#BlogTour: Why Stuff Matters by Jen Waldo @ArcadiaBooks

Published by Arcadia Books on 20th October 21017. My thanks to the author and the publisher for the review copy. 

When Jessica, a grieving widow, inherits an antique mall from her mother she also inherits the stallholders, an elderly, amoral, acquisitive, and paranoid collection. 

When one of the vendors, a wily ex-con named Roxy, shoots her ex-husband, she calls on Jessica to help bury the body and soon Jessica is embroiled in cover-ups, lies, and misdirection. Into this mix comes Lizzie, Jessica’s late husband’s twelve-year-old daughter by his first marriage, who’s been dumped on Jessica’s doorstep by the child’s self-absorbed mother and it soon becomes apparent that Lizzie is as obsessed with material possessions as Jessica’s elderly tenants.

Why Stuff Matters is a compelling ode to possession, why people like things and the curious lengths they will go to keep them. Returning to her fictional Caprock, Waldo turns her wry wit on the lives of those afraid to let go.

My Thoughts:

When I was invited to review Why Stuff Matters I was instantly drawn by the unique premise of the Story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book set in the fictional town of Caprock, in small town texas. It is a difficult book to describe.

A cast of individual and unique characters make Why Stuff Matters an entertaining and amusig read about the price that we put on 'things'. Recently bereaved Jessica inherits an antique mall and the stallholders that go with it. All highly original characters and not without their problems and dramas. It is not about all of the older stallholders of the mall. Lizzie brings youth to the story and the interaction between her and the older generation, is insightful and very well done. 

I loved everything about this book, the wry and witty anecdotes and the hilariously drawn characters. The quirkiness of the story, and the sentimental but not twee look at what value we put on our possessions. 

Jen Waldo is an author that I would most certainly return to. I loved the originality of her writing and the stories she has to tell, and the points she has to make.

I really recommend this one as one of the more entertaining and uplifting books that you will read this year. 

About the Author:

Jen Waldo has lived in Holland, Egypt, the UK, Scotland, Kuwait and Singapore, but now lives in her home Texas, where her novels are set.
She first began writing twenty five years ago and shortly afterwards she had a story picked up by The European and was shortlisted in a competition by Traveler. Her novel Disappearing Otis' won an honourable mention in the Indy Book Awards.
For Arcadia Books, Jen has written Old Buildings in North Texas and - to come - her second novel Why Stuff Matters. 

#BlogTour: Fair of Face by @CAJamesWriter #fairofface @saltpublishing

Published by Salt Publishing on 15th October 2017. My thanks to the author and the publisher for the review copy.

A double murder is discovered in Spalding some days after it takes place.
The victims are Tina Brackenbury, the foster mother of Grace Winter, a ten-year-old who escapes the killer because she is staying at her friend Chloe Hebblewhite's house at the time, and Tina's infant daughter. Enquiries by the police and social services reveal that some four years previously Grace was the sole survivor of the horrific massacre of her mother, grandparents and sister at Brocklesby Farm in North Lincolnshire, a crime for which her uncle Tristram Arkwright is currently serving a whole-life tariff.
Why did Amy Winter, Grace's adoptive mother, send her to live with a foster parent? Is it a coincidence that both of Grace's families have now been brutally killed? And is it possible that Grace's uncle, a notorious con-man, has found a way to contact her from his maximum security cell?
DI Yates and his team face a series of apparently impenetrable conundrums.

My Thoughts:

Fair of Face is the first novel I have read by Christina James but it is the 6th in the DI Yates crime series that is set in Spalding, Lincolnshire. I found that although part of a series, this book read very well as a standalone novel. 

I always find it tricky reviewing crime novels as I am loathe to give anything of the plot away. Suffice to say there were plenty of twists and turns in this story. The addition of children as witnesses is something new to me and made a refreshing change in a somewhat crowded genre. 

The police, including DI Yates are called in to investigate after the double murder of a mother and small child. Who on earth would kill a mother and daughter and what was their motive? The case seems a difficult one for the police to tackle.

It took me a short while to settle into the story, but once I did I found it to be engaging and compelling. There are a lot of characters and interactions to keep a track of but I think they added to the plot and the intrigue for me as a reader. 

This was a rollercoaster of a read that I found gripping and thrilling and I didn't predict the story that unravelled. 

I look forward to reading some more books from this series in the future. 

About the Author:
Christina James was born in Spalding and sets her novels in the evocative Fenland countryside of South Lincolnshire. She works as a bookseller, researcher and teacher. She is also a well-established non-fiction writer under a separate name.

Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour: