by C. J. Cooke

I love C.J. Cooke’s writing and so am thrilled to have a copy of her latest book to read. I’m definitely going to be reading this one soon!

Baxter’s Requiem by Matthew Crow

This book sounds so good, so I couldn’t resist signing up to the blog tour to review this one. I’ve already read the opening pages and I know I’m going to love this one.

Amazing Grace by Kim Nash

I’m so excited to have a copy of the wonderful Kim Nash’s debut novel to read!

Entanglement by Katy Mahmood

I got a copy of this one on NG this week and then spotted the audio book on my subscription service so part listened and part read it. I very much enjoyed it and hope to have a review posted on here very soon!

 


 

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: Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff | @SarahDavisGoff @TinderPress @AnneCater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

Raised by her mother and Maeve on Slanbeg, an island off the west coast of Ireland, Orpen has a childhood of love and stories by the fireside. But the stories grow darker, and the training begins. Ireland has been devoured by a ravening menace known as the skrake, and though Slanbeg is safe for now, the women must always be ready to run, or to fight.

When Maeve is bitten, Orpen is faced with a dilemma: kill Maeve before her transformation is complete, or try to get help. So Orpen sets off, with Maeve in a wheelbarrow and her dog at her side, in the hope of finding other survivors, and a cure. It is a journey that will test Orpen to her limits, on which she will learn who she really is, who she really loves, and how to imagine a future in a world that ended before she was born.

 

My Thoughts

Last Ones Left Alive is the story of Orpen as she seeks to find a way to survive in the dystopian world she now lives in. She had been somewhat sheltered and protected from the skrake by her mother. Maeve made sure that Orpen knows how to fight, how to survive but Orpen has never had a need to put what she’s learnt into practice until now. Maeve has been bitten and Orpen has had to leave the safety of the only home she’s ever known and risk what is out there in the wider world.

This isn’t my usual kind of read but I absolutely loved it. Orpen is such a great character – she is so feisty and tenacious and I was rooting for her all the way through the book. She is so determined to survive and to find a way to thrive in this new world.

This novel is really bleak a lot of the time but never depressing because of Orpen’s strength. The dystopian landscape of Slanbeg is devastating, nothing is as it was before, and the fear of the mysterious skrake is ever present. I found the monstrous creatures terrifying, it certainly kept me on the edge of my seat whenever Orpen had to stop and rest for a while. Orpen has learnt how to kill though and she is fearless in her fight to survive, she will do whatever it takes to save herself.

Orpen is ultimately trying to find Phoenix City; she has heard her mum and Maeve whispering about it, and she’s read about it in snippets of papers she’s found when looking for food. This takes on an almost mythical feel in the book as Orpen struggles to find any reference on the road to this place.  The sense of isolation and loneliness, and also the frustration she feels at seemingly being so close and yet so far from her where she wants to get to is tangible.

I really connected with Orpen over the loss of her mother; it’s an awful thing to lose your mum, especially when you’re young. I did feel like there were parallels to the grieving process in the battle with the very real skrake. The way you can never feel okay when grief is still so raw because the moment you relax it hits you again with full force. Eventually you have to find peace with the loss and accept that you can’t have the person back, you have to learn to live without them. It felt as if Orpen’s journey was mirroring this experience and she was growing stronger and coping better as time moved on.

I loved the exploration of humanity throughout Last Ones Left Alive. Maeve has done what she can to teach Orpen how to survive – she’s taught her how to kill the Skrake and made sure she has skills in finding food and shelter but no one has taught Orpen about what it is to be truly alone, and how to hold on to who she is in the midst of being on her own. She becomes quite brittle and fierce in her approach to potentially meeting other survivors, it’s as if she’s forgotten how to build relationships. Some of it is the all-consuming focus on the basic need to survive but I think part of it is that she has learnt how to protect herself so well that she no longer knows how to let people in. I was rooting for her to survive but also to get to a place where she could find some happiness and peace.

Last Ones Left Alive is a book about the inherent desire to survive, but also to thrive in the environment we find ourselves in. It’s brutal and heartbreaking at times but it’s also beautiful and impossible to put down! I highly recommend this one!

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

Last Ones Left Alive is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Sarah Davis Goff

Sarah Davis-Goff was born and raised in Ireland. After going to college in the US and UK, she eventually returned, and now lives in Dublin. Last Ones Left Alive is her debut novel.

 

 

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

Last Ones Left Alive BT Poster

This Week in Books (6 Mar 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

Entanglement by Katy Mahmood

I’ve heard so many good things about this novel that I just couldn’t resist picking up a copy. I’m struggling to read off the page at the moment so I’m not listening to the audio book and I’m very much enjoying it.

Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross

This book is different to what I was expecting it to be but I’m loving it! It’s such a good read and if it wasn’t for my eye problems and horrible headaches I’m sure I’d have read this in one sitting.

Past Life by Dominic Nolan

This book is also brilliant and I’m sad that I’m struggling to read at the moment because I think this would have been a one or two sitting book. None-the-less I’m loving it and am so intrigued about where it’s going.

Not Fade Away: The Life and Music of Buddy Holly by John Gribbin

I haven’t managed to read anymore of this over the last week as it’s a kindle book and screens are not my friend at the moment.

 

Then

Don’t You Cry by Cass Green

I listened to the audio book of this on a whim as I’d enjoyed the author’s previous book. Unfortunately I didn’t love this one. It was an enjoyable enough book to listen to but it was lacking something for me.

Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie

I’ve had this book on my TBR ever since it first came out so I’m kicking myself for not reading it until now as I thought it was brilliant. It was one of those books that’s so hard to put down as the story is so compelling. I definitely recommend this one.

‘Kill The Black One First’ by Michael Fuller

This was a fascinating memoir about the author’s time in the police and how it was for him as a black man at a time of such racial tension. I’d highly recommend this book. Also, the audio book is narrated by the author which really adds to a book for me.

Ordinary People by Diana Evans

I’m mortified to say that I’ve had this on my NetGalley list for months and months but this week I bought the audio book and listened to it over a couple of days. I thought this was such a good read, I was engrossed in the characters’ lives from start to finish.

The Golden Child by Wendy James

This is another book that I’ve had a NG copy of for ages so I bought the audio book of this too and have loved listening to it this week. It was a fast-paced read that also gave me pause for thought. I recommend it!

 

Next

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

I’ve been so keen to get to this ever since a copy arrived at my house and it feels like this week is the time. I feel sure that I’m going to love this one!

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

This is a book that I’ve wanted to read ever since it was first published and I’m just in the mood for it now so hope to get to it in the coming week.

The Point of Poetry by Joe Nutt

I loved studying poetry at uni but these days I’ve lost the habit of reading it as often, and as a result have lost my confidence at analysing and feeling like I fully understand it. So when I was offered an ARC of this book I jumped at the chance and I really can’t wait to read it.

 


 

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: The Bridal Party by J. G. Murray | @JulianGylMurray @CorvusBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheBridalParty

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About the Book

Sometimes friendship can be murder…

It’s the weekend of Clarisse’s bridal party, a trip the girls have all been looking forward to. Then, on the day of their flight, Tamsyn, the maid of honour, suddenly backs out. Upset and confused, they try to make the most of the stunning, isolated seaside house they find themselves in.

But, there is a surprise in store – Tamsyn has organised a murder mystery, a sinister game in which they must discover a killer in their midst. As tensions quickly boil over, it becomes clear to them all that there are some secrets that won’t stay buried…

 

My Thoughts

The Bridal Party is a novel about a group of women going on a weekend away together for a hen party. The group seems quite typical of a hen party where everyone has a relationship with the bride but they don’t all know each other as well as they know Clarisse. One of the hens drops out at the very last minute and all the other women are then going into the unknown as the woman who dropped out is the one who made all the plans. This is such a great set up for the novel and I knew I was going to enjoy it!

The house the women stay in is very isolated and feels quite creepy and unnerving so already there is tension but then they each go their rooms to unpack and the tension really begins to ramp up from there!

The novel is told mainly in the present but there are flashbacks throughout that slowly let you see how these women became friends and what tensions there have been between them in the past. Secrets begin to be unravelled and it gradually catches up with the present. It was brilliant how the past came into play and how the women who’d known each other longest initially stuck together, causing the distrust and uneasiness to further grow. Female friendships can be very like this, although this book is more extreme in how things end up.

The setting of the house is remote and we soon find out that there it has links to a sinister past. It was a creepy enough idea that the house was surrounded by woodland and in the middle of nowhere but finding out its past had me really on edge. I love how the history of the house played a part in the mystery weekend that was planned, and the way this builds as the novel goes on was brilliant!

I loved that this book had genuine surprises. I was expecting this to be similar to other thrillers where a group are effectively trapped in a creepy house together but there was more to it. There is a real sinister feel running through this book, it had me on edge a lot of the time wondering how on earth it was all going work out for the group.

I thought I knew how this book was going to end, and while I worked out some elements, for the most part it took me down a completely different path and I loved that! It’s rare for a book to shock me but this one absolutely did.

The Bridal Party is twisty, tense and gripping… and most importantly it has genuine shocks in store! I definitely recommend this book!

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

The Bridal Party is due to be published on 7th March and can be pre-ordered here.

 

About the Author

J G Murray Author Picture

J G Murray grew up in Cornwall and, after a spell selling chocolates in Brussels, qualified as an English teacher. Murray now lives, teaches and writes in London.

 

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

The Bridal Party Blog Tour Poster

Mini Book Reviews: Love, Fate, Loss and Possession!

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Today I’m sharing some more of my mini book reviews! I seem to be reading way faster than I can review at the moment so this seems a good way to get a few reviews posted before the pile grows any higher!

 

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The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal

I actually read this book late last year but I struggled to get my thoughts down into a coherent review. This is the first novel I’ve read by the author but it definitely won’t be the last. It follows Mona in two timelines: in the present she runs a business selling weighted dolls to help women deal with the loss of their babies, and in the past we see what made Mona the woman she is in the present. There is a lot of heartache in this novel but it’s the resilience that shone through for me. I’ve suffered a miscarriage myself and while I got over it as much as anyone can I still know how old my child would be now. I didn’t talk about it much at the time, I just picked myself up and got on with it. It feels like every woman going through such a loss needs a Mona in their lives. She knows pain too but she channels it into easing other women’s pain. I cried quite a lot reading this book but it was cathartic tears. This novel is such a special book, one I won’t ever forget. If you haven’t already read this novel then I urge you to, it’s beautiful and unforgettable!

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Dear Mrs Bird by A. J. Pearce

This is a gorgeous novel and I enjoyed every minute that I spent reading it. Emmy applies for a job on a newspaper but is shocked to find on her first day that she isn’t going to be a war correspondent but an assistant to the resident agony aunt. She overcomes her disappointment and finds that she wants to help the women who write in. The novel is set during WW2 so there are some sad moments but the novel on the whole is heartwarming and is such a comforting read. If you haven’t already read this then I recommend you grab a copy and read it asap!

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Ivy and Abe by Elizabeth Enfield

I completely and utterly fell in love with this book. I knew from the blurb that it was my kind of book as I have a fascination with the possibility of fate and whether there is a person that we’re destined to meet. Ivy and Abe follows the two protagonists throughout there lives but it’s presented in disconnected chapters where their meeting and the way things pan out for them has a different outcome. The wonderful thing though is that throughout the novel there is a thread that keeps coming up and you see in each story how it might have been different if only something had or hadn’t happened. It’s a beautiful novel and even though I read it right at the beginning of January, it’s still staying with me and I often find myself thinking about Ivy and Abe and wondering how they are, as if they were real people. I adored this novel and I highly recommend it!

