#BookReview The Final Reckoning by Margaret James #publicationday @RubyFiction

About the bookWhat if you had to return to the place that made you fall apart? When Lindsay Ellis was a teenager she witnessed the aftermath of a violent murder involving her lover’s father. The killer was never found. Traumatised by what she saw, Lindsay had no choice but to leave her home village of Hartley Cross and its close-knit community behind. Now, years later, she must face up to the terrible memories that still haunt her. But will confronting the past finally allow Lindsay to heal, or will her return to Hartley Cross unearth dangerous secrets and put the people she has come to care about most at risk? A gripping thriller from this successful historical novelists and creative writing tutor. Perfect for fans of Erin Kelly, Linda Green and Laura Marshall.

 Published by Ruby Fiction

Purchase Links

Amazon UK


Kobo

Google Play

iTunes

MY REVIEW


A book I found to be both thrilling and chilling in equal measures, and one I had to read in one sitting as I was just so caught up in the lives of these characters and the circumstances that they found themselves in!


Mainly told through the perspective of Lindsay it’s a fascinating look at how she dealt with witnessing a horrific scene back in 2011, especially when in 2018 she has to go back to where it all happened and all the emotions and unanswered questions that still persist, that she now has to face and contend with.


The story looks back at the events back in 2011 which caused her to be so traumatised, and the rumours that flew around then as to what exactly happened.  Her life now is pretty settled, living far away, but when her mother passes away she is faced with having to clear out the house and she soon starts to meet up with old friends and acquaintances – some closer than others – and the events of the past come back and unsettle her again. She is still plagued with visions of that night, and old feelings for a first love have never gone away – seeing how she reacts to seeing him again was an interesting one, especially seeing as he seems to be blowing hot and cold on various occasions!


So many aspects to this book really had me hooked and I loved the different threads that were running throughout.  Despite the darker elements to the story, there was still time for touches of humour which helped lighten the mood. Loved how the old friends of her mum fussed round to help her with clearing up the house, along with the support she got from her housemate Nick.  It did get quite tense towards the end with events unfolding and I loved the big twists which kept me reading frantically to find out what would be the outcome!! 


Highly recommended!!


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#BookReview #BlogBlitz Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

About the book

June, 1781. An unidentified body hangs upon a hook at Deptford Dock – horribly tortured and branded with a slaver’s mark.

Some days later, Captain Harry Corsham – a war hero embarking upon a promising parliamentary career – is visited by the sister of an old friend. Her brother, passionate abolitionist Tad Archer, had been about to expose a secret that he believed could cause irreparable damage to the British slaving industry. He’d said people were trying to kill him, and now he is missing . . .

To discover what happened to Tad, Harry is forced to pick up the threads of his friend’s investigation, delving into the heart of the conspiracy Tad had unearthed. His investigation will threaten his political prospects, his family’s happiness, and force a reckoning with his past, risking the revelation of secrets that have the power to destroy him.

And that is only if he can survive the mortal dangers awaiting him in Deptford…

Published by  Mantle

Purchase Links

Goldsboro Books – signed first edition  £24.99

hive.co.uk  £11.39

waterstones  £14.99

MY REVIEW

A brutal but engaging historical debut  that I found enlightening and shocking and was completely gripped by!

Set in 18th century London, this story brings alive the story of the slave trade in Deptford when the discovery of the body of a leading abolitionist  is found branded with a slave mark, and the family turn to Captain Harry to help them discover just why Tad had met such an untimely and shocking end.

The more he delves into the goings on of the slave trade that was thriving at that time, the more he is plunged into a darker world where those making money close ranks and will do anything to protect themselves and their way of life.

I think the most striking thing about this story was how the author had really captured the callous ways of life back then – from the language used, the attitudes to those used in the slave trade and the general unpleasantness of life for many on the streets of London.  The lack of welfare or concern for many would shock us now, but back then it was par for the course.  And those questioned by Tad were often too scared to say anything in fear of upsetting those in charge who didn’t care who got in their way and would be dealt with in vicious ways.

It isn’t an easy read at times with the levels of cruelty and lack of humanity shown, but the author does an amazing job of keeping the reader hooked with new revelations and twists. 

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My thanks to the author, publisher and Tracy Fenton for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview The Six Loves of Billy Binns #BillyBinns @TinderPress @Bookywookydooda

About the book

THE SIX LOVES OF BILLY BINNS is a deeply moving debut set in London against the backdrop of the changing 20th century. it is reading group fiction perfect for those who loved the quirky pathos of Gail Honeyman’s ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE and the warmth and humour of Rachel Joyce’s THE PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY.

