Saturday, 8 November 2014

Vendetta by Dreda Say Mitchell


Published by Hodder in paperback on 6th November 2014, it is also available as an ebook. My thanks to Hodder and Bookbridgr who kindly sent me my review copy.

Vendetta is the first in a new series of thrillers set in the dark and murky world of undercover police officers.

Two murders. Two different crime scenes. One killer?

Mac wakes in a smashed up hotel room with no recollection of what has happened. With his lover's corpse in the bathroom and the evidence suggesting that he killed her, Mac is on a mission to uncover the truth and find the real killer.

But he's in a race against time, with less than a day to unravel the mystery. Still reeling from a personal tragedy Mac isn't afraid of pain. Hot on his heels is tenacious Detective Inspector Rio Wray. Double-crossed and in the line of fire, Mac has to swim through a sea of lies to get to the truth.

But only Mac knows he's been living a double life. Can he be sure he doesn't have the blood of a dead woman on his hands?

This is the first crime novel I have read in a while, they used to be all I would read. I stopped reading them when I didn't come across anything that seemed original.

Firstly Vendetta is the most original crime novel I have ever read, it is punchy, pacy and you are driven through a narrative with the hurtling speed of a freight train. This novel delivers an ending that I never would have guessed in all of my days and it comes at you like a bolt of lightening and leaves you sat there shocked, numbed and wanting more.

Short sharp chapters help deliver the pace with the whole story being set in 24hrs. Hard to believe so much happened during that time, the twists and turns in the plot and the way they sneak up on you are just astonishing. As a reader you start to believe one thing and then something else happens immediately to change your mind.

What I liked most about this book is the fact that as the plot developed so did the characters. Oh how I adore flawed characters, for after all none of us are perfect, such a being doesn't exist. It was hard to like any of the characters and I would guess not one of them is fully reliable. There is more than one Vendetta going on. Characters that are out for there own gain and will step on anyone that gets in their way.

By far my favourite, and it is hard to have a favourite is DI Rio Wray. I loved her feistiness and strength of character. I can't wait to read more about her in future.

If intelligent, credible crime novels are your thing then please read this, and prepare yourself to be astounded.

Dreda Say Mitchell grew up on a housing estate in East London. She is an award winning novelist, broadcaster, and freelance education consultant. Some of her work can be described as truly inspirational.

Our Zoo by June Mottershead


Published in hardback by Headline on 9th October 2014. My thanks to them and Bookbridgr, for sending my copy to review.

Chester is the largest Zoo in the UK with over 11,000 animals and 400 species. Unlike other zoos that owe their existence to philanthropists, explorers or big game hunters, Chester Zoo was the brainchild of one working-class man with a dream he had nurtured since he was a boy: to build a zoo without bars.

June Mottershead was four years old when her father, George, moved his family to Upton near Chester. He wanted to make his dream a reality. June had a sister Muriel who was 10 years older than her. There were no other children around and so at that age, June's closest friends became the animals. She befriended an orphaned chimpanzee and the pair soon became inseparable. June became the poster girl for the zoo and was on the front pages of Newspapers, had her picture taken with the animals. June took over as head keeper when war broke out in 1939, most of the staff had to head off to war. It was a difficult time, trying to keep the zoo running whilst the war went on. It was hard with things such as rationing to keep all of the animals fed. It was a constant battle having to move them inside when the air raid siren sounded.


I very rarely read non - fiction, but I couldn't resist this one. It contains many delights and Penelope Dening has captured the details superbly. This book portrays the harsh and sometimes brutal landscape of the time evocatively, respectfully and with the right amount of humour.

The true delight of the story was the many, wonderful animals. Some that I have to admit to never having heard of. A true tale of standing up in the face of adversity and challenges and making your vision a reality. The fact that the Zoo is there today is testament to that.

The book starts in 2012, the year that June's husband Fred passed away and ends in 1949 with their marriage, Fred also worked at the Zoo. Intentionally or unintentionally, I thought that was a fitting tribute to him.

Tiny criticisms and some to be expected given the breadth of time the book covers is that some of the memories seem a little sketchy and I got a bit confused as to who certain relatives were. I also thought that the book ended abruptly, or maybe that is the sign of a good story. I would have liked to have known what happened with the Zoo after June's marriage, for example did her father continue to run things?. This of course is minor in the scheme of things, this is after all June's story, her memories and I feel privileged for the few short hours I was reading, to be a part of them.


June Mottershead is now in her eighties, she is the guardian of her family's legacy. Her story and that of her legacy has been made into a recent dramatisation for the BBC.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Seeing Other People by Mike Gayle




About the Book:
Publication Date: 28th August 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton in hardback and ebook
From My Legendary Girlfriend to Turning Forty, Mike Gayle's bestselling novels have taken his millions of readers through many key times for the modern man - friendship, courtship, stag weekends, marriage, work, holidays, significant birthdays - but SEEING OTHER PEOPLE is perhaps his most heart-warming, heart-stopping, heartbreaking novel yet.
Father of two Joe Clarke, is about seventy-eight per cent sure he's just had an affair. After all that is the hopelessly attractive office intern in bed next to him, isn't it? But then again if he did have an affair why can't he remember anything at all about the night in question? Mortified by his mistake, Joe vows to be a better man. But when his adored wife Penny puts two and two together and leaves him, things start to take a turn for the decidedly strange.
Joe is told for a fact that he DIDN'T have an affair after all.
He just thinks he did.
Which is great news . . . or at least it would be if the person who'd just delivered it wasn't the crisp-eating, overly perfumed and mean-spirited GHOST of his least favourite ex-girlfriend . . .
SEEING OTHER PEOPLE is a hilarious and bittersweet novel about love, parenthood and fidelity, and how easy it is to get lost on the way to your own happy ending.

My Thoughts:

Firstly I would like to admit to having heard of Mike Gayle before, it is hard not to have as he is such a bestselling Author. As a regular frequenter of bookshops, I see his work everywhere. I have however consciously never read one of his books. I don't know how best to explain it but somehow I had the misconception of them being Chick Lit for men, and therefore I almost wanted to dislike this book. That I must say is my mistake because I was wrong. You see they are so much more than that...

The author creates strong, vivid characters that you can't help but like and as such you root for a happy ending for them. I  thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the lead character was a male, I found this honest and refreshing.

I found nothing in the way this story was written, contrived Unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world and as such we can all make mistakes. Some of them bigger than others and some having an awful ripple affect on our future and can hurt the ones close to us. Still that being said I found myself liking Joe, someone who seemed to me to take things for granted when it counted but at the end of the day, he was like an old friend who you wanted the best for.

I thought I would find the elements about Joe seeing the Ghost of his ex-girlfriend plainly ridiculous, but in all honesty it really, really worked. 

This was the kind of book that you delve into and immerse yourself in, like your favourite jumper. It is the sort of book that will make you feel warm and cosy on a cold, damp day. It makes you feel that after all things can be put right if we try hard enough.

I will most certainly will be reading the backlog of Mike Gayle, I will feel genuinely that I have missed out if I do not do so.

Very highly rated and enjoyed very much by me.


About the Author:

Mike Gayle is the author of nine previous bestselling novels. He was previously an Agony Uncle and is also a freelance journalist, who has written for a number of magazines. He is based in Birmingham. 

My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and Bookbridgr, for sending me the copy to review.



Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Tell-Tale Heart by Jill Dawson




My thanks to Sceptre and Bookbridgr for my review copy.....
One heart, two lives...
When a teenager dies in an accident in rural Cambridgeshire, it affords Patrick, a fifty-year-old professor, drinker and womaniser, the chance of a life-saving heart transplant. But as Patrick recovers, he has the odd feeling that his old life 'won't have him'. He becomes bewitched by the story of his heart, ever more curious about the boy who donated it, his ancestors, the Fenland he grew up in. What exactly has Patrick been given?

This was a quick read at 242 pages and I found it thoroughly interesting. It tells the tale from several different points of view. Firstly from that of Patrick who is the recipient of a donor heart. At the moment it would seem that he is wasting his life and hurting those around him and being generally selfish. Secondly we hear the views of Andrew, whom everybody calls Drew. He is sixteen and it is his heart that Patrick receives.

