#20BooksOfSummer – Challenge Update – Completed!

As I look out the window on a very rainy Sunday, it’s nice to be able to report that I have completed the 2018 20 Books of Summer Challenge – yay me!!!  

So thank you to Cathy of 746 Books for hosting yet another fabulous Summer event!  My target this year was to read 20 books from my NetGalley bookshelves and, for the most part!, that is exactly what I did!! I did change a few books along the way as I found myself adding some new NetGalley finds on to the list, alongside some books that I bought myself that I just couldn’t resist reading for the challenge.  I found it to be a fabulous way of kicking my butt into gear and getting some books read that had been sitting around on the virtual shelves for quite a while!  Maybe there needs to be the 20 Books of Autumn & Winter challenges too to help me shift more off the ever expanding TBR piles!!

So here’s a rundown of the books that kept me entertained – click on the title for a link to my GoodReads reviews!

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter  – 4 stars

A Proposal To Die For by Vivian Conroy  – 3 stars

 

Vox by Christina Dalcher  – 4 stars

Summer at Hollyhock House by Cathy Bussey  – 3 stars 

Snap by Belinda Bauer  – 4 stars 

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden  – 5 stars 

The Moby-Dick Blues by Michael Strelow  – 3 stars 

Girl With Dove by Sally Bayley  – 3 stars 

Summer at Carrick Park by Kirsty Ferry  – 5 stars

The Daughter of River Valley by Victoria Cornwall  – 5 stars 

Whistle In The Dark by Emma Healey  – 3 stars 

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale  – 4 stars

The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan  – 5 stars 

Oh Crumbs by Kathryn Freeman  – 5 stars 

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman  – 5 stars 

Arlette’s Story by Angela Barton   –  4 stars 

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd  – 3 stars

The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan  – 5 stars

 The Cafe At Seashell Cove by Karen Clarke  –  5 stars

My Mother the Liar by Ann Troup  – 4 stars 

☀☼☀☼☀

Did you take part this year? I hope it has been successful for you as well! Roll on next Summer!!

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – Week 33 2018

Hello all! Archie the bunny says hi too while he’s chilling out in the garden – destroying my plants is a tiring business!

 Time to look back at the past week and see how my bookish week has gone! It’s a little different to last week!!  Didn’t make it to 7 books read this week as I really struggled to find time, or the inclination, some days to read! And it’s not as if I wasn’t enjoying what I was reading! It’s just one of those slump things that we all go through – fingers crossed I’m over it now and this week I’ll be racing through the books again!

So just the 2 books finished this week, and one of those was an audio book! Where things went mad was on the bookpost front – 11 new arrivals for my shelves eekkk!!! Some I bought, some were kindly sent by publishers! My postman is cursing me again I’ sure!

So here’s a look back at all those books, and what I’m currently reading! Click on the titles for links to the GoodReads pages!

BOOKS FINISHED

The Unforgotten by Laura Powell – 3 stars

Listened to the audio version of this and it kept me gripped throughout! Dark and unsettling! Really enjoyed it!

The Angel’s Mark by S.W.Perry –  5 stars

Read this ahead of a Blog Tour next month, and loved this history/mystery story!

BOOKHAUL

Hope you’re sitting comfortably…

Charlie & Rose Investigate series by Jo Perry

Dead Is Better

Dead Is Best

Dead Is Good

The lovely folk at Fahrenheit Press have been sharing a few deals recently and one to buy this set got my interest so I treated myself!

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Published by Orion Press

Publication Date – February 2019

Extremely excited to receive this from the publishers! There is so much buzz about this book already so I can’t wait to dive in and see what the fuss is about!

Saplings by Noel Streatfeild

Manja by Anna Gmeyner

The Persephone bookshelf has been added too again!  

Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans

Having loved Old Baggage, I was glad to spot this from Lissa Evans in a charity shop! 