At 117 years old, Billy Binns is the oldest man in Europe and he knows his time is almost up. 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 shaped his life – and the events that shaped the century – he recalls a life full of hope, heartbreak and, above all, love.

Published by Tinder Press

Publication Date – 24th January 2019

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £12.59

waterstones £16.99

MY REVIEW

Confession time – this book left me a blubbing mess!! Uncontrollable sobbing on the sofa as I finished reading the story of the wonderful but flawed Billy Binns and his remarkable life, and an amazing debut from the author which has already made me want to put this on my ‘best books of 2019’ already!! Yep, I loved it that much!!

Billy Binns is well over a hundred years old and he knows time is running out as he spends his days in the care home, and as he starts reminiscing about his life and loves we get to experience with him as he looks back at the six loves that have made his life so extraordinary.

Going back over the years we get to hear about his childhood, and then the special people who came into his life at various times, and when he looks back he often finds he is starting to remember things differently and his memories often surprise him. And the flashbacks aren’t all sweetness and light – there are some really dark, tough times that Billy has lived through and I think that darker side really made him feel more human and made it easier to connect with as a reader. He hadn’t sailed through life, he wasn’t perfect, he had many regrets – and the way his story was told embraced his shortcomings just as much as his triumphs.

There were many twists along the way in his story that left me shocked and were gut wrenching at times. In his life his pursuit of love sometimes led him to honourable decisions, and reckless decisions on other occasions. There’s also a touching look at his time in the care home, with the staff he bonds with, the other residents he gets to know and the reality of their situations which is all too clear when a chair is left empty in the communal lounge.

Billy Binns stole my heart in this book and it is one I look forward to picking up again very soon to read all over again – even though I know it will bring back the tears! Wonderful!!

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My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 19th January 2019

Hello!! How are we?! Good I hope! I’m frozen here as we’re finally getting a taste of Winter – snowflakes have even been spotted with more forecast!  Another good excuse to hibernate and read a bit more I think!  Bunny is happy with the weather though – handy having a fur coat I guess!!

And it’s been another good week on the bookish front! Another 5 books written, another 0 bought (Day 19 of my No Buy January and it’s going exceedingly well!) and there have been new additions to my shelves thanks to a  book of the month club, a review copy and a copy of a book that is now in paperback that I read as a manuscript!

So here’s a look back at my week – hoping to catch up with reviews this week (failing miserably with those at the moment!!) so look out for review posts galore coming your way soon!

BOOKS FINISHED

The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts – 4 stars

A chilling story that I read via The Pigeonhole app and loved!!

Insomnia by Marina Benjamin  – 3 stars

A quick but fascinating read

The Final Reckoning by Margaret James  – 5 stars

I got completely caught up with this dark thriller and couldn’t put it down.

The Six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden – 5 stars

When you find yourself sobbing throughout a book, it’s fair to say that it has stolen your heart! Very early contender for my books of 2019 list already!!

The Suspect by Fiona Barton – 5 stars

Another top class thriller from Fiona Barton that I raced through!

BOOKPOST

The Plotters by Un-Su Km

This is the January Book of the Month from Goldsboro Books

A fantastical crime novel set in an alternate Seoul where assassination guilds compete for market dominance, for fans of Han Kang, Patrick DeWitt and Kill Bill. – Reseng is an assassin, and behind every assassination, there is an anonymous mastermind–a plotter–working in the shadows. Raised by a philosophical and cantankerous killer named Old Raccoon in his crime headquarters, The Library, Reseng has always been surrounded by plots–and by books that no one ever reads. But, when Reseng steps out of line on a job, he risks his future. And when he uncovers an extraordinary plot being cooked up by an eccentric trio of young women–a convenience store clerk, her wheelchair-bound sister, and a cross-eyed obsessive knitter–he will have to decide whether he will be used as a pawn, or if he can take control of the game. 
Un-su Kim has written that rarest of novels, a cracking commercial crime novel that sings with the soul, wit, and lyricism of real literary craft. The Plotters is page-turning, hilarious, soul-searching, and deeply entertaining. It is a wake-up call to genre lovers and literary readers alike.

THE BEEKEEPER OF ALEPPO by CHRISTY LEFTERI  – copy for review

Published by Bonnier Zaffre. 

Publication Date – 2nd May 2019

In the midst of war, he found loveIn the midst of darkness, he found courageIn the midst of tragedy, he found hope
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
What will you find from his story?
Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees. 
As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.
Moving, powerful, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling.

