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Tuesday, 14 August 2018

#BlogTour Sour Fruit by Eli Allison #BookReview #RandomThingsTours


Extremely delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for SOUR FRUIT by ELI ALLISON! Prepare to encounter a very dark world of citizens with rights and those with none!!

My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for inviting me to be part of it all!


About the book


In a not too distant future, people are split into either Citizens with rights or VOIDs with nothing. Forced to live in the former port, the VOIDs have adapted to the floods; the brutal nature of life outside of society however, is not so easy.

Onion is snatched. Which is proper shit because she still had nearly twenty quid left on her Angry Slut Teen Clothing gift card and now she was never going to get those flamingo-pink leather chaps she’d been eyeing up. She wakes up chained to an armpit of a river city, earmarked for a skin-trader called The Toymaker. Surrounded by a creeping rot she has just three days to escape before the sold sticker becomes a brand.

Forced into a knife fight with a world that has just pulled an AK47 on her, all Onion has to fight with is; a sewer for a mouth, a rusted up moral compass and a spanking anger that can sucker-punch kindness at twenty paces. She might survive but probably not.

Sour Fruit is a dark dystopian novel set in northern Britain, in a river city called Kingston; a rotting scrap yard of misery. The VOIDs are forced to live there not by walls or fences but by being invisible in the new digital world.

The novel explores ideas about what is home, how friendship can come from strange places and the debts we can’t ever pay back

Published by Unbound


About the Author





Eli Allison tells people at parties that she's a writer, but she mostly spends the day in her knickers swearing at the laptop. She has never written anything of any fame except for a jarringly bad poem which was read out loud at her secondary school assembly (the highlight of everyone else’s school year, predictably not her own). She gave up poetry and switched to the hard stuff soon after. Writing stories about crushed dreams and balding men looking for love that you could buy by the hour. Those were her happier ones. She ping-ponged between one depressing job after another until her husband said, ‘take a year and write your book’. Years later the book is done…There is a sneaking suspicion he would have kept quiet had he known quite how long it would have taken her.
She lives in Yorkshire, works in her head and does not enjoy long walks on the beach or anywhere, in fact she gets upset at having to walk to the fridge for cheese. She suffers badly from cheese sweats but endures. 

Website: https://www.eli-allison.com/
Twitter: @EliAllison3
Author Facebook Page
 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eliallison_author/


MY REVIEW


With the world we live in currently in a 'little bit of a mess' I wondered how this dark, dystopian novel would play out on the pages and I have to admit to being impressed with how quickly I adjusted to life in this world of the VOID's who have nothing, and the citizens who have rights!  This is a messed up world that Onion finds herself part of, and therefore there are a lot of messed up characters throughout!  And that appealed to me! They weren't perfect, they were often very sweary (I do like a sweary character!!) BUT they were there for one another when times were extremely tough and that was so  touching considering what Onion and those around her were put through at times.

The plot is a little bit out there and sometimes I found it a little confusing, but the dark humour throughout  had me laughing out loud on many an occasion and that  really helped pull the story together for me and made me so invested in the characters and their plight! Life is a struggle for these characters but it brings out the best in  some of them -  it also brings out the worst in others and there are some characters who are total slimebags!

As Onion and Rhea find themselves in various situations, their concern for one another was quite endearing, and this was another way you got to see the different sides of the characters  - beneath the swagger and the swearing there was just a normal girl trying her best to live life the only way she knows how.

I always like to discover new authors and different types of stories and Sour Fruit has been a wonderful introduction to a fascinating genre and exciting new author!  Highly recommended!!

💛💛💛




Please don't forget to check out the other stops on the Blog Tour for more thoughts and information!



Monday, 13 August 2018

#BlogTour Ribbons in her hair by Colette McCormick #GuestPost


Delighted to be hosting the first stop on this blog tour for Ribbons in my hair. My thanks to Accent Press and Colette McCormick for letting me share in this wonderful blog tour and kicking it all off with a lovely guest post from the author herself.


