Larry and the Dog People by J.Paul Henderson – my review

THE BLURB

Larry MacCabe is a retired academic, a widower, and friendless—until a chance meeting with the administrator of a care home. At her suggestion he adopts a basset hound, and joins her one Saturday at Georgetown’s Volta Park. He becomes a regular visitor, and for the first time in his life the member of a gang. While his new companions prepare for the annual Blessing of the Animals service on the Feast Day of St. Francis, Larry puts the finishing touches to a conference paper he’s due to present in Jerusalem and arranges a house-sitter. Neither the service nor his visit to Israel go to plan, and on his return Larry is charged with conspiring to blow up a church and complicity in the deaths of four people. All that stands between him and conviction is a personal injury lawyer—and things for Larry aren’t looking good.

Amazon UK

Book Depository

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

Publication Date – 27th July 2017

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J PAUL HENDERSON was born and grew up in Bradford, West Yorkshire, gained a Master’s degree in American Studies and travelled to Afghanistan. He worked in a foundry, as a bus conductor, trained as an accountant and then, when the opportunity to return to academia arose, left for Mississippi, returning four years later with a doctorate in 20thC US History and more knowledge of Darlington Hoopes than was arguably necessary. (Hoopes was a Pennsylvanian socialist and the last presidential candidate of the American Socialist Party). American History departments were either closing or contracting, so he opted for a career in publishing, most of which was spent selling textbooks, in one position or other, for John Wiley & Sons. He lives in a house in England, drives a car and owns a television set. And that’s about it.

my review

How does a socially awkward, lonely widower end up in jail charged with conspiracy to blow up a church and the killing of 4 people?!  I’ve had the pleasure of finding out whilst reading this book, and it has been one of those books that has been a delight to discover!

I was intrigued by the blurb and the publishers, No Exit Press, kindly sent me an ARC as it sounded right up my street! And it was!

With touches of ‘A Man Called Ove’ we are introduced to the character of Larry who is desperately alone since the passing of his beloved wife.    He has always been socially awkward and this has become more noticeable since he’s been on his own.  He is a retired Professor and has the ability to remember the mundane facts of the world, and seems to think others would be as interested in things as he is – they often aren’t!    He becomes one of the ‘magnolia’ people, instantly forgettable and he finds that often nice doesn’t seem to get you anywhere in life and in finding friends. Even his children have nothing to do with him!

He was a geek as a child and nobody ever told him he talked too much, so he carried on!  And as a teacher for 37 years he could talk as much as he liked!

His home is silent since losing his wife, so he goes looking for company and conversation.  He tries volunteering and this leads him down the path of dog ownership!  Unfortunately his first attempt doesn’t go too well, but soon Moses appears in his life and his new life is just about to begin! 

He soon starts meeting a mixed bag of characters at the local dog park – ‘the dog people’ – and these are all weird and wonderful people who would never normally have met under any circumstances but soon form a bond over the time they spend together with their dogs.  I loved the mix of people, and you get to see the stories behind many of these characters and there are some fascinating stories to be told!

His work as a Professor is never far from his mind, and this leads to an opportunity to deliver a talk in Israel, seeing as he’s the leading expert on the ‘Desert Land Act of 1877’. (Yes, I’ve looked it up since to find out more!!)  Who knew this new venture would lead to his life unravelling again!

I found this book to be such a fascinating, funny and dark read!  It’s a story of grief, being alone, moving on and acceptance.  And just when you think you have figured out the moral behind the story, then ‘boom’ it all takes a much darker twist and leads you down a completely different thought process!  Maybe you are better off alone….

Highly recommended if you are looking for something a little different! I will definitely be reading more from this author!

My thanks again to No Exit Press for the ARC copy

Urbane Book Club – Book Haul July 2017

Greetings to you all! You know it’s a good day when you find a stack of books that look like this on your doorstep! And thanks to the fabulous Urbane Publications Book Club, this is the sight that greeted me on Monday – is there a better way to start the week?!

The Book Club was set up by the publishers to let those who join receive a copy of EVERY book that Urbane publish throughout the year!!

 

A full year of Urbane books – hot off the press!

As an Urbane Book Club member you’ll receive a print and ebook edition of every new Urbane title published from the date you join for an entire year. Urbane currently publishes around 5 books a month

You’ll receive a 75% discount on any further purchases of Urbane titles through the Urbane website, including the entire backlist – all with free p&p in the UK

You’ll receive exclusive invitations to Urbane events and author signings

Each member will have the chance to receive pre-publication scripts of forthcoming titles

Every member will be able to book exclusive one-to-one writing and publishing sessions at a significant discount

 

All for the ridiculously low price of £99.99!

Who can resist a deal like that!!  So this is what arrived today as part of the July haul!!  Grab yourself a cuppa, this could take a while….

The Man Who Played Trains by Richard Whittle  – out now

Mining engineer John Spargo is distraught when his mother is attacked in her home and later dies from her injuries. He also discovers her home has been thoroughly searched.

Determined to track down her killer and discover the truth behind her death, John finds a connection between his late father’s wartime mine and the wreck of a U-Boat. The connection deepens when he discovers the diaries of the U-Boat captain and a wartime mission to spirit Göring to safety along with a fortune in stolen art. When John’s daughter Jez is kidnapped, he is contacted by a mysterious consortium. Her life hangs in the balance unless he can find the stolen art.