The Light in the Dark by Horatio Clare

Published by Elliott & Thompson

Publication Date – 1st November 2018

Received this ahead of a Blog Tour – very excited to read this one! And the cover is stunning!

Alice’s Adventures Under Ground by Lewis Carroll

I chose this as part of my Alma Classics monthly book subscription service! Anything Alice related is fine by me! 

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright

Published by Simon & Schuster

Publication Date – February 2019

Received this courtesy of The Words Podcast and another one that has got me all excited to start!

The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane

Saw Simon Savidge discuss these on one of his BookTube videos and it sounded right up my street! ooh and another stunning cover!

CURRENTLY READING

It’s another Big Book Weekender – Savidge Reads – so I love to take part in these as it forces me to pick those big scary ‘chunksters’ of books up that I keep putting off!  So with almost 1,000 pages between them, I’m going to try and read as much of these as I can!

What Was Lost by Jean Levy

Manja by Anna Gmeyner

Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan

This is my current bedtime read – do you have different books by your bedside?! – and I’m not really sure what I’m thinking about it at the moment! I should be loving it, but it’s not clicked with me yet!

💮💮💮💮💮

So how has your week been?! Better than mine on the reading front I hope!

Happy Reading!!

#BlogTour Smart Moves by Adrian Magson #GuestPost #BookReview @DomePress

smart

Extremely delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour for SMART MOVES by Adrian Magson. My thanks to the author and publisher for letting me be part of it all!

And as well as my thoughts on the book, I’m also lucky to have a guest post from Adrian himself for you all to enjoy!!

About the book

International troubleshooter Jake Foreman loses his job, house and wife all in one day. And when an impulsive move lands him in even deeper water – the kind that could lose him his life – he decides it’s time to make some smart decisions.

The trouble is, knowing the right moves and making them is a whole different game. And Jake, who has been happily rubbing along things he always suspected were just a shade away from being dodgy, finds it all too easy to go with the flow. Now he’s got to start learning new tricks.

If he doesn’t, he could end up dead.

Published by The Dome Press

Publication Date – out now!

Purchase Links

Dome Press shop    £6.29

Amazon UK  £8.99

hive.co.uk  £7.75

About the Author

magson

Author Website https://www.adrianmagson.com/

Twitter link

‘a classic crime star in the making’ (Daily Mail) – is the author of 22 crime and spy thrillers, a ghost novel and ‘Write On!’ – a writers’ help book. His latest novels are ‘Rocco and the Nightingale’ (Oct 2017) the fifth in the Insp Lucas Rocco series set in 1960s France, and ‘Smart Moves’ (Aug 2018) – a standalone novel. Both are published by The Dome Press. When not writing books, he’s a reviewer for Shots Magazine and writes the ‘Beginners’ and ‘New Author’ pages for Writing Magazine (UK).

GUEST POST

Over to you Adrian!!

HUMOUR MAKES THE WORLD GO AROUND

Many years ago, before I got my first book deal, I used to write short stories and comedy material for radio. I also wrote humorous slogans for greetings cards, beer mats, welcome mats and t-shirts. Show me a surface back then, it seemed, and I’d have a go at writing something to go on it. Maybe I was a budding graffito artist and never knew it.

I also wrote short fiction and features for mostly women’s magazines here and overseas. Hundreds of them. They were all part of my writing journey while trying to get the all-important book deal. For a while these non-book activities served me well, helping keep my optimism, ambition (and bank balance) on the up while focussing on making a career out of writing. But useful and enjoyable as it was, short fiction and comedy weren’t what I really wanted to do. The comedy field especially was fiercely competitive, demanding a close finger on the button of contemporary news and lots of submissions to get noticed.

It was a great learning curve, and perhaps because of it, I find most of my writing contains a vein of humour. But it has to be finely judged so as not to get in the way. Most of my books involve the world of crime or spying, so trying to inject a chuckle at the wrong moment in those genres can jangle.

