Book Review

March Book Jar

Well, these updates seem to be happening later and later each month don’t they! I can’t believe we are halfway through April already! This year is just romping by. Three books came flying out of the jar and I would like to tell you that I am starting to make a dent in my TBR pile, but one or two other books seem to have snuck on to my Kindle – oops!

41087327First out this month was Gone By Midnight by Candice Fox, which is a book that I received from NetGalley. Now, this book was I think number three in a series, which I didn’t realise when I started reading it. There were a few things that were mentioned that made me wonder if this was the case though, and a quick Amazon search confirmed things. To be honest, this wasn’t really an issue, and this reads just fine as a stand alone. The premise behind this an interesting one, and I enjoyed the characters in it a lot. It was perhaps a little predictable in places, but I still enjoyed it and would read more by this author – probably the ones that came before this one in the series for starters.

39964740My second book was another NetGalley book, and it was the wonderful The Binding by Bridget Collins. I absolutely fell in love with this book, and will be doing a full length review very soon. It is so beautiful that I could do a whole post just talking about the cover and what the inside looks like, never mind how fantastic I thought the story was.

 

 

 

33391439I had to cheat a little with my third book from the jar this month and dig through until I pulled out a paperback to read while my Kindle cooked. The winning book was Black Water Lilies by Michel Bussi, but sadly it just wasn’t for me. The book was originally written in French and at first I just thought that maybe something had been lost in translation. Because of this I was determined to give it the benefit of the doubt and finish reading it. However, when I got to the end I really wished I hadn’t bothered. I don’t want to give anything away, but I felt completely cheated by the ending.

 

If you want any more details about any of these books, here are the Goodreads links for you:

Gone By Midnight

The Binding

Black Water Lilies

I have a feeling that next month could be a little quiet on the book jar experiment, because I have one new release coming that will be jumping the queue the second I get my paws on it, and I seem to have an awful lot of blog tours coming up. What with that and NaNo, it’s going to be a busy month.

Book Review

Reflected Destinies -Kindle Promo

Hopefully some of you will remember Reflected Destinies by Florence Keeling from my review from back in September. If you were tempted by it back then but haven’t got around to buying it yet, I have exciting news! Until 1st April, this wonderful book is on sale at half price on Kindle, in honour of Mother’s Day (that’s today by the way – if you forgot and want to get out of Mum’s bad books, sneak away and order this book to be delivered to her Kindle. You’ll be forgiven in no time when she starts reading). Here come the details:

Reflected Destinies - Price Drop Promo

BLURB:

Laura is happy and content, she has a new boyfriend and loves her job teaching primary school pupils in London.  But when she inherits a rundown house from a stranger on her 30th birthday, memories of her prom night come flooding back, memories of a scary encounter and an antique mirror in the very same house.

Laura visits the house with all its secrets and as she unravels the clues she reveals the biggest secret of all: her own destiny.  But how can you change the future if it’s already written in the past?

Click here to order your copy. (I am in no way affiliated to this offer, and will receive nothing in return for you following this link).

reflectedDestiniesINGRAMS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Florence Keeling adopted for her pen-name her Great Grandmother’s name, chosen because of the shared birthday of April Fool’s Day.  She is married with two teenage chidren.  Born and raised in Coventry, England she now lives just outside in Nuneaton.  Reflected Destinies is her first novel.

Florence Keeling also writes for children under the name of Lily Mae Walters.

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Blind Date with a Book

It’s always exciting when something book shaped drops onto your doormat (or in this case is handed to you by your postman because he couldn’t get it through the letterbox, but it’s even more exciting when you aren’t even expecting something. This is exactly what happened to me on Tuesday this week.

Picture the scene – it’s Monday and I am busy pretending to work, but really spending more time on Facebook looking at photos from an epic weekend meeting my Fiction Cafe family and a rather cryptic message pops up from my brilliant friend, K T Robson. “Pick a number between one and four,” she says. I opt for number three and then that’s it, she won’t tell me anything more about why I am picking a number, apart from the fact it is for a blog post. Well, that’s me intrigued, and a good part of the rest of the day is spent with me pondering what it could all be about.