What is the link with his father’s abandoned mine? Who was the U-Boat captain? Did he survive and hide Göring’s treasures? John races against time to discover the truth…and in doing so may unearth secrets that were better left buried..

Seeking Eden by Beverley Harvey  –  out October 2017

“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.

Belief by Chris Parker  –  out now

‘I’m going to say a few words.’

That’s the promise made by Ethan Hall, the serial killer and master hypnotist, when he recovers from his gunshot wounds and escapes from hospital. It’s a promise that causes havoc, loss and unending pain. Using language to bend people to his will, influencing others to carry out the most destructive acts, Ethan Hall extracts his revenge on Marcus Kline and those closest to him in the most personal and savage ways.

Six months have passed since a series of horrific murders forced Marcus Kline, the world’s leading authority on communication and influence, into a unique confrontation with Ethan – a battle of words like no other. Now Marcus is trying desperately to save his cancer-stricken wife and rebuild his life, his reputation and his shattered self-confidence. Only Ethan Hall has other plans.

Now, with Marcus Kline’s self-belief at an all time low, the struggle for survival, sanity and salvation teaches everyone involved that things can always get worse.

Belief is the second book in the thrilling Marcus Kline series and the gripping sequel to Influence.

Nemesister by Sophie Jonas-Hill  – out now

It’s a psychological mystery where the female protagonist stumbles into a deserted shack with no memory but a gun in her hand. There she meets an apparent stranger, Red, and the two find themselves isolated and under attack from unseen assailants.

Barricaded inside for a sweltering night, cabin fever sets in and brings her flashes of insight which might be memory or vision as the swamp sighs and moans around her.

Exploring in the dark she finds hidden keys that seem to reveal her identity and that of her mysterious host, but which are the more dangerous – the lies he’s told her, or the ones she’s told herself?

A Whiff of Cyanide by Guy Fraser-Sampson  –  out now

The third volume of the Hampstead Murders series sees the team become involved with a suspicious death at a crime writers’ convention. Is this the result of a bitterly contested election for the Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association, or are even darker forces at work? Peter Collins, who is attending the convention as the author of a new book on poisoning in Golden Age fiction, worries that the key clue to unlock this puzzle may be buried within his own memories. A character called Miss Marple offers her advice, but how should the police receive this? Meanwhile an act of sudden, shocking violence and a dramatic revelation threaten tragic consequences.

The Lighterman by Simon Michael   –  out now

The Lighterman is the third book in the bestselling series of legal thrillers starring barrister Charles Holborne. Simon Michael’s follow up to the bestselling The Brief and An Honest Man, continues the adventures of criminal barrister Charles Holborne.

When Charles Holborne’s cousin, Izzy, is accused of murder, Charles must dig up the secrets of the past to defend him. But brutal gangland leader Ronnie Kray will stop at nothing to get his revenge on Charles for the events of An Honest Man. Can Charles save his cousin…and his own life?

Simon Michael brings the past vividly back to life across a beautifully rendered 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the Britcrime genre.

The Secret Wound by Deirdre Quiery    –  out now

Deirdre Quiery’s follow up to the critical success of Eden Burning, The Secret Wound draws the reader into a complex web of relationships within the ex-pat community in Mallorca, discovering their dangerous secrets…and a potential murderer in their midst.

One of their number carries a dark and deadly secret from their past, and has murderous plans for a fellow ex-pat. Can any of the close- knit community discover the brutal plans before they are all put in mortal danger?

Deirdre Quiery’s gripping thriller is not just an addictive page turner, but provides a compelling exploration of human emotion and desires, and the terrible costs of jealousy and ambition. Perfect for fans of Jane Corry and Amanda Brooke

Malice by Hugh Fraser  –   out October 2017

Malice is book 3 in the bestselling Rina Walker series, following Harm and Threat. London 1964. Gang warfare is breaking out and Rina Walker’s struggle to survive amid the battles and betrayals of a gruesome cast of racketeers and gangsters requires all her considerable skills as an assassin. Playing one side off against the other to protect those she loves, Rina is caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse where her life is just one of many at stake…

Another fabulous mix of genres and new authors for me to discover! So, my mission to find room on my bookshelves starts once again – just as I get organised there seems to be an influx!! The perils of being a bookworm I guess!!  😉

HAPPY READING

MothBox unboxing! July edition

It always makes me smile to find a MothBox Box on my doorstep and the July edition has arrived!! Look away now if you have ordered one and you don’t want to see what is in your box this month!! You can come back later!! 😉

Now, if you know nothing of Mothbox then please check out their website!  They are a book subscription service with a difference! The 2 books that you receive in a box are from Independant Publishers! So you are more likely never to have heard of the books before, therefore introducing you to new authors, new stories and new publishers to explore!!

I’ve had every Fiction Moth Box that has been released since its’ launch and have discovered some wonderful reads this way and I love how it features books ‘off the beaten tracks’!

 

Once you rummage through the scrunched up paper in the box, you find 2 beautifully wrapped books, complete with a bookmark featuring a quote from the books chosen this month!   

 

 

And this month, the books are as follows!