Maybe that’s why recently I decided to do two things I hadn’t done before: the first was to write a standalone after years of writing series novels. The second was to aim for a humorous story. Not a laugh-a minute kind, but more in the situations being described.

In ‘Smart Moves’, international corporate trouble-shooter Jake Foreman is trying to make a success out of a misfortune largely of his own making. He’s basically stuffed up in a big way by spending too much time rolling around the world and losing touch with what was important in life, like relationships, friends and even the changing world around him. In short, he’s lost it all: his wife, home and job.

Describing someone else’s close shaves with bad luck and misery has a tragicomic appeal, because you want the central character to come out okay. I didn’t set out to get belly laughs, but I hope I managed to inspire a few smiles along the way.

*******************

MY REVIEW

Huge thank you to the publishers for the advanced copy of this book.  I know I can always trust them for a story full of quality and intrigue and this is exactly what I got with this story.

The main character, Jake, is having a very bad day! The worst kind of bad days!  All he has known for a number of yeas has ended so he needs to think fast and get a new life plan! He’s been let go from work, his wife has left him, and there’s squatters in his home!!

The more he uncovers about the kind of work he was doing before is a little troubling to him – he’s  been a little naive to say the least! – so when he’s offered new opportunities in the ‘courier service’ he grabs at it! He knows he’s good at it so it makes sense to carry on with what he knows! He seems to care less for the consequences this may bring his way!

Add to the mix, a mess of a personal life and his life begins to spiral a little out of control and, as a reader, you just wonder what he’ll be facing next and where!

This was a fast paced thriller, that felt very fresh to read and the subtle mix of humour worked really well! There was always something going on and I found myself enjoying getting to know Jake as a character and how he had to start thinking on his feet to save himself and those around him!

A refreshing read!

➤➤➤

 

smarttour.png

#BookReview Vox by Christina Dalcher #100words #Vox

About the book

Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial–this can’t happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end. 

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

Published by HQ

Publication Date – 23rd August 2018

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

A terrifying prospect is brought to life by the author in this dystopian novel where women have been silenced. Forced to wear ‘counters’ that add up their daily word count and if they go past 100 words in one day then they will suffer pain.  Women have been forced to give up successful jobs and careers, girls are given sewing lessons at school – this truly is a man’s world.  And for Dr Jean the only way out is to help the men she despises.

The initial impact of this book is startling! I was gripped by this world that had seen fit to demean half the population all because of the rise of religious beliefs in many States.  The way that intelligent women were made to comply, and seemingly have very little support from their husbands’ and even sons, in fighting back against their awful treatment.  It really showed just how damaging certain messages could become and influence the minds of seemingly level headed men.  In her own home she is faced with the viewpoints that women are better off staying at home and ‘knowing their place’.  Fancy hearing that from your own child – whilst you are doing all your best to raise a daughter who has nightmares and gets  awards at school for speaking the fewest number of words in one day..

I did find though that the shock factor of this book did begin to wear a little thin as the story seemed to run out of steam and it moved away from the controlling aspect of those in authority into different areas, but it did a great job of teaching you to be aware of what is going on around you in the world and to be engaged with how views and society is changing!  I’m sure a lot of us sleepwalk through life unaware of small changes to laws and thought processes, and that’s how easy it is to see those in power start to take control of what you see, what you think and how you can respond.

A thought provoking and fascinating read none the less so can highly recommend it!

𝑽О𝓧

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – Week 32 2018 #bookblogger #bookhaul

Happy Saturday to you all!And relax! Well I hope you’re getting to relax a little anyway! Bit of gardening has been on my ‘to do’ list so far today, so now that’s done the sofa has taken me hostage!! So time to put my captive status to good use and catch up with my bookish week!

And it’s been another goodie! There have been some shorter books/graphic novels read this week so that helped me finish 7 books this week!  And then 5 have been added to my bookshelves, along with 2 audiobooks that I downloaded from the library via Borrowbox last night!  It’s fatal just browsing isn’t it?!

