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

 

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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:

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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

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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

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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 moment so I was delighted to find the book on my audio book subscription and I’ve devoured it! It’s such a good read, I definitely recommend it.

 

Books I Received for Review

Welcome to the Heady Heights by David F. Ross

I love the sound of this book so was delighted to be sent a copy, I’ll definitely be reading this one very soon.

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

This book has been on my eagerly anticipated list so I was thrilled to be sent a copy and an invitation to be on the blog tour. I’ll be reading this one in the next week or so, I can’t wait!

I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan

I love this author’s novels so am really happy to have a copy of her new book on my kindle. I don’t think this one will be on my TBR for very long!

The Neighbour by Fiona Cummins

I also love this author’s writing so am really keen to read this book as soon as I can. I adore the cover of it, there’s something very creepy about 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.

This Week in Books (20 Feb 2019)! What Are You Reading This Week?

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

‘Kill The Black One First’ by Michael Fuller

I spotted this on my audio book subscription and it sounded really interesting so I downloaded it. It’s hard to hear the experiences that he had in the early days of becoming a police officer but it’s a good read.

The Bridal Party J. G. Murray

This book is so good! It’s getting creepier by the chapter and I’m so intrigued to find out how it’s all going to end for this group of women!

Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff

This is another great read – I read most of it in one sitting and I’m so looking forward to sitting down and reading the final few chapters and seeing where it’s all going to end up.

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

I haven’t read much more of this over the last week as I’ve been in a fiction mood but I’ll definitely be getting back to this soon as I’m really enjoying it.

Then

My Last Lie by Ella Drummond

I really enjoyed this debut thriller – my review should be up on my blog today so you can find out more in that post if you’d like to.

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks

I listened to this book over a couple of days this week and it was a decent enough read. I love the author’s writing so that kept me listening but I did find the storyline a bit too predictable.

Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke

I was sent an ARC of this and I was so delighted. I’m pleased to say that the novel lived up to my expectations for it and I really enjoyed it. Hopefully I’ll get my review posted soon.

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

I’m a bit ashamed that I’ve never read this book before now but better late than never. I loved this novel, it was such a witty and engaging book and I’m sure I’ll read it again in the future.

Manhunt by Colin Sutton

I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I saw the ITV adaptation of it recently so when I spotted it on my audio book subscription I downloaded it and began listening straight away. This was an interesting look behind the scenes of a murder investigation but it wasn’t as good a read as I’d hoped.

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

This book was incredible! I read it pretty much in one go and keep finding myself thinking about it ever since I finished it. I’ll be reviewing this one next week but I absolutely recommend it.

All The Little Lies by Chris Curran

I’m such a fan of Chris Curran’s reading and this book is her best yet. I loved it! I’ve already reviewed this so you can find out more of what I thought here if you’d like to.

 

Next

Are You the F**king Doctor by Dr Liam Farrell

I had hoped to start reading this over the last week but I ended up being in a fiction mood so I didn’t get to it. I’m really keen to read this though so it’s top of my list for the week ahead.

Past Life by Dominic Nolan

This book has been calling to me from my TBR ever since it arrived so I think this week will be the time to pick it up.

Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

I’m also really looking forward to reading this one so it’s on my list for this week!

Minimalism by Joshua Fields Milburn

I bought this in a recent kindle book sale as I’m intrigued by the idea behind minimalism (it goes with my de-cluttering obsession) so I’m keen to pick this up as soon as I can.

 


 

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: My Last Lie by Ella Drummond | @drummondella1 @HeraBooks @BOTBSPublicity #MyLastLie

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About the Book

New beginnings. Old secrets.
Theo and Pilar. The perfect couple.

Successful, beautiful and very much in love.
Until a year ago – and the tragedy that nearly tore them apart.
When their baby died, a part of them died with him.
Now they’re trying to rebuild themselves, moving to a stunning house in rural Cornwall.
But someone knows all their secrets – and will stop at nothing to disturb their fragile peace.

Theo and Pilar are about to learn that you can try to hide – but you can never outrun your past.

 

My Thoughts

My Last Lie is a novel about Theo and Pilar, told from Pilar’s perspective. They’ve been through a terrible tragedy that led to Pilar having a breakdown and now they’ve moved to a new house in a new area and are trying to re-build their lives. There’s something unsettling about the house though, and Pilar begins to feel rattled by the situation.

My Last Lie opens with a car accident that leads to Pilar’s baby being stillborn. The novel then moves forward a year with Theo and Pilar moving in to their new home in Cornwall. They’re both clearly still trying to find a way through their grief, and Theo is protective over Pilar. I did find him a bit contradictory at times and couldn’t quite weigh him up – he seems a devoted husband but then he buys a house for his wife that she has never seen before and immediately tells her he has to be away over night once a week while his business gets sorted out and fully moved more locally. This is at a time when she’s still finding her feet and feeling vulnerable and alone so it seemed a bit unfair of him.

Pilar is clearly still very affected by the loss of their baby, and the time she spent in hospital recovering from the initial grief and trauma that she’s been through. I felt like I was right there with her in this big new house, it sounds like such a stunning house and yet it felt a bit unsettling. When odd little things begin to happen I wasn’t sure whether Pilar was an unreliable narrator due to everything she’s been through, whether Theo somehow secretly blamed her for losing their baby and was trying to gaslight her and make her think she was losing her mind, or whether someone had taken against this couple and wanted to scare them off. This made for a great, thrilling read as I could never quite make my mind up. The unease is there from the beginning but it slowly creeps up until the point when you feel like you’re holding your breath wondering how it’s all going to turn out!

My Last Lie is a novel that keeps you on your toes. The people in the village all have their own secrets and dramas, which made me wonder if any of them has a connection to Pilar and Theo and could wish them ill. There are also a few red herrings thrown in throughout the novel which keeps you guessing about what’s going on and I loved that.

