My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – the last of 2017!

Hello all!  We’ve all made it through another year! Congratulate yourselves!! And I hope you’ve all had a super wonderful Christmas!! Been a lovely one here, that was over way too quickly!, and the main thing I have to report is that Santa saw fit to deliver NO NEW BOOKS my way!!  He probably took one look at the overstocked bookshelves and kept them on his sleigh!!   But family did buy me some Waterstones vouchers so I’ve had great fun putting those to good use and am now awaiting delivery!!  Santa did treat  me to a Nintendo Switch for Xmas though so that might eat into my 2018 reading time – Mario Kart 8 is way too addictive for my liking!! Might have to try out some audiobooks whilst I’m playing and see if I can concentrate on both……

Not sure if you’re like me, but my reading took a severe dive over Christmas time!! I just couldn’t get myself to sit down and pick up a book so only 3 books have been finished over the past week when I could have got a lot more read!  But those 3 books were all highly entertaining in their own rights so at least I’m still managing to find enjoyable books to read and avoiding those stinkers!!  So here’s a peek at how my past 7 days has looked bookish wise…….

BOOKS FINISHED

A Week to be Wild by JC Harroway  –  4 stars

publication date 25th January 2018

Amazon UK pre-order

Mills & Boon have gone super sexy!! Raced through this one! Watch out for my stop on the Blog Tour in January 2018!

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah  –  4 stars

Publication Date 6th February 2018

Was lucky to get the chance to read this via Jellybooks ,who are still looking for test readers so please click the link for more deatils, and thoroughly enjoyed it! I loved The Nightingale so it was great to read more from this author.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell  –  4 stars

out now!

Amazon UK

 

This is a great collection of 12 short stories that features a wide mix of the weird and the wonderful!

BOOKHAUL

I won’t include the books I have ordered from Waterstones, as they’ve not arrived yet, but there has still been some other lovely bookish post arriving, of which my poor postie is so pleased about!!

The tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris  received from Readers First

publication date 11th January 2018

Amazon UK – pre-order

The incredible story of the Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist and the woman he loved.

Lale Sokolov is well-dressed, a charmer, a ladies’ man. He is also a Jew. On the first transport from Slovakia to Auschwitz in 1942, Lale immediately stands out to his fellow prisoners. In the camp, he is looked up to, looked out for, and put to work in the privileged position of Tätowierer– the tattooist – to mark his fellow prisoners, forever. One of them is a young woman, Gita, who steals his heart at first glance.

His life given new purpose, Lale does his best through the struggle and suffering to use his position for good.

This story, full of beauty and hope, is based on years of interviews author Heather Morris conducted with real-life Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov. It is heart-wrenching, illuminating, and unforgettable.

Waves by Jared A.Carnie

received from the publisher Urbane Publications

out now

THERE’S NO SET ROUTE AFTER ALL. NO STRAIGHT ROAD. NO ONE PATH.

Alex is stuck. Stuck in Essex. Stuck in his childhood home. Stuck in a job he hates. The relationship he’d been counting on all these years has finally fallen apart. He’s run out of things to hope for.

Anxious, uncertain and totally sober, Alex is dragged to the Outer Hebrides by his long-suffering friend, James. Somewhere between the mountains and the sea, Alex is desperate to find something to ignite a spark of life in him again. Through castles, ceilidhs, bothies, lochs, vast beaches and tiny boats, chance meetings and old friends, Alex has to learn that maybe taking responsibility doesn’t mean the end of feeling free.

Hidden Pasts by Clio Gray  Book 3 of the Scottish Mysteries

received from the publishers Urbane Publications

Publication Day 18th January 2018

Amazon UK – pre-order

Hestan Island, marooned in the Solway Firth, tethered to the mainland at low tide by a causeway called The Rack; Hestan home to two men quietly living out their lives, until a boy is almost crushed to death in their tiny copper mine, when their shared past begins to unravel. Over at Balcary House, Brogar Finn and Sholto McKay arrive, and soon become involved in the affairs on Hestan, which in turn leads them back through the bloody wars of Crimea and the lands of the Tartars. The third in the Scottish Mystery Series, Hidden Pasts is host to a complex plot that explores the history of a little known part of Scotland, and links it with the wider arena of warfare in the east and how small events can echo down the years, with deadly consequence

 CURRENTLY READING

Having a slow reading end to the year so not sure if I’ll be able to finish anymore before the end of the year – but that does mean a good start to the beginning of 2018 could be in store with a couple of books already started on! There’s my handy hint for bumping up your numbers early on!!  At the time of typing 2017 has been an extremely fantastic year for me reading wise as I’ve read 210 books!! I’m shocked too!!  GoodReads 2017 Reading Challenge

Midwinter by Fiona Melrose

Father and Son, Landyn and Vale Midwinter, are men of the land. Suffolk farmers. Times are hard and they struggle to sustain their property, their livelihood and their heritage in the face of competition from big business.

But an even bigger, more brutal fight is brewing: a fight between each other, about the horrible death of Cecelia, beloved wife and mother, in Zambia ten years earlier. A past they have both refused to confront until now.

Over the course of a particularly mauling Suffolk winter, Landyn and Vale grapple with their memories and their pain, raking over what remains of their fragile family unit, constantly at odds and under threat of falling apart forever. While Vale makes increasingly desperate decisions, Landyn retreats, finding solace in the land, his animals – and a fox who haunts the farm and seems to bring with her both comfort and protection.

Alive to language and nature, Midwinter is a novel about guilt, blame and lost opportunities. Ultimately it is a story about love and the lengths we will go to find our way home.

THREE THINGS ABOUT ELSIE by JOANNA CANNON

Publication Date 11th January 2018

There are three things you should know about Elsie.
The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.
84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she
waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to
light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a
man who died sixty years ago?
From the author of THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP, this book will teach you
many things, but here are three of them:
1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.

Heard nothing but good things about this one so I cannot wait for this experience!!

So what has been your Christmas reading experience?! Hope it has been good and that Santa treated you all!  Looking forward to a very quiet New Years’ which will hopefully mean lots of reading time!!

Thank you to everyone who stops by my little bookish blog to read my ramblings!! I am so grateful for the views and comments and I want to wish everyone a super happy new year!! May 2018 bring you extra reading time and extra bookish acquisitions!!

HAPPY READING

My 2018 Reading Intentions!

I’ve seen a few of these posts in the last few days and it has inspired me to ‘try’ and organise myself on the reading front and see what I have to look forward to in 2018, and see if I can enjoy another fabulous reading year! At the time of typing I have managed to read 207 books throughout 2017 – with 3 looking like they might be finished by the time the year comes to an end – and I didn’t plan on reading that many at the start of the year! I had set my target at 150, but numbers have never been that important to me so if it wasn’t for GoodReads keeping track I’d be none the wiser!!  I do find that if you end up just concentrating on numbers then it takes away the enjoyment from reading – it isn’t a race!!! We’re not competing in the reading olympics, and I have just found this year that the more I read, the quicker I become at reading!  And not all books are 600 + page chunksters, some have been audio books, short story collections and graphic novels, and I have found mixing things up this way has really helped me avoid too many of those ‘reading slump’ spells that we all fear!!

So how can I improve my reading for 2018?! Erm, I can’t!! But I am hoping to be a little more organised! I have found this year that I have jotted down notes in a number of notebooks – because who can resist a stationery buying spree eh!? – and then I lose track of said notebooks and get myself in a tizzy trying to find all my notes so I can remember who everyone was in a book! So I am hoping to streamline that part of the process in the hope it gives me extra reading time!  I’ve also started to note down release dates and blog tour dates on a separate book calendar so hoping I can remember to keep that up to date and hopefully then seeing a date coming up with a book title on will help guide me in choosing my next reads, and keep track of my reading that way! Have you found a good way to be organised with your reading?! Always happy to receive tips and advice on that front if you’d like to share your hints in the comments!

Reading challenges have become such a fun part of my reading year so I’m looking forward to finding one or two to take part in again this year! I’m also hoping to set myself a reading challenge – I have 12 Persephone books on my shelves so the plan is (!)  to read one a month!   I always say I’m going to do this with classics but it has never taken off for me, so hopefully this will give me the kick in the butt I need to start going through those books that I have on my shelves looking ‘pretty’! Pretty books need to be read too!!!  

I think my GoodReads number will be set at 150 again and I’d be lost without this resource as I use it for noting down my reviews before adding them to my Blog or review sites.  I found a little notebook the other day that I used to use for noting down books I’d read, but it only had a comment ‘really enjoyed it’, ‘funny’, ‘good’ etc by the side of it so the majority of them I could hardly remember reading!  Yes my memory really is that bad!  Even then when I looked at the blurb of the books I had very little recollection of the book, so I’m thankful for GoodReads for helping me add a little more to each review to help jog my poor old memory bank!  

Trying not to request books on NetGalley, Twitter and all those other evil sites where ARC’s are available, is going to be something else I need to try and ‘moderate’!  I do think it is the fault of the publishers for releasing so many books that sound amazing, but I think I need to be more selective – I know I WANT  to read ALL THE BOOKS but I just can’t!  Thankfully I think I know the genres and subjects that I enjoy now so that helps me narrow it down a lot, but I just need to stop being like a kid in a sweet shop and show some restraint! 