So here’s a quick look at what I’ve finished – way behind on reviews oops! – what’s new, and what I’m now reading! Click on the title for the GoodReads link for more info!

BOOKS FINISHED

Paper Girls Vol 1 by Brian Vaughan – 3 stars

Fun and feisty graphic novel. I’ll be reading more soon hopefully!

The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh  – 4 stars

Slow start, but worth sticking with! Dark and hypnotic!

Summer at Hollyhock House by Cathy Bussey  – 3 stars

Little predictable but a quick, easy book to read!

The Amber Maze by Christopher Bowden  – 3 stars

Read this ahead of the Blog Tour next month, and enjoyed this historical ‘noir fiction’

Ladders to Heaven by Mike Shanahan – 5 stars

Another Blog Tour read, and I never knew Figs were so blooming interesting! Loved this and learnt so much!

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter  – 4 stars

A stunning little book! Bought in a charity shop this week for £1. Only 126 pages but packs a punch with its’ unusual style.

Evie’s Little Black Book by Hannah Pearl – 4 stars

Out on Tuesday, and a fabulously fun read!

BOOK HAUL

First to the audio books that I borrowed from the Borrowbox Library app!

Folk by Zoe Gilbert

Every year they gather, while the girls shoot their arrows and the boys hunt them out. The air is riddled with spiteful shadows – the wounds and fears and furies of a village year.

On a remote and unforgiving island lies a village unlike any other: Neverness. A girl is snatched by a water bull and dragged to its lair, a babe is born with a wing for an arm and children ask their fortunes of an oracle ox. While the villagers live out their own tales, enchantment always lurks, blighting and blessing in equal measure.

Folk is a dark and sinuous debut circling the lives of one generation. In this world far from our time and place, the stories of the islanders interweave and overlap, their own folklore twisting fates and changing lives. 

The Unforgotten by Laura Powell

It’s 1956 and fifteen-year-old Betty Broadbent has never left the Cornish fishing village of St Steele or ventured far beyond the walls of the boarding house run by her erratic mother. But when the London press pack descends to report on a series of gruesome murders of young women, Betty’s world changes. In particular she is transfixed by mysterious and aloof reporter, Mr Gallagher. As the death toll rises, an unlikely friendship blossoms between Betty and Gallagher. But as their bond deepens, they find themselves entangled with the murders and each is forced to make a devastating choice, one that will shape their own lives – and the life of an innocent man – forever.

Had to treat myself to some bargain Persephone Books this week from the fab Ninja BookBox BookShop

The Blank Wall by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

A suburban matron, harassed by wartime domestic problems – her husband is overseas – finds herself implicated in the murder of her young daughter’s extremely unattractive beau. This novel is about maternal love and about the heroine’s relationship with those around her, especially her children and her maid.

The Runaway by Elizabeth Anna Hart

This 1872 novel by a mid-Victorian poet and novelist is about a girl named Clarice, living with her widowed father and her governess ‘in a charming home at a convenient (railway) distance from the city.’ One day she finds a girl of her own age hiding in the shrubbery. She is Olga and ‘there is no question that she is the liveliest child character in English fiction’ said the Observer in 1936

The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett

First published in 1901, The Making of a Marchioness follows thirty-something Emily who lives alone, humbly and happily, in a tiny apartment and on a meager income. She is the one that everyone counts on but no one goes out of their way to accommodate. This Cinderella-like story remains a much-loved favorite among many.
This book is followed by a sequel, The Methods of Lady Walderhurst. Later, the two novels were combined into Emily Fox-Seton.

Resin by Ane Riel

A signed first edition from Goldsboro Books – I needed a treat!

 

Liv died when she was just six years old. At least, that’s what the authorities think.