I very much enjoyed this book, it kept me hooked all the way through. It’s a gripping, intriguing and thrilling read – I recommend it! I’m really looking forward to seeing what Ella Drummond writes next, I’ll definitely be first in the queue to buy it.

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

My Last Lie is out today and available here.

 

About the Author

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Ella Drummond recently signed a two-book deal with Hera Books. Her first psychological thriller, My Last Lie will be published in February 2019 and is available for pre-order now.

She lives with her husband on the island of Jersey and you can follow her on Twitter @drummondella1 and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EllaDrummondWrites/

 

 

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

20th FEB_ Nicki's Book Blog My Chestnut Reading Tree Nemesis Blog Rather Too Fond of Books 21st FEB_ Cheekypee Reads And Reviews Hooked From Page One Ginger Book Geek Novel Deelights 22nd FEB_ Jennifer - Tar Heel Re

A New #BookHaul – Stacking the Shelves (16 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!

 

Due to illness I didn’t manage to share my small book haul last Saturday so today I’m sharing a fortnight’s worth of new books!

 

Books I Bought This week

Minimalism by Joshua Fields

My love of decluttering has led me to be interested in minimalism so this book caught my eye in a recent Kindle sale!

Brainstorm: Detective Stories from the World of Neurology by Suzanne O’Sullivan

I read and loved It’s All In Your Head by this author a few years ago and found it fascinating so I’ve been wanting to get hold of her newest book for a while. I finally treated myself last week and can’t wait to read it!

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

I haven’t read anything by this author before (I do have Eileen on my TBR but hadn’t read it yet) but this book really appeals to me so I treated myself.

Maybe This Time by Jill Mansell

I love Jill Mansell’s novels so was delighted when a fellow book blogger let me have her copy of this. I’m really looking forward to escaping into this book.

 

Books I Borrowed

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Manhunt by Colin Sutton

I watched the recent ITV drama based on this book and wanted to know more. I was really pleased to spot this on my audio book subscription service to I downloaded it yesterday and am already half-way through it!

 

Books I Received for Review

The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath

I was delighted to get approved for this on NetGalley as I enjoyed Mel’s previous novel and this one sounds even better!

Past Life by Dominic Nolan

I’m super excited to have a copy of this as it sounds like my kind of book. I really hope to pick it up in the next couple of weeks as it’s already calling to me from my TBR!

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

I’m on the blog tour for this book and am really enjoying a lot of non-fiction at the moment so I’m expecting to pick this up in the next few days.

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

This book was a total surprise when it arrived this week but I’m so happy to have a copy as I’ve never read it. It sounds like a book I will really enjoy so I’m keen to get to it soon.

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Sleep by C. L. Taylor

I was thrilled to receive a print copy of this book as I love C. L. Taylor’s writing. I’m really looking forward to reading this and am saving it for a day when I can just sit and read it with minimal disruptions. I love that it was sent with a sachet of coffee to keep me awake and also night time teabag to help me sleep!

 

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

#BookReview: All the Little Lies by Chris Curran | @Christi_Curran @KillerReads

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About the Book

After a lifetime of secrets how far would you go for the truth?

An unputdownable new psychological thriller, full of twists you won’t see coming, from Chris Curran.

Your whole life has been a lie…

One email is all it takes to turn Eve’s world upside down. It contains a picture of her true birth mother, Stella, and proves that Eve’s entire life with her adoptive parents has been a lie.

Now she must unravel the mystery of Stella’s dark past. But what Eve finds will force her to take enormous risks, which put her – and her new-born baby – in immediate danger…

 

My Thoughts

All the Little Lies is a thriller about Eve. She is married and heavily pregnant when she sees a newspaper article about a woman that she knows must be her birth mother. She has been raised by her adoptive parents but has never been told anything much about the woman who gave birth to her. This leads Eve to start asking questions and the life she thought she knew begins to unravel!

I’ve read and enjoyed Chris Curran’s previous novels but All the Little Lies is definitely her best yet! I was gripped from the opening chapter and was under this book’s spell all the way to the end! The novel is told from two perspectives – Eve in the present and Stella in the past. Some of the other characters feature in both time lines, which is great because you see what they’re telling Eve in the present but you also hear what Stella was going through and how they made her feel.

This novel is a slow-burn but the pacing is exactly right because you need time to see all the threads of the story and to see how things begin to fit together. It also gives you the sense of what Eve is going through – the way it can be slow to find information about something that happened a long time ago. I really felt like I was right along with her in the search for answers.

I loved how Eve’s story alternates with Stella’s and so you get a picture slowly forming of what happened. I felt so sorry for Stella. She had a difficult upbringing and when she finds herself pregnant, alone and short of money she struggles to see how she will cope with a baby. David part owns the gallery that shows some of Stella’s paintings and he offers her help. I think he always meant well but the way Stella’s story unfolds from here is initially heart-breaking and ultimately shocking!

As this novel goes along I became more and more distrustful of just about every character! I was questioning everyone’s motives and trying to work out who had things to gain or lose if Eve were to find out certain things. I did think Eve was too trusting of people at times but I could understand why; she was vulnerable and hurt and was looking for someone who would be completely honest with her. She desperately wants to believe that when she asks questions that people are telling her the honest truth. I was so sympathetic towards her and was hoping there would somehow be a happy ending for her.

The title, All The Little Lies, is one of the most perfect I’ve seen! I loved the way that all the little lies add up in this novel to be much bigger, life-altering lies. You can see how someone does something and justifies it at the time by telling themselves they’re doing it for the best of everyone involved. But then it leads to more lies and then more, and it spirals out of control into a huge lie of which there is no way out!

All The Little Lies is such a great thriller! It’s a brilliant story with great characters and a plot with twists and turns that have you reading just one more chapter (and one more, and one more… until you look up and find it’s 2am!) because you just have to know how it’s all going to work out for Eve. It’s gripping, engrossing and so hard to put down! I definitely recommend this book!

I received a copy of this book from the author. All thoughts are my own.