Watch For Me By Moonlight by Kirsty Ferry

As part of the Choc Lit tasting panel you get to read books at manuscript stage and give your thoughts! And if they receive enough positive thoughts on a story they publish it as an e-book, and many then go on to paperback status!  This book got 5 stars from me and it’s always lovely to see your name in a book -ooh and chocolate!!

CURRENTLY READING

Something To Tell You by Lucy Diamond

The Last Children of Tokyo by Yoko Tawada

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I hope your bookish week has been as enjoyable! Any new additions to your shelves?!  Any great reads I need to find?! Would love to hear your thoughts!

HAPPY READING!

#BookReview The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts #TheFlowerGirls

About the book

YOU’LL NEVER FORGET THE FLOWER GIRLS

The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose. 

One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.

Now, nineteen years later, another child has gone missing.

And The Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again…

Published by Raven Books

Publication Date – 24th JANUARY 2019

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £10.29

Goldsboro Books – signed first printing £12.99

waterstones – signed £12.99

MY REVIEW

I read this via The Pigeonhole app.

This is how to do a chilling thriller well! The story of The Flower Girls – Laurel and Primrose – is a brutal and gripping tale of 2 young girls and how a shocking incident when they were 10 and 6 has shaped their lives, and the lives of those around them.

A 2 year old girl is found murdered, and The Flower Girls hit the headlines when Laurel, aged 10, is convicted of her murder, and her younger sister Rose is too young to face prosecution but has no recollection of just what happened that day. This book looks back at the story through their eyes, then and now, along with the perspectives of detectives, the family of the murdered young girl, and a writer who is caught up in the latest scandal to hit the headlines. Having these different viewpoints really helped me get a stronger feeling towards this story and the author did a wonderful job of putting doubts in your mind over a number of characters, and to what really happened back then and at the current time when another young girl goes missing from a hotel.

This story has obvious links to the horrific case of poor young Jamie Bulger, and I did find it quite unsettling at times with the similarities, but with this book it turned into a wider look at circumstances, the impact on the family who lost their child so brutally and to question the validity of what was believed to have happened then and now.

There were twists and turns galore throughout this book – I often thought I had events sussed out but then another doubt was raised and my mind was changed once more and that made for a more riveting read.

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#BookReview Insomnia by Marina Benjamin

about the book

Insomnia is on the rise. More than a third of all adults report experiencing it, with the figure climbing steeply among those over sixty-five. Marina Benjamin takes on her personal experience of the condition–her struggles with it, her insomniac highs, and her dawning awareness that states of sleeplessness grant us valuable insights into the workings of our unconscious minds. Although insomnia is rarely entirely welcome, Benjamin treats it less as an affliction than as an encounter that she engages with and plumbs. She adds new dimensions to both our understanding of sleep (and going without it) and of night, of how we perceive darkness.

Along the way, Insomnia trips through illuminating material from literature, art, philosophy, psychology, pop culture, and more. Benjamin pays particular attention to the relationship between women and sleep–Penelope up all night, unraveling her day’s weaving for Odysseus; the Pre-Raphaelite artists’ depictions of deeply sleeping women; and the worries that keep contemporary females awake.

Insomnia is an intense, lyrical, witty, and humane exploration of a state we too often consider only superficially. “This is the song of insomnia, and I shall sing it,” Marina Benjamin declares.

Published by Catapult

Pages – 122

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk

waterstones

MY REVIEW

This isn’t a book that will help you solve your insomnia, but it does go someway in helping you understand it and know that you aren’t alone as the author does a beautiful job of describing how she feels when she is suffering insomnia, and all the rational and irrational thoughts that go through your head while the rest of the world (so it seems!) is sleeping with no problems.

It’s only a short book but contains so many different thoughts, perspectives and attitudes towards the different stages of insomnia, how it has affected others and how you react to it when suffering. I found myself agreeing with the author on a number of occasions with the thoughts she had as she tried to overcome her insomnia and put that time to good use in whatever way she could.

It touches on the factors in modern life that cause it along with the world we live in that has an industry in sleep cures – all the pills and potions that are meant to help you in your hour of need!

I loved the way it was told in little paragraphs – the variety of thoughts and randomness of your mind when it is deprived of sleep, and found it to be an interesting book to read anytime of the day or night! Ooh and it has a beautiful sparkly cover! A very pretty addition to your ookshelves!