I didn’t have to wait long. Through the miracles of the modern postal service (and it truly is a miracle how fast this happened), the very next day I received this through the post:

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How pretty is that! Almost too pretty to unwrap, but of course there is a book tucked inside, so I had no choice but to unwrap it. I have always fancied trying the whole blind date with a book thing, so this was very exciting. It turns out that K T wanted to send me one, but couldn’t decide between four possible “dates” – the number I chose related to the book she was to pick for me.

So, onto the unwrapping. I was as careful as I could possibly be, wanting to prolong the anticipation:

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After much string untying and careful peeling off of sellotape, this little beauty appeared. Not only does it have a gorgeous cover (how great are those colours), it is a book that I have been meaning to read for a while now. Don’t ask me how, but Malorie Blackman’s books have somehow passed me by until now, although I had heard her name a lot.

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I think this might have to be one of the books that bypasses my book jar experiment and jumps straight to, “Read me now!” not least because I have just discovered that there is going to be a TV series made that is based on the book, and I am definitely a read first, watch second kind of girl.

Thank you so much K T for taking me along on your bookish blind date adventure!

Have any of you ever tried the Blind Date with a Book? What book did you discover?

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Book Blogger Hop – 29.03.19


Book Blogger Hop

 

This week’s question is courtesy of Billy at Coffee Addicted Writer and is…

“Name one classic novel you have always wanted to read.”

This is quite a hard question for me to answer because I really struggle with the classics. I have tried my hardest, but I just don’t think they are for me. Don’t all hate me but I have never even read a single Jane Austen or Charles Dickens book. I think my issue with the classics started when I was eleven and had just moved up to secondary school. Without wishing to sound smug, my English teacher could see how much I adored books and that the ones we were reading in class were quite a way below my reading level. As such she set me off on my own with Rebecca and Wuthering Heights. Now, Rebecca I loved and have read many times since – that opening line is one of my all time favourites. Wuthering Heights, that was another story entirely. I think at eleven I was just too young to understand the depths of the book. I have always meant to pick it up again, but have never got round to it. Anyway, I digress…

There are lots of classics that I own and want to read one day – I have collections by Dickens, Austen, Dumas, Conan Doyle. I even have The Canterbury Tales and The Iliad. But they are all sitting unread. I am determined to crack them at some point. Of all my vast collection though, I think the one that I want to read the most is one that is probably the most daunting, not least because it is enormous, and that is Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen the stage show, and whilst I realise the book is going to be vastly different, I think I owe it to my love of the musical to read Jean Valjean’s full story. I have tried a few times, but never made it very far – tiny writing and a heavy book are not great for Spoonie readers. However, I now have a nice shiny version sitting on my Kindle, so those excuses are out the window. As soon as I sit down to tackle it again, I will let you know how I got on.

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Are you a fan of the classics? If you had to choose one classic to read, what would it be?

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Top Ten Tuesday – Audio Freebies

For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, we are talking about our favourite audio freebies, whether that is audio books, podcasts, music, whatever – as long as it’s free and as long as you can listen to it. Thanks as always to That Artsy Reader Girl for the topic.

This was a bit of a tricky Top Ten for me because I don’t often listen to audio books (I have an annoying tendency to fall asleep) and I have only recently discovered the wonders of the podcast. That said now I have discovered them, I am getting stuck right in.

First up in my Top Ten are a selection of podcasts that I am hoping will be invaluable to my research for my writing:

 

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Photo by Csaba Nagy via Pixabay
  • Celtic Myths and Legends Podcast with Sian Esther Powell
  • Myths and Legends Podcast with Jason Weiser
  • Five Minute Folklore with Bob Shoy
  • Tales of the British Isles

Following hot on their heels, I have also recently found a couple that will help me brush up my writing skills too:

  • Writing Time – BBC World Service
  • The Creative Writer’s Toolbelt with Andrew J Chamberlain

Last but not least, everyone needs some fun free audio in their life:

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Photo by sindrehsoereide via Pixabay
  • Overdrive
  • Spotify
  • Radio 1’s Rockshow with Daniel P Carter – BBC Sounds App

For those of you who haven’t heard of it before, Overdrive is an app that lets you borrow audio and ebooks using your library membership, and download them straight to the app. There are other free apps that do this, but Overdrive is the one that my county libraries use, and I love it.