There is also a section that beautifully depicts the landscape of the Fens and the stories of Drew's ancestors and the riots that took place. 

This book gives the reader an interesting take on the theory that the heart holds our feelings and therefore when Patrick receives his new heart, we do begin to question if he does start to feel differently or may even want to mend the error of his ways. Can he rebuild the relationships to those closest to him?

My only criticism would be that I personally would have liked to have known more about the Characters individually, and if the book had been longer then maybe this could have happened.

All in all a very individual novel, I liked it.


Jill Dawson was born in Durham and grew up in Yorkshire. She has held many fellowships and in 2006 received an honorary Doctorate. She lives in the Fens with her husband and two sons. She is the author of eight novels including, Trick of The Light. She has also published short stories and poetry.

To find out more, please visit her website:http://jilldawson.co.uk/

Friday, 12 September 2014

BLOG TOUR: The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar by Kim Rendfeld


Published August 2014 by Fireship Press


Can love triumph over war?
772 AD: Charlemagne’s battles in Saxony have left Leova with nothing but her two children, Deorlaf and Sunwynn. Her beloved husband died in combat. Her faith lies shattered in the ashes of Irminsul, the Pillar of Heaven. The relatives obligated to defend her and her family sell them into slavery instead.
In Francia, Leova is resolved to protect her son and daughter, even if it means sacrificing her own honor. Her determination only grows stronger as Sunwynn blossoms into a beautiful young woman attracting the lust of a cruel master, and Deorlaf becomes a headstrong man willing to brave starvation and demons to free his family. Yet Leova’s most difficult dilemma comes in the form of a Frankish friend, Hugh. He saves Deorlaf from a fanatical Saxon and is Sunwynn’s champion — but he is the warrior who slew Leova’s husband.
Set against a backdrop of historic events, including the destruction of the Irminsul, The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar explores faith, friendship, and justice. This companion to Kim Rendfeld’s acclaimed The Cross and the Dragon tells the story of an ordinary family in extraordinary circumstances.





Advance Praise for The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar
“Carolingian Europe comes alive in Kim Rendfeld’s sweeping story of family and hope, set against the Saxon Wars. Her transportive and triumphant novel immerses us in an eighth century world that feels both mystical and starkly real.”  - Jessica Brockmole, author of Letters from Skye
“A captivating historical filled with rich detail, compelling characters, and a well-paced plot that keeps the pages turning to its very satisfying end. A true delight for fans of historical fiction. I couldn’t put it down.” — Susan Spann, author of the Shinobi Mysteries
The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar is refreshingly set in a less familiar medieval period – soon after Charlemagne has conquered a portion of today’s Germany and its people. The characters are refreshing also, common folk instead of the lords and ladies who are the usual inhabitants of historical novels, and how they adjust to their new condition is fascinating. Altogether, this book was absorbing from start to finish.” – Roberta Gellis, author of The Roselynde Chronicles


It was with some trepidation that I agreed to review this book, mainly because the genre doesn't appeal to me at all. Then why would I choose to read it? I wanted to be pushed out of my comfort zone, simply I love all books and the craftmanship and skill that goes into writing them.

The amount of research that has gone into writing this book is not even in question, it must have been a painstaking task. That being said I personally struggled with this one. It is most certainly a case of it being me and not the book. I so badly wanted to be converted to loving historical fiction, so many of my friends and fellow bloggers do. Sadly that hasn't happened, the story was easy to follow and not as difficult to read as I had anticipated.

Please  I urge you, don't be put off by me. I am sure that this book will deservedly hold great appeal to lovers of historical fiction everywhere, it tackles some interesting issues.

I would like you to have a look at a review by my friends Josie and Jaffa here, who have kindly allowed me to link their review: Jaffareadstoo - Review

Check out the other stops on the tour: 

http://www.fireshippress.com/virtual_book_tours/the-ashes-of-heavens-pillar-by-kim-rendfeld-on-tour-august-28-september-30.html




Kim Rendfeld has a lifelong fascination with fairy tales and legends, which set her on her quest to write The Cross and the Dragon.

