#BookReview SUNDIAL by CATRIONA WARD #Sundial

ABOUT THE BOOK

You can’t escape the desert. You can’t escape Sundial.

Rob fears for her daughters. For Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. For Annie, because she fears what Callie might do to her. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her of the family she left behind. She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.

Callie is afraid of her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely. To tell her secrets about her past that both disturb and excite her. And Callie is beginning to wonder if only one of them will leave Sundial alive…

From the bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street comes a stunning thriller exploring the toxicity of the mother-daughter bond, and the power of the past to twist the present.

PUBLISHED BY VIPER BOOKS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

Blackwell’s – signed edition

MY REVIEW

The Queen of tension, darkness and horror is back! And I loved every single minute of it – even if it did take me down some very dark paths! I’m not easily shocked but this book had those moments that leave you gasping! And wondering where the flip the story would lead you to next!!

At the heart of the story is a family where all is not well. Mum, Dad and 2 daughters and the exploration of family dynamics within that group. It also looks into the past of the characters so you can see where some of their irrational behaviour comes from. The parents came from unstable backgrounds and that childlike approach becomes only too clear in the way they can be so cruel to their children. Rob sees something in the girls, Callie especially, that scares her so takes her on a trip to the Mojave desert and all becomes clearer why as we see it’s where Rob grew up and had things in her own childhood to deal with.

It’s a story that is meant to make you feel uneasy!! There are some very dark subjects explored and through the characters you get to see things from different perspectives and feel just how toxic a situation can become from past traumas. It’s a wonderful exploration into the different sides of people and what they can be hiding and how it all comes out in the end, no matter how hard they try to escape it.

The pace is wonderful – it builds up slowly and then bursts into life with revelations galore. It is disturbing but that just made it even more exciting for me. The author wasn’t too scared to push a few boundaries and explore the darker side of life and how personalities are formed and acted upon. Loved it!!

★★★★★

#BookReview THE MARTINS by DAVID FOENKINOS #TheMartins

ABOUT THE BOOK

‘Go out into the street and the first person you see will be the subject of your next book.’

This is the challenge a struggling Parisian writer sets himself, imagining his next heroine might be the mysterious young woman who often stands smoking near his apartment … instead it’s octogenarian Madeleine. She’s happy to become the subject of his book – but first she needs to put away her shopping.

Is it really true, the writer wonders, that every life is the stuff of novels, or is his story doomed to be hopelessly banal? As he gets to know Madeleine and her family, he’ll be privy to their secrets: lost loves, marital problems and workplace worries. And he’ll soon realise he is not the impartial bystander he intended to be, but a catalyst for major changes in the lives of his characters.

Told with Foenkinos’s characteristic irony and self-deprecating humour, yet filled with warmth, The Martins is a compelling tale of the family next door which raises questions about what it means to be ‘ordinary’, and about the blurred lines between truth and fiction.

PUBLISHED BY GALLIC BOOKS

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

Belgravia Books

MY REVIEW

Just how does a writer struggling for inspiration solve the problem?! In this book, the Parisian writer pledges to write about the first person he sees in the street, secretly hoping it’s the mysterious young neighbour he’s not managed to speak to yet….. but the universe makes him cross paths with Madeleine instead! An octogenarian whose most pressing thought is she needs to put her shopping away!!

And what follows is something that he, and you as the reader, doesn’t really expect. Under the spotlight, this woman who could have easily been an invisible person to the rest of the world, sees this as an opportunity to open up and reveal family secrets and tell her story – one that probably not many, if any, would think worth telling. But the more he delves, and the more her family get involved in the project he becomes privy to some astonishing tales and confessions. Far from the dull project he imagined when he first meets Madeleine and imagines her life to be somewhat underwhelming…… appearances can be very deceptive!

It really shows the beauty of connecting with people and both sides getting something out of a friendship – he almost becomes therapist to this family, and they in return allow him to evaluate his own life and connections with family and friends. It becomes very cathartic for all involved allowing for humour and much more touching revelations.

It is a story of reconnecting, regrets, rifts and romance and I thoroughly enjoyed the way the author approached the way of storytelling and the impact of opening up to others allows them all to take stock and take action in their lives.

★★★★

My thanks to the team at Gallic Books for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview GRACELAND by BETHAN ROBERTS #20BooksOfSummer2022

ABOUT THE BOOK

What happens when your only son becomes The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll?