The Iron Age by  Arja Kajermo

I went up to the teacher and held out my hand and told her my name. She took a step back and tilted her head and looked at me without offering her hand. I pulled my hand back and hid it behind my back. She smiled the way grown ups smile at someone else’s ugly baby and then she spoke. ‘That is a strange name, we are not called names like that in Sweden.’


Arja Kajermo’s debut The Iron Age is part coming-of-age novel, and part fairy-tale told from the perspective of a young girl growing up in the poverty of post-war Finland. On her family’s austere farm, the Girl learns stories and fables of the world around her – of Miina, their sleeping neighbour; that you should never turn a witch away at the door; how people get depressed if pine trees grow too close to the house; and why her father was unlucky not to have died in the war.

Then, when she is little more than six years only, the family crosses from Finland to Sweden, from a familiar language to a strange one, from one unfriendly home to another. The Girl, mute but watchful, weaves a picture of her volatile father, resilient mother and strangely resourceful brothers.

The Iron Age, which grew out of the story shortlisted for the 2014 Davy Byrne’s Award, is disarming in its unadorned simplicity and unsentimental account of hard times and hard people. In Kajermo’s darkly funny debut, with illustrations throughout, folk tales and traditional custom clash with economic reality, from rural Finland to urban Sweden.

‘This is a short tale, simply and richly told, which feels as though it’s the culmination
of a lifetime’s work. An instant classic.’ Jon McGregor

‘Deceptively simple yet with cutting insight and devastating humor, The Iron Age proves that the most surreal dwells in reality, and history is the darkest fairytale’ Yiyun Li


 
The Next Step in the Dance by Tim Gautreaux
 

Tiger Island, Louisiana is home to Paul, a contented machinist with killer dance moves and Colette his ambitious, outspoken wife. Amidst the bar brawls and boiled crab of her economically troubled hometown, Colette is hungry for a life of opportunity and sophistication. Armed with only her wits and her “tongue like a fillet knife” she heads West to California, but Paul, Tiger Island, and its wise old-timer residents refuse to let Colette go easily. Packed with dramatic and emotional scenes and set in the distinctive watery landscape of Deep South bayou country, The Next Step in the Dance is a novel about hard work, the importance of home and two tenacious protagonists whose relationship is tested to its absolute limit

 

 

Already itching to start these, especially The Iron Age as the cover has creeped me out enough to intrigue me!  Hoping to report back with good reviews soon!

Do you use book subscription services?  Are they worth it? Would love to hear your thoughts!

HAPPY READING!!

The Summer of Second Chances by Maddie Please – my review

THE BLURB

The Summer of Second Chances is the perfect feelgood summer read.’ Chrissie Manby, author of What I Did On My Holidays

Lottie is about to discover that even when you think you’ve lost everything, hope and romance can be just around the corner . . .

It takes time to build your life. To get into a long-term (OK, a bit boring) relationship. To find a job (you don’t completely hate). Lottie might not be thrilled with the life she’s put together, but it’s the one she’s got.

So when in the course of one terrible evening, it all comes crashing down around her, Lottie has a choice: give herself over to grief at being broke, single and completely lacking in prospects.

Or, brick by brick, build herself a new life. And this time, with a little help from friends, a crumbling cottage in Devon and a handsome stranger, maybe she can make it the one she always wanted.

The Summer of Second Chances is an irresistibly funny read about never giving up, whatever the world throws at you. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Jane Costello and Christie Barlow.

Amazon UK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maddie Please was born in Dorset, brought up in Worcestershire and went to University in Cardiff.
After a career as a dentist Maddie now lives in Devon with her wonderful husband. They have 4 adult-ish children all of whom have left home and are probably rather surprised by all this. She did warn them. Sorry.

Maddie is a voracious reader, and would enjoy hoovering, defrosting the fridge and cleaning the windows but unfortunately she doesn’t really have time. She is very disciplined about writing every day because it gets her out of doing the ironing. She likes soppy films, anything to do with Christmas, America, and writing. In her spare time she likes watching American box-sets, thinking about holidays and drinking red wine.

The Summer of Second Chances is Maddie’s debut novel, and it was the result of best selling author Chris Manby’s brilliant plotting workshop in beautiful Cornwall.

Maddie is represented by the Annette Green Agency.

Maddie’s second book will be published by Avon Maze in February 2018 provisionally titled ‘Cold Hands Warm Heart’ and she is now working on her third book. *

* No cupcakes or bunting were harmed in the writing of any of these books

Author on Twitter

MY REVIEW

I found this book to be one of those that was so easy to get into that you lose yourself completely for a few hours and it leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy once you’ve finished!

Lottie, the main character, is so easy to empathise with. She’s found herself alone, homeless and puzzled as to where her life is going. Losing her partner has been a major shock, and the fall out from his untimely death was one she hadn’t been expected. So when she is offered a friends’ rundown cottage in the country to crash at and renovate, she is left with little option but to grab it! But once she gets painting she loses herself and finds that time therapeutic and gives her the time needed to get her life back on track.

Of course, it does help when your next door neighbour is a rather quiet, secretive and dishy bloke! He’s the brother in law of her best friend, but that is as much as he wants people to know! But he always seems to find a way of seeing Lottie when she’s not looking her best – wearing a tin of paint is one way to introduce yourself to your neighbour!

Their relationship does evolve quite quickly but I like the way they are with each other – it’s fun and flirty but they don’t let each other know everything about each other straight away. They both seem quite reluctant to share every detail of their lives and with their pasts becoming clear you can understand why. But they connection they seem to have is really heartwarming!

The setting is idyllic and I loved the characters introduced throughout – Lotties’ sister, her best friend, and her partners’ mother – all show different aspects to the stories running throughout and they aren’t all light and fluffy, and I think Lottie copes quite admirably with whatever is thrown at her – this is one of those books that shows exactly why you should never give up even when all seems bleak!

Read it in one sitting as I just enjoyed being in ‘Lottie world’ and I highly recommend this to anyone looking for inspiration, warmth and escapism

Thankyou to the publishers and NetGalley for the arc in return for a fair and honest review

HAPPY READING!!

💖💗💙💚💛💜

Down the TBR hole #2

I’m back!! And it is time to get organised again!!  Really enjoyed taking part in this post which was started by Lia @ Lost in a Story  so am going to continue in the hope that my GoodReads shelves will start to make some sense and I can then be streamlined in my reading intentions!! 

It becomes so easy as a reader and blogger to just keep adding titles to your ‘virtual’ and real life bookshelves, until you reach a point where you end up buying duplicates of books you already have, and you seem to spend more time trying to decide what to read next and losing track of how long a certain book has been in your possession!

After my 1st post I had a really good sort through on GoodReads which seemed to take forever! Half of the titles I couldn’t even remember adding, so I think they may have gone on for Giveaways that I’d entered on the site!! So they’ve all now come off and I’ve only left titles on that in actual book form or in Kindle form (well, some of them anway as i still have a few(!) more to add……..so the pile is now 420!!  Eeek!!  No wonder I have had to purchase another little bookcase recently and I’m hoping this will kick me on to start letting go of more books that I hold on to for no apparent reason!! The local charity shops are going to love me if I can be strong enough and stop the book hoarding!!  So here’s another 10 books from my ‘TBR’ list that need to be dealt with! 

Here is how it all works….

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Easy eh!  Right on we go….click on the book title for a link straight to the GoodReads page to find out more about each book!

The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

I remember being quite excited by this when it was released, but obviously not excited enough to read it straight away!!! I’m still a little conflicted after seeing some differing views about it and that is kind of putting me off wanting to even start it and with so many other books to read i think my decision is made..

Judgement – GO!!

The Lost Swimmer by Ann Turner

 
I was recommended this by a good friend and the cover is such a stunner that I had to get it straight away and it’s been sat on my bookshelf in my bedroom ever since!   Reading the blurb again has just got me all excited to read it once more though so it will definitely be pushed up the TBR pile!
 
Judgement – KEEP!!
 

 
 
I adored A Man Called Ove so whenever this author has another book out I immediately get a copy and this just sounded so wonderful when it was first released! The reviews all seem pretty stunning too!
 
Judgement – KEEP!!
 

 
 
I’m going to be very honest here and say the only reason I bought a copy of this book was that it had green pages!!  And gold on the cover! Yes i am that shallow!!  So it looks very lovely on my bookshelf!! The reviews seem very hit and miss with this one so I think it might be one of those that I I will either love or hate so needs to be given a chance!
 
Judgement – KEEP!! …for now! 😉
 

 
 
When God Was a Rabbit was one of my favourite reads a while back, so I am always interested in seeing what the author of a fave book does next.   And any book with a magical element is normally high on my reading list but I just never seem to have got round to being pulled in to reading this and I think it’s time to get tough…
 
Judgement  – GO!!
 

 
 
I won a proof of this way back when, and it is a bit of a beast of a book page count wise, and I think that has always put me off!  The reviews seem mostly positive so I think I’m going to be brave and attack those pages!!
 
Judgement – KEEP!!
 

 
 
I have the paperback version of this and it is another one I’ve heard many good things about but just never made me want to jump in and read it straight away! I think I need to start being tougher…
 
Judgement – GO!!
 

 
 
something a little different than my normal reads, and it was won via the GoodReads giveaway competition page and also came with a CD which I thought was a nice touch!  If the songs on the CD are anything to go by, then I’m going to really enjoy this book!
 
Judgement – KEEP!!
 

 
 
I really enjoyed Lily’s House by this author so think this was added to my Kindle around that time as I wanted to read more of her work!! Reading over the blurb and reviews though has left me a little conflicted as to whether this book is for me.
 
Judgement – GO!!
 

 
 
I do love a good historical fiction book and the blurb for this drew me in.  I’ve not read anything from this author before and she seems to have quite a following so am always interested in finding new authors
 
Judgement – KEEP!!
 
Wahoo!!  This being organised lark is fun isn’t it!!! Just wish it could carry over into other aspects of my life!!  Am loving being reminded of books I’d forgotten about and I’m really finding it a great help in becoming more selective over what I read!
 
Any decisions I’ve made that are wrong??! Always happy to be persuaded to either keep a book, or lose one of those that have made the cut!! Please feel free to comment!!
HAPPY READING!! 

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!