About the book


Jean seems the perfect wife and mother but she struggles to love her daughters whose material comforts mask emotional neglect. When the youngest daughter, Susan, brings 'shame' on the family, Jean can think of only one response. She has to make the problem disappear. Finding the strength to stand up to her mother for the first time in her life, Susan does the only thing that she can to save her baby. What Susan doesn't realise is that her mother's emotional distance hides a dark secret of her own. Examining the divide between generations, between mothers and daughters, this emotionally charged novel asks whether we can ever truly understand another, however close our ties.

Published by Accent Press
Publication Date - August 23rd 2018

Purchase Link



GUEST POST


Handing over to Colette now as she shares her thoughts on what she hoped the book would be and the inspiration behind it.


At the beginning of Ribbons in Her Hair I focused on Susan, the little girl who felt alone and unloved. I wanted her to tell the reader her story in her own words. She tells us how it feels when her mother has no time for her and her sisters ignore her. But, as we all know, there are always two sides to every story and I also wanted to look at what would make her mother behave the way she does. 
To the outside world Jean appears to be the perfect wife and mother. She keeps a tidy house; her children are always clean and well fed and her husband always comes home from work to a meal on the table. So why is she so emotionally detached?  
I wanted Jean to tell us her side of the story too. What was it that made her behave the way that she did? Was she really the mother that her daughters thought she was? 
I really didn’t want to like Jean but, as I wrote her story I started to understand her a bit more. Was it really her fault or was she merely a product of her own childhood? We only see Jean’s mother briefly but I think that’s enough to know where she got her mothering skills from. When Jean needed her mother’s support it wasn’t there so should we be surprised when she behaves the same way? 

 Another line I wanted to pursue was how mother and daughter, a generation apart, would deal with the age-old problem of what to do when you are pregnant and unmarried. The shame was enormous in the 1950’s and had things changed that much nearly thirty years later? Maybe it had for some but not for Jean. Having said that, when Jean tried to make the problem go away was she, in her own mind, trying to do what she thought was best for her daughter? 

The main thing that I wanted to look at in this book though was the mother/daughter relationship. I am a mother and a daughter but I am not the mother of a daughter. I do however have a lot of friends with daughters so I can see that its rarely a straightforward thing at the best of times. Throw secrets and lies into the equation and you have a recipe for maybe not disaster but certainly for misunderstandings. 

Jean came to life in my head following a conversation with someone whose mother was just like Susan’s and this surprised me because being on the outside, as I was, I had no idea. What has surprised me more though is that as I’ve been talking to other women about my book a lot of them have told me that their mothers were the same. This makes me appreciate not only my own mother but also my sister all the more. They were the women that put the metaphorical ribbons in my hair and that is why this book is dedicated to them. 

💝💝💝

Don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour! Thank you for stopping by today!




Sunday, 12 August 2018

#BookReview The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh #20booksofsummer


About the book

Imagine a world very close to our own: where women are not safe in their bodies, where desperate measures are required to raise a daughter. This is the story of Grace, Lia, and Sky kept apart from the world for their own good and taught the terrible things that every woman must learn about love. And it is the story of the men who come to find them - three strangers washed up by the sea, their gazes hungry and insistent, trailing desire and destruction in their wake.

Hypnotic and compulsive, The Water Cure is a fever dream, a blazing vision of suffering, sisterhood, and transformation.

Published by Hamish Hamilton

Purchase Links





MY REVIEW

I struggled with this book to begin with, but am glad I stuck with it as I've been left marvelling over this dark and hypnotic novel.

3 sisters have been brought up to fear the world around them. Their parents are cruel, brutal and controlling. Every aspect of their life - if you can call it that - is watched over, even their thoughts begin to betray them and they often punish themselves to save themselves the torture their parents will dish out - both physically and mentally.