And that goes for buying books too! I know I say the same every year and usually fail by 2nd January, but I think I have become a little more responsible on the book buying front! I will wait longer now before having to have a copy of whatever book has taken my fancy, and I still have a squillion (actual amount!) of unread books sitting on my bookshelves waiting for me to read them and I do feel guilty when I look at them sitting there unread!  So I will be good in 2018……… 

As always I’d like to reduce my procastinating!! And the internet is  a great big swallower of time for me!! But it’s also the best place to find out all the bookish news so it isn’t going to be easy!!  I’ve tried listening to audio books whilst I’m surfing online but find my mind wanders so I end up not listening and only concentrating on the web, so can only really listen to audio books while I’m doing cross-stitch or playing silly games – Fishdom is my current downfall! – so I must find ways of finding out bookish news without having to surf the interweb!!

So we will see how things go with my intentions!  Do you have any plans to help you with your reading year?! It has been fascinating to read how other people approach their outlook on reading so if you’ve done a post on this then feel free to link it below in the comments for me to go and be nosey at!!

HAPPY READING!!

My bookish weekly wrap up!

Merry Christmas one and all!!  All this build up and within the blink of an eye it will all be over and done with!!  Ooh I’m beginning to sound like the Grinch haha!!  Hope all your festive preparations are under control and you can now enjoy the next couple of days!  I’ve already started circling the TV guide to try and get myself organised with what I want to watch on the telly box over Xmas and the New Year – and then I can organise my reading around that!!

Been a very festive reading period for me over the past week as I’ve been trying to read all the Christmas books I have, or at least those with a wintry link!  So I think a total of 3 books have been finished which I’ve enjoyed and then I’ve started another 3 – all of which seem to be very good so far! – so at least it looks like my Christmas reading is going to be enjoyable! Nothing worse than starting a book you don’t enjoy over the holidays!

So here’s a peek at those that I’ve finished, those I’m currently reading, and a couple of new arrivals!

BOOKS FINISHED

Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews  –  5 stars

The Boy Made of Snow by Chloe Mayer  –  5 stars

Christmas at Mistletoe Cottage by Lucy Daniels  –  3 stars

BOOK HAUL

Ahead of the relaunch of Mills & Boon in January I have been lucky enough to receive a proof of one of the new titles, so am looking forward to a steamy read!  Remember my nan reading Mills & Boon books way back when – I think they may be a little racier now!!

A Week to be Wild by JC Harroway

Harlequin DARE, a new romance series featuring strong, independent women and sizzling hot heroes. Harlequin DARE stories push the boundaries of sexual explicitness while keeping the focus on the developing romantic relationship.

Libby Noble is done with men who live on the edge, but sexy British billionaire Alex coaxes her out of her comfort zone—professionally and very personally! She’ll agree to play his game…but only by her rules!

And then my Persephone book collection was added to this week as I received another one in the post from their book club, which has been a great way to add to my collection over the year!  Check out their website here – Persephone Books

Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day by Winifred Watson

Miss Pettigrew, an approaching-middle-age governess, was accustomed to a household of unruly English children. When her employment agency sends her to the wrong address, her life takes an unexpected turn. The alluring nightclub singer, Delysia LaFosse, becomes her new employer, and Miss Pettigrew encounters a kind of glamour that she had only met before at the movies. Over the course of a single day, both women are changed forever. 

CURRENTLY READING

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Alaska, 1974.
Untamed.
Unpredictable.
And for a family in crisis, the ultimate test of the human spirit.

From the author who brought you the phenomenon of The Nightingale.

I adored The Nightingale – I highly recommend it if you haven’t picked it up! – so am so excited to be reading this.  And so far it is another stunning story!!

The Beginning of the World  in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell

These days, you can find anything you need at the click of a button.
That’s why I bought her heart online.

Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows.
A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island.
A boy is worried his sister has two souls.
A couple are rewriting the history of the world.
And mermaids are on display at the local aquarium.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls.

I’m a huge fan of Jen Campbell, and this is a fabulous collection of short stories!

Midwinter by Fiona Melrose

Father and Son, Landyn and Vale Midwinter, are men of the land. Suffolk farmers. Times are hard and they struggle to sustain their property, their livelihood and their heritage in the face of competition from big business.

But an even bigger, more brutal fight is brewing: a fight between each other, about the horrible death of Cecelia, beloved wife and mother, in Zambia ten years earlier. A past they have both refused to confront until now.

Over the course of a particularly mauling Suffolk winter, Landyn and Vale grapple with their memories and their pain, raking over what remains of their fragile family unit, constantly at odds and under threat of falling apart forever. While Vale makes increasingly desperate decisions, Landyn retreats, finding solace in the land, his animals – and a fox who haunts the farm and seems to bring with her both comfort and protection.