Welcome back!!  July races by and I’m currently a woman on the warpath – at odds with the slugs and snails who have invaded my garden to ‘destroy’ my dahlias!!! How dare they!!! Why can’t they prefer the taste of weeds?!  There’s lots of them about for them to feast upon! But no! My prized Dahlias are the tastiest things on the menu and are disappearing at an alarming rate!  

And relax……. on to books!!  My reading rate has slowed down considerably this week – I’m blaming the weather (it’s been too hot again!), and tiredness – which is probably to be expected after some amazing spells recently of books being completed!  So, just 2 books finished this week but they’ve been 2 corkers!

But while the finished book rate has dropped, the book accumulating has increased!!  Mainly due to a fabulous competiton win via Twitter that saw 8 wonderful ARC’s/Proofs arrive in a rather large box!! More of those later!! 

 So on with my week! Links to my GoodReads review if you click on the titles!

BOOKS FINISHED

Summer in San Remo by Evonne Wareham  –   5 stars

Larry and the Dog People by J.Paul Henderson   – 4 stars

Books Bought, Received & Downloaded

Another fabulous parcel arrived from the wonderful people at Bookishly as part of my monthly Tea and Book Club Subscription !  I love the vintage editions of Penguin Books that I receive each month and am building up a rather lovely collection! It also comes with a different flavoured tea each month, along with a bookmark and item of stationery and is a fabulous treat to yourself!

SATIN ISLAND BY TOM McCARTHY

Was looking at the BorrowBox app I have from my local library on my Kindle Fire, and this caught my eye in Audio Book version! I have the hardback but still haven’t got round to picking it up so am hoping that I can listen to it instead while I’m doing some cross-stitching, or blogging!

Death Plays A Part by Vivian Conroy – Kindle version 99p

Have been asked by the author to take part in a Blog Tour later in the year, so was intrigued to find out more as I’ve seen so many good things written about her books – and who can resist a cute dachshund called Dolly?!

And here’s a look at the lovely books I received from my Twitter competion win! Some stunners included, and many I had never heard of so am really looking forward to discovering some new favourites – hopefully!

A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M. Harris   out 19th October 2017

  I am as brown as brown can be,

And my eyes as black as sloe;
I am as brisk as brisk can be,
And wild as forest doe.
(The Child Ballads, 295)

So begins a beautiful tale of love, loss and revenge. Following the seasons, A Pocketful of Crows balances youth and age, wisdom and passion and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless wild girl.

Only love could draw her into the world of named, tamed things. And it seems only revenge will be powerful enough to let her escape.

 

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer      –  out now
In a ruined, nameless city of the future, a woman named Rachel, who makes her living as a scavenger, finds a creature she names “Borne” entangled in the fur of Mord, a gigantic, despotic bear. Mord once prowled the corridors of the biotech organization known as the Company, which lies at the outskirts of the city, until he was experimented on, grew large, learned to fly and broke free. Driven insane by his torture at the Company, Mord terrorizes the city even as he provides sustenance for scavengers like Rachel.

At first, Borne looks like nothing at all—just a green lump that might be a Company discard. The Company, although severely damaged, is rumoured to still make creatures and send them to distant places that have not yet suffered Collapse.

Borne somehow reminds Rachel of the island nation of her birth, now long lost to rising seas. She feels an attachment she resents; attachments are traps, and in this world any weakness can kill you. Yet when she takes Borne to her subterranean sanctuary, the Balcony Cliffs, Rachel convinces her lover, Wick, not to render Borne down to raw genetic material for the drugs he sells—she cannot break that bond.

Wick is a special kind of supplier, because the drug dealers in the city don’t sell the usual things. They sell tiny creatures that can be swallowed or stuck in the ear, and that release powerful memories of other people’s happier times or pull out forgotten memories from the user’s own mind—or just produce beautiful visions that provide escape from the barren, craterous landscapes of the city.

Against his better judgment, out of affection for Rachel or perhaps some other impulse, Wick respects her decision. Rachel, meanwhile, despite her loyalty to Wick, knows he has kept secrets from her. Searching his apartment, she finds a burnt, unreadable journal titled “Mord,” a cryptic reference to the Magician (a rival drug dealer) and evidence that Wick has planned the layout of the Balcony Cliffs to match the blueprint of the Company building. What is he hiding? Why won’t he tell her about what happened when he worked for the Company?

 

 
Kin by Snorri Kristjansson  –   out March 2018
 

First came Scandi-crime and Nordic Noir – now it’s time for Viking Crime! Make way, Lisbeth Salander and Sarah Lund, for Helga Finnsdottir. Lies. Manipulation. Murder. There’s nothing quite like family . . .

Everyone loves a family reunion . . .

It is the summer of 970. Adopted daughter Helga awaits the arrival of Unnthor Reginsson’s children, who are coming for the regular family gathering at their remote family farm. Unnthor, once a fearsome Viking warlord, now prosperous farmer and chieftain of his and neighbouring valleys, is not the only one doing well. Karl, his oldest son, has also settled down to farming after a successful career raiding and plundering, and middle son Bjorn is a respected horse farmer on the Swedish border. Aslak, the youngest, works closer to home, and daughter Jorunn is married to a Swedish chieftain’s son.

As the siblings gather, bad blood simmers and old feuds resurface as Unnthor’s heirs make their moves on the old man’s estate – until Karl is found dead and the bloodied knife is discovered in Bjorn’s son’s bed.

