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Monday, 27 February 2017

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai - book review


THE BLURB
When Tom loses the love of his life, time travel seems like the only answer. . . what could possibly go wrong?

Elan Mastai's breakthrough novel brings a whole new dimension to a classic love story
So, the thing is, I come from the world we were supposed to have.
That means nothing to you, obviously, because you live here, in the crappy world we do have.
But it never should've turned out like this. And it's all my fault - well, me and to a lesser extent my father.
And, yeah, I guess a little bit Penelope.
In both worlds, she's the love of my life. But only a single version of her can exist.
I have one impossible chance to fix history's greatest mistake and save this broken world.
Except it means saving one Penelope and losing the other forever - and I have absolutely no idea which to choose . . .
Praise for All Our Wrong Todays
'A thrilling tale of time travel and alternate timelines with a refreshingly optimistic view of humanity's future'
Andy Weir, author of international bestseller The Martian
'A novel about time travel has no right to be this engaging. A novel this engaging has no right to be this smart. And a novel this smart has no right to be this funny. Or insightful. Or immersive. Basically, this novel has no right to exist."
Jonathan TropperNew York Times bestselling author of This Is Where I Leave You and One Last Thing Before I Go
'Elan Mastai has conjured up a witty and freewheeling time-traveling romance that packs an emotional wallop.All Our Wrong Todays is a page-turning delight'
Maria Semple, author of Today Will Be Different and Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Amazon UK - Kindle edition out now.  Hardback release date 2nd March 2017
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

“All Our Wrong Todays” is my first novel, but I’ve been working for the past 15 years as a screenwriter. I’ve written movies for both independent production companies and the Hollywood studios, including scripts for Fox, Sony, Warner Brothers, and Paramount. My most recent film is “What If”—also known as “The F Word”—a comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Adam Driver, Mackenzie Davis, Megan Park, and Rafe Spall, directed by Michael Dowse. I was fortunate to win the Canadian Academy Award and the Writers Guild of Canada Award for my screenplay. I was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia and currently live in Toronto, Ontario with my wife and kids and an Australian Shepherd named Ruby Slippers.

MY REVIEW

Wasn't really sure what to expect when I started this! I don't read that much sci-fi and seeing the time travel element of this story had me a little worried as to what was in store for me as a reader - I just wish I could send myself back in a time-machine now and start reading this all again so I can savour it all once more!! Loved it!

Tom Barren lives in 2016 - but a 2016 unlike ours! It is full of automated life, decisions made for you - a world where everything is perfect. Sounds idyllic?! Not for Tom and he's nostalgic for the real world of good and bad experiences. Tom is the perfect character to be the narrator of this story as he's the idiot to his genius father - never seemingly good enough and missing his beloved mother. So we get to enjoy and share his every thought and action as he tries to live up to something he isn't - he's not quite sure what he's supposed to be so when a chance to achieve some respect from his father by travelling back in time to witness the moment in time that changed the world as we know it - Lionel Goettreider invented the future in 1965 and he is the most famous man in the alternate 2016 timeline as his vision became their reality. 

So what happens if the impossible happens and we could travel back in time to witness those moments in time that we all know so much about? Tom is about to find out and things aren't all as he imagined - the genius plan had some pretty big flaws! And then what happens when you return from that moment and your version of 2016 has changed beyond recognition?! Full of people you know, but don't know at all?! 

This is more than a sci-fi/time travel novel as it features a lot of human emotion as he deals with love, grief and all those self doubts that we as humans often feel. And it is also very funny!   It is written in a really punchy way and never gets bogged down in too much 'geeky' detail and that is what kept me engrossed from start to finish. I loved the Tom character along with Penelope too who had her own dreams but her destiny was also changed by a quirk of fate and, like life, leads on to new experiences and dreams to unfold.

This exceeded my expectations so I can highly recommend it for those of you looking for something a little out of the ordinary!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!


Greetings bookish humans!! Hope everyone survived Storm Doris in the UK - few pots blown around the garden here but everything else seems to have stayed intact so phew!  This hellebore is blooming away nicely so always a lovely sight to see! Yay for Spring!!

On to books!!  And yay!! Normal service has resumed after a few weeks of not buying anything, I ventured into a local charity shop for a 'browse'  and ended up leaving with 2 new additions for my bookshelves.

SIRENS by JOSEPH KNOX


Sirens is the brooding and assured debut from Joseph Knox, the next big name in crime fiction.

