Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Authors I Can't Believe I've Met! 28/3/17



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!


I may have mentioned once or twice before that I love a good author event. I love chatting to authors online and so to be able to chat to them in real life is amazing. I have a whole page on my blog dedicated to authors I have met and I've loved meeting all of them. But because there are more than ten, please do check out that page here for more info and pics!

Bill Bryson


Jackie Collins


Jane Costello


Julie Cohen/Judy Astley


Lindsey Kelk (featuring my BFF Hazel)


Lisa Jewell


Milly Johnson


Miranda Dickenson


Paige Toon


Sophie Kinsella







Monday, 27 March 2017

Guest Review: The Bluebell Bunting Society by Poppy Dolan

When the going gets tough, the tough get sewing…
Welcome to Bluebell Hall. Pull up a wonky chair, grab a cream bun and settle into a story about a little village, a determined caretaker – and bunting…
At twenty-nine, Connie isn’t quite where she thought she’d be. When her beloved gran died Connie returned to Hazelhurst, the village she grew up in, and took over her gran’s old job as caretaker at the village hall. It might not be the stuff of dreams, but Connie loves working at Bluebell Hall – the heart of the community.
So when Bluebell Hall is threatened with closure, Connie is determined not to let greedy property developers get their hands on it. She hatches a plan bonkers enough that it just might work. All it takes is a needle and thread, scraps of old material and willing hands. Can Connie convince the people of Hazelhurst that their village hall is worth saving? And will she save herself in the process…?




Review: This was my first book by Poppy Dolan. It has a brilliant, bright cover, which is enough to draw any reader to it, promising all sorts of country village-related activities. There are, of course, plenty of bunting pictured too, fitting in with the title of the book. 

The story revolves around 29-year-old Connie, who is caretaker of the village hall in Hazelhurst, a role she has taken over from her late grandmother, to whom she was very close. Bluebell Hall, as it is called, should be the hub of the village, as these places tend to be, but it is in poor repair and thus not attracting great numbers of people. When the trust that oversees the hall seems to be threatening its closure, Connie starts a campaign to save it that requires getting the whole village behind her. Amongst the activities is the establishment of the Bluebell Bunting Society of the book's title. Interest in a variety of crafts is also sparked by the bunting making activities. 

I loved Connie's passion and determination to save her hall. It is her life, and she is fazed by the thought of losing it. It is great to see how friends old and new, young and not so young are inspired by her to pull together in their efforts to preserve this building. Truly community spirit at work. I also enjoyed meeting some of the other characters in the village. The girls in Connie's Bluebell troop added a bit of amusement, while there was the promise of possible romance in the guise of Alex, the scout leader. 

Although largely entertaining, I found this story a bit slow at times and really not one that pulled the reader in and begged to be read. It definitely lives up to its description as a feel-good story, but personally I felt that there was not enough going on at times to really grab and keep my attention. 

To order your copy now, just click here!



Friday, 24 March 2017

Review: Dead Simple, a Quick Reads Crime Anthology

A woman reports a crime to the police, with unexpected results
The grieving widow who finds that she's about to lose more than just her husband
When a man attempts the perfect murder, it's not quite as easy as he thinks
Two men in prison play a deadly game of Scrabble
A young woman tries to trick an old man and gets more than she bargained for
Sometimes crimes are solved in ways you can't explain
A murderer about to be hanged finds that's not the worst thing that can happen
You never know who's going to turn up at your door
Original stories from Mark Billingham, Clare Mackintosh, James Oswald, Jane Casey, Angela Marsons, Harry Bingham, Antonia Hodgson and CL Taylor - specially written for Quick Reads.
Review: This crime anthology contains 8 stories. I'm not going to cover each one but look at the Quick Reads book as a whole. Last year Quick reads released an anthology of short stories as part of its anniversary and I really enjoyed that particular read so I was pleased to see that they had done it again this year. i was even more excited to see that it was a collection of crime stories because that is a genre i read very little of but when I do pick something up, I tend to enjoy it. I was excited to discover new authors!

Of course I didn't love every single story, but there really is something for everyone here. I definitely preferred reading more of the psychological thriller stories than the police procedural, but there was even one which covered the historical crime genre, not entirely my cup of tea but it was great to have it included. I think my favorites were the stories by Clare Makintosh and James Oswold!

I did read this book in one sitting, but this would be great to dip in an out of, a story for each day of a commute, or a story before bed, although with the genre type, perhaps reading before bed wouldn't be the best idea. I think this book is great for people like me who read little to no crime novels and want to get into that genre or discover new authors. I would highly recommend this book and it is definitely something that would appeal to a wide range of audiences!

To get your copy, just click here!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Review: This Love by Dani Atkins

Sophie stopped believing in happy endings a long time ago, but could this love change all of that?
 
Sophie Winter lives in a self-imposed cocoon - she's a single, 31-year-old translator who works from home in her one-bedroom flat. This isn’t really the life she dreamed of, but then Sophiestopped believing in dreams when she was a teenager and tragedy struck her family.
 
So, to be safe, she keeps everyone at arm’s length. Sophie understands she has a problem, but recognising it and knowing how to fix it are two entirely different things.