All the Little Lies is due to be published on 15th February and can be pre-ordered from here now.

I’ve previously reviewed Her Deadly Secret by Chris Curran

A previous guest post from Chris Curran – Crime Series or Standalone

 

About the Author

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All the Little Lies is Chris Curran’s fourth psychological thriller for Harper Collins Killer Reads. She lives in East Sussex and writes, standing up, in a room with no view. When inspiration falters she finds tea (Earl Grey, hot) and a bout of ironing are very therapeutic. In breaks between books she dusts, cooks, walks by the sea and reads – but mostly reads.

Find her at https://chriscurranauthor.com/

Twitter @Christi_Curran

Instagram: chriscurranwriter

 

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

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This Week in Books (13 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

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

This book is so good! I started it yesterday evening and I’m finding it so hard to put it down – one of those books that makes me resent real life interfering with my reading time!

My Last Lie by Ella Drummond

This is also such a good read! It has an intriguing prologue and now I’m enjoying being suspicious of everyone and trying to work out what’s going on!

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

I watched a really good documentary about Buddy Holly recently and it reminded me that I had this book unread on my TBR so I immediately sought it out. I’m really enjoying learning more about his background.

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

I put this book to one side for most of the last week as I wanted something a bit easier to read. I’m planning on getting back to this in the coming days though.

 

Then

All The Little Lies by Chris Curran

I was gripped all the way through this book, it was so good! I’ll be reviewing it tomorrow so keep an eye out for that.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

I part-listened and part-read this biography and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I learnt so much much more about Hamilton and about America too. It’s a doorstop of a book at over 800 pages long but it’s so fascinating that I just kept reading one more chapter!

East of England by Eamonn Griffin

This isn’t my usual type of read but I very much enjoyed it. It was a book that I didn’t want to put down. My review should be on my blog today if you’d like to know more.

 

Next

The Bridal Party by J. G. Murray

I was hoping to read this book this week but time got away from me but it’s top of my list of books that I want to start reading in the coming week.

Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah David Goff

This one has been calling to me from my TBR mountain and it feels like the time to pick it up. I’m intrigued about this one and looking forward to starting it.

Are you the F**king Doctor? by Liam Farrell

I’m taking part in the blog tour for this book next month so as I’m in a non-fiction mood at the moment I’d like to start reading this very 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. 🙂

#BookReview: East of England by Eamonn Griffin | @eamonngriffin @unbound_digital #randomthingstours @annecater #EastOfEngland

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About the Book

Dan Matlock is out of jail. He’s got a choice. Stay or leave. Go back to where it all went wrong, or simply get out of the county. Disappear. Start again as someone else.

But it’s not as simple as that.

There’s the matter of the man he killed. It wasn’t murder, but even so. You tell that to the family. Especially when that family is the Mintons, who own half that’s profitable and two-thirds of what’s crooked between the Wolds and the coast. And who could have got to Matlock as easy as you like in prison, but who haven’t touched him. Not yet.

And like Matlock found out in prison, there’s no getting away from yourself, so what would the point be in not facing up to other people?

It’s time to go home.

 

My Thoughts

East of England follows Dan Matlock as he gets out of prison after serving two years for causing the death of a man. He’s expecting his dad to meet him but no one is waiting for him. What follows is Dan trying to track down his dad whilst also laying a trail so that the family that caused him to be locked up can find him, and that past can be put to rest once and for all!

This isn’t my normal type of read but I very much enjoyed this book, it was so hard to put down and I read it in a couple of sittings! Dan Matlock is such a great character, one that will stay with me. He’s so much more complex than I thought he was going to be and I really appreciated that. I loved how he’s seeking to avenge himself by whatever means necessary and yet he always makes sure to look after people who need looking after. He takes time with people who he sees are lonely, even when he doesn’t have the time to give.

We follow Dan over the course of a week as he gradually gets closer to the day when things from the past will have to be put right. He immediately gets work as a debt collector with an old mate Chris, and starts scoping out the Minton and Corrigan families so he can lay a trail for them to find him. There is a great creeping undertone of menace as this novel goes on, it’s unsettling because you know the situation will come to a head and it’s just a matter of when and how. The reveals when they come are shocking, and at times violent, but it’s all in keeping with the build up.

The novel is set in the present but we also get flashes of the past and what led to Dan been put in prison, and also some really moving stories of Dan with his dad. Gradually you get a fuller picture of who Dan is and how he ended up in the situation he’s in.

The sense of place in this novel was spot on. Griffin makes Lincolnshire feel like another character in this novel – the feel of the county was done in such a way that I felt I could see everywhere he describes, I could smell the seaside and the fish and chips. It brought the book alive for me and I got so lost in it that it was like watching a film.

East of England is dark and gritty novel, that has some really moving moments in amongst the heavier stuff. I found this book near impossible to put down, and am so thrilled to discover that a second book featuring Dan Matlock is planned! I definitely recommend this one.

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

East of England is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Eamonn Griffin Author Pic

Eamonn Griffin was born and raised in Lincolnshire, though these days he lives in north-east Wales.

He’s worked as a stonemason, a strawberry picker, in plastics factories (everything from packing those little bags for loose change you get from banks to production planning via transport manager via fork-lift driving), in agricultural and industrial laboratories, in a computer games shop, and latterly in further and higher education.

He’s taught and lectured in subjects as diverse as leisure and tourism, uniformed public services, English Studies, creative writing, film studies, TV and film production, and media theory. He doesn’t do any of that anymore. Instead he writes fulltime, either as a freelancer, or else on fiction.

Eamonn has a PhD in creative writing with the University of Lancaster, specialising in historical fiction, having previously completed both an MA in popular film and a BSc in sociology and politics via the Open University. He really likes biltong, and has recently returned to learning to play piano, something he abandoned when he was about seven and has regretted since.