Set in a sprawling, twilight northern city, Sirens introduces Aidan Waits, a disgraced young detective caught stealing drugs from evidence and subsequently blackmailed into going undercover. When an MP's daughter runs away from home, Waits is sent to track her down and finds himself at the centre of a maelstrom of drugs, blackmail and deception.

Uncovering the motives of those involved, he's thrown forwards through politicians, police and drug lords - towards a conclusion and a truth he really doesn't want to know.



THE NIGHT CIRCUS by ERIN MORGENSTERN

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. 

Within these nocturnal black-and-white striped tents awaits an utterly unique, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stare in wonderment as the tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and become deliciously tipsy from the scents of caramel and cinnamon that waft through the air. 

Welcome to Le Cirque des RĂªves. 

Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way--a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a "game" to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. 

As the circus travels around the world, the feats of magic gain fantastical new heights with every stop. The game is well under way and the lives of all those involved--the eccentric circus owner, the elusive contortionist, the mystical fortune-teller, and a pair of red-headed twins born backstage among them--are swept up in a wake of spells and charms. 

But when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary, they begin to think of the game not as a competition but as a wonderful collaboration. With no knowledge of how the game must end, they innocently tumble headfirst into love. A deep, passionate, and magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

Their masters still pull the strings, however, and this unforeseen occurrence forces them to intervene with dangerous consequences, leaving the lives of everyone from the performers to the patrons hanging in the balance. 



And today in the post a prize from the lovely people at Choc Lit UK that I won via a recent Valentines' Twitter competition arrived so really looking forward to reading this title - and forcing myself to enjoy some chocolate! ;)

What if you were powerless to protect the person you cared about most?

When Ruby finds out that her partner has done the unforgivable, she has no option but to move out of their home. With nowhere else to go, a job house-sitting in Cambridge seems like the perfect solution.

But it’s soon clear the absent owner hurts everyone he gets close to, and Ruby’s faced with the fallout. As violent repercussions unfold, her instinct is to investigate: it’s a matter of self-preservation. And besides, she’s curious…

But Ruby’s new boss, Nate Bastable, has his eye on her and seems determined to put a stop to her sleuthing. Is he simply worried for the welfare of a member of staff, or is there something altogether more complicated – and potentially dangerous – at play?



Now on to the books that I finished reading this week! 


Falling Awake by Alice Oswald

Alice Oswald’s poems are always vivid and distinct, alert and deeply, physically, engaged in the natural world. Mutability – a sense that all matter is unstable in the face of mortality – is at the heart of this new collection and each poem is involved in that drama: the held tension that is embodied life, and life’s losing struggle with the gravity of nature.

Working as before with an ear to the oral tradition, these poems attend to the organic shapes and sounds and momentum of the language as it’s spoken as well as how it’s thought: fresh, fluid and propulsive, but also fragmentary, repetitive. These are poems that are written to be read aloud.

Orpheus and Tithonus appear at the beginning and end of this book, alive in an English landscape, stuck in the clockwork of their own speech, and the Hours – goddesses of the seasons and the natural apportioning of Time – are the presiding figures. The persistent conditions are flux and falling, and the lines are in constant motion: approaching, from daring new angles, our experience of being human, and coalescing into poems of simple, stunning beauty.
 

This was a really beautiful read. I have always wanted to read  more poetry and have pledged to do so in 2017 - if they're all like this then I'm in for a fun year! As well as being beautifully written, they are also beautifully displayed and that really did help me enjoy them more as it made it more interesting.  Loved the different ways of looking at nature and the british landscape too.

One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis

Vicky Seagrave is blessed: three beautiful children, a successful, doting husband, great friends and a job she loves. She should be perfectly happy.

When she risks everything she holds dear on a whim, there's only person she trusts enough to turn to.

But Vicky is about to learn that one mistake is all it takes; that if you're careless with those you love, you don't deserve to keep them . . . 

This was a real page turner of a read for me - full of characters that have you shouting at the pages but gripped by what was going to happen next and unable to predict some of the twists and turns ahead for them all!  


The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

I adored this book!  It did take me a little while to get into as it did get a little confusing to begin with - i am very easily confused at the best of times! -   but once I was under the spell of the characters then the story had me gripped and I couldn't stop reading!  The main character, Vasya, was a wonderful female character in a historical/fairytale setting and I am extremely pleased to hear there'll be more in the series!  This is how stories should be told!!