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Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey

I have to start by saying that I don’t think describing this book as a thriller helped in my enjoyment of it as I was expecting a thriller – I hadn’t read anything by the author before so I believed I was getting what I told I was getting. However, this book is a thriller with supernatural, borderline-horror elements at times, which is not a genre I like to read. I will say that once I got to understand what I was reading I did come to enjoy it, it definitely had me gripped and it was hard to put down so on reflection I’m glad I (albeit somewhat unwittingly) gave this a go. Liz is struggling as she lives with her abusive husband and is trying to protect her children from seeing the worst of his behaviour. I did love the way Liz and Fran’s life became so entwined and blended, and the way one dominated the other’s personality was fascinating. I was engrossed and this kept me turning the pages as I just couldn’t see how the situation was going to be resolved. The ending was hugely satisfying and I would read more books by this author.

 

Stacking the Shelves with a New Book Haul (2 Mar 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!

 

Books I Bought This week

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin

I’ve been wanting to read this book for such a long time and now I keep seeing the film trailer it’s made me pick it up. I hope to read this very soon.

Scrublands by Chris Hammer

I’ve seen some good reviews of this and so when I spotted it on sale on Kindle this week I snapped it up.

The Next Girl by Carla Kovach

This was an impulse by as I loved the sound of the blurb, and it’s the first in a new series so I’m sold!

Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood

I didn’t love this author’s previous novel but I liked her writing style so have been eager to read this one. It sounds like my kind of book so I’m hoping to get to this one before too long.

One More Lie by Amy Lloyd

I really enjoyed Amy Lloyd’s previous novel (you can read my review for The Innocent Wife here if you’d like to) so have been anticipating this new one. I plan on reading this one very soon.

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

I only started reading Mhairi McFarlane’s novels last year but I loved them so couldn’t resist grabbing a copy of her new one!

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

I haven’t read any of this author’s novels before but they all sound so good. I’m really looking forward to starting this one.

Vulgar Favours: The Assassination of Gianni Versace by Maureen Orth

I’m planning on watching the TV series based on this book soon and I just know that it will make me want to read the book so I pre-empted myself and bought it ready!

Freddie Mercury: The Biography by Laura Jackson

I’ve read so many books about Freddie Mercury but I can never resist buying another one when I spot one.

Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph

I’ve wanted to read this book for so long and decided to treat myself this week with part of my birthday book vouchers. It’s a short book so I plan on getting to it in between review books.

The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

This was my Kindle First pick for February. I left it late to choose a book last month but I’m glad I got this one before the choices changed.

 

ARCS I Received This Week

The Hidden Wife by Amanda Reynolds

This sounds like such an intriguing book so I’m really happy to have an ARC to read soon.

Nobody’s Wife by Laura Pearson

I was delighted to be approved to read this one on NetGalley as it sounds like such an interesting novel.

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton

I actually squealed with delight when my request for this book got approved as I absolutely love Rosamund Lupton’s writing. I’m so excited to read this but it’s not due out until much later in the year so I’m going to try and hold off for a little while.

 

I also received a signed copy of The Joyce Girl by Annabel Abbs, which has a quote in it from my review. It was such a lovely gift to receive and means a lot to me. This book became a favourite of mine after I read it so this new copy is one I will treasure. Click here to read my original review of this book if you’d like to know more about it. Annabel Abbs also wrote a brilliant guest post about mental health for my blog when the book was first published so you can also read that here if you’d like to.

 


 

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.

That Was The Month That Was… February 2019!

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I can’t believe that February is already over… where is 2019 going?!

I got a new MacBook this month and it’s fab. My old MacBook was nearly seven years old and while it was still going okay the screen wasn’t helping my eyes. The Retina display on this new Mac is fabulous and much easier to look at. I’m also finding the new butterly keyboard easier to type on so while I do still use voice software a lot I’m hoping that easier typing might mean I can continue blogging when WordPress forces me to use the update that I’ve so far had to avoid.