And then their father is gone so they think life will change. It doesn't. Their mother carries on the controlling lifestyle, and in some ways is even more vicious than their father. And then their sanctuary is 'invaded' by 3 strangers. 3 men. Their prescence isn't welcome especially by the mother, but the way the girls feel and behave begins to change and they're unsure of these new emotions and it is captivating to hear these new thoughts from the sisters. At the start it was quite difficult to differentiate between each of them, but over time you begin to see more of their different thought processes and how their upbringings have moulded their minds and responses to the situation they now find themselves in.

Their way of life changes even more when the mother goes missing,and this is when the book really comes into its' own as everything they've been taught and learned is slowly pulled apart by the strange men amongst them. They finally see people express love, have positive things to say about one another - completely alien to them and the brainwashing they've experienced under their parents.

I was completely captivated by this book once I'd got my head around the storyline. It is beautifully written, the short snappy chapters really pack a punch and the different viewpoints add so much to the impact of the abuse that these girls had suffered. 

A mesmerizing and powerful book.

🌊🌊🌊

Saturday, 11 August 2018

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - Week 31 2018


Hello! Greetings from my weekend home.... a girl can dream can't she?! This is the wonderful Beeleigh Abbey that I got to visit yesterday with my parents and it's a home with a literary link as it's owned by the Foyles' family! If only they'd put a pop up Foyle's in the garden I'd have been in heaven! Gorgeous gardens though and excellent tea and cake on offer that had to be sampled!!

On the reading front it's been another fairly productive week! The cooler weather has meant my brain has worked a little better than of late, so 5 books have been finished, 4 have been added to the shelves via bookpost and a sneaky look at NetGalley and I'm currently reading 3! Here's a closer look at them all! 

BOOKS FINISHED



Fascinating historical story and I can see why it has been so highly praised and won the 2018 Walter Scott historical fiction prize.



Scary dystopian story about living in a world where women are being silenced. Really enjoyed it!



A dark and twisty story featuring a very dysfunctional family - my kind of book! Great read!

Snap by Belinda Bauer  -  4 stars


Another great dark thriller from Belinda Bauer!  Keeps you guessing the whole way through!



Nikola Scott is becoming one of my favourite authors! Loved this dual timeline story, full of secrets!

BOOK HAUL

The evil NetGalley made me look this week and I got approval for 2 reads!

Vox by Christina Dalcher


The Scarlet Nightingale by Alan Titchmarsh


As war rages across Europe, one young woman is torn between love and loyalty.

Set in wartime London and occupied France, this is a thrilling story of love, danger and sacrifice from bestselling novelist Alan Titchmarsh.

It is the late 1930s when seventeen-year-old Rosamund Hanbury leaves behind the endless summers of her coastal Devonshire home for the fast pace of high society London.

Under the expert guidance of her formidable aunt, the country mouse learns how to act like a lady, hosting dinner parties and rubbing shoulders with Britain's most influential. And when the enigmatic Harry Napier sweeps her off her feet at London's famous Café de Paris she could almost forget that Britain has declared war.

But the Phoney War ends. Harry is posted, London reels from the first bombings of the Blitz and Rosamund suffers a devastating personal loss that leaves her all the more determined to do her bit for the war effort. 
Joining the Special Forces she is sent to work alongside the Resistance on a top secret mission in France. 
It is here that her courage and loyalty are truly put to the test. And where she learns that no one is what they seem: at home or abroad ...

And via the wonders of my lovely postman, I received these two ahead of future Blog Tours!

BEFORE WE FALL by Grace Lowrie
Published by Accent Press

When quiet Cally, an amateur ballet dancer, is suddenly diagnosed with cancer she runs away from her boyfriend Liam, her job in a call centre and her safe life in Wildham – in order to experience ‘real’ life in London. Taking a job as a stripper and flat-sitting in the top of an office tower she meets her obnoxious neighbour Bay; a tattooed, drug-taking, suicidal artist, haunted by the death of those close to him. Despite their differences, the two strike up a friendship – Bay pushes Cally to try new things while Cally provides Bay with a muse – and they fall in love. But their secrets threaten to tear them apart and time is running out...