Anyone read any of these?! Hope you had as much fun reading them as I did!  And has the reading pile shrunk by much over the past week?! Of course not!!  I think some of the spirits that Vasya speaks to in The Bear and the Nightingale are sneaking in extra books to my house! ;)



Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

One Little Mistake by Emma Curtis - Book Review


THE BLURB

Vicky Seagrave is blessed: three beautiful children, a successful, doting husband, great friends and a job she loves. She should be perfectly happy.

When she risks everything she holds dear on a whim, there's only person she trusts enough to turn to.

But Vicky is about to learn that one mistake is all it takes; that if you're careless with those you love, you don't deserve to keep them . . . 


'A tense and utterly engrossing story' Tammy Cohen, author of WHEN SHE WAS BAD and THE BROKEN

'A compelling page-turner which kept me reading well into the night.This book will make any woman look at her best friend with more than a touch of suspicion . . .' Jane Corry, author of MY HUSBAND'S WIFE

'A page-turner that explores how friendship, mothering, marriage, and events in the past can collide in unexpected andtumultuous ways' Beth Miller, author of THE GOOD NEIGHBOUR and WHEN WE WERE SISTERS

'A brilliant, gripping read. I couldn't put it down' Claire Douglas, author of THE SISTERS and LOCAL GIRL MISSING

Release Date - 23rd February 2017

Amazon UK  £2.99 Kindle edition



ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Emma Curtis was born in Brighton and brought up in London.  Her fascination with the darker side of domestic life inspired her to write One Little Mistake, her first psychological suspense. She has two children and lives in Richmond with her husband.

Find her on Twitter @emmacurtisbooks



MY REVIEW

Another thought provoking  thriller to enjoy if you love this genre!!  Kept me intrigued from start to finish and is full of twists that most will fail to predict!

As we follow the story of Vicky we soon see that those we think that have it all are often thinking they don't and that the grass is always greener on the other side.  When Vicky begins to take her family for granted it sets in motion a chain of events that see her whole life turned upside down.

Another major part of this storyline is the issue of trust. Vicky thought she could trust her best friend, Amber, but armed with every insight into her friends' life it soon turns out that knowledge is power and can be used against you - if that friend isn't all she says she is!  The green eyed monster rears  its' ugly head many a time and definitely makes you think twice about trusting those closest to you!!

It is told over 2 timelines - 2010 and 1992 - and this works so well in building up a picture of events over the years and just how someone elses past can destroy your future!

It brings the question of responsibility clearly into focus and how a split second decision can change things forever - is it always worth the risk?!

None of the characters come out of this story very well with their behaviour and their selfish acts but it an insight into what makes people tick and that isn't always a pleasant thing and is written so cleverly that you find yourself imagining what would you do that in those situations!  Hopefully not with the same consequences!!

Thoroughly enjoyed the ride this page turner took me on so will be looking out for more from this author in the future!


Thank you to Emma Curtis and Rosie Margesson at Pengiun Random House for the advance copy in exchange for my review 

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Me, You and Tiramisu by Charlotte Butterfield - book review


THE BLURB

The love story of the year!

Fall in love with the perfect feel-good romance for fans of Katie Fforde, Jill Mansell and Carole Matthews.

It all started with a table for two…

Life for self-confessed bookworm Jayne Brady couldn’t be better – she has a twin sister she adores, a cosy little flat above a deli and now she’s found love with her childhood crush, gorgeous chef Will.

But when Will becomes a Youtube sensation, thanks to his delicious cookery demos (both the food and his smile!), their life of contentment come crashing down around them. Can Jayne have her Tiramisu and eat it?


Publication Date - 23rd February 2017

HarperImpulse


My Review

This was a lovely surprise of a read! It's the story of extremely likeable Jayne who is a harrassed teacher with a love of books, and who is in search of her true love and happy ending!  Aren't we all?! 

When her first love reappears on the scene she is beyond ecstatic to reconnect and can barely believe her luck that he even gives her the time of day as she's always too hard on herself and thinks she isn't good enough! She's not outgoing like her twin sister but it finally seems she has the perfect life that she has always dreamt of.


But that all changes when chef Will becomes an internet sensation thanks to his cookery videos and both their lives change but is it for better or for worse?!

Really loved the characters in this story and enjoyed the way the story explored the good, and bad, sides of success on the internet and all that brings with it. It makes you aware of success changing people or changing peoples' perceptions of others because of what they see online and in the media and I found that to be very enlightening in the media obsessed world that we now live in.