I’m mortified to discover that WordPress wasn’t running right on my old MacBook and I now see that I’ve had a lot of lovely comments on my blog over the last few months that I hadn’t seen before. There’s no way I can catch up with them all but I will make sure to read them and will reply where I can manage to. Hopefully things will run smoothly now and I can reply to comments as they arrive. Thanks so much to all of you who’ve commented on any of my posts, I can only apologise for not replying to them.

 

Here are the 21 that books I read in January:

Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami

This was a fab short story that I got for my birthday in January and I loved it. It reminded me why I love Murakami’s writing and has made me want to pick up the novels of his that I so far haven’t read.

The Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton

This was an interesting insight into how criminal psychology came to be used more in modern policing in this country. It’s one man’s story and look back over the cases he’s worked on.

Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox

This was a great read, so fast-paced and twisty. I hope to get a review written and posted before too much longer.

Trauma by Dr. Gordon Turnbull

This book is fascinating and I’m so glad I read it. It’s a look at how PTSD came to be a diagnosis in this country, and how the treatment of the condition has changed over the years. I definitely recommend this one!

East of England by Eamonn Griffin

I loved this book. It was so different to my normal kind of read but I very much enjoyed it. I’ve already reviewed this one so click the book title above if you’d like to know more.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

I part listened and part read this book and I found it so interesting. It’s a doorstop of a book but I seemed to get through it in no time as it’s really engaging.

All the Little Lies by Chris Curran

I loved this book too and as I’ve already reviewed it you can find out more about if you click the title above.

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

This book is brilliant and I already feel sure it’ll be in my best books of this year! I reviewed it this week so click the title above if you’d like to know more.

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

I can’t believe I’d never read this book before as I really enjoy Gaskell’s writing, but better late than never as I loved it.

Manhunt by Colin Sutton

I picked this book after recently watching the TV adaptation. I found it interesting but it wasn’t quite as interesting as I’d hoped it would be.

Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke

This was such a gripping read, I found it hard to put down. Hopefully I’ll get a review posted on here soon.

My Last Lie by Ella Drummond

This was another great read in February! I’ve reviewed this one so click on the title if you want to know more.

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks

I enjoyed this book but it wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped. I spotted all the twists early on but the writing was still great and that’s what kept me reading.

The One by John Marrs

I part read and part listened to this book and it was an okay read. I was expecting a bit more but at the same time I found it hard to put down so it definitely kept me engaged all the way through.

The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan

This was such a good read. I listened to the audio book and it was one of those reads that made me begrudge real life interfering with me book listening time!

The Bridal Party by J. G. Murray

I really enjoyed this book! It was another book that was hard to put down and I love that it all turned out differently than I was expecting.

 

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

This book was so good! It was gripping from start to finish and was also a much more emotional read than I was expecting. I loved it and will definitely review it soon.

Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah David-Goff

This isn’t my usual kind of read but I loved it. It had so much depth to it and made me think, I really enjoyed it.

Are You The F**king Doctor? by Dr. Liam Farrell

This was another good read. It was funny and engaging and witty, I recommend it!

‘Kill The Black One First’ by Michael Fuller

I listened to this on audio and found it so interesting. It was shocking to read of the author’s experiences in the police force as a young black man but inspiring to see how he dealt with it and overcame it. The audio is narrated by the author too, which is always great with a memoir. I definitely recommend this one!

The Golden Child by Wendy James

I’ve had this ARC on my TBR for a few months now and finally picked it up yesterday. I ended up reading the whole book in one sitting, it’s such a good read!