 

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

East of England Blog Tour Poster

#BookReview: Senseless by Anna Lickley | @annal_writes @unbound_digital #Senseless #RandomThingsTours @annecater

senseless cover

About the Book

Beth’s partner, Dan, inexplicably vanishes from her life and nine years later she is still struggling. In the intervening years, she has learnt British Sign Language (BSL) and got what she thought would be her dream job, supporting deaf students in college. However, she finds she still feels dissatisfied with just about everything: from working life to sex life, domestic life to social life, it’s as if the traumas of her past will forever mar her future.

Through her work, Beth meets a group of strong-minded, pragmatists who show her how they’ve adapted to challenges of having a disability.

Is Dan’s disappearance the primary source of Beth’s sadness? Can her new friends help to shift her perspective on dealing with life? Will learning BSL prove to be significant after all? And what really happened to Dan? The answers may be quite unexpected.

 

My Thoughts

Senseless is a novel about Beth, who has been through a lot in her life and is struggling to find her place. She works supporting deaf / blind students in college using BSL (British Sign Language) but the job isn’t as satisfying as she hoped – she’s always been asked to do things that aren’t part of her job, or is expected to be able to sign things at short short notice for a student and is frustrated that the student is missing out. Beth also has difficulties in her personal life – her partner Dan walked out on her a few years ago and she still doesn’t know why or even where he went and if he’s okay.

Senseless is  a novel told through the viewpoint of two characters, Sam and Beth, although it is more about Beth as her story is told in the present and the past. She has had a really tough time when she was younger and it’s something that she’s never really dealt with. You gradually get to find out and understand why Beth is the way she is, she has had a lot to cope with. She self-medicates with alcohol and sex. Beth really struggles emotionally through this novel with what she wants in life. She thought her job would bring her joy but things aren’t what she hoped for. I felt really sad for her, and was really hoping she would find contentment in her life. She’s a really likeable character and easy to identify with. Sam is another interesting character, I very much liked him and his attitude to life. He is a firefighter but hasn’t been feeling well. He wants to confide in his girlfriend but she doesn’t seem to notice that he’s struggling. Eventually he finds out what is wrong and his life is changed.

There is such great representation of disability in this novel, particularly what it’s like to be deaf but also other forms of disability such as MS and needing to use a wheelchair. I loved how Anna Lickley seamlessly raises awareness of disability throughout her novel but in such a way that you don’t feel there is an agenda. I’m disabled and use a wheelchair, so I could really identify with Sam in particular and how he felt about his increasing reliance on other people and on aids such as his wheelchair. I very much appreciated how he is such a well-rounded character and the mentions of his disability are only there when relevant and are only one part of him. I really identified with how it feels to be in a wheelchair and forever having to shout to converse with your partner or a friend, who is always behind you as they push you. This is one of the things that upsets me the most about my condition – I never get to be alongside my husband when we’re out together anymore.

‘… spoke into he air : it was weird having the person you were speaking to walking behind you.’

Anna Lickley really shows in Senseless what it is to lose a sense, or a part of your physical self to disability but also, and perhaps more importantly, how every other part of you is still the same as it ever was. Disabled people have relationships, have sex, want to socialise and do all of the same things as everyone else. I also loved the exploration of how society often sees disabled people as victims but it is so often not how we see ourselves. I’m incredibly stubborn and refuse to give in for example, and in this book the character with MS says if he has to be known as anything in relation to his condition it would to be a struggler rather than a sufferer, and I can empathise with that. The novel really draws together the way we all have our difficulties – be they a physical disability or the real unhappiness that Beth feels.

Beth ends up going on a weekend break to a horse-riding school for the disabled to act as a support worker to Paula who is deaf blind. The horse riding part of the book was so brilliant. It shows how there are times when everyone, no matter what is going on in their lives can find common ground. I really enjoyed seeing how everyone adapted and how it helped Beth to open herself up to the possibility of what life might have to offer her if she gives herself a chance.

Senseless is a novel for everyone – it’s a well-written book filled with really well-rounded characters. The exploration of how everyone is dis-abled in a way by whatever difficulty they have in life is fascinating. It’s not always easy for anyone and we all need to take more time to really see other people.

Senseless is such a brilliant read – it’s got a great storyline, with believable characters and you get completely invested in their lives. I laughed and I cried while reading this book, it really is a special novel and one that will stay with me. I found this hard to put down and will definitely be looking out for more of Anna Lickley’s writing in the future! I urge everyone to go buy a copy of Senseless and to read it asap!

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

Senseless is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Anna Lickley Author Picture

 

Anna Lickley’s adult life has been moulded by the challenges of adapting to disability. She was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) in the 1990s and went deaf soon after, while at university. She then began to learn British Sign Language to help with communication and loved it immediately, becoming fluent enough to teach it.
In the last seven years, Anna’s vision has deteriorated and she is now registered deaf–blind. That and other health complications led her to stop working. Although sad to leave a job she loved, she is now relishing having more time to write and much of her writing is greatly influenced by her desire to share the realities of living with disability.

 

 

 

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

Senseless Blog Tour Poster

This Week in Books (6 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

All The Little Lies by Chris Curran

I’ve read and enjoyed previous novels by Chris Curran so I was excited to read this one and I’m so pleased to say that I’m really enjoying it.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

I’ve had the audio book of this for a while and discovered the ebook on Kindle Unlimited so I’m part-reading and part-listening to this one. It’s such an interesting book, I’m really glad I picked it up.

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

I love Sophie Kinsella’s writing so I was delighted to be picked to read this one on Pigeonhole. It’s such a fun read but I’m struggling to read on a phone screen so may have to put this down until I buy a print copy.

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

I haven’t read much of this over the last week but I am still keen to learn more about these cases and will be getting back to this one in the coming week.

 

Then

Trauma: From Lockerbie to 7/7: How Trauma Affects Our Minds And How We Fight Back by Gordon Turnbull

This book was such a fascinating read and I very much enjoyed it. It’s basically a history of PTSD and a really in-depth look at the condition. I’ve suffered with PTSD for years so was keen to read this, and I learnt so much. It’s a really accessible book so I’d recommend it to anyone who’s interested in the subject.

Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox

This book was really good. I particularly loved the two main characters and am definitely going to be looking out for the earlier books in this series so I can learn more about them. I will be reviewing this one soon.

The Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton

This book got recommended to me and I bought it right away and have been reading it for most of the last week. It’s a look at how a psychologist came to help solve some of the biggest crimes in the UK over the last thirty or so years. It was uncomfortable reading at times, especially reading about Colin Stagg and how he came to be charged with killing Rachel Nickell when he was innocent. Overall, it’s a really interesting look at forensic psychology.

Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami

My husband bought me this for my birthday last week and I loved reading it. It’s a delightful short story that really leaves you thinking by the end. I think this will be a story that I re-read in the future.

Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell

I read this in one sitting, it grabbed me from the prologue and kept me hooked all the way through. I’ve already reviewed this so you can find my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

 

Next

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

I’ve been so eager to read this one and it feels like it’s finally close enough to publication that I can pick it up. I’m planning to start it on a quiet afternoon as I feel like it’s going to be difficult to put this one down once I start reading!

My Last Lie by Ella Drummond

This is another book I’ve been looking forward to and as I’m now on the blog tour later this month I’m hoping to pick it up this week.

The Bridal Party by J. G. Murray

This book sounds so good, and another one that I think will be hard to put down so I’m looking forward to getting lost in this one!

 


 

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 (2nd 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

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

I read Dana’s book about decluttering last year and enjoyed so when I spotted this book in a recent Kindle sale I snapped it up. I still can’t resist books about tidying up or about decluttering (see my post here about doing the #konmari method if you want to know more about my decluttering experience).

The Geography of Friendship by Sally Piper

I saw a fab review of this book on Linda’s Book Bag recently and immediately pre-ordered a copy. It arrived yesterday and I can’t wait to read it.

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

I’ve wanted to read this book for such a long time so I’m happy to finally have a copy on my TBR.

Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery by Scott Kelly

I hadn’t heard of this book until it got recommended to me on Amazon this week but I immediately bought it. I love books about space!

First Man: The Life of Neil Armstrong by James Hansen

I missed seeing the film based on this book at the cinema so while I’m waiting for it to be on Sky I decided to buy and read the book.

Misogynies by Joan Smith

This is a book I’ve wanted to read for such a long time so I grabbed it when I spotted it in a sale this week. I don’t think this will be on my TBR for very long at all.

The Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton

I’m really enjoying reading about psychology at the moment so when this book about forensic psychology and profiling was recommended to me this week I couldn’t resist buying it right away. I’m reading it already and it’s really interesting.

What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt

I read this book years ago and adored it but my copy seems to have got lost so I bought a replacement copy this week and would like to try and re-read it this year at some point.

Birdman by Mo Hayder

This is another book that I owned and read a long time ago but somehow have lost my copy so I’m happy to have a replacement now. Mo Hayder is one of my favourite authors and I live in hope that one day she will publish another book, it’s been a few years now since her last one.

 

Books I got on Pigeonhole

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

I’m really enjoying reading this new one by Sophie Kinsella. It’s a fun novel and great escapism.

Gallowstree Lane by Kate London

The first instalment of this arrived on my app yesterday so I hope to start reading it over the weekend. I’m looking forward to it.

 

Birthday Books

Birthday Girl by Haruki Murakami

My husband got me this for my birthday this week and I’ve already read it. I loved it!

At The Birth of Bowie by Phil Lancaster

My mum-in-law gave me this book as part of my birthday gift and I’m really looking forward to reading it soon.

 

Books I Received for Review

Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell

I’ve already read and reviewed this one so you can find my full thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

The Night Olivia Fell by Christina McDonald

I’ve been eagerly anticipating this novel as it sounds so good! I was thrilled to then get a review copy and I can’t wait to read it!

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

This is another book that I’ve had my eye one and have been waiting for the paperback release so I’m delighted to have a review copy to read.

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames

This book sounds so good, I am thrilled to have a gorgeous paperback proof to read. It definitely won’t be on my TBR for very long as I’m really keen to read it asap!

 


 

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… January 2019!

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January is a month that I’ve struggled with in recent years but actually this January didn’t weigh on me quite as much so I feel like I’ve made progress in coming to terms with some things. I also turned 40 this month so am determined that my 40s will be fabulous!

I always plan ahead to keep my mind occupied in January so this time my plan was simple… read lots of good books! And I definitely succeeded with this! I read more books in January then ever before (since I started keeping record of what I read) and ended up finishing 34 books over the month! I can’t pick a single favourite as pretty much every book was really good but I have to give a special mention to Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn because that book was incredible and it won’t let go of my thoughts!

I also managed a lot more blogging in January than I’ve done for a while and I’m really enjoying it. It feels like my blogging mojo is fully back now after the wobble I had over the summer so hopefully it will stick around now!

 

Here are the books I read in January:

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

This was a Christmas present from my husband. I’ve been wanting to read it for a while and it was worth the wait because I loved it. I already feel that this will make my favourite books of the year so 2019 was off to an amazing start!

Ivy and Abe by Elizabeth Enfield

I had an ARC of this book but I decided to listen to the audio book while I was feeling unwell and I very much enjoyed it. I’m fascinated by the idea of fate so this book was right up my street. I do plan on reviewing it when I get a chance.

The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard

This was another excellent book that I just couldn’t put down! I’ve already reviewed this so you can see my full thoughts here if you’d like to.

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

This book a really good way to pass a cold, wintery day when I needed some escapism! My review is here if you’d like to know more.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

I’ve had this book on my TBR for ages and so I decided to part listen to the audio and part read it and I adored it. It was everything I hoped it would be and more!

The Rumour by Lesley Kara

This book was brilliant, it more than lived up to my expectations for it and is another book that I think may well be on my top books of the year! My review is here if you’d like to read it.