Alive to language and nature, Midwinter is a novel about guilt, blame and lost opportunities. Ultimately it is a story about love and the lengths we will go to find our way home.

Started this on Christmas Cosy Reading Night on Wednesday and getting good vibes already! Beautifully written!

And there we have it!!  Been really enjoying doing these weekly wrap ups as my memory is so bad I’ve often forgotten how my week has been bookish wise, so this has helped enormously….. when I remember to write things down that is!  

Wishing you all a super merry christmas and may your stockings be filled with bookish shaped items!!

HAPPY FESTIVE READING!!

The Boy Made of Snow by Chloe Mayer #bookreview

THE BLURB

In 1944, in a sleepy English village, Daniel and his emotionally-distant mother, Annabel, remain at home while his father is off fighting a war that seems both omnipresent and very, very far away.

When mother and son befriend Hans, a German PoW working on a nearby farm, their lives are suddenly filled with excitement – though the prisoner comes to mean very different things to each of them. To Annabel, he is an awakening from the darkness that has engulfed her since Daniel’s birth. To her son, a solitary boy caught up in the mythical world of fairy-tales, he is perhaps a prince in disguise or a magical woodchopper. But Daniel often struggles to tell the difference between fantasy and reality, and Hans has plans to spin a special sort of web to entrap mother and son for his own needs.

Amazon UK

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

Book Depository

Waterstones

Follow the author on Twitter –  @ThatChloeMayer

Author Website – https://www.chloemayerauthor.com/

MY REVIEW

If you adore fairy tales then you need this book in your life! And just like fairy tales this is a book with a very dark side that only adds to the impact it has on you when you read it, and I loved every minute spent with these characters in the remote Kent setting.

Told from 2 points of view – a mother and her young son – it is the story of a family set in 1944 so the impact of the War is close by, with the father/husband away for most of the book, and is a fascinating study of how those left behind dealt with things, and how the son sees his life as a giant fairy tale as he has been brought up on them, and everyday he sees as a new chapter in his own fairytale. He wants to be the hero, to save his mother as he watches her struggle with life, and Daniel is such an innocent character in his outlook on life, but also quite old with his approach to life. He’s adventurous, imaginative with a childlike innocence that draws you into his viewpoint and all that he witnesses and encounters.

His mother, Annabel, is another fascinating character as you can sense that she is not coping well with life and often turns to drink to get through the days. But she gets a glimpse of hope in the form of a german POW who is sent to work on a nearby farm, and they soon strike up a connection. He is her escape from the world – her own fairytale so to speak.

You also get to see the impact that war had on those fighting, when Reggie returns home for a short while but he is a broken man. Often heartbreaking to read of the suffering he has seen, and the guilt he feels that life is carrying on whilst he and others are fighting and losing their lives on a daily basis.

I loved the pace of this story – it starts quite slowly but things soon start to happen at a much faster speed and the connection with various other fairy tales were woven throughout so seamlessly that made for a heartbreaking, haunting captivating, emotional and endearing read from beginning to end.

HAPPY READING

My Favourite Books of 2017

That time of the year has arrived!! Time to have a look back at all the books I’ve managed to read over 2017 (at the time of typing it is 203 with another one almost finished!) and it has been a freakishly astonishing year of books for me!  So many new authors have made their way onto my radar, and I’m thankful to social media for bringing them all to my attention although my sagging bookshelves might not be so thankful,  new genres have been enjoyed and I’ve just really enjoyed pushing myself out of my comfort zone to discover new amazing stories.

BUT this then makes it very difficult when you get to the end of the year trying to pick out your favourites!! There are just so many that have made me laugh, smile and cry in equal measures, that I’ve gone over the list a number of times and have finally settled on a list of 15 books that have stayed with me more than others , and have helped make 2017 such a wonderful year.   There could have been a longer list and I feel bad about missing some fabulous books off the list – maybe there’ll be a follow up post with more of my favourites on in the near future! But for now, here’s the books that have stood out for me the most over the past 12 months! Click on the title if you’d like to read my GoodReads review.

In no particular order……..

The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

 

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter

Lincoln In The Bardo by George Saunders

A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall

The Shifting Pools by Zoe Duncan

Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong by Gina Kirkham

The Scandal by Fredrik Backman ( Beartown (US Title) )

Thornhill by Pam Smy

Snow Sisters by Carol Lovekin

The Visitors by Catherine Burns

The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman

And that is it! The 15 books that have warmed my heart, made me sob, made me laugh, shocked me, chilled me, thrilled me and kept me thoroughly entertained throughout 2017!  Thank you to all the authors and publishers who continue to amaze me with stunning stories!