One night a serious fire breaks out in the flat below hers. Sophie is trapped in the burning building until a passer-by, Ben, sees her and rescues her.
 
Suddenly her cocoon is shattered - what will be the consequences of this second life-changing event?



Review: I picked this book up knowing that there was a lot of hype surrounding it but not really knowing an awful lot more about it and I think that was a really good move. Dani Atkins really knows how to write a story that comes of the back of a tragic event but she has really celled herself with this novel. I spent the first third of this novel a little bit terrified as to what was going o happen to either of the main character, the next third loving life and really loving a blossoming relationship and then the last third being terrified that something awful was going to happen and trying to work out what. What a literary roller coaster-so much fun!

This book starts with a fire and Sophie, our main character, being trapped inside her apartment. As I mentioned above, this is incredibly tense and not something to read if that is a trigger to you bit I was so compelled by the first part of this book that the first 150 pages just flew by. I felt like I got to know Sophie fair quickly because of this major event and I think that this was an excellent way to open the move. We know from the blurb that something else tragic has happened to Sophie and this has effected her. From the beginning of the novel, I felt I could empathise with her as a main character and really rooted for her  to get her life together again following the tragic events. 

Ben comes into Sophie's life right at the beginning and seems to be one of life's rarities, a genuinely nice guy,  but we can see right from the word go that there is a little more to him than meets the eye but we're not sure what. The fun of working out what the mystery was with Ben, coupled with the fact that he helps Sophie to put her life back together again made for the middle of the book to be truly enchanting and just as compelling as the beginning of the book. I loved Ben as a character and really hope that some of his wonderful optimism rubbed off on me from reading this. 

The end of the book is really difficult to talk about without giving away any spoilers. Needless to say it is just as compelling as the previous sections of the novel and will definitely have you on the edge of your set. I reached the final few pages in a public place and had the common sense to leave them until I was back in the privacy of a hotel bedroom because you will definitely need tissues for this one and, should you wish to avoid crying in public, I would advice reading the final few chapters on your own or with an affectionate pet to keep you company. 

I loved this book so much more that I thought I would. I've read Dani's previous novels and this is definitely her best yet. If you are looking for a new book to pick up this week, something to take you away from the really world for just under 500 pages then this is definitely something you should be adding to you list right now. You will gasp, you will cry and you will come away from this read valuing life just a little bit more!

To order this new release now, just click here!










Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Review: The Escape by CL Taylor

Look after your daughter's things. And your daughter…"
When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn't. The stranger knows Jo's name, she knows her husband Max and she's got a glove belonging to Jo's two year old daughter Elise.
What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo's own husband turn against her. No one believes that Elise is in danger. 
But Jo knows there's only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.



Review: I was unbelievably excited for this new book from CL Taylor and as such wanted to allow myself time to read as much of this as possible in one sitting. I ended up reading all but the first few pages all at once and I am glad that I did. The storyline of a CL Taylor book is so tense and so gripping that I strongly believe all of her novels are best read in one sitting so that you can fully immerse yourself in the action and get the proper reaction to every moment in the book. That being said, I feel sure that this storyline will sick with you so much when you put the put down that you will absolutely be ready to dive right back into again upon picking it back up. 

One of the reasons I love CL Taylor's Psychological thrillers so much is because they generally have a slightly more domestic setting than other psychological thrillers I have read, meaning that there is a story that I can relate to going on alongside the action. The events take place in a normal household in a normal street or with a normal group of friends and I think because they are so relatable I find them so easy to read. This particular storyline surround a mother and her need to protect her daughter. There are a few issues with her anxiety and a few other issues in her home and work life but aside from that this is essentially what the storyline surrounds. 

I really liked getting to know the character or Jo, we experience the very first moments that this fear grips her, the need to escape is there right from the beginning and so we get to know what Jo is like and how she handles things very quickly. Husband max and their daughter are also in the action right from the word go and then we have the mystery situation for which Jo is trying to escape. I think Jo is like every other mother but also experiences the anxieties that a lot of us experience whether or not we are mothers and so we get  a very clear picture of Jo right from the beginning. 

A lot of this story is set in Bristol, with escapes to other cities which actually exist. The setting means that the story gets under your skin a lot more easily because we can picture the scenes taking place and imagine them happening just down the street from us, in our neighbourhoods and workplaces. I also loved the link with the title and the need for escape in the book. I loved the way the escape was interpreted throughout the story and without giving any spoilers away, I'm sure you will too. 

If you're not usually a psychological thriller fan, as I am not normally, then CL Taylor is a great place to start because her novels are so very easy to relate to but at the same time so compelling. I read this basically in one sitting, just like her previous 3 novels, which speaks for itself really. Her writing and her ability to twist and weave plots and characters just astounds me and I highly recommend picking up her latest novel right now!

To order your copy now, just click here!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: top ten books I read in one sitting 21/3/17



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists over there at The Broke and the Bookish. I'd love to share my lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!


This was an interesting one this week, did I pick short books or amazing books that I've simply not been able to put down? I answered my own question though, by of course chasing a mixture of both. I love a top