The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola

This book is so atmospheric and had me gripped from start to finish. Find out more in my review here.

No More Plastic by Martin Dorey

This was an interesting introduction to reducing plastic but I was hoping to learn more. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for somewhere to start though.

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

I’d had an ARC of this on my TBR for quite a while and I finally picked it up in January and I ended up reading it in one sitting, it was so good! Here’s my full review!

The Second Sister by Claire Kendall

I bought this book sometime last year and I spotted it when I was tidying up my shelves last month so kept it out to read. It was a good thriller, it kept me turning the pages!

Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn

This book is incredible. I loved it, even though it broke my heart. I know this book will be in my favourite reads of 2019, it just won’t let go of me. My full review is here if you’d like to know more.

The Party by Lisa Hall

This book was an okay read, it was one I read over the space of a couple of hours but it wasn’t as thrilling as I’d hoped.

Storyteller: The Authorised Biography of Roald Dahl by Donald Sturrock 

I’ve had the audio book of this for ages and it caught my eye when I was going through my Audible app recently. I very much enjoyed learning more about Roald Dahl, and I now want to read all my favourite of his books!

The Language of Kindness by Christie Watson

I’ve wanted to read this ever since I first heard about it so when I spotted it on an Audible deal recently I snapped it up. I listened to it over a couple of days and found it really interesting. It didn’t have the same lasting impression as Adam Kay’s book but it was a good listen.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

I was lucky to receive an ARC of this last year and finally picked it up a couple of weeks ago and I devoured it in one sitting. It is such a brilliant novel, I loved it! My review is here if you’d like to know more.

Into the Silent Sea by Claire Stibbe

This was a really good thriller and another book that I flew through as I simply had to know how it would all end. Here’s my review!

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

I’ve read and enjoyed Fiona Barton’s previous two novels so I was delighted to receive a copy of this one. This is a brilliant novel, definitely Fiona’s best yet and I loved it. My full review is here if you’d like to know more.

Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall

This is another ARC that has been on my TBR longer than it should but when I did pick it up I devoured it. I was gripped from start to finish. I hope to get my review finished and posted soon.

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

This was a really good read, although I struggled at times with the child narrator. Here’s my review.

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

I read this novel in one sitting over the course of an afternoon and I loved it. I was intrigued from the opening chapter and it had me hooked right to the end. I’ll be reviewing this one soon.

Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce

I had an ARC of this so I read it while also listening to the audio book and I really enjoyed it. It’s such a wonderful novel, one that I think I might re-read in the future. I hope to get my review posted soon.

Bring me Back by BA Paris

Sadly I didn’t really get on with this book, it was too far-fetched to me and it just didn’t gel at all. I have enjoyed a previous book by the author so maybe this just wasn’t the right book for me.

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

This book has been on my TBR since it was first published but I’ve put off reading it because it felt like it was no longer for me. I’m so glad that I gave it a go though as I got a lot more out of it than I was expecting to so I recommend it.

Diversify by June Sarpong

This book was hit and miss for me. There were chapters that really struck a chord and others that didn’t. I’m glad I read it though, it was interesting for the most part.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

I finally read this book and I can totally see why it got so much praise last year! I loved it too, it was so different to other books in this genre and I really appreciate how much work it must have taken.

Dead Girls by Graeme Cameron

This was a good read, it wasn’t as good as the previous book Normal but it was still a book that I read in just two sittings.

Notes on A Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

This was another Christmas present and I’m glad I picked it up when I did. I found it even more useful than I was expecting to and I think it is a book that I will go back to in the future.

A Very English Scandal by John Preston

This audio book was fascinating, shocking but really interesting. I already knew some things about this case but there was so much I didn’t know. I was hooked all the way through this book, it left me reeling!

Senseless by Anna Lickley

This is such a good novel. It’s got a great storyline, which I really enjoyed and it also has excellent disability representation, which I very much appreciate in a novel. I’ll be reviewing this in February for the blog tour!

Tilly and the Bookwanderers: Pages & Co. by Anna James

I got this book for Christmas and I saved it to read on the anniversary of my mum’s death when I knew I would need a comforting read. This book was everything I hope it would be and so much more besides, I adored it! I’m hoping to get a chance to re-read A Little Princess soon as it’s reminded me how much I loved that novel as a child.

The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden

This book was beautiful, so much more more than I was expecting it to be and I loved it. I’ve already reviewed this so you can see that here if you’d like to know more.

The Cactus by Sarah Hayward

This book is gorgeous! I read it in one sitting and I completely and utterly fell in love with it. I’ll definitely be reviewing this one soon but in the meantime I highly recommend it!

Someone Like Me by MR Carey

I was sent an ARC of this and was told it was a thriller so I was a bit discombobulated when I started reading it. I’m still not sure what I think of it but I did read it in just a couple of sittings so it definitely gripped me!

Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell

I read this book in one sitting and it kept me up way past my bed time as I just couldn’t put it down! I reviewed this one yesterday so you can find that here if you’d like to know more.

 

January Blog Posts & Reviews:

My Favourite Novels Read in 2018

My Favourite Non-Fiction Read in 2018

Reading Bingo for 2018! Was it a full house for me??

2018 Reading Reflections, Statistics and Plans for Tackling the TBR

 

Stacking the Shelves (5th Jan)

Mini Crime and Thriller Book Reviews featuring A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay, The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah, All The Hidden Truths by Claire Askew and Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke)

Review of The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde

New Year Book Tag

This Week in Books (9 Jan)

Review of The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola

Review of The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Review of The Rumour by Lesley Kara

Stacking the Shelves (12 Jan)

Review of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Review of The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

This Week in Books (16 Jan)

Review of Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

Review of Ideal Angels by Robert Welbourn

Stacking the Shelves (19 Jan)

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up and How the #KonMari Method Changed My Life!

This was a much more personal post than I normally share on my blog but I wanted to share how following Marie Kondo’s de-cluttering methods had actually made a huge difference to my life!