 

January Blog Posts & Reviews:

I blogged 14 times in February which I’m happy with. Only six of those posts were reviews though which I need to improve on as I’m reading a lot and just haven’t been managing to get reviews written and posted. I think my new MacBook will help with that as it’s easier for me to use, and faster. Anyway, here are my blog posts and reviews from February…

That Was The Month That Was… January 2019

Stacking the Shelves (2 Feb)

This Week in Books (6 Feb)

Review of Senseless by Anna Lickley

Review of East of England by Eamonn Griffin

This Week in Books (13 Feb)

Review of All the Little Lies by Chris Curran

Stacking the Shelves (16 Feb)

Review of My Last Lie by Ella Drummond

This Week in Books (20 Feb)

Stacking the Shelves (23 Feb)

Review of Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

This Week in Books (27 Feb)

Review of Waco: A Survivor’s Story by David Thidebeau

 

The state of my TBR:

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Well my TBR has got a little bit out of control during February. My plan to reduce it by 200 books from the total at the start of the year to the total at the end as gone a bit awry. To be on target my TBR should now be down to 2407 owned books but it’s actually at 2482! Oops! In fairness though I am part-way through having a book sort out so I think there will be some books going to the charity shop that I no longer want to read. Other than I just need to keep reading, and perhaps be a bit better at not buying all of the books at once! Haha!

 

 

How was your February? 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 | Waco: A Survivor’s Story by David Thibodeau (with Leon Whiteson and Aviva Layton)

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About the Book

Twenty-five years ago, the FBI staged a deadly raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. Texas. David Thibodeau survived to tell the story.
When he first met the man who called himself David Koresh, David Thibodeau was a drummer in a local a rock band. Though he had never been religious in the slightest, Thibodeau gradually became a follower and moved to the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. He remained there until April 19, 1993, when the compound was stormed and burned to the ground after a 51-day standoff with government authorities.

In this compelling account–now with an updated epilogue that revisits remaining survivors–Thibodeau explores why so many people came to believe that Koresh was divinely inspired. We meet the men, women, and children of Mt. Carmel. We get inside the day-to-day life of the community. We also understand Thibodeau’s brutally honest assessment of the United States government’s actions. The result is a memoir that reads like a thriller, with each page taking us closer to the eventual inferno.

 

My Thoughts

I was delighted when the publicist for Waco: A Survivor’s Story contacted me to ask if I’d like to read this book as I’m fascinated by cults but didn’t know a huge amount about Waco.

Thidobeau is very honest in this book, which I appreciated but it does make for uncomfortable reading at times. The issue of Waco’s leader David Koresh abusing underage girls and the people around him being okay with this at the time is shocking. Thidobeau does explore his own feelings about this later on in the book though and I felt that this was a great insight into how a person can have power over others while they feel they are completely free thinking.

This is a memoir and as such we get the viewpoint of the person writing it so as I don’t know a huge amount about Waco it was hard for me to know how much of what Thidobeau said was absolute fact and how much was what he believed to be true. I know this is the case with all memoirs but I felt it more with this one. Having said that the way the authorities approached dealing with Waco was very shocking to read, it’s beyond me to understand how anyone would think it was okay to approach ending the siege in the way they did especially knowing there were still children inside the buildings.

I really liked that we get Thidobeau’s thoughts on the aftermath of Waco too. He tells of the arrests that were made of the people who survived and what happened to those people, and he talks of his own experiences. I can’t imagine what it must be like to begin to come to terms with what happened within a cult, that was a place that he had really believed in, and to start to re-build a new life.

Overall this book does give a really good insight into how people are drawn into cults like this one, and how they become convinced that what is happening within the the cult is okay and normal. I did find it a really interesting read, and feel I have a better understanding of what happened at Waco.

This is a gripping memoir and one that whilst obviously non-fiction it reads at the pace of a thriller. I read it in two sittings and it was a book I was thinking about in the time when I wasn’t reading it.

All in all I’m really glad that I read this book, and as with all good non-fiction it has made me want to go and read more about Waco in the future.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.

Waco: A Survivor’s Story is out now and available here.

This Week in Books (27 Feb 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

Past Life by Dominic Nolan

I started reading this last night and it grabbed me from the opening chapter. I can’t wait to read more of it!

Sewing the Shadows Together by Alison Baillie

This book is so good. I’ve had it on my Kindle for ages and am now kicking myself for not starting it sooner. I’m really intrigued by the story and can’t wait to see how it’s all going to unfold in the end.