The Angel's Mark by SW Perry
Published by Corvus
Publication Date 6th September 2018

LONDON, 1590. Queen Elizabeth I's control over her kingdom is wavering. Amidst a tumultuous backdrop of Spanish plotters, Catholic heretics and foreign wars threatening the country's fragile stability, the body of a small boy is found in the City of London, with strange marks that no one can explain.When idealistic physician Nicholas Shelby finds another body displaying the same marks only days later, he becomes convinced that a killer is at work, preying on the weak and destitute of London.Determined to find out who is behind these terrible murders, Nicholas is joined in his investigations by Bianca, a spirited tavern keeper. But when their inquiries lead them to the fearsome attentions of the powerful Robert Cecil, Nicholas is forced into playing to Cecil's agenda, and becoming a spy...
As more bodies are discovered, the pair find themselves caught in the middle of a sinister plot. With the killer still at large, and Bianca in terrible danger, Nicholas's choice seems impossible - to save Bianca, or save himself...

CURRENTLY READING

A Proposal to Die For by Vivian Conroy #20booksofsummer

The first book in the new Lady Alkmene Callender Mystery series
A murderous beginning
With her father away in India, Lady Alkmene Callender finds being left to her own devices in London intolerably dull, until the glamorous Broadway star Evelyn Steinbeck arrives in town! Gossip abounds about the New York socialite, but when Ms Steinbeck’s wealthy uncle, Silas Norwhich, is found dead Lady Alkmene finds her interest is piqued. Because this death sounds a lot to her like murder…
Desperate to uncover the truth, Lady Alkmene begins to look into Ms Steinbeck’s past – only to be hampered by the arrival of journalist, Jake Dubois – who believes she is merely an amateur lady-detective meddling in matters she knows nothing about!
But Lady Alkmene refuses to be deterred from the case and together they dig deeper, only to discover that some secrets should never come to light…
The twenties have never been so dangerous
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh


Imagine a world very close to our own: where women are not safe in their bodies, where desperate measures are required to raise a daughter. This is the story of Grace, Lia, and Sky kept apart from the world for their own good and taught the terrible things that every woman must learn about love. And it is the story of the men who come to find them - three strangers washed up by the sea, their gazes hungry and insistent, trailing desire and destruction in their wake.

Hypnotic and compulsive, The Water Cure is a fever dream, a blazing vision of suffering, sisterhood, and transformation.

Paper Girls by Brian K.Vaughan


In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻

Hope you've had a successful bookish week too! what's been your favourite read? Any of these mentioned take your fancy?!

HAPPY READING

Friday, 10 August 2018

#BookReview Snap by Belinda Bauer #20booksofsummer


THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2018.

About the book

On a stifling summer's day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack's in charge, she said. I won't be long.
But she doesn't come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed for ever.

Three years later, mum-to-be Catherine wakes to find a knife beside her bed, and a note that says: I could have killed you.

Meanwhile Jack is still in charge - of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they're alone in the house, and - quite suddenly - of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother.
But the truth can be a dangerous thing . . .

Published by Bantam Press

Purchase Links




MY REVIEW

Having loved The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer, I have been eager to pick this up and even more so since it was named on the The Booker Prize longlist! And having just finished it today I think I can see why it is! Full of so much tension and intrigue, this book really does a great job of keeping you guessing throughout.

I was a little sceptical at first though! I found the pace a little slow to begin with and some of the events a little too unbelievable, but once the characters had to time to shine and share their stories I began to eagerly anticipate the next 'reveal' and the latest twist! And there were lots of those to enjoy and mess with your mind and emotions!

The start really set the tone, with the 3 children being left in a car on the side of a road after their mother told them to wait there only for her never to return. And seeing how they dealt with the aftermath of that trauma played out so well - with the eldest boy Jack taking on the responsible role, even more so after their father left 2 years later having never got to grips with the murder of his wife.

The role Jack takes on to help his family survive and to try and track down whoever was responsible for killing his mum made him such an important and strong character all the way through this book. I enjoyed seeing how he acted in certain situations, but then would show his vunerabilities too with his recurring nightmares about when his mum first went missing.

The whole story had an edgy and unnerving feeling throughout it and I loved the different storylines from the various characters featured. A real page turner!!


⋆⋆⋆⋆

Book 14 of my #20booksofsummer challenge.... I think! I may be losing track so need to double check haha!! I never make things simple for myself! 😉 Now to work out how best to attack the final batch of books for the challenge - stick to the Netgalley TBR bookshelf plan or deviate a little?! Not adding to the Netgalley shelves would have been the better option in the first place but I didn't stick to that way of thinking!! ㏊㏊

How are you getting on with your challenge if you're taking part?! 

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

#BlogTour The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden #BookReview


A real pleasure for me to be able to share my love for this book on the latest stop of the fabulous Blog Tour - my thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for letting me be part of it all!

About the book

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.


Published by Ebury Publishing


Purchase Links





About the Author



Born in Texas, Katherine studied French and Russian at Middlebury College. She has lived abroad in France and in Moscow, among other places. She has also lived in Hawaii, where she wrote much of The Bear and the Nightingale. She currently lives in Vermont.

MY REVIEW

Where to begin with my love for this Winternight series?! I adored The Bear and the Nightingale so have been itching to pick up this book and follow the further adventures of Vasya and this is just a perfectly magical tale, full of bravery, heart, folklore and emotion.

After The Bear and the Nightingale, Vasya is seeking revenge, answers and a new life. All that is expected of a young girl of the time is marriage, but that isn't on her mind so as she is exiled from her village she sets off dressed as a boy as safety to right the wrongs of the magical world she is part of. Along the way she finds villages burned down where bandits have come along and stolen the young girls of the village and killed everyone else, and she is determined to seek those causing such devastation.

She is introduced to the Grand Prince of Moscow on her travels and he is in awe of this 'young man' but she is recognised by her brother Sasha who left the village years ago to become a monk. He feels annoyed at his sisters' behaviour and is torn by his family loyalty and fears the consequences if she is found out.

As with book one, the setting is just truly magical. There is beauty in the forests but it's also a very brutal place and that double edge sword is explored throughout this book. Vasya as a character is much more mature in this book but she doesn't lose that spark that made her so special when we first go to meet her. Being reunited with family members also brings out another side to her and is touching to see.

I loved spending more time with Vasya - a feisty heroine ahead of her time who is never afraid of daring to achieve the impossible, no matter the obstacles put in her way. Highly recommended!

🐻🐻🐻



Tuesday, 7 August 2018

#Unboxing My Chronicle Book Box August #sciencefiction #fantasy#spoileralert #MyChronicleBookBox



Hello all!  It's time for another Book Box Unboxing!! And one of my favourites is My Chronicle Book Box  - a selection of books alongside bookish related goodies sent quartely during the year! And you get to choose from Science Fiction & Fantasy OR Crime and Mystery!

About the company

We are a UK based, international supplier of Luxury subscription book boxes.
Reading is our passion and we love working closely with authors, publishers and top quality artisan suppliers. We are confident you will love our boxes, curated with books by the best authors and perfectly combined with luxury bookish gifts!
I've subscribed to the Science Fiction & Fantasy box - so here's my unboxing snaps and a little bit of info about each item!!  



Witchsign by Den Patrick

A limited proof edition 


From celebrated YA author Den Patrick comes WITCHSIGN, the first novel in a fresh and exciting new fantasy trilogy 

It has been seventy-five years since the dragons' rule of fire and arcane magic over Vinkerveld was ended, and the Empire was born. Since, the tyrannical Synod has worked hard to banish all manifestations of the arcane across the lands. 

However, children are still born bearing the taint of the arcane, known to all as witchsign. So each year the Emperor sends out his Vigilants across the continent to detect the arcane in these children. Those found tainted are taken, and never seen again. Steiner has always suspected his sister Kjellrunn of bearing witchsign. But when their father's attempt to protect her from the Invigilation backfires, it is Steiner who is mistakenly taken. However it is not death which awaits Steiner, but an Academy where the children with witchsign learn to master their powers - some at the cost of their lives. Steiner is determined to escape the Academy and protect his sister from this fate.

But powerful enemies await him at every turn, and Steiner finds himself taken on a journey straight into the heart of the Empire's deepest secrets, which will force him to reconsider everything he has known about witchsign

Rivers of London by Water Weed and Ben Aaronovitch and Andrew Cartmel

First in the series comic book that ties in with the bestselling Rivers of London novels.


The War in the Dark by Nick Setchfield

The debut novel of the SFX magazine editor.


A genre-defying page turner that fuses thriller and speculative fiction with dark fantasy in a hidden world in the heart of Cold War Europe. 

Europe. 1963. And the true Cold War is fought on the borders of this world, at the edges of the light.
 
When the assassination of a traitor trading with the enemy goes terribly wrong, British Intelligence agent Christopher Winter must flee London. In a tense alliance with a lethal, mysterious woman named Karina Lazarova, he's caught in a quest for hidden knowledge from centuries before, an occult secret written in a language of fire. A secret that will give supremacy to the nation that possesses it.
 
Racing against the Russians, the chase takes them from the demon-haunted Hungarian border to treasure-laden tunnels beneath Berlin, from an impossible house in Vienna to a bomb-blasted ruin in Bavaria where something unholy waits, born of the power of white fire and black glass . . .
 
It's a world of treachery, blood and magic. A world at war in the dark.

Engraved wooden coaster

Game of Thrones merchandise makes me a happy girl so was very pleased to see this included!


Storyteller Pencils

Fab set of pencils designed and manufactured by https://www.ustudio.design/ .  With literary slogans on the side of each pencil including ' In A Galaxy Far, Far, Away', 'It Was A Dark and Stormy Night', and  'Once Upon a Time' to name just a few!



The Soldier by Neal Asher

With a signed bookplate and exclusive interview!



In a far corner of space, on the very borders between humanity’s Polity worlds and the kingdom of the vicious crab-like prador, is an immediate threat to all sentient life: an accretion disc, a solar system designed by the long-dead Jain race and swarming with living technology powerful enough to destroy entire civilizations. 

Neither the Polity or the prador want the other in full control of the disc, so they’ve placed an impartial third party in charge of the weapons platform guarding the technology from escaping into the galaxy: Orlandine, a part-human, part-AI haiman. She’s assisted by Dragon, a mysterious, spaceship-sized alien entity who has long been suspicious of Jain technology and who suspects the disc is a trap lying-in-wait. 

Meanwhile, the android Angel is planning an attack on the Polity, and is searching for a terrible weapon to carry out his plans?a Jain super-soldier. But what exactly the super-soldier is, and what it could be used for if it fell into the wrong hands, will bring Angel and Orlandine’s missions to a head in a way that could forever change the balance of power in the Polity universe. 

In The Soldier, British science fiction writer Neal Asher kicks off another Polity-based trilogy in signature fashion, concocting a mind-melting plot filled with far-future technology, lethal weaponry, and bizarre alien creations.

A Discovery of Witches Print

Exclusive print designed for My Chronicle Book Box by Beth at Eyes of a Fangirl over at Etsy!


📚📚📚📚📚

I've loved unboxing the August edition of My Chronicle Book Box so hope you've enjoyed peeking inside the box too! Have you read any of these books? I'm intrigued to find out what was in the Crime & Mystery edition too so if you got that I'd love to hear about it!

HAPPY READING!!