Music Monday: In My Life by The Beatles

Review of Into the Silent Sea by Claire Stibbe

Review of The Suspect by Fiona Barton

This Week in Books (23 Jan)

Stacking the Shelves (26 Jan)

The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden

This Week in Books (30 Jan)

Review of Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell

 

The state of my TBR:

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Well, in 2018 I succeeded in reducing my mammoth TBR… but 2019 has been the month with all the books. I started January with 2447 books (this is books that I own, I don’t add books to my TBR if I don’t own them) and have ended the month with 2464 books. Oops! This is in spite of me reading 34 books off my TBR this month, the fact is that I’ve acquired 51 books so overall my TBR has increased by 17 books. My plan is to reduce my TBR by 20 books every month so I need to do some serious reading and/or unhauling (unhauling keeps autocorrecting to unfailing and I was so tempted to leave it at that! Haha!) in February to get back on track! In all seriousness though I’m not worried as last year the reduction of my TBR happened over the course of the year so I feel sure I’ll be back on track come December 31st!

 


 

How was your January? 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: Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell | @DredaMitchell @BloodhoundBook

Dreda Say Mitchell - Spare Room_cover

About the Book

Home Is Where The Nightmare Is

Beautiful double room to let to single person

Lisa, a troubled young woman with a past, can’t believe her luck when she finds a beautiful room to rent in a large house. The live-in owners are a kind and welcoming couple. Everything is fine until she finds a suicide note hidden in her room. But when the couple insist this man didn’t exist and that Lisa is their first tenant, Lisa begins to doubt herself.

Compelled to undercover the secrets of the man who lived in the room before her, Lisa is alarmed when increasingly disturbing incidents start to happen. Someone doesn’t want Lisa to find out the truth.

As the four walls of this house and its secrets begin to close in on Lisa, she descends into a hellish hall of mirrors where she’s not sure what’s real and what’s not as she claws her way towards the truth…

Did this room already claim one victim?

Is it about to take another?

 

My Thoughts

Spare Room is a novel about Lisa, who on moving into the spare room of Jack and Martha’s home begins to notice disconcerting things. She finds a suicide note, seemingly written by a previous tenant, down the back of her bedside table. She’s also very suspicious of Jack, believing him to be trying to make her so uncomfortable that she’ll leave.

Wow, this book is fast-paced! It opens with a prologue where a man is about to take his own life, and then moves to Lisa coming to view a room in the house. I was gripped from the very beginning and I couldn’t put this book down.

Lisa is clearly troubled. Early on there are hints that she had an eating disorder when she was younger, and she has trouble making friends and forming romantic relationships. She has odd behaviours at bed time too, which made me really curious about what was going on with her. She quickly becomes certain that Jack is trying to frighten her but because we only see things from her point of view, I wasn’t sure how much was him being vile and how much was Lisa being paranoid. I loved the fact that Lisa isn’t always likeable in this book, it meant that while I felt sorry for her I could see that she does have potential to be very manipulative to get what she wants. It made her more real, she’s not just a stereotypical victim.

Lisa becomes increasingly fixated on finding out who lived in the spare room before her. Her need to know begins to encroach on her life, and all her thoughts come to revolve around what happened to him. The more she wonders about him the more she becomes suspicious of Jack and Martha. I couldn’t work out how it was all going to turn out for anyone.

I didn’t trust a single person in this book, it felt from the start like there are lots of secrets to be uncovered! Lisa’s parents seemed very odd to me, I couldn’t put my finger on why to start with but I just wasn’t sure of them. Jack and Martha are a strange couple, they have very strict rules for Lisa while she’s living in their house and they seem very cold to her. It seemed odd to rent out a room in your house to a stranger if you’re not comfortable with a stranger living in your house.

Spare Room was chilling at times, and while the weird happenings in the house Lisa moved in to were really unnerving, the most chilling thing for me was the lies people were prepared to tell in order to keep up the pretence of their own lives even if it does harm to others.

Spare Room is a really twisty (and twisted!) novel and I found it impossible to put down! I started it quite late at night and it was one of those ‘just one more chapter’ books where you end up staying up way past bedtime to finish it because you simply have to know how it’s all going to end! This was my first novel by Dreda Say Mitchell but it definitely won’t be my last!

Spare Room is gripping, dark, twisty and almost impossible to put down! I highly recommend it!

Many thanks to Emma at Bloodhound Books for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Spare Room is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

dreda say mitchell

Dreda Say Mitchell is an award-winning, bestselling crime writer, broadcaster, campaigner, and journalist. Since her sixth book she has been co-writing with Tony Mason. She is the author of eleven novels, with her debut awarded The CWA’s John Creasey Dagger. She has been a frequent guest on television and radio including Question Time, BBC Breakfast, Newsnight, Victoria Derbyshire, The Stephen Nolan Show, Front Row and Woman’s Hour and numerous others. She has presented Radio 4’s Open Book. Dreda was named one of Britain’s 50 Remarkable Women by Lady Geek in association with Nokia. She was the 2011 chair of the Harrogate Crime Fiction Festival. Dreda and Tony’s work is currently in development for TV. She was born and raised in the East End of London where she continues to live.

Social Media Links:

Website: www.dredasaymitchell.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DredaMitchell

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DredaSayMitchell

 

 

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

spare room blog blitz

 

This Week in Books (30 Jan 19)! 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

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

I love Sophie Kinsella’s writing so was delighted when I was picked to read this new book on PigeonHole over the next few days. I read the first part yesterday and loved it so I’m excited to read more very soon!

The Innocent Man by John Grisham

My husband and I binge-watched the Netflix series of this over the weekend and I immediately wanted to know more so I bought the book. I’m about half-way through it now and finding it fascinating and utterly shocking.

Gone by Midnight by Candice Fox

I’m back reading this book now after a break due to needing to read something more comforting. I’m keen to find out how this book is going to turn out!

