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Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Top 5 Tuesday - 5 Intimidating Books


Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bionic Book Worm  which explores a number of different topics to get you all thinking!

So I've had a little think - my poor brain! - and come up with a list of 5 books that have always intimidated me for a number of reasons!  Hopefully you can put my mind at rest over some of them and I can finally stop being so scared!!


GAME OF THRONES by GEORGE R.R. MARTIN

I have the set!  And it has been sitting in my wardrobe (hidden away) for a couple of years now!! I adore the TV show but the books just scare me, mainly due to their size!  It would be a great time for me to pick them up with the new TV series so far away... should I?!


A LITTLE LIFE by HANYA YANAGIHARA

Another one of those 'chunkster' books that has been hidden away in my wardrobe! The reviews are pretty impressive but it does warn of a lot of emotion and often heartbreaking and I'm really not sure I can cope with it! Have you read it?!


City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Another chunkster!! Over 700 pages!! I loved the early books in the Mortal Instruments series (this is book 6) but found myself not enjoying the last couple so not sure I can muster up the enthusiasm to put myself through all those pages in this one if I'm not going to like it - or care what happens lol!!


THE MINIATURIST by JESSIE BURTON

Loved The Muse by this author, and then got hold of a copy of this as heard so many wonderful things but never got round to picking it up.  I then made the mistake of watching the BBC version on TV recently - and really didn't enjoy it so that has put me off picking the book up once more!


EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by NICOLA YOON

I'm always intimidated by books that have a big media 'buzz' about them and this one seemed to be everywhere for a while and it also seems to have very divided opinions! Some love it, others hate it!  Have a feeling I could be in the hate camp... if I ever picked it up!!



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Do you have books that intimidate you?  Should I pick any of these up and get over my issues?!!  

Forget Her Name by Jane Holland #blogtour #bookreview



Delighted to host todays' stop on the Forget Her Name Blog Tour!! If you are looking for a book with that twisty thriller vibe, then look no further!!



Forget Her Name 

Rachel’s dead and she’s never coming back. Or is she? 

As she prepares for her wedding to Dominic, Catherine has never been happier or more excited about her future. But when she receives an anonymous package—a familiar snow globe with a very grisly addition—that happiness is abruptly threatened by secrets from her past. 
Her older sister, Rachel, died on a skiing holiday as a child. But Rachel was no angel: she was vicious and highly disturbed, and she made Catherine’s life a misery. Catherine has spent years trying to forget her dead sister’s cruel tricks. Now someone has sent her Rachel’s snow globe—the first in a series of ominous messages… 
While Catherine struggles to focus on her new life with Dominic, someone out there seems intent on tormenting her. But who? And why now? The only alternative is what she fears most. 
Is Rachel still alive? 

Buying Links;





Amazon US




About The Author 

Jane Holland is a Gregory Award–winning poet and novelist who also writes commercial fiction under the pseudonyms Victoria Lamb, Elizabeth Moss, Beth Good and Hannah Coates. Her debut thriller, Girl Number One, hit #1 in the UK Kindle Store in December 2015. Jane lives with her husband and young family near the North Cornwall/Devon border. A homeschooler, her hobbies include photography and growing her own vegetables. 

Social Media Links



MY REVIEW

This is a book that messes with your mind!!  In a good but twisted way!

This is the story of Cat, from a privileged upbringing, volunteering at a food bank, and preparing for her  wedding to Dominic who is a nurse.  Life all seems pretty settled for her, until she receives a rather chilling 'gift' in the post from her past and her whole world is thrown into chaos as she begins to doubt the past.

Her sister, Rachel, died on a skiing holiday as a child and although the event was traumatic, the family rarely spoke of it as her sister was no angel.  With these strange occurences it seems that there was more to the Rachel story than her parents told her and Cat is left going out of her mind trying to figure out what happened, and why someone is trying to rock the boat.  She is questioning her sanity, and her family question it too as they grow increasingly concerned over her behaviour and worries.

I found this to be a very unsettling read full of twists that I never saw coming, and really well paced and quite dark!! Also loved that it was partly set in Hanwell, Ealing as that was where my nan lived so I could easily picture the location!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-arc in return for an honest review.


Monday, 29 January 2018

Amy Snow by Tracy Rees #BookReview


THE BLURB


Left to perish on a bank of snow as a baby, Amy has never known love, never known family.

Reluctantly given shelter at nearby Hatville Court, she is despised by the masters and servants alike.

The beautiful Hatville heiress, Aurelia Vennaway, is Amy's only advocate - she becomes the light of Amy's life, and the centre of her existence.

So when Aurelia dies young, Amy's world collapses. But Aurelia leaves Amy with one last gift.

A bundle of letters with a coded key. A treasure hunt that only Amy can unlock.

A life-changing secret awaits... if only she can reach it



  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (9 April 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1784291455
  • ISBN-13: 978-1784291457
Buying Links






MY REVIEW

Having discovered the author Tracy Rees when I read The Hourglass  (loved it!), I seem to be working my way backwards through her releases!  At the end of last year I read Florence Grace (loved that too!)  so when I managed to get my mitts on Amy Snow I knew I was in for a treat!