Listing Spotify separately is a bit of a cheat because to be totally honest, that is where most of my podcasts were found. But, I first started using Spotify for the music, and that is why I still love it. Even better, if you can tolerate the occasional advert, it’s completely free.

Including something from Radio 1 feels really odd because if I am totally honest, I thought my Radio 1 days were well behind me! I tuned in last week to listen to one particular artist who was appearing, and ended up listening to the entire show. Maybe I’m not as old as I thought I was!

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What would make your Top Ten?

[Featured image courtesy of Free-Photos via Pixabay]

Book Review

Sea of Lies – Rachel McLean

The very talented Rachel McLean is making another appearance today, as it is publication day for Sea of Lies, the sequel to Thicker Than Water. Thank you so much to Rachel, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for enabling me to be a part of the publication day activities, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

He abducted her. He fell in love with her. He helped her escape. Can she trust him?

Sarah Evans has returned home after being abducted and held in a dilapidated farmhouse by a group of men.

With her is Martin, who turned against the other men to help her escape. He says he’s not like them, and claims to be in love with her.

Can Sarah trust Martin? Does she share his feelings? Or should she listen to her father, himself deceitful and abusive, and turn her back on the relationship?

Sea of Lies is a chilling psychological thriller about secrets, trust, and a family falling apart.

A standalone sequel to Thicker Than Water

Sea of LIes (large)

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

Following straight on from the end of Thicker Than Water, Sea of Lies picks up the action from a different angle, with the main characters from Thicker Than Water stepping somewhat into the sidelines, and some of the supporting cast picking up the lead. I thought this was a really interesting way to continue the story, as it would have been so easy to just carry it on from the same perspective. I was fascinated to find out more about characters that I had met before, and formed judgements about that were perhaps not entirely accurate. Getting to know the Evans family, in particular, better and coming to understand their dynamic really made me see how different characters perceive situations so very differently.

I found Sea of Lies to be a faster paced book than Thicker Than Water, with a lot of toing and froing from the village going on. I devoured the first half of the book in just a couple of hours before real life dragged me away.

I said it in my review for Thicker Than Water (which you can read here) and I stand by my comment, these books would make a seriously good TV series!

Although Sea of Lies is the sequel to Thicker Than Water, it can also be read as a standalone novel as enough of the action from Thicker Than Water is included for everything to make sense to a new reader, but not so much that someone who has read Thicker Than Water will be bored by it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

rachel mcleanMy name’s Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean? In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you’d like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub. I’ll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I’ll let you know when my books are on offer.

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Book Review

Let’s Make Pom Poms – Katie Scott

I have a really fun craft book to tell you all about today. As you all know, I love all things crafty so I am so happy to be on this particular blog tour. Many thanks to Katie, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Fun and easy makes for all the family. Get crafty with pom poms with 15 easy to follow step by step guides. Make your own set of fluffy dice, sushi that looks good enough to eat and an everlasting Christmas tree as well as many other exciting projects.

by Katie Scott

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

I love making pom poms, there is something very therapeutic about it, and had hoped to be able to share a couple of pictures of some of my creations from Katie’s book. However, my pesky pom pom kit has gone into hiding (probably made a run for it after being over used!). As soon as I hunt it down, I will share my makes with you all. In the meantime, let me just share with you my thoughts on the book.

This looks a really lovely book, full of ideas for all the family to get involved with. I am particularly excited about Flurry the snowman and snowy Christmas tre (I do love Christmas), although I am quite tempted to try the sushi too, as well as the floral burst, and of course the bookmarks. Who am I kidding? I want to try all the projects!