For all his size and strength, Helga’s not convinced Volund Bjornsson has it in him to kill anyone – but if she’s to save the boy from the axe, she must uncover the truth . . . before the killer strikes again.

Lies. Manipulation. Murder. There’s nothing quite like family. . .

The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams    –  out now

New York Times-bestselling Tad Williams’ ground-breaking epic fantasy saga of Osten Ard begins an exciting new cycle! – Volume One of The Last King of Osten Ard

The Dragonbone Chair, the first volume of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, was published in hardcover in October, 1988, launching the series that was to become one of the seminal works of modern epic fantasy. Many of today’s top-selling fantasy authors, from Patrick Rothfuss to George R. R. Martin to Christopher Paolini credit Tad with being the inspiration for their own series.

Now, twenty-four years after the conclusion of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Tad returns to his beloved universe and characters with The Witchwood Crown, the first novel in the long-awaited sequel trilogy, The Last King of Osten Ard.

Thirty years have passed since the events of the earlier novels, and the world has reached a critical turning point once again. The realm is threatened by divisive forces, even as old allies are lost, and others are lured down darker paths. Perhaps most terrifying of all, the Norns–the long-vanquished elvish foe–are stirring once again, preparing to reclaim the mortal-ruled lands that once were theirs…. 

 

 
A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee   –  out now
India, 1920. Captain Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force investigate the dramatic assassination of a Maharajah’s son.

The fabulously wealthy kingdom of Sambalpore is home to tigers, elephants, diamond mines and the beautiful Palace of the Sun. But when the heir to the throne is assassinated in the presence of Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant ‘Surrender-Not’ Banerjee, they discover a kingdom riven with suppressed conflict. Prince Adhir was a moderniser whose attitudes – and romantic relationship – may have upset the more religious elements of his country, while his brother – now in line to the throne – appears to be a feckless playboy.

As Wyndham and Banerjee desperately try to unravel the mystery behind the assassination, they become entangled in a dangerous world where those in power live by their own rules and those who cross their paths pay with their lives. They must find a murderer, before the murderer finds them…

 


Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory  –   out now

A generations-spanning family of psychics–both blessed and burdened by their abilities–must use their powers to save themselves from the CIA, the local mafia, and a skeptic hell-bent on discrediting them in this hilarious, tender, magical novel about the invisible forces that bind us.
The Telemachus family is known for performing inexplicable feats on talk shows and late-night television. Teddy, a master conman, heads up a clan who possess gifts he only fakes: there’s Maureen, who can astral project; Irene, the human lie detector; Frankie, gifted with telekinesis; and Buddy, the clairvoyant. But when, one night, the magic fails to materialize, the family withdraws to Chicago where they live in shame for years. Until: As they find themselves facing a troika of threats (CIA, mafia, unrelenting skeptic), Matty, grandson of the family patriarch, discovers a bit of the old Telemachus magic in himself. Now, they must put past obstacles behind them and unite like never before. But will it be enough to bring The Amazing Telemachus Family back to its amazing life

Shattered Minds by Laura Lam   –  out now

She can uncover the truth, if she defeats her demons

Ex-neuroscientist Carina struggles with a drug problem, her conscience, and urges to kill. She satisfies her cravings in dreams, fuelled by the addictive drug ‘Zeal’. Now she’s heading for self-destruction – until she has a vision of a dead girl.

Sudice Inc. damaged Carina when she worked on their sinister brain-mapping project, causing her violent compulsions. And this girl was a similar experiment. When Carina realizes the vision was planted by her old colleague Mark, desperate for help to expose the company, she knows he’s probably dead. Her only hope is to unmask her nemesis – or she’s next.

To unlock the secrets Mark hid in her mind, she’ll need a group of specialist hackers. Dax is one of them, a doctor who can help Carina fight her addictions. If she holds on to her humanity, they might even have a future together. But first she must destroy her adversary – before it changes us and our society, forever

The Erstwhile by B. Catling  –  out now

The Erstwhile brings readers back to the singular world and mind of B. Catling, continuing the groundbreaking storytelling of his hit The Vorrh.

In London and Germany, strange beings are reanimating themselves. They are the Erstwhile, the angels that failed to protect the Tree of Knowledge, and their reawakening will have major consequences. In Africa, the colonial town of Essenwald has fallen into disarray because the timber workforce has disappeared into the Vorrh. Now a team of specialists are dispatched to find them. Led by Ishmael, the former cyclops, they enter the forest, but the Vorrh will not give them back so easily. To make matters worse, an ancient guardian of the forest has plans for Ishmael and his crew. Meanwhile a child of mixed race has been found abandoned in a remote cottage. Her origins are unknown, but she has powers beyond her own understanding. Conflict is coming, as the old and new, human and inhuman are set on a collision course. Once again blending the real and the imagined, The Erstwhile brings historical figures such as William Blake and places such as the Bedlam Asylum, as well as ingenious creations such as The Kin (a family of robots) together to create unforgettable novel of births and burials, excavations and disappearances.”

CURRENTLY READING

And there we have it!  Another week all wrapped up in bookish form!!  And with a weekend of wet weather forecast, it is looking promising for a bit of a speed up on the reading front so I can start making a dent on my new acquisitions!!  

HAPPY READING!!

 

Summer in San Remo by Evonne Wareham – cover reveal and review!

Happy Tuesday to you all! It is with great delight that I get to share yet another fabulous new release from the wonderful Choc Lit publishers – OUT TODAY!!!  And here is how it looks!!

THE BLURB

For fans of Sarah Morgan, Jennifer Crusie and Jenny Colgan. A fabulous read perfect for the summer!


Anything could happen when you spend summer in San Remo …
Running her busy concierge service usually keeps Cassie Travers fully occupied. But when a new client offers her the strangest commission she’s ever handled she suddenly finds herself on the cusp of an Italian adventure, with a man she thought she would never see again.
Jake McQuire has returned from the States to his family-run detective agency. When old flame Cassie appears in need of help with her mysterious client, who better than Jake to step in?
Events take the pair across Europe to a luxurious villa on the Italian Riviera. There, Cassie finds that the mystery she pursues pales into insignificance, when compared to another discovery made along the way 

Amazon UK  99p!!

Kobo  99p!!

Amazon US

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WAREHAM

 

Evonne was born and brought up in Wales. After living in London for many years she has now returned to the Welsh coast where she studies history, writes and walks by the sea, when it’s not raining.

http://www.evonnewareham.com/

 

 

 

 

MY REVIEW

With the gorgeous cover promising a story set in spectacular scenery you are not disappointed when you step inside the world of Cassie Travers!  And what you get is the perfect romantic, summer read!!

Cassie lives in Bath and her life is busy, busy, busy! Her job as a concierge sees her facing requests for all kinds of help! But to find a husband by tomorrow?!  She’s not had that kind of plea before!!  And with things being tough financially, she needs to find a way to get this contract and complete the deal.  

She is keen to not mix business with pleasure after a very traumatic time with an ex who ended up ripping her off, so when an old school friend, Jake, ends up being her only option she has to take the plunge and forget how their lives took different paths and get reacquainted for work!  Jake has his own problems going on in his life, and he never really understood how he and Cassie never lived happily ever after as they were expected to way back when!  The more time they spend together for this assignment it soon becomes clear that they still  have feelings for each other and I found their relationship to be so warm and endearing – very flirty and fun too!

They then find themselves on the trail of solving 2 mysteries in San Remo – and who can blame them!! 

This was one of those stories that was just so easy to read and enjoy! The characters were so likeable and delightful and the settings added to the fabulous escapism that this book provided!

So if you are looking for the perfect beach/garden/sofa read for this summer, then look no further!!

#20BOOKSOFSUMMER – the update!

My quest to get myself organised has led me to update my #20booksofsummer list which I started at the end of May and all organised by the lovely Cathy at 746 Books .  A way to get us all, hopefully, reading a little more over the summer months and keeping us focused as readers in trying to reduce the TBR mountains we all have collected!!

And it appears that my challenge is going very well so far as I have reached the halfway point!!  A whole 10 books read from my list – yay me!!!  This challenge runs until the 3rd September so I’m feeling quietly confident that I will be able to achieve my aim again, although I’m rather now wishing I hadn’t said that as I’ve not suffered a reading slump recently and I’ve just invited it to start! 

So here’s a little look at the books I’ve completed and if you click on the titles you get to see my GoodReads review page if you so wish!

1.  The Ice by Laline Paull  –  3 stars

2. Colt Harper – Esteemed Vampire Cat by Tyrolin Puxty  –  5 stars

3. Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore by Robin Sloan  –  4 stars

4.  Up Close by Henriette Gyland  –  5 stars

5. After I’ve Gone by Linda Green  –  3 stars

6.  House.Tree. Person by Catriona McPherson  –   4 stars

7.  A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall  –  5 stars

8.  Finding Secrets by Lauren Westwood Writer  – 4 stars

9.  Laura Lake and the Hipster Weddings by Wendy Holden  – 2 stars

10.  Mist & Whispers by C.M.Lucas  –  3 stars

All up to date now then!!  And most have been enjoyable experiences which always helps!!  A Thousand Paper Birds has been the highlight for me so far! Such a magical book!! 

 The main reason I started this challenge was to make a dent on my Kindle TBR list and the NetGalley list too was spiralling out of control, so this has really helped me to free up some space on both and I am now just hoping I can keep up the pace and reach my goal!! I can see August being another busy reading month!!

HAPPY READING!!

The Shifting Pools by Zoe Duncan – my review

THE BLURB

Fleeing war and the death of her family, Eve has carefully constructed a new life for herself in London.

Yet she is troubled by vivid, disturbing dreams, symptoms of her traumatic past, which intrude increasingly on her daily life. As she is drawn further into her dream world, she finds herself caught up in a fresh battle for survival.

Set between London and an imagined setting of Enanti, The Shifting Pools sees Eve confronting what she has avoided all her adult life – confronting the Shadow Beast that haunts her nightmares. Her energies have been devoted to shutting away the dark events of her past – barricading her into the superficially successful world. Now those walls are crumbling.  She must choose whether to reinforce them, or face the elements again, stand in the wind and rediscover the heart of herself.

Lyrical and insightful, charged throughout with a sense of the beautiful urgency of life, The Shifting Pools offers a unique way of looking at the wounds of war, the act of remembering, the fragmentation of self, the inexplorable seeping of the past into our present, and finding a way home.

Published by Lightning Books

July 2017

Paperback –  350 pages 

Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

I found this book to be a seriously stunning debut that took me as a reader on a haunting and spiritual journey, following the story of Eve as she faces her nightmares.  I adored this book!!

It is beautifully written and cleverly split into sections as we see her now in London coming to terms with her past as those nightmares are now consuming her daytime. We get to look back at what she faced as a child and how that severely impacted her and explains why she feels so lost and alone now. And it also introduces a fantasy world element where she escapes to and becomes more aware of how she has hidden too much away and that is why she is struggling in the present.

It really delves into the blurred lines between reality and fantasy and how we all put up barriers to hide our true selves, and that sometimes the nightmares we face are often the key to understanding how to move on.

Eve is such a fascinating character – going from the carefree, happy childhood she shared with her family, through the horrors of war and how that ripped her heart apart, and then how she moved to London to be with her aunt and uncle who weren’t big on sharing their feelings which made her feel closed off and why she now feels the need to see a psychotherapist to try and shed light on the meaning of the nightmares, and her behaviour and her craving for nothingness as she lives life in limbo.

The fantasy world element of Enanti, was one I wasn’t expecting to embrace but it worked so well in this context. It felt surreal but grounded and spoke to me as a reader with its’ messages of how you deal with tragedy in your life, how we all ‘hide in plain sight’ through tougher times and that feeling of letting go and not trying to control every emotion. The fantasy element was part of her coping mechanism and allowed her to see things more clearly and really added emotional depth to the story.

This was a haunting, thoughtful and powerful story that I devoured in one sitting as I just couldn’t tear myself away from Eve and her journey. The imagery really popped off the page too which brought the story to life. A truly memorable reading experience and one I won’t forget for a long while. Highly recommended!!

Thank you to Nudge and the publishers for my copy in return for a fair and honest review

Down the TBR Hole #1

Hello!  I have been inspired by a post I saw over at Lost In A Story which has been started to help you gain control over your GoodReads TBR list!!  Mine is completely out of control and not even up to date, so I am hoping that this little task – every now and then, when i remember! – will help me get back on top of things and focus my reading intentions for the future!!  Here’s how it all works!

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
What could be simpler?!  So I’m going to go for 10 as my list is apparently 267 strong – and many more haven’t been added oops! – so drastic measures are required!! Let’s see what interesting titles I’ve added and forgotten about!!
 

 City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
 
I have enjoyed The Mortal Instruments series so far and had this paperback bought for me for my birthday quite a while back and I think the size of it has put me off starting it! But it needs to be started!! Before I completely forget what happened in the previous books!
  
Judgement – KEEP!
 

 
The Shining by Stephen King
 
Won a copy of this in a GoodReads Giveaway, and it was another one of my book pledges to read more Stephen King! Failed so far haha!!  This needs to change!
 
Judgement – KEEP!
 

 
 
Murder by Sarah Pinborough
This is the second in the series and I gave the first book 4 stars so why haven’t I started on this one yet then?! Maybe the reviews have put me off as it seems to have created a bit of a hit and miss reaction!
Judgement – KEEP … to give it a chapter or two!

Great Britain’s Great War by Jeremy Paxman

Another GoodReads Giveaway win, and a signed copy no less too!  Another pledge of mine was to read more non-fiction…..
Judgement – KEEP!

Wild Wood by Posie Graeme-Evans
 
We all have those books on our shelves that we don’t even remember adding right?! This is one of those books!  And if I have no recollection of why a book interested me, then maybe it is time to get tough…
Judgement – GO!!

Daughter by Jane Shemilt
 
The paperback of this has sat on my shelf for some time now! One of those books that there was a lot of fuss about at the time, so I wanted in but have never felt the urge to pick it up since!
Judgement  – GO!!

The Boy who Killed Demons by Dave Zeltserman

I often think someone else has been compiling my TBR pile list instead of me!!  Absolutely no idea why this book ended up on my list and reading through the blurb it doesn’t sound like it needs to remain!

Judgement – GO!!

The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

I think this was added around the Hunger Games time as there seemed to be a rush of similar kind of books that I wanted to try but I think I may have had my fill of Dystopia for a while as it has remained on my shelf never to be picked up…

Judgement – GO!!

The Other Me by Saskia Sarginson

OK, I think my memory may have been wiped!!! Or I’m looking at someone elses’ TBR list!!  Does sound an interesting storyline but as I have too many others on my list I think there isn’t enough of a pull for it to stay!

Judgement – GO!!

The Circle by Sara B. Elfgren & Mats Strandberg

I do love a story featuring witches and magic and had totally forgotten about this one that had me quite excited when I added it as it had received rave reviews at the time!  Reading through some of the other reviews it does seem to provoke extreme reactions one way or the other, so it might get a few chapters to give it a try!

Judgement – KEEP!

 

OOh so that was good fun!! And has shown me how completely disorganised my TBR shelf is over at GoodReads so I need to up my game on sorting it all out and this has proved a wonderful way of getting me started!! Has anyone else tried this method? Should I have kept some of those I’ve binned?!  I can be swayed to put them back haha!!

Looking forward to the next blitz already!

HAPPY READING!!