 Another engaging, emotional story from this author who is fast becoming one of my favourites with her quality of writing and storylines!

The story of Amy and her quest to find her place in the world was a fascinating one. From the moment she was born and found in the snow by Aurelia, she never really fitted in with others, but Aurelia was always there for her and vice versa. After the sad passing of Aurelia, it was obvious her family weren't going to endure her being around, and I loved how Aurelia had set up a 'treasure hunt' so to speak, to share her story and legacy after she was gone, and to pass on to Amy all that she knew and all that she had kept hidden from Amy despite their strong bond.

There was plenty of mystery and intrigue throughout, which mixed well with Amy and her experiences of travelling around the country on her own as a woman, and finding people who knew Aurelia and didn't judge Amy because of her past and accepted her for who she was.

Despite it being a big 'chunkster' of a book, the story flew by and I suffered from the 'ooh just one more chapter' disease that strikes when a story has me under its' spell! 

Highly recommended!!


Eagerly awaiting the next release from Tracy Rees now, which is due to be out later this year!!!

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Sunday, 28 January 2018

The Spaces In Between by Collin Van Reenan Blog Tour #blogtour #bookreview

Hello! Welcome to my stop on The Spaces In Between Blog Tour.  Thanks to the author and the publishers, Red Door Publishing, for letting me be part of the fun!




THE BLURB


One of the most disturbing true stories you will ever read…

Paris, 1968. Nicholas finds himself broke, without papers and on the verge of being deported back to England. Seeking to stay in France, Nicholas takes a three-month contract as an English tutor to the 17-year-old Imperial Highness Natalya. It is the perfect solution; free room and board, his wages saved, and a place to hide from police raids. All that is asked of Nicholas is to obey the lifestyle of the household and not to leave the grounds.

It should have solved all his problems…

The Spaces In Between details the experience of Nicholas as he finds himself an unwitting prisoner within an aristocratic household, apparently frozen in time, and surrounded by macabre and eccentric personalities who seem determined to drag him to the point of insanity. Much deeper runs a question every reader is left to ponder – if this tale is fact and not fiction, then what motivation could have driven his tormenters?

Buying Links;






MY REVIEW

The cover drew me in to begin with! So much mystery and that follows on when you get inside the book!  It is one of those books that you never quite put your finger on as to what is happening - is it supernatural? Is it horror? Is it drama?! Well, it's all 3!  I found it to be a really fascinating mix of mystery and intrigue and it kept me engrossed throughout.

We start with the viewpoint of the Doctor of Psychiatry who is talking about one of her patients whose case has her baffled.  She then makes him write his story out and that is what we then read and get to know Nicholas and what had been happening to him that had left him in such a state!  He was running out of money fast and had nowhere to go, when a mysterious job opportunity opened up to teach English to a young woman in an aristocratic household.  And this is where the fun/madness begins!

It isn't your normal household!!  If you like your characters weird and disturbed then you're in luck! The household have to live in Victorian conditions - no electricity, no tv or radio - just oil lamps, candles and coal fires - to appease the Grand Duchess.  His pupil is the Princess Nataliya who is 17 and has an illness that leaves her unable to leave the home.  There is also a very dark side to her mental condition and Nicholas soon gets to witness this first hand. 

This book does a great job of leaving you guessing as to whether you are reading fact or fiction.  Could a household live like this and all the strange goings on, did they really happen? There was always a really unsettling feeling about what was happening, and what would happen next! I did find the first half of the book much more enthralling as I found the story did run out of steam a little towards the end, but it still made for such a fascinating read



Saturday, 27 January 2018

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up - Week 4 2018


Hello!  Well done for surviving another week!! Been a bit of a struggle here health wise but I've made it through and starting to pick up again so fingers crossed for a good spell on the way!  The mad weather has kept me hibernating too!! Lovely to see the sunshine return again today though so just hoping it remembers to stick around for a while!

How has your bookish week been?! I've surprised myself by reading more than I thought I had!  Trying to organise ( a rude word i know!!)  myself and read ahead for some future blog tour stops so have done quite well on that front and now can hopefully go back to reading books from my shelves for a bit, along with the NetGalley shelves which may have been a bit neglected recently! At least I've been good and not been tempted by any from there this week....... 

So 5 books have been finished this week and I'm loving this 'rapid reading zone' I seem to find myself in! Anyone else find that the more that they read, the quicker they get at reading?! Very helpful with so many fabulous books out there that need our attention!  Here's a little look at those books that I've finished, am currently reading and the bookpost I've been lucky enough to have received (yep, the postman still hates me!)

BOOKS FINISHED


Publication Date 8th March 2018
Loved this one so much! Another fabulous read from this author



Read this ahead of the Blog Tour in February so no full review yet, but thoroughly enjoyed this book! One that makes you think - and laugh!!