From the moment she first holds him, after his twin brother is stillborn, Gladys Presley loves her son Elvis ferociously. She will be his greatest influence, the love of his life. She will be the one by his side, when Elvis is a boy and his father is in the jailhouse; as the family move from place to place, skirting poverty in Tupelo, Mississippi; as Elvis’s obsession with music grows; as they move to Memphis and he begins his whirlwind rise to never-before-seen success…

And he will love her back, even as his heart is turned by the blues, clothes and girls. But while he makes it big in Hollywood, brings audiences across the land to their knees and achieves unimagined wealth and fame, there is another story – of drinking and diet pills, loneliness and loss. While the heat and music of the American South in the 40s and 50s play in the background, a heartbreaking portrait of a mother’s love and a son’s devotion takes centre stage. When Elvis reaches the height of his power, he buys his family the ultimate mansion on the hill, Graceland, where he hopes his mother will be happy. The reality, though, is very different, and Elvis finds that even kings must go on alone.

‘Graceland is an astonishing literary achievement. Bethan Roberts somehow manages to unlock the mystery to that beautiful sadness in the voice of Elvis. Utterly heartbreaking.’ Jake Arnott 

PUBLISHED BY CHATTO & WINDUS

MY REVIEW

This is Book 2 of my 20 Books of Summer 2022

At the heart of this story is that of the love a mother has for her son, and in this case, that son just happens to be Elvis Presley. Having lost his twin at birth, his mother Gladys shared a special bond with Elvis and that continued throughout his life, and this book really captures their relationship brilliantly as it switches from his childhood, difficult family life, through to his success and all that brings with it.

While I loved the subject matter and seeing the bond between mother and son explored, I did feel a little detached at times from the characters and the storyline kept switching randomly so that made me lose a bit of connection and continuity.

What I loved was that she would do anything for her boy, and all he wanted to do was make her proud. That conflict of having nothing and then having everything felt weird, especially to Gladys, and it also explored the relationship between Elvis and his Dad which was very hit and miss. There were such contrasts in Elvis’ life that you can’t help but think that led to the tragedy that ended his story.

★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 18th June 2022

Hello and Happy Saturday!  Scorchio here in Essex this past week, so that has meant more reading time for me so back to finishing 5 books this week which has made me happy.. has it made the TBR mountain look any smaller?! Of course not!! But only 1 new addition to that this week and none for Netgalley so progress is being made!! Slowly but surely!!

Here’s my look back!

BOOKS FINISHED

THE DANCE TREE by KIRAN MILLWOOD HARGRAVE (audiobook) – 4 STARS

BLUE HOUR by SARAH SCHMIDT – 5 STARS

THE MARTINS by DAVID FOENKINOS – 5 STARS

BLONDE by JOYCE CAROL OATES – 6 STARS!

HOW TO MAKE A WILDFLOWER MEADOW by JAMES HEWETSON-BROWN – 5 STARS

BOOKHAUL

My June book from Goldsboro Book subscription arrived…


THE SECOND SIGHT OF ZACHARY CLOUDESLEY by SEAN LUSK


In 1754, renowned maker of clocks and automata Abel Cloudesley must raise his new-born son Zachary when his wife dies in childbirth.Growing up amongst the cogs and springs of his father’s workshop, Zachary is intensely curious, ferociously intelligent, unwittingly funny and always honest – perhaps too honest. But when a fateful accident leaves six-year-old Zachary nearly blinded, Abel is convinced that the safest place for his son is in the care of his eccentric Aunt Frances and her menagerie of weird and wonderful animals.So when a precarious job in Constantinople is offered to him, Abel has no reason to say no. A job presented to him by a politician with dubious intentions, Abel leaves his son, his workshop and London behind. The decision will change the course of his life forever.

Since his accident, Zachary is plagued by visions that reveal the hearts and minds of those around him. A gift at times and a curse at others, it is nonetheless these visions that will help him complete a journey that he was always destined to make – to travel across Europe to Constantinople and find out what happened to his father all those years ago.

With a Dickensian cast of characters that are brilliantly bonkers one moment and poignant the next, Sean Lusk’s debut will take readers on an immersive journey into the wonders of the world of Zachary Cloudesley.

CURRENTLY READING


THE CHRISTIE AFFAIR by NINA DE GRAMONT (AUDIOBOOK)



HAPPY READING!!