Lots of fun moments too made for a very enjoyable read!  


Thankyou to NetGalley and the publishers HarperImpulse for an advanced copy.


Friday, 17 February 2017

Weekly Wrap-up!



Bonjour!!  I trust your week has been a happy-ish one, full of smiles and books!    Survived another one here in one piece - that's always a bonus!!  And the garden is beginning to fill up with colour! The hellebores are putting on a lovely display as always!

And it has been a pretty good bookish week too - helped by taking part in the #cosyreadingnight on Saturday night which was started by Lauren of @laurenthebooks of Twitter and BookTube fame.  It's a wonderful night where you put aside 3 hours to get cosy on the sofa or in bed, with candles, snacks and, most importantly, books and you just read! It was lovely to be part of and see what everyone else was reading via the hashtag on Twitter and hopefully it will be a more regular occurence now!  Always good to have an excuse to stock up on extra snacks haha!!  Did anyone else take part?! Hope you had as much fun as I did!
Been extremely restrained recently on the book purchasing front - call the Doctors immediately! I must be poorly!! - so the only bookpost I received this week was Twitter.


WE ALL BEGIN AS STRANGERS by HARRIET CUMMINGS

It's 1984, and summer is scorching the ordinary village of Heathcote.

What's more, a mysterious figure is slipping into homes through back doors and open windows. Dubbed 'the Fox', he knows everything about everyone - leaving curious objects in their homes, or taking things from them.

When beloved Anna goes missing, the whole community believes the Fox is responsible.

For the worried residents, finding Anna will be difficult - but stopping the Fox from exposing their darkest secrets might just be impossible...


Out 20th April 2017



BOOKS FINISHED THIS WEEK



THE SEED COLLECTORS by SCARLETT THOMAS

The seductive new novel from the bestselling author of The End of Mr. Y, full of life, death, desire and family trees.

What secrets are hiding in your family tree?

Great Aunt Oleander is dead. To each of her nearest and dearest she has left a seed pod. The seed pods might be deadly, but then again they might also contain the secret of enlightenment . . .

A complex and fiercely contemporary tale of inheritance, enlightenment, life, death, desire and family trees, The Seed Collectors is the most important novel yet from one of the world's most daring and brilliant writers.



This was a book I'd seen on my travels and then found it in the library so thought I'd give it a go as I hadn't read anything by this author before.  And it has left me with very mixed views!! I loved AND hated it in equal measures!!  When it was good it was very, very good! Funny, sharp, insightful and witty! But then it was bad it was very, very bad!!  Crass, obscene, vulgar, shallow and dull!  So it had everything lol! Hope to give some of the authors other work a go just to see if i feel the same about those too!

WE WERE THE LUCKY ONES by GEORGIA HUNTER



Reading Georgia Hunter s We Were the Lucky Ones is like being swung heart first into history. . . . A brave and mesmerizing debut, and a truly tremendous accomplishment. Paula McLain, New York Timesbestselling author of The Paris Wife
An extraordinary, propulsive novel based on the true story of a family of Polish Jews who are separated at the start of the Second World War, determined to survive and to reunite 

It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety. 


Absolutely adored reading this as it was a stunning family drama set during the Second World War and it was breathtaking and heartwrenching in equal measures!  I highly recommend it!!


SAFE FROM HARM by R.J. BAILEY



London: a city where the super-rich flock – and where their enemies follow. And in this city of eight million people, where any stranger could be a threat, a close protection operative is the must-have accessory for anyone who is anyone.
But not just any close protection officer. A female close protection officer. One who can blend into the crowd, but who is tough enough to counter any threat.
Safe From Harm is the explosive opening to an exciting new series by a thrilling new talent.


This was a one sitting read for me!  Picked up it as it was one of my book clubs monthly reads and I found it to be a fast paced and intriguing book that is all set up nicely for more to follow which I am looking forward to!



THE DOLL FUNERAL by KATE HAMER

My name is Ruby. I live with Barbara and Mick. They're not my real parents, but they tell me what to do, and what to say. I'm supposed to say that the bruises on my arms and the black eye came from falling down the stairs.

But there are things I won't say. I won't tell them I'm going to hunt for my real parents. I don't say a word about Shadow, who sits on the stairs, or the Wasp Lady I saw on the way to bed.

I did tell Mick that I saw the woman in the buttercup dress, hanging upside down from her seat belt deep in the forest at the back of our house. I told him I saw death crawl out of her. He said he'd give me a medal for lying.