She grew up in New Jersey and attended Indiana University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English, with a minor in French. If it weren't for feminism, she would be one of those junior high English teachers scaring the bejesus out of her students, correcting grammar to the point of obnoxiousness. Instead, her career has been in journalism, public relations, and now fiction.

Kim was a journalist for almost twenty years at Indiana newspapers, including the
 Journal and Courier in Lafayette, The Muncie Star, and The News and Sun in Dunkirk, and she won several awards from the Hoosier State Press Association. Her career changed in 2007, when she joined the marketing and communications team at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She gets paid to agonize over commas and hyphens, along with suggesting ways to improve writing, and thoroughly enjoys it. She is proud to have been part of projects that have received national recognition.

Kim lives in Indiana with her husband, Randy, and their spoiled cats. They have a daughter and three granddaughters.

To read the first chapters of either novel or learn more about Kim, visit kimrendfeld.com. You’re also welcome to visit her blog Outtakes of a Historical Novelist atkimrendfeld.wordpress.com, like her on Facebook at facebook.com/authorkimrendfeld, or follow her on Twitter at @kimrendfeld, or contact her at kim [at] kimrendfeld [dot] com.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

AWAY FROM YOU ~ Kay Langdale






Publication date: 
11th September 2014, Hodder & Stoughton
My thanks to the publisher and Bookbridgr for my review copy. 

When Monica is offered a three-month placement in L.A, she knows that for the sake of her career she must accept it - even though it means leaving behind nine-year-old Ruby, toddler Luca and her husband Daniel.

She hires Ursula as a housekeeper and nanny during her absence, although the older woman is oddly reluctant to agree to a childcare position. What is the dark secret in Ursula's past, which has left her so closed-off and reserved? Will her growing attachment to Ruby bring it to the surface? And will Monica regret leaving the children in her care?

This story explores, grief, parenthood and our emotional relationships with others.  The writing is beautiful, the characters are vividly drawn and likeable. The author manages to create some beautiful imagery of happier times, particularly for Ursula.

The book really centres around Ursula and the secret of her past, that makes her so sad and unable to allow herself emotional involvement with anyone. I found it interesting that Ruby has a connection with Ursula and can somehow see the pain behind her eyes. Maybe it takes a childlike innocence to know that something isn't right.

Such a poignant and emotional read, I have to admit to shedding a tear or two. It is difficult to go any further into the plot as I feel to do so would spoil it for others. However I do urge people to read it.

This is the first novel I have read by this author and I have no idea why I haven't come across her before. This book has sailed straight into my best of the year and quite possibly a contender for the top spot. I cannot enthuse about it enough.

A truly beautiful piece of writing, with wonderful characters that captured my heart, and left me hoping for a happy ending.

About the Author:

Kay Langdale is the author of four previous novels. Her novels have explored subjects such as surrogacy, adoptions and the ties that bind us. She is married, with three sons and a daughter, and lives in Oxfordshire. Find out more: www.kaylangdale.com


Monday, 11 August 2014

Paper Swans by Jessica Thompson




Published on 31st July 2014 by Coronet, an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton.
Book Description:
Ben Lawrence seems to have it all - the hot job, the flashy car, the luxurious apartment. But one tragic day in his past mars his future.
Since the events of that day he hasn't truly got close to anyone.
He made a promise that love was the price he would pay for his mistakes.
When Effy Jones - a bright, ambitious charity founder - walks into the PR firm where Ben works, neither realise that their lives are about to be turned upside down.
Paper Swans tells of how love can conquer all, and how when everything is broken one person can help to put the pieces together...

My Thoughts:

Firstly I would like to say, this is not the typical type of book I would pick up. Anything that says 'Learning to love again' on the cover, makes me worry. However I was drawn in by the beautiful cover and I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed.

Essentially this is a love story told predominantly through the Characters of  Ben and Effy. Who are both as equally emotionally scarred as they are successful. I liked them both in equal measure. They both possess in droves that Fight or Flight instinct that is inside all of us.

This book touches on Mental Health issues, which is a subject close to my heart. I found the points raised to be realistic, and well researched. It has been beautifully done and I am impressed as I believe more needs to be done to banish the stigma attached to Mental Health. Important point raised in this book is that when it comes to issues of the mind, nobody is discriminated against. It could be you, it could be me. In this case it is Ben.