Bring on 2018…….

My Life in Books – 2017 Edition

 
I was recently discovered the ‘My Life in Books’ tag on the fab RoofBeamReader page, and it really caught my attention so I thought I’d give it a go!!
 
The rules are pretty simple – answer the questions using books that you’ve read in 2017!  So here’s a look at my life 2017 book style!!
  • In high school I was: Too Damn Nice by Kathryn Freeman
  •  
  • People might be surprised (by): After I’ve Gone by Linda Green
  •  
  • I will never be: The Body in the Ice by A.J. Mackenzie (hopefully!)
  •  
  • My fantasy job is: The Secret Library by Oliver Tearle
  •  
  • At the end of a long day I need: Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong by Gina Kirkham
  • I hate it when: His Frozen Fingertips by Charlotte Bowyer
  • Wish I had:Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  • My family reunions are: A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden
  •  
  • At a party you’d find me with: Miss Jane by Brad Watson
  • I’ve never been to: The Cafe in Fir Tree Park by Katey Lovell
  • A happy day includes: Girl Reading by Katie Ward
  • Motto I live by: Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
  • On my bucket list is: See You In The Cosmos by Jack Cheng
  • In my next life, I want to have: The Little Bookshop of Promises by Debbie Macomber
💚💛💜💚💛💜💚💛💜

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!!

Hello!! not many sleeps to go…… are we all still be good so that Santa will stop by with those book tokens we’ve all wished for?!  I am hopefully now all done on the festive preparation front – cards all sent out, parcels posted and a few Christmas decorations up around the house!  Just a few more pressies to wrap up and then it will be time to sit back and consume all the chocolate and biscuits we always seem to amass this time of year!

So to coincide with the festivities, I’ve been getting my Christmas reading hat on and seem to be racing through all the festive reads this year! Hopefully I  can get them all read before the big day – it will just feel so wrong to have any leftover after Xmas!!

I’m also trying to whittle the 200 books I appear to have read this year into my favourite reads of the year! Was hoping to do a Top Ten but there has been so many good books I think that may be impossible! Back to the drawing board!!

Here’s a look at all that I’ve finished this week, the fabulous book post that has turned up and what I’m currently reading!

BOOKS FINISHED  

Christmas at Little Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan  –  3 stars

I love this series and although this wasn’t my favourite, it was still a fun read! And I still want a pet Puffin!!

Christmas at the Little Village School by Jane Lovering   –  4 stars

A fab little festive novella!

An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro  –  3 stars

A nice gentle read that was the last of my A-Z BookBuster Challenge!

Covent Garden in the Snow by Jules Wake  – 3 stars

Another festive treat, and really quick and easy to read too I found! Loved the humour!

BOOKHAUL

Found myself in the library this morning, as you do!, and was just going to browse….but the sight of this book on the booksale shelf for 10p was just too much for me to pass by!  Anyone read it? Am slowly making my way through her other books and really enjoying the journey!

Daphne Du Maurier – The Parasites

“Wickedly readable… Daphne du Maurier has instinct, with the result that every woman instinctively wants to read her.” -New York Times Book Review

Maria, Niall and Celia have grown up in the shadow of their famous parents – their father, a flamboyant singer and their mother, a talented dancer. Now pursuing their own creative dreams, all three siblings feel an undeniable bond, but it is Maria and Niall who share the secret of their parents’ past affairs.

Alternately comic and poignant, The Parasites is based on the artistic milieu its author knew best, and draws the reader effortlessly into that magical world.

And then these two fabulous books arrived today from RedDoor Publishing ahead of 2018 releases!

Ivon by Michael Aylwin  –  out February 2018

The year is 2144, and the world is powered by sport – politically and practically. Each community owes its prosperity or otherwise to the success of its teams and athletes. A person’s class is determined by their aptitude for sport. Once their useful life as an athlete has expired, they are placed in stasis at an age predetermined by that class.

But not in Wales.

Separated from the rest of the world by a huge wall, the Welsh still play games for joy. They play, they carouse, they love, they die. They have fun.

Of all the Welsh, the greatest sportsman is an unreconstructed genius called Ivon. When the chance arises to become the first Welshman to cross the great divide into England, he cannot resist. His parents, exiled from England before he was born, know what London will do to him. They are desperate to have him back. But London will not give up an asset like Ivon so easily.

Ivon is a celebration of where sport has come from and a satire on where it is going

The Man on the Middle Floor by Elizabeth S.Moore   –  out April 2018

Lionel Shriver meets Mark Haddon in this break-out debut

Despite living in the same three-flat house in the suburbs of London, the residents are strangers to one another. The bottom floor is home to Tam, a recent ex-cop who spends his days drowning his sorrows in whisky. On the middle floor is Nick, a young man with Asperger’s who likes to stick to his schedules and routines. The top floor belongs to Karen, a doctor and researcher who has spent her life trying to understand the rising rates of autism. They have lived their lives separately, until now, when an unsolved murder and the man on the middle floor connect them all together. Told from three points of view, The Man on the Middle Floor is about disconnection in all its forms; sexual, physical, parental and emotional. It questions whether society is meeting the needs of the fast growing autistic section of society, or exacerbating it.

Thought-provoking and thrilling, The Man on the Middle Floor will leave readers talking

And then I was lucky to receive a copy of this one via the author – what a cover!! Definitely sounds like a book of the times!

Sockpuppet by Matthew Blakstad

Twitter. Facebook. Whatsapp. Google Maps. Every day you share everything about yourself – where you go, what you eat, what you buy, what you think – online. Sometimes you do it on purpose. Usually you do it without even realizing it. At the end of the day, everything from your shoe-size to your credit limit is out there. Your greatest joys, your darkest moments. Your deepest secrets.

If someone wants to know everything about you, all they have to do is look.

But what happens when someone starts spilling state secrets? For politician Bethany Lehrer and programmer Danielle Farr, that’s not just an interesting thought-experiment. An online celebrity called sic_girl has started telling the world too much about Bethany and Dani, from their jobs and lives to their most intimate secrets. There’s just one problem: sic_girl doesn’t exist. She’s an construct, a program used to test code. Now Dani and Bethany must race against the clock to find out who’s controlling sic_girl and why… before she destroys the privacy of everyone in the UK.

CURRENTLY READING

Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights by Carole Matthews

Indulge in this wonderful, cake-filled novel of romance and friendship. Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights is Sunday Times bestselling Carole Matthews doing what she does best!

Fay and Danny are madly in love and it’s all Fay’s ever dreamed of. But she left everything – including the delightful cake shop she used to run – to be with Danny on his cosy canal boat The Dreamcatcher. And as she soon finds out, making delicious cakes on the water isn’t always smooth sailing!

Then Fay gets a call from her friends, a call that sends her back to her friends and the Cake Shop in the Garden. It will be hard being away from Danny but their relationship is strong enough to survive . . . isn’t it?

Fay soon falls happily back in love with her passion for baking – especially now she’s on dry land again! – and starts to wonder if she ever should have left. With Christmas around the corner, Fay is determined that her friends will have a very merry time, but does that mean even more time away from Danny? Can Fay really get everything she ever wanted in Christmas Cakes & Mistletoe Nights

I adored Cake Shop in the Garden so didn’t need much persuading to treat myself to this festive version so I could catch up with the characters once more!!

🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅🎄🎅

So there we have it!  Lots already on the pile for 2018 so I think I might have to start getting ahead of myself – once the festive titles have all been read! – and start the 2018 reading pile! I think we’re all in for another bumper year of brilliant reads!!  So forget that resolution of not adding to your TBR pile –  it is NEVER going to happen!! 😉

HAPPY READING!!

A-Z BookBuster Challenge 2017 – completed!

I have embraced the world of reading challenges over the past couple of years as I find it challenges and pushes me to read books from outside my comfort zone and makes reading a little more fun!  So I was intrigued by the BookBuster Challenge set by the GoodReads group The Book Vipers which was to read books whose authors names go from A-Z!! 

So I had lots of fun putting  a list together of books I already had on my shelves along with others I found along the way to fit in and happy to say that this week I have completed the challenge!!  Some of the titles I set out to read at the start of the year didn’t make it to my final cut but it was fun to find out different options and it has helped me reach a really good variety of books!  So here’s a look at the list of my completed reads!

Lyrebird – Cecilia Ahern           2a.m at the cat’s pyjamas – Marie-Helene BERTINO   

                                   

Call of the Undertow – Linda CRACKNELL          Wildwood;  – Roger DEAKIN  

 call                                                                                               

 

The Fourteenth Letter – Claire EVANS            The Somnabulist – Essie FOX

                                 

 

Little Girl Lost – Janet GOVER                  Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt HAIG

                                  

 

An artist of the floating world – Kazuo ISHIGURO      Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne JONES

                                     

 

Handcuffs, Truncheons and a Polyester Thong – Gina KIRKHAM         Arthur – Mikael LINDNORD

                                      

 

The Moth Snowstorm – Michael MCCARTHY     Uprooted – Naomi NOVIK

                                     

 

Wesley the Owl – Stacey O’BRIEN     The Breakdown – B.A. PARIS

                                       

 

Exercises in Style – Raymond QUENEAU        The Silk Weaver’s Wife – Debbie RIX

                                