I wasn't lying. I'm a hunter for lost souls and I'm going to be with my real family. And I'm not going to let Mick stop me


That cover drew me in!!  And as I had loved The Girl in The Red Coat I couldn't wait for this from the same author and it didn't disappoint! Dark, atmospheric, haunting and gripping - i loved it!



And that wraps this week up for me!!  Up to having read 26 books so far this  year on my GoodReads challenge so quite happy with that!  Seem to be slowing down a little though so need to start picking up the pace again and get another little reading pile sorted out for the week ahead!  Quite a few good new releases about that I want to get to, along with catching up with the wonderful stories that have been sitting on my bookshelves for quite a while now!  Anyone else find it harder to choose what to read next nowadays?! If the publishing world could slow down on releasing so many good books then I'd be eternally grateful!! ;)


HAPPY READING!!


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer - Book Review



THE BLURB

My name is Ruby. I live with Barbara and Mick. They're not my real parents, but they tell me what to do, and what to say. I'm supposed to say that the bruises on my arms and the black eye came from falling down the stairs.

But there are things I won't say. I won't tell them I'm going to hunt for my real parents. I don't say a word about Shadow, who sits on the stairs, or the Wasp Lady I saw on the way to bed.

I did tell Mick that I saw the woman in the buttercup dress, hanging upside down from her seat belt deep in the forest at the back of our house. I told him I saw death crawl out of her. He said he'd give me a medal for lying.

I wasn't lying. I'm a hunter for lost souls and I'm going to be with my real family. And I'm not going to let Mick stop me....



Publication Date: February 16th 2017

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk - buy online and support your local bookshop


MY REVIEW

As a fan of The Girl in the Red Coat, I have been eagerly awaiting this next release from Kate Hamer and I've just had a wonderful but dark journey whilst reading the story of Ruby.

WE meet Ruby in 1983 when she is living with Barbara and Mick (boo hiss!) but she isn't a happy young girl after suffering at the hands of the ghastly Mick and is determined to find out who her real parents are and find out the truth to her past. Barbara is completely under the control of Mick so there is no real help for the abuse that Ruby has to endure and you can't help but feel so much sympathy for the young misfit.

WE also follow the storyline from 1970 and the story of Anna which puts the current situation into context and we are able to see Rubys' past before she existed.

Ruby has always been drawn to the forest and also has the ability to see 'shadow' people and this is another fascinating and dark twist to the plotline. She is also drawn to another wandering soul, Tom, and gets close to him and his family as they all try and search for answers to their past and find some meaning to their existences. The 'Shadow' also has a voice in this story and that is extremely dark and unnerving to read at times.

This is a slow burner of a book with lots that make you think and for me it was often quite an unsettling read as you never knew for sure what was round the corner. You also felt the torment that both Ruby and Anna go through as young girls which is often quite distressing and harrowing as they encounter many trying times and many of which make no sense.

I loved the dark and other worldly elements to this story and had to stay up late to finish reading it as the characters had me under their spell and I couldn't settle until I'd read to the end! If you like your stories a little different to the norm then I highly recommend this one!

Thankyou to the publishers for supplying me with an early copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Cover Reveal - The Girl In The Photograph by Kirsty Ferry

COVER REVEAL


 THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPH BY KIRSTY FERRY 


What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than to see the LOVELY cover for the forthcoming release from Kirsty Ferry!  So without further ado, it is my great pleasure to share this stunner with you.


Image 



What if the past was trying to teach you a lesson? 
Staying alone in the shadow of an abandoned manor house in Yorkshire would be madness to some, but art enthusiast Lissy de Luca can’t wait. Lissy has her reasons for seeking isolation, and she wants to study the Staithes Group – an artists’ commune active at the turn of the twentieth century. 

Lissy is fascinated by the imposing Sea Scarr Hall – but the deeper she delves, the stranger things get. A lonely figure patrols the cove at night, whilst a hidden painting leads to a chilling realisation. And then there’s the photograph of the girl; so beautiful she could be a mermaid … and so familiar. 
As Lissy further immerses herself, she comes to an eerie conclusion: The occupants of Sea Scarr Hall are long gone, but they have a message for her – and they’re going to make sure she gets it. 



The Girl in the Photograph is published on 7th March and will be available to purchase as an eBook on all platforms.  




Told you it was rather fabulous didn't I!!  I've also been lucky enough to have read an early edition of this and it is one you don't want to miss so mark it in your diary NOW!!