Spare Me The Truth by C. J. Carver

This is a book I’ve had on my TBR for ages but I found the audio book on my subscription so decided to part listen and part read. I think if I’d been reading it I would possibly have put it down but it’s making for a great listen and I’m really enjoying it.

‘Kill The Black One First’ by Michael Fuller

I’ve listened to a couple more chapters of this book over the last week and am finding it such an interesting book.

Not Fade Away: The Life and Music of Buddy Holly by John Gribbin

I’ve also read a couple more chapters of this book over the last few days and am really enjoying it.

 

Then

Are You The F**king Doctor? by Dr. Liam Farrell

I finished reading this yesterday and have really enjoyed reading it this week. It’s a selection of the author’s columns from the BMJ and it makes for such an interesting and engaging read. I’ll be reviewing this one in a couple of weeks for the blog tour but I can recommend it in the meantime.

Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff

This isn’t really my usual kind of read but I was gripped from start to finish. There was so much more depth in this novel than I was expecting and it’s a book that I keep thinking about since finishing it a couple of days ago. I’ll be reviewing this one soon but it’s another book that I definitely recommend.

The Bridal Party by J. G. Murray

This was such a fun read! It was engaging and gripping, and it went a completely different way than I was expecting, which was great!

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

I’ve been so looking forward to reading this book and it didn’t disappoint. It was a much more emotional read than I was expecting and is a book that feels like will stay with me. I hope to get a review of this one written and posted on here very soon.

The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan

I got a chance to read this book on the Pigeonhole app but I just can’t read off a phone screen so I was thrilled to discover the audio book and listened to it instead. It was such a good read and I very much enjoyed it.

The One by John Marrs

This is a book that I’ve had on my TBR ever since it was first published and I finally read it this week. I did enjoy it but it wasn’t quite as wow as I was hoping it would be. It kept me turning the pages though so I would still recommend it if it sounds like your kind of read.

 

Next

Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross

As soon as I read the blurb for this book I was so keen to read it, it sounds like my kind of read. I’ve now been invited to be on the blog tour so I plan on starting it in the coming week, I’m so looking forward to it.

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

I had wanted to read this book over the last week but I didn’t get to it so I’m putting it on my TBR for 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: Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce | @Harriet_Tyce @Wildfirebks @PublicityBooks @AnneCater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.

Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….

 

My Thoughts

I literally squealed with delight when a surprise copy of Blood Orange arrived at my house a couple of months ago. It was one of my most anticipated books for 2019 and I’m so thrilled to say that it was even better than I expected it to be (and I was expecting it to be amazing!).

Blood Orange is about Alison, a barrister who is rising through the ranks of her profession and has just been given her first murder case. She is married with a daughter and it seems she has it all. Alison isn’t happy though – she’s involved in a messy affair and she drinks too much. She wants to have it all but she can’t seem to get it all together.

I went into this novel expecting to dislike Alison but I actually found myself feeling sympathy for her from very early on in the book. She’s a complex character and I could see how she got herself into the situation she was in. She wanted to be ‘one of the boys’ at work so regularly goes out drinking with colleagues to try and further her career but somewhere along the line she lost her ability to say no to one more drink. Her affair is complicated, she doesn’t have control of the situation and the man she’s involved with is very aggressive in his treatment of her and she thinks she likes it.  Alison does have a toughness to her, along with a vulnerable side and I think this is why I felt for her. She’s not a victim, she has a voice and while she doesn’t always speak out when she might, you always know she’s capable of it. All of the characters in this book, Alison included, have traits that are really unlikeable but they’re all flawed in very human, and very believable ways, it made it all the more chilling to read about them.

Alison is working on defending a client for murder and this is her biggest case to date. I found it fascinating to read about Madeleine, the woman accused of murder, and to see the gradual unfolding of what happened and why. There are some parallels between Madeleine and Alison and it left me feeling increasingly unsettled about how easy it is to one day be one person in one situation and the next to have crossed a line that you can’t come back from. The scary thing about this book was the way it all happens in such a way that you can see how it could happen to anyone.