Trauma: From Lockerbie to 7/7: How Trauma Affects Our Minds And How We Fight Back by Gordon Turnbull

I’m also back reading this book and think I’ll probably finish it in the next day or two. It’s such a fascinating  look at PTSD and one that I know I’ll be thinking about for some time to come.

 

Then

Someone Like Me by M. R. Carey

I’m not sure what I feel about this book – I was sent it for review because I like thrillers but it wasn’t really what I expected it to be. I did read it quite quickly so it held my attention but I don’t know whether I enjoyed it or not. I shall ponder on it some more before I write a review.

The Cactus by Sarah Hayward

I’ve had a gorgeous hardback copy of this book on my TBR for around a year now but I finally picked it up a few days ago and read it in one sitting! It’s such a gorgeous book – it made me laugh and it made me cry. I know this is a book that will stay with me.

The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden

I very much enjoyed this novel, it’s so honest and moving and beautifully written. I’ve already reviewed this earlier this week so you can find my full review here if you’d like to know more.

Tilly and the Book Wanderers: Pages and Co. #1 by Anna James

I saved this book to read on a day last week that I knew I’d be feeling in need of a comfort read and this book was everything I needed it to be and more. I adored it! It’s made me dig out my copy of A Little Princess to re-read it. I already can’t wait for the next book in the Pages & Co. series!

Senseless by Anna Lickley

I really enjoyed this novel. The representation of disability was done really well without it being the sole focus of the book. I’ll be reviewing this one for the blog tour in a couple of weeks time.

A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment by John Preston

I’ve had the audio book on my TBR for a year or two but I finally listened to it over the last week and found it such a fascinating book. I already knew about what happened but it was good to learn more of the details.

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Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

I received this book for Christmas and picked it up a few days ago and found it really helpful. It made me think about my own use of social media and the impact it has on my mood. I recommend this one, especially if you suffer from anxiety.

 

Next

All the Little Lies by Chris Curran

I had wanted to read this novel over the last week but I didn’t manage to pick it up so it’s on my TBR for the coming week. I’m really looking forward to getting to this one.

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain

I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book and am just in the mood to read it so I hope to get to it in the coming days.

Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff

I was lucky to receive a surprise ARC of this book in the post and it sounds like a different book to my normal reads but it’s piqued my interest and I’d like to read it very 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. 🙂

 

 

#BookReview: The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden | @LumsdenRich @TinderPress #RandomThingsTours @annecater #BillyBinns

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About the Book

At well over a hundred years old, Billy Binns believes he’s the oldest man in Europe and knows his days are numbered. But Billy has a final wish: he wants to remember what love feels like one last time.

As he looks back at the relationships that have coloured his life – and the events that shaped the century – he recalls a lifetime of hope and heartbreak.

This is the story of an ordinary man’s life, an enchanting novel which takes you on an epic yet intimate journey that will make you laugh, cry, and reflect on the universal turmoil of love.

 

My Thoughts

The Six Loves of Billy Binns is the story of 117 year old Billy as he begins to look back over his life, and the people he’s loved over the years. His life is nearing its end and he wonders whether he can truly remember the feeling of being in love one more time.

This novel is beautiful! I was immediately taken from the opening of the novel when Billy lists who his loves have been and a little about them. I really wanted to know more about these people and from that moment on I barely put the book down!

I loved the way that major events are touched upon in this novel as we move throughout Billy’s Life, it really brings it home just how old he is and how much life he has lived.

The loves in Billy’s life are often fleeting, and some – one in particular was heartbreaking – I had to put the book down for a moment while I composed myself as it did make me cry. There’s a real delicateness to the writing at times that really makes you pause, it’s stunning. It’s apparent that some of the difficult times in Billy’s life are things he has brought on himself but at the same time there’s an awareness that we were all young once and did silly things. He never meant the pain he sometimes caused to others.

Billy’s memories are interspersed with his life now in the old people’s home, and you can see how muddled he gets. He’s not always sure what is now and what was then, and he remembers things differently at different times. I found it really emotional seeing how Billy had clearly imagined other outcomes to get himself through the really difficult periods in his life, and now as an old man he muddles his real memories with the imagined stories. It was heartbreaking when I found myself smiling at a happy memory and then later realising what had actually happened, but in the end there was real solace in the fact that Billy remembered the imagined happy outcome over the most tragic loss. It was as if his forgetfulness was protecting him in the end, I found that so comforting.

I read this novel around the anniversary of my mum’s death and was worried it might be too much for me but actually it was a really good book to read. My mum never got to be even half Billy’s age but she had her share of heartbreak, and it makes me so sad to think of the loneliness she suffered from being divorced in the last years of her life. There was solace in reading Billy’s story though and the sense that in the end there is peace with who we are and how we ended up where we are.

I was expecting this novel to be a love story and it was, just not the way I was expecting. It was a very real story of love – it shows true love in all its complicated and messy ways. The person Billy loved the most was part of the relationship he messed up the most but the love he had for that person never wavered over the years. That is so true of how life can be. Even when you find the one it’s not always smooth sailing. I loved Billy’s ability to keep going though – even when things go wrong and he’s on his own dealing with loss and heartbreak he isn’t afraid to try again, to look for someone new.

The Six Loves of Billy Binns is a story of resilience; of finding a way to go on after the worst has happened. It’s a wonderful look at a very human man – one who has made mistakes but has learnt lessons from the people he’s loved and lost along the way. There is real beauty in this book and I adored it!

Many thanks to Anne of RandomThingsTours and Tinder Press for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

The Six Loves of Billy Binns is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

richard lumsden author picture

 

Richard Lumsden has worked as an actor, writer and composer in television, film and theatre for 30 years. As an actor his films include Downhill, Sightseers, Sense & Sensibilityand The Darkest Hour, as well as numerous television shows and theatre productions. THE SIX LOVES OF BILLY BINNS is his first novel.

 

 

 

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

six lives of billy binns blog tour poster