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#BlogTour #GuestPost #BookReview Puzzle Girl by Rachael Featherstone @DomePress @WRITERachael

Delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for PUZZLE GIRL by RACHAEL FEATHERSTONE.  My thanks to the author and publisher for letting me be part of the fun and to share my review, alongside a GUEST POST by the author herself on my Blog today!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Love is a riddle waiting to be solved… Clued-up career girl Cassy Brookes has life under control until one disastrous morning changes everything. When she finds herself stuck in a doctor s surgery, a cryptic message left in a crossword magazine sends her on a search to find the mysterious puzzle-man behind it. Cassy is soon torn between tracking down her elusive dream guy, and outwitting her nightmare workmate, the devious Martin. Facing a puzzling love-life, will she ever be able to fit the pieces together and discover the truth behind this enigmatic man?

Published by The Dome Press

Purchase Links

Publisher Website  £6.29

hive.co.uk  £7.75

Foyles  £8.99

About the Author

Rachael Featherstone was born and raised in Woodford. Her path to writing was a little unorthodox. After reading Mathematics at Oxford University, New College, Rachael went to work in research.

When Rachael’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012, Rachael decided to take a chance, quit her job, and fulfill a lifetime ambition to write a novel. She went back to university and completed a Masters in English Literature and had several short stories published.

Rachael now lives in Hampshire with her husband and daughter.

Puzzle Girl was published by the Dome Press in ebook in August 2018 and in paperback in January 2019.

Social Media & Links

Twitter: @WRITERachael

Instagram: @rachael_featherstone

Facebook: @RachaelFeatherstoneAuthor

Website: http://www.writerachael.com

GUEST POST

Writers are often split into two buckets: “plotters” and “pantsers”. I am definitely, undeniably, irrevocably in Camp Plotter. I am a plotter-nutter. Even before writing novels you could find post-it notes and stationary in every room of my home; at school my favourite place to hang out was the photocopying room helping to stack and staple the school letters (*yeah, I was that kid). My plotting doesn’t just come in the form of post-its, paper plans, character profiles and notebooks. It spreads to the computer: I am a HUGE Excel fan.

Puzzle Girl was the first novel I’d ever attempted and I spent a lot of time reading books about how to structure and pace a story. I loosely used the three-act structure and I spent many blissful hours creating an interactive version of the “tension chart” in Excel that had little tags for scenes so that I could check the drama and tension had the right rise and fall.

This set up was incredibly helpful when writing Puzzle Girl because I had so many story lines to weave together. On the one hand Cassy is doing her utmost to get a promotion, while on the other she is obsessed with discovering who Puzzle-man is. Of course, no real writing was getting done… so you could say this was procrastination… but I don’t look at it like that *cough*.

Anyway, once I had nailed down the chapter-by-chapter outline, I got on to the really fun part of writing. I’d done so much planning that I just wrote the first draft of each chapter in which ever order I felt like, enjoying the freedom of letting the characters tell me what to write in contrast to my strict plotting guidelines.

Now I had a first draft but that was just the start. During the rewriting process Puzzle Girl went through many structural changes. Characters changed, some deleted, others created. Entire plot lines were added and killed, some shrunk while others where expanded. But interestingly, I didn’t find this process – which saw over half the word count be cut and replaced – daunting, because my spreadsheet allowed me to make sure all the different threads still worked in harmony and there were no inconsistencies. I was able to experiment with changes without spending endless months rewriting and then reaching a dead-end.

When I got my agent and the book went out to publishers, we did further edits and restructuring and it was such a joyful experience to see Puzzle Girl turning into a publishable book. And of course, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a spreadsheet where all the loose ends have been nicely tied up!

I hope you enjoy Puzzle Girl and all those endless hours in Excel, adding twist after twist, give you hours of page turning laughs and gasps!

MY REVIEW

If you are  a ‘list’ girl like I am, then you are going to love Cassy! Shes’s a girl after my own heart  too as she loves losing herself in crossword puzzles and when she is passing time in a waiting room and fills in a puzzle, I am sure she never saw it leading to her trying to solve her own puzzle when a mysterious person fills in the crossword puzzle and adds their own messages!

Cassy is on her own after her boyfriend of 7 years walks out on her, and she’s left struggling. She’s got problems at work as well so it’s fair to say life is not going her way! When she is hit by a cyclist on her way to work one day and ends up at the walk in clinic she is probably wondering what is going to go wrong for her  next!  You do get a little bit of the Bridget Jones vibe about Cassy!

But with the support of her best friend Dan – who has his own complicated life issues to deal with! – she begins to turn things round and slowly takes back control of her own life and that is what connected with me as a reader.  You really feel for Cassy and  every problem she faces you are just cheering her on to end up with some happy news and a positive outcome!  And the mystery of finding out who her fellow crossworld puzzle fan is, was just the thing to keep her fighting -and leads her to going to extreme measures to keep visiting the walk in clinic!

I thought this book was so much fun, really easy to read and so engaging! Highly recommended!!

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