Another really enjoyable read from Persephone! Loved the history aspect and the characters were fascinating



Another unusual, but fascinating read which took me a little by surprise in the subjects covered!



Another book read ahead of a Blog Tour, and this was lots of fun! Full review to follow!


BOOKPOST

Two lovely new additions to my bookshelves this week courtesy of some lovely publishers!

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

We went to school that Tuesday like normal.

Not all of us came home . . .

Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, six-year-old Zach can hear shots ringing through the corridors of his school. A gunman has entered the building and, in a matter of minutes, will have taken nineteen lives.

In the aftermath of the shooting, the close knit community and its families are devastated. Everyone deals with the tragedy differently. Zach's father absents himself; his mother pursues a quest for justice -- while Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and drawing. 

Ultimately though, it is Zach who will show the adults in his life the way forward -- as, sometimes, only a child can.
Publisher; Mantle Books  Publication Date; March 8th 2018

THE CURIOUS HEART OF AILSA RAE by STEPHANIE BUTLAND
Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.
She's only a few months past the heart transplant that - just in time - saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point.
She knows she needs to find her father.
She's missed so much that her friends have left her behind.
She's felt so helpless for so long that she's let polls on her blog make her decisions for her. And now she barely knows where to start on her own.

And then there's Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn't make it. And now she's supposed to face all of this without him.

But her new heart is a bold heart. 

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .



PUBLISHER;  ZAFFRE      PUBLICATION DATE;  19TH APRIL 2018


CURRENTLY READING

Just one on the reading pile again at the moment, while I get my NG shelf in some order and decide what to pick up next!  Really loving this one and hoping my Saturday afternoon will revolve around reading this book!

AMY SNOW by TRACY REES


Left to perish on a bank of snow as a baby, Amy has never known love, never known family.

Reluctantly given shelter at nearby Hatville Court, she is despised by the masters and servants alike.

The beautiful Hatville heiress, Aurelia Vennaway, is Amy's only advocate - she becomes the light of Amy's life, and the centre of her existence.

So when Aurelia dies young, Amy's world collapses. But Aurelia leaves Amy with one last gift.

A bundle of letters with a coded key. A treasure hunt that only Amy can unlock.

A life-changing secret awaits... if only she can reach it.

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Pleased with that little lot for another week!  Any books taken you by surprise this week?!  

HAPPY READING!!

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

WWW Wednesdays!


Thought I'd join in this week - although so far this week it is turning out to be a very slow reading week for me! Maybe this will help spur me on again!

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!
The three Ws are
What are you currently reading
What have you finished reading?
What might you read next?

CURRENTLY READING



FINISHED READING














WHAT MIGHT YOU READ NEXT?

                                   

HAPPY READING

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi #bookreview


THE BLURB

Translated by Darryl Sterk

On a quest to explain how and why his father mysteriously disappeared twenty years ago, a writer embarks on an epic journey in search of a stolen bicycle and soon finds himself immersed in the strangely overlapping histories of the Japanese military during World War II, Lin Wang, the oldest elephant who ever lived, and the secret world of antique bicycle collectors in Taiwan. The result is a surprising and moving meditation on memory, loss, and the bonds of family.

Award-winning novelist Wu Ming-Yi is regarded in Taiwan as the leading writer of his generation. His work, noted for its depth, complexity and vividly observed natural detail, has been compared to that of distinguished writers as diverse as Margaret Atwood, Haruki Murakami, W.G. Sebald, David Mitchell and Yann Martel.

Publisher;  Text Publishing

 quick links to buy;





MY REVIEW

This is an unusual, but fascinating story - a mix of fact and fiction beautifully woven together by the author as the search for his father, who disappeared 20 years ago, through the medium of the bicycle his father disappeared on. He thinks that if he can track down the bicycle, he might be able to find out why his father upped and left the family so long ago.

What follows is a highly detailed book describing the family, their upbringing and the importance of the humble bicycle 'the iron horse' to many families - how it helped in day to day life, the use of bikes during the war and the connection people attached to such items.

The author uses so many engrossing layers to his story, through people he meets on his search and how the stories they told showed connections to bikes and their own journeys. It looks back at life during wars, the power of photography, the importance of elephants to name a few - and my favourite being a focus on the Karen tribe! A lot of stories could have felt very 'wordy' or overdone with so many topics introduced throughout, but as this is such a gentle book the story never feels bogged down and flows beautifully.

It's a story of overcoming loss, of how we attach great importance to simple objects and looks back at some shocking childhood memories and how the quest in searching for his father allows him to start questioning so much he encounters and allows him to learn and fill that void that is missing.

It is no surprise to see how central the use of bicycles were and are to so many, especially in this part of the world and I loved reading the touching stories from the surrounding characters who would open up to him when he tried to trace a certain bike and showed the importance of connecting with people one on one to hear the stories which would have otherwise gone untold.

Definitely something a little out of the ordinary and a truly captivating story that I'm very glad to have read.

thank you to netgalley and the publishers for the e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.