Blood Orange is a prescient novel for the #metoo era. It looks at issues around consent and where the line is between rough sex and rape. Whilst not the main storyline it’s something that does run through the novel and it’s so well done – it makes you think without it taking over the novel. It’s not just within the affair Alison is having, but also who that man is also seeing and within Alison’s marriage. There is a subtle line whereby her husband wants to help and support her but then sometimes he seems really quite cold towards her, it’s clearly complicated and something of a mess.

The novel opens with someone engaging in auto-erotic asphyxiation but we don’t know who the person is. As I was reading I would forget about the prologue and then certain things happened that had my brain ticking over wondering who it was. The ending of this novel was utterly shocking and I genuinely didn’t see it coming. I felt like I was watching a car crash in slow motion and was powerless to look away. It was such a perfect ending and was so fitting for this brilliant novel!

Blood Orange is such a compelling read – I found that I just couldn’t put it down once I started reading. It made me uncomfortable at times but in the way all the best books do, it unsettled me but I couldn’t stop reading for a second (and nor did I want to!). It’s a novel about toxic relationships, and people, and the tangled webs we weave and the way we become so entangled in them that eventually there may well be no way out. There is no doubt in my mind that Blood Orange will be in my best books of 2019, it’s a phenomenal debut and I already can’t wait to read whatever Harriet Tyce writes next! Go buy a copy of this book now, you won’t regret it!

Many thanks to the publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for my copy of this book and the invitation to take part in the blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

Blood Orange is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Harriet Tyce Author Picture

Harriet Tyce is the author of Blood Orange, a psychological thriller due to be published by Wildfire in the UK and Grand Central Publishing in the US in February 2019.  It will also be published in a further eleven countries, including the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Slovakia and Spain.

She grew up in Edinburgh and studied English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University before practising as a criminal barrister for the next decade.  After having children she left the Bar and has recently completed with distinction an MA in Creative Writing – Crime Fiction at the University of East Anglia. Blood Orange is her first novel.

 

You can find the rest of the stops on this tour at the following stops:

Blood Orange Blog Tour Poster

 

A New #BookHaul – Stacking the Shelves (23 Feb 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!

 

Books I Bought This week

Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton

I’ve seen some great reviews for this book, and it has such a gorgeous cover, that I couldn’t resist treating myself with some birthday money this week. I’m really looking forward to getting lost in this book.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

I couldn’t get on with Conversations with Friends at all, I think perhaps I’m just too old for that book but Normal People really appeals to me so I decided to treat myself to a copy. I’m hoping it lives up to the comparisons reviewers are making to other books that I’ve loved!

Educated by Tara Westover

This book has been on my radar for quite a while now so when I spotted it in a kindle deal earlier this week I snapped it up. I hope to get to this one quite soon.

London Triptych by Jonathan Kemp

I bought this book on a whim – I’d not heard of it before I saw it but when I read the blurb I knew I wanted to read it.

The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

This is another book that has been on my radar for a while so when I spotted it in the kindle sale I grabbed it.

This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

I was a big fan of Dawson’s Creek back in the day so this memoir has caught my eye a few times now and I finally decided to buy it!

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Mary’s Household Tips and Tricks by Mary Berry

This was an impulse by in a book sale this week! It appeals to me since I’ve decluttered as I still feel like I need to be better organised in some aspects of my home (mainly my very small kitchen!).

 

Books I Borrowed

‘Kill the Black One First’ by Michael Fuller

I borrowed this on my audio book subscription this week and am listening to it now. It’s a tough listen at times because of the appalling way he was treated at times during his career as a police officer but it’s also a fascinating book. I recommend it.

The Girl Next Door by Phoebe Morgan

I got a copy of this book to read on Pigeonhole but there’s no way I can read on my phone at the