The photographs that accompany each project are bright and eye-catching, and the detailed instructions are easy to follow. I seriously can’t wait to get stuck in, and I just know that my friends’ children of all ages would love this book just as much as I do. In fact, I might borrow them for an afternoon to help me out with a project or two.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Katie Scott is a craft and book blogger who lives in the county of Kent, UK. Living at home with her husband and infant daughter, Katie loves nothing more than long evenings in with a good book, a pile of crafting goodies and a very large pot of tea.

Let’s Make Pom Poms is her first crafting book.

Find more work from Katie Scott on her blog.

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Don’t forget to have a look at the other blogs taking part in the tour.

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Book Blogger Hop


Book Blogger Hop 

 

I was recently introduced to the Book Blogger Hop by the lovely K T Robson so today I will be answering my first question courtesy of The Coffee Addicted Writer.

This week’s question is “Do you read along with your audiobooks?” which was submitted by the Paperback Princess.

The easy answer to that is no. Honestly, until I saw this question it had never even crossed my mind to do so. I think this is probably because I tend to turn to audiobooks either when I want to do something at the same time, such as cross-stitching, or when I am lying in bed at night and can’t sleep. There are two problems with this though. I find that if I am cross-stitching or doing some other craft or activity, I forget that I am also supposed to be paying attention to the book and then suddenly realise that I have no idea what has just happened. If I listen in bed, I tend to fall asleep and lose my place that way. I swear when it comes to audiobooks, I spend longer trying to find my place than I do actually listening. That’s why when insomnia strikes I tend to head for the old faithful Harry Potter – I have read the books so many times that it really doesn’t matter if I nod off at any point.

Next time I have an audiobook, I might give reading along a try and see how it goes. I am quite a fast reader though and always used to end up reading ahead whenever we were reading out loud in class, so we will see how it goes. When I do this little experiment, I will let you all know how it goes.

How about you? Do you read along?

Book Review

Life and Other Dreams – Richard Dee

What’s that quote from Jerry Maguire, “You had me at hello”? Well, Mr Dee, you had me at the dedication page – as an invisible illness sufferer, this really meant a lot. I am so happy to be a part of this blog tour, and am grateful to Richard, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Rick lives here on Earth now, with Cath. His life is boring, writing adverts for cat food and exotic holidays. When he’s asleep, he dreams vividly.

In his dreams, he lives as Dan, spending his time with his wife Vanessa. They live six-hundred years in the future, half a galaxy away. They’re explorers, searching for valuable minerals on Ecias, an alien paradise.

Dan has no dreams about Rick’s life, he lives on Ecias, loves his life and Vanessa. 
When the two worlds overlap, Rick starts to question what is real. Events in his waking and sleeping lives are mirrored, similar people inhabit both and coincidences mount up. Then disaster strikes in each world at the same time. In his dreams, Dan is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Meanwhile, after one coincidence too many, Cath thinks that Rick’s dreams are hiding an affair and leaves him.

Is Rick going crazy, or can he be living in two places, in two times, at once? If not, then which one of them is the reality? Will one life carry on when the other is on hold?
Richard Dee’s fast-paced, edgy science fiction -cum- psychological thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page!

LifeDreams-EBOOK

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

I should probably start by saying that I don’t read an awful lot of out and out science-fiction, but the blurb for this book really grabbed me, perhaps because one of the side effects of my own medication is extremely vivid dreams.

The two points of view, Rick on Earth and Dan on Ecias, were well developed, and I found I was equally invested in both their stories. Much as Rick was, I found I was desperate for him to dream of Ecias, and to discover what was going to happen next with Dan and Vanessa. As the story unfolded I found that I was looking to links between people and names from Rick’s life popping up in some form in Dan’s, and I was trying to make connections between the two and work out what was going on. I thoroughly enjoyed discovering the world of Ecias with it’s strange flora and fauna.

Some parts of the book were brain explodingly complicated (well, for my poor brain anyway), but I kept thinking that everything will make sense by the end of the book. However, as I got closer and closer to the end of the book and no closer at all to answers, I started to get a bit worried that everything was going to be really quickly wrapped up in the last couple of pages. But never fear – what I hadn’t realised was there is a sequel coming, so there is still plenty of time to get to the bottom of everything satisfactorily. I will be keeping an eye out for its release date, because I need answers!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author 1200

Richard Dee is a native of Brixham in Devon. He left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.
Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, working as a Marine Insurance Surveyor and as Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich.

In 1994 he was head-hunted and offered a job as a Thames Estuary Pilot. In 1999 he transferred to the Thames River Pilots, where he regularly took vessels of all sizes through the Thames Barrier and upriver as far as HMS Belfast and through Tower Bridge. In all, he piloted over 3,500 vessels in a 22-year career with the Port of London Authority.

Richard is married with three adult children and three grandchildren.

His first science-fiction novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of his Steampunk adventure The Rocks of Aserol and of Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space and the start of a series featuring Andorra Pett, an amateur detective. Sequels to Ribbonworld and The Rocks of Aserol have been published, together with a second Andorra Pett story, Andorra Pett on Mars. He also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection. Richard is currently working on prequels, sequels, and new projects.

You can find out more about me on my website at richarddeescifi.co.uk. Head over there to see what I get up to, click the FREE STUFF tab or the PORTFOLIO tab to get all the details about my work and pick up a free novel or short story.

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To find out more about this book, why not have a look at the other blogs taking part on the tour.

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Book Review

The Pieces of You and Me – Rachel Burton

Happy publication day to Rachel Burton! My thanks go to Rachel, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources (what a lot of Rachels) for inviting me to take part in the publication day activities, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

They say time can heal all wounds…

When Jess and Rupert parted ways, it was the end of a great love story that might have been. Now ten years later, the very different paths they have taken in life will bring them back together for a chance meeting.

But with so much left unsaid about the break up neither ever recovered from and with each keeping their own devastating secrets, will they finally be able to make the fractured pieces of their love for one another whole again?

The Pieces of You and Me

You can purchase a copy of The Pieces of You and Me here.

REVIEW:

When I first signed up for the publication day push for The Pieces of You and Me, I had no idea that the Jess, the main character, was an M.E. sufferer. As someone with fibromyalgia I felt instantly connected to the character, and what she was dealing with. Couple that with the fact that I am also the last of my school friends to be single, and that Jess is an author writing under a pen name, and I began to wonder if the author had actually been stalking me for the past few years! There was so much in the character of Jess that I could relate to, the fear of being a burden, of being scared of what the future held, that at times this could have been a difficult read for me. However, Rachel Burton handles this part of the story so gently that it in fact left me feeling hopeful.

Reading about Jess and Rupert growing up made me nostalgic for my own teenage years, where again Jess’s life seemed to parallel mine to a degree (seriously Rachel, how long have you been following me around?), with my girl friends and I attending the local state school, and our boy friends coming from a nearby private school. It brought back happy memories of long hot summers, and thinking that we would be friends forever.

As well as Jess’s M.E., The Pieces of You and Me also tackles the subject of mental health, but again in such a delicate, sensitive way that even though the situation is heartbreaking, you still come away feeling positive. It was great to read a book where although these issues are tackled, and clearly have an effect on every aspect of all the characters lives, the illness is not the main focus of the book. It isn’t an inspirational tale of self-discovery, it is simply a tale of a group of people dealing with the hand that life has given them and getting on with living that life the best way they can. I think this is so important to show – the fact that is no miracle cure of life-changing revelation, but at the same time, chronic illness doesn’t mean that your life is over.

Thank you so much Rachel for writing a book that shows that so much is still possible.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

The Pieces of You and MeIMG_20181116_124903 (1)Rachel Burton is the author of the international ebook bestseller The Many Colours of Us.

Rachel spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Yorkshire with her fiance and their three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @bookish_yogi or follow her blog at rachelburtonwrites.com. She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday….

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