 

The Little Prince – Antoine de SAINT-EXUPERY   The Secret Library – Oliver TEARLE

 

                                         

 

The Witchfinder’s Sister – Beth Underdown         The Farm at the Edge of the World – Sarah Vaughan

                                              

 

Girl Reading – Katie WARD      The Good Women of China – XINRAN

                                                

 

  Yesterday – Felicia YAP                  The Watcher in the Shadows  – Carlos Ruiz ZAFON
yesterday                                    shadows

 


Reading Challenge Completed!!  Think I may need to treat myself to a book or two to celebrate!!!  Have you set yourself any challenges this year?  Hope they’ve gone well if so!! Wonder what reading challenges 2018 will have in store?!!

HAPPY READING!!

Urbane’s 12 days of Christmas Blog Tour – Seeking Eden by Beverley Harvey #QandA #bookreview #giveaway

Hello and welcome to my stop on this fabulously festive Blog Tour that celebrates all things Urbane!!  It is my pleasure to be hosting this stop dedicated to the wonderful Beverley Harvey, and her debut novel Seeking Eden.   She has kindly answered some questions for us today, and I’m also including my review so you can find out a little bit more!  And, even more importantly, Matthew at Urbane has kindly allowed me to share a GIVEAWAY so that 3 of you lucky people can win your own paperback copy of Seeking Eden!!  The  perfect christmas gift to yourself!!

Time to get on with the Q & A!!  Take it away Beverley!!

Q&A

Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) I’ve spent decades working in corporate communications but now I’m concentrating on writing fiction. Seeking Eden is my debut novel and was published by Urbane in July 2017.

Seeking Eden is set in home-counties suburbia and the central themes are relationship dramas in middle age and the lure of materialism. The story opens when forty-something Kate and Neil leave London for a new life in prosperous Eden Hill, Kent. But it isn’t long before Kate becomes lonely and homesick, making her vulnerable when Ben, an old boyfriend and former pop star, comes sniffing around, hoping to rekindle both his relationship with Kate and his faded music career.

Kate befriends Lisa; glamour girl, former WAG, and another newcomer to Eden Hill. Newly divorced Lisa is excited by the idea of a fresh start – until her footballer ex-husband is found dead from a drinking accident and she is vilified in the tabloids.

Enter Martin, a straight-laced shop owner from a neighbouring town. Trapped in a dutiful marriage and in the throes of a midlife crisis, Martin becomes obsessed with Lisa and her wealthier friends in Eden Hill.

The book is about the fallout of living in a community where everyone wants what they don’t have.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) The idea for Seeking Eden was inspired by my own experience of leaving an organic, established London ‘village’ for a new town similar to Eden Hill. It can be a very isolating experience for newcomers. In terms of ‘getting it all down’, apart from four terms on a creative writing course, I had no experience, so I wrote from the heart and took a year to complete a first draft. I then spent another six months editing and polishing Seeking Eden before I began contacting agents. I got a handful of rejections, but most didn’t even come back to me. I considered self-publishing but didn’t feel confident to go it alone. I found Urbane through Twitter and thought ‘Wow! A third way exists!’ And it made total sense, especially when I met Matthew Smith and he was so approachable and constructive. It was desperately exciting to think that my story was to become a living breathing BOOK!

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) This year has been a real mixed. Highlights have included a couple of Urbane titles; The Gift Maker by Mark Mayes, and No Way Back by Kelly Florentia. I’ve also enjoyed some great thrillers; Girl on the Train by Paula

Hawkins, Gone Girl and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn and The Girlfriend by Michelle Francis. When I was younger I devoured anything and everything by certain authors, particularly Anita Brookner, Fay Weldon and Joanna Trollope – that’s not really the case now as my tastes have become broader and more eclectic. Last year, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson really stayed with me; I found it very unsettling.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) Ha! I went from one extreme to the other. As a child I loved Enid Blyton – especially the Mallory Towers and St Claire’s yarns. In my teens, I covertly read bonk-busters by Jaqueline Susanne and Jackie Collins; these women contributed hugely to my sex education.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) Seeing Seeking Eden as a fat glossy paperback for the first time was very satisfying. And the reviews; every time I get five-stars, I think; wow! Somebody has been moved and entertained and it amazes me.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) My partner Mark has been unshakeable in his support. He really believes that I have talent and that the time is NOW to get on with it! I had a wonderful creative writing tutor for two years in Tonbridge, Beth McNeilly; Beth went back to the States before Seeking Eden was published, but I have so much to thank her for. Matthew Smith at Urbane has been incredibly supportive and patient as I feel my way through becoming an author.