This book could have been such a cliche, overly romantic or a bit sugary for my tastes. I am pleased to say that it wasn't any of those things. Although I found the ending a little predictable it did not spoil my enjoyment in any way. In fact if the ending had been different I think I would have been disappointed. 

It is the first time I have come across this author, and I am now keen to seek out her other books.


About the Author:

Jessica Thompson lives in London. She was born in Yorkshire in the late eighties. She has also lived in France and Kent. Her debut novel This is a Love Story was published in 2012 and her second novel Three Little Words was published in 2013.


Jessica can be found on Twitter: @jthompsonauthor

Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and Bookbridgr for sending me my copy for review.



Sunday, 27 July 2014

Confessions by Kanae Minato

Kanae Minato - Confessions

Description:

When Yuko Moriguchi's four-year-old daughter died in the middle school where she teaches, everyone thought it was a tragic accident. 

It's the last day of term, and Yuko's last day at work. She tells her students that she has resigned because of what happened - but not for the reasons they think. 

Her daughter didn't die in an accident. Her daughter was killed by two people in the class. And before she leaves, she has a lesson to teach...

But revenge has a way of spinning out of control, and Yuko's last lecture is only the start of the story. In this bestselling Japanese thriller of love, despair and murder, everyone has a confession to make, and no one will escape unharmed.


My Thoughts:

As soon as this book arrived I was totally intrigued. The cover and the synopsis were so disturbing. I started reading it straight away. I can honestly say that I was not disappointed.

I found the story to be dark and disturbing with no respite from the bleakness of the situation. Having said that I feel that the author has weaved an intricate story surrounding an atrocious event, with characters I actually despised. I personally enjoy reading a story with flawed characters, I find them much more interesting. 

I like the way that the background behind the death reveals itself over the course of the pages, in a series of confessions and told from the perspectives of different characters only adds tension to build up. 

I thought I had it all figured out and was shocked at the end, by the final event. Every action has a reaction. 

Quite short at 234 pages this story packs a punch and portrays the lives of a group of people that is thoroughly well written and beautifully translated by Stephen Snyder.

I wasn't surprised to learn that a film has was made in 2011. I think it would lend itself very well to that, as the writing is very cinematic in places.



About the Author:

Kanae Minato was a housewife before her debut novel CONFESSIONS sky-rocketed to the top of the Japanese charts and turned her into the year's bestselling novelist. A recipient of the Radio Drama Award, the Detective Novel Prize for New Writers, and the National Booksellers' Award, Minato lives in Japan.

This book will be published by Mulholland Books on 14th August 2014. My thanks to them and Book Bridgr for sending me a copy to review.




Sunday, 13 July 2014

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan



DESCRIPTION (FROM AMAZON):

Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a Web-design drone and serendipity coupled with sheer curiosity has landed him a new job working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. And it doesn't take long for Clay to realize that the quiet, dusty book emporium is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few fanatically committed customers, but they never seem to actually buy anything, instead they simply borrow impossibly obscure volumes perched on dangerously high shelves, all according to some elaborate arrangement with the eccentric proprietor. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he has plugged in his laptop, roped in his friends (and a cute girl who works for Google) and embarked on a high-tech analysis of the customers' behaviour. What they discover is an ancient secret that can only be solved by modern means, and a global-conspiracy guarded by Mr. Penumbra himself...who has mysteriously disappeared.


MY THOUGHTS:

I thoroughly enjoyed this quirky, interesting and witty tale. Who doesn't love a book about books? 

The characters were all well written and added a great sense of time and place to the story. Clay Jannon is intelligent and inquisitive and I loved the bond that he formed with Mr Penumbra who is something of an enigma. 

An insight into the world of technology and how things have moved forward and will continue to do so. Specifically Google and all of its capabilities. My only criticism being that I thought that the story tailed off slightly toward the end. 

This book was a wonderful fusion of literature and technology. I thoroughly recommend it if you would like something a little out of the ordinary, original and can open your mind to the old and the new.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robin Sloan grew up near Detroit and has worked at Poynter, Current TV and Twitter in jobs that have generally had 'something to do with figuring out the future of media'. He has previously published short fiction in Kindle-only editions (Mr Penumbra started out as a 6000-word ebook). He lives in San Francisco.