Her father knew he was the only one who could keep her safe in this world. So one evening he left the isolated house his little family called home, he pushed their boat out to sea and watched it ruin on the rocks. Then he walked the long way into town to report his only child missing.

But behind the boxes and the baskets crowding her Dad’s workshop, Liv was hiding. This way her Dad had said, she’d never have to go to school; this way, she’d never have to leave her parents.

This way, Liv would be safe.

CURRENTLY READING

Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan

The Angel’s Mark by S.W.Perry

✤✤✤✤✤

And another week is all wrapped up! Now to be good and try and catch up with reviews!!  Have you read any of these books? Always love to hear your throughts!!

HAPPY READING!!

#BlogTour The Unlikely Heroics of Sam Holloway by Rhys Thomas #BookReview #RandomThingsTours

An absolute pleasure to be involved with this Blog Tour today for THE UNLIKELY HEROICS OF SAM HOLLOWAY by RHYS THOMAS.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for letting me be part of it!

About the book

A feel-good novel that will make you laugh and cry. The perfect book club read for fans of The Rosie Project, A Man Called Ove, and The Keeper of Lost Things . Charming, quirky, and bursting with heart.

Sam Holloway has survived the worst that life can throw at you. But he’s not really living. His meticulous routines keep everything nice and safe – with just one exception . . .

Three nights a week, Sam dons his superhero costume and patrols the streets. It makes him feel invincible – but his unlikely heroics are getting him into some sticky situations.

Then a girl comes along and starts to shatter the walls Sam has built around himself. Now, he needs to decide if he’s brave enough to take off the mask, and to confront the grief he’s been avoiding for so long . . .

Hilarious and heart-warming, this is a story about grief, loneliness, and the life-changing power of kindness.

Published by Wildfire books on 9th August 2018

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  £7.74

Hive.co.uk  £7.35

Book Depository  £7.20

Rhys Thomas

Facebook page

Twitter

MY REVIEW

LOVED. LOVED. LOVED!! Do I need to say anymore?! Oh ok then, I’ll add a few more thoughts! Needless to say, this book gave me all the feels and Sam Holloway is one of those characters that I immediately fell in love with! A 26 year old unlikely superhero – normal by day( well, normal-ish!), but 3 nights a week he dons a superhero costume to patrol the streets to make the world a better place.  And it makes him happy! He has his routines, a simple life living alone – he’s an only child of only child parents so loneliness has followed him throughout his life and he embraced it as a child and it set off his interest in comic books and the superheroes on their pages.

This book tells his story – each chapter alternates between ‘normal’ Sam, and ‘Superhero Sam’ and this way is a perfect way to explore the extremes of his life and what has led him to reach this point in his life.  I’ve seen comparisons to Eleanor Oliphant and can totally understand why.  He was teased at school and has never really fitted in, but comic books made him feel like there’s more out there and is a way for him to escape certain aspects of his life.

He can also be found trawling through Facebook posts of those people he used to know, out in the world doing things he’d never dream of, and that’s when the loneliness of a night strikes him. But his routines keep him safe

But his life is about to change after a random conversation in a local pub and his outlook on life begins to alter.  He has never really connected with anyone but Sarah seems to get his quirkiness! She’s not one to fit in either and is happy to join him and his friends when they go meteor spotting, pub quizzes – just hanging out.  But with personal distractions, comes the risk of his nice, safe world crashing down around him…..

This was such a powerful story for me – it dealt with a character dealing with loneliness, grief and also the social anxieties that the world today brings with it.  He is prone to over analyzing everything, and pondering the meaning of life when he sees just how low humanity has got – so relevant in the times we live in! It was humorous and heartbreaking in equal measures!  An absolute delight to read so what are you waiting for…. go get your copy now!! 😉

✪✪✪✪✪

#BlogTour ribbons in her hair by Colette McCormick #GuestPost #AccentPress

ribbons

 

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

Amazon UK

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!

RIBBONSBANNER.png