You can read more about me at www.beverleyharvey.co.uk or follow me on Twitter @BevHarvey_

*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career

THE BLURB

’50 is the new 30 – haven’t you heard?’

Or so says Ben Wilde’s record producer on the eve of his comeback. If only Ben could win back ex-girlfriend, Kate, he’d be a happy man.

But married Kate has moved on, and moved out – to Eden Hill, a quiet housing estate in the suburbs. Lonely and homesick for London, can Kate resist ego-maniac Ben’s advances and save her own flagging marriage?

Streets away, Kate’s new friend Lisa, a Chihuahua toting ex-WAG, is primed for a fresh start – until her footballer ex-husband is found dead and she is vilified in the gutter press.

But Kate, Lisa and Ben aren’t the only ones having a midlife crisis; local shop owner Martin dreams of escaping his dutiful marriage, and develops an unhealthy obsession with Lisa and her friends in Eden Hill.

Alongside a colourful cast of friends and family, Kate, Lisa, Ben and Martin are living proof that older does not always mean wiser because in Eden Hill, there’s temptation around every corner

Amazon UK

Urbane Publications

Waterstones

Book Depository

MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a book that is a delicious slice of suburbia life, then look no further! This debut novel from Beverley Harvey had me hooked from page one and I just loved the way she captures a wide range of people and their experiences of life in the neighbourhood of Eden Hill.

The story is mainly centred around Kate and Neil who are burgled in London, thus prompting a move out of town into the upmarket community of Eden Hills. Neil works in London for most of the week, so Kate is left to her own devices – is she ready for suburbia?! From reading about her exploits it seems not! She gets a dog – Ludo – which helps her get out and about and talking to a number of neighbours, not least Lisa who used to be married to a footballer and is the glamorous side of the community and becomes her closest friend.

There are so many fascinating characters who we get to see life from their point of view – Martin, who owns the local carpet shop, and the issues he faces with his depressive wife Jan, Ben who is Kates’ ex and has now decided he wants her back, and Lisa and her complicated past that comes back to haunt her, and it just reads like a soap opera as you dip in and out of each story and how their paths cross.

It was also nice to read about characters who aren’t in their 20’s and 30’s, and how being slightly older doesn’t mean that they’ve figured life out and they have just as many insecurities as those who are younger. There’s nice dashes of humour too along the way and it just made for a really enjoyable read and I’m just hoping we get to revisit some of the characters in other books in the future!!

GIVEAWAY

As I mentioned earlier, the publisher has allowed me to giveaway 3 paperback copies of this fabulous book to 3 lucky winners!! And all you have to do is comment on this blog post by 9pm on Sunday the 17th December 2017 and I will then pick 3 winners at random!!  

Winners can be UK or INTERNATIONAL!!! We want to share the Seeking Eden love far and wide!! So comment below and I could be in touch with you very soon!  GOOD LUCK ALL!!

HAPPY READING!!

The Killing Rock by Robert Daws #coverreveal

Good Morning to you all!! And welcome along for a fabulous cover reveal courtesy of Matthew at Urbane Publications , ahead of the release date of 7th June 2018.  It is my pleasure to bring you the stunning cover reveal for the 3rd book of the Sullivan and Broderick Investigations series by Robert Daws.

So, without further ado, here is your first look at THE KILLING ROCK

PUB DATE:  7TH June 2018, paperback and ebook

ISBN: 978-1-911583134

PRICE: £8.99

THE BLURB

The mummified remains of a woman’s body have been discovered at a demolition site on the Eastern side of the Rock of Gibraltar. A family are massacred in the grounds of a millionaire’s mansion near Puerto Banus on the Costa del Sol.

The Royal Gibraltar Police Force and their Spanish counterparts in Marbella, begin their separate investigations.

Detective Sergeant Tamara Sullivan and Chief Inspector Gus Broderick soon find themselves at the centre of a gruesome, dangerous and elusive murder investigation. Their nightmarish quest to stop more killings, leads them to the ghosts of murders past and a very real threat to their own lives in the present.

Beneath the heat of the Mediterranean sun, Sullivan and Broderick are on the murder trail once again.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert Daws is a British theatre and television actor best known for his roles in long running tv series such as the award winning Outside Edge, Jeeves and Wooster, Roger,Roger, The Royal, Rock and Chips, Casualty, Midsomer Murders, Sword of Honour, Take A Girl Like You and most recently, as Dr Thomas Choake in Poldark. His most recent theatre work includes Michael Frayn’s Alarms and Excursions, The Secret of Sherlock Holmes and Yes Prime Minister in London’s West End.

Author Website

@RobertDaws

If you haven’t read  The Poisoned Rock and The Rock in this series, then I highly recommend you hunt them down, and it gives you plenty of time to read them before The Killing Rock gets released!