He can be found at his website http://www.robinsloan.com/ and on twitter @robinsloan

This edition was published in paperback by Atlantic Books on 27th February 2014.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Twin Truths by Shelan Rodger



Twin Truths 


Jenny and Pippa are twins. Like many twins they often know what the other is thinking. They complete each other. When one of the twins disappears the other woman is left to face the world alone as she tries to find out what happened to her "other half". Vividly set in Argentina, Brazil, Greece and the UK, Shelan Rodger's stunning debut is a beautiful examination of identity and how much this is moulded by our relationships with others.


Review:

As the title suggests this book is about Twins, the relationship between them and Truths and all of the things that entails. Ohh but it is so much more than that. You have to dive in and devour this one. It absorbs you, pulls you in and spits you out at the end with one hell of a twist that I for one did not see coming. I will not go any further into the plot, to do so would spoil enjoyment for others. 

I love the fact that we got to follow the story of Jenny and Pippa from their childhood into adulthood. I found it a great insight into how the events that happen to us can shape our future. Also that things are never quite what they seem on the surface, we just need to scratch that bit deeper.

Everything is in there, the plot is superb, the psychological element outstanding and a growing suspense throughout that is second to none. 

The prose is beautiful even lyrical in parts. This is an outstanding accomplishment that has left me thinking for days. 

If you like clever fiction that has something to say, a point to make then this is one that you certainly shouldn't miss.



I would like to thank Cutting Edge Press for sending me my copy to review, they have managed to publish yet another stunning work. Please check them out as the have some amazing authors and titles. 

Twin Truths was published in June 2014.




About the Author:

Shelan's life is a patchwork of different cultures. Born in Nigeria, she grew up among the Tiwi, an aboriginal community in Australia, and moved to England at the age of eleven. After graduating in Modern Languages from Oxford, she travelled to Argentina, where she spent nine years teaching and setting up a language school. Another chapter in England was followed by six years in Kenya, where she got involved in learning and development, with an emphasis on anti-discrimination. She now lives in Spain, working in international education - and writing. 

www.shelanrodger.com

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Who Are You? by Elizabeth Forbes

Product DetailsWho Are You? is the second novel by Elizabeth Forbes, after the very successful Nearest Thing to Crazy was released last year. It is released on 1st July 2014.


Alex, a career officer in an elite regiment, returns from Afghanistan a changed man. He has left the army behind and is attempting to forge a civilian career as a security advisor. His wife, Juliet, is delighted. She, Alex and their son, Ben, now live in a well-appointed house in a leafy London suburb.

But all is not well. Juliet's research on the internet suggests that Alex is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) but pride means that he will not seek professional help.

Finding solace in web forums, Juliet is offered the use of a cottage and is urged to remove Ben to a place of safety. After a lot of secretive planning and the financial support of Alex's mother who had suffered at the hands of her husband, Juliet and Ben escape the tyranny of their home with the hope of starting afresh...


I have to admit to not having read The Nearest Thing to Crazy yet, so this is my introduction to the writing of this author. I didn't know what to expect but I was not disappointed. The twists and turns, the ups the downs, the high and lows, had me up very late a couple of nights the past week. Just to try and get the characters out of my head and go to sleep.

I finished reading this book this morning, the characters are running around in my mind, they are crawling on my skin, and the tension between the pages is palpable.

I am loathe to give anymore of the plot away as it has to be read to be understood. I guess that we are meant to hate Alex and what he does, but at first I have to admit to not liking Juliet very much either. The dual narrative works very well here in telling both sides of the story. By the end I didn't dislike anyone. The events of our past make us who we are today. Proof that the human condition can be frail.

I thought this was a truely accomplished piece of writing that portrays the emotional instability of two people, who are a couple very well indeed. It was as equally gripping as it was moving. I haven't read a book where the characters have totally absorbed me for a long while.

If you like a stonking good read that is going to grip you by the seat of your pants, and turn you upside down, then this one is for you. I actually cannot recommend it enough. My mind is still abuzz with all the things contained between those pages.



I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to Hatty at Cutting Edge Press for sending me a copy to review. Please check out their website as they have some interesting titles available.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Time by Mark Haddon



Product Description

Fifteen-year-old Christopher has a photographic memory. He understands maths. He understands science. What he can't understand are other human beings.
When he finds his neighbour's dog, Wellington, lying dead on the lawn, he decides to track down the killer and write a murder mystery about it. But in doing so, he uncovers other mysteries that threaten to bring his whole world crashing down around him.

My Thoughts

I am aware that most people have already read this book, so I didn't want this to be a review as such. I couldn't however not mention it on my blog. I finished it a week ago and it is still fresh in my memory every day.I loved it, the style of writing. The language used and the insight into the mind of a Fifteen year old boy with Asperger's Syndrome. The story was clever and the diagrams only adding to the complexity of understanding the life of Christopher.
I found that most if not all of the characters were flawed in some way. Whether this was intentional or not I do not know. It felt to me almost as if to say that nobody is perfect and just because Christopher has Asperger's does not mean that he is not normal and that he too can accomplish extraordinary things.
This book has been firmly placed into a relatively small list of my All Time Favourite Reads. I can't believe it has taken me over ten years to get around to reading it. 
Does anybody reading this have a book that they haven't got around to reading for a long time, that when they do turns out to be one of the best books they have ever read?
If you haven't read this book, I urge you to do so immediately. 



About the Author

Mark Haddon was born on 26th September 1962. He has won The Whitbread Award, Guardian Prize, and A Commonwealth Writers Prize for this book. http://www.markhaddon.com/.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Norah by Cynthia G. Neale - Book Tour and Review





Today I am taking part in a book tour, please follow the link to find the rest of the stops on the tour and more information:


Norah: The Making of an Irish-American Woman in 19th-Century New York by Cynthia Neale

Once she was a child of hunger, but now Norah McCabe is a woman with courage, passion, and reckless dreams. Her story is one of survival, intrigue, and love. This Irish immigrant woman cannot be narrowly defined! She dons Paris fashion and opens a used-clothing store, is attacked by a vicious police commissioner, joins a movement to free Ireland, and attends a National Women's Rights Convention. And love comes to her slowly one night on a dark street, ensnared by the great Mr. Murray, essayist and gang leader extraordinaire. Norah is the story of a woman who confronts prejudice, violence, and greed in a city that mystifies and helps to mold her into becoming an Irish-American woman.

My Thoughts:

This has been my first foray into historical fiction, and I can definitely say it won't be my last. I have to admit to not knowing anything at all about the Potato Famine and Irish history, that is an error on my part. 

I found this book slow to start but that says more about me as it is not a typical genre I would read and therefore there was a lot of information to digest at one time.

I wasn't sure that I liked Norah very much to start with, but as I came to understand her I grew to love her and her tenacity and vibrancy at a time when it would have been difficult to stand up and stand out from the crowd. I found her ambitious and courageous. We could all learn a lot from her.

I found this story to be interesting, insightful and full of facts. It must have taken a lot of research. The writing was very good and quite poetic in places. 

I would most definitely recommend it.


Author Bio of Cynthia Neale:


Cynthia Neale is an American with Irish ancestry and a native of the Finger Lakes region in New York. She now resides in Hampstead, New Hampshire. She has long possessed a deep interest in the tragedies and triumphs of the Irish during the Potato Famine or “The Great Hunger.” She is a graduate of Vermont College in Montpelier, VT, with a B.A. degree in Literature and Creative Writing. Norah is her first historical novel for adult readers. She is also the author of two young adult novels, The Irish Dresser, A Story of Hope during The Great Hunger (An Gorta Mor, 1845-1850) and Hope in New York City, The Continuing Story of The Irish Dresser. Her forthcoming book, Pavlova in a Hat Box, is a collection of essays and dessert recipes. She is currently researching and writing a sequel to Norah, as well as a novel about Queen Catharine, a Native American of New York whose village was destroyed by General John Sullivan in 1779. 

More information can be found about Fireship Press here: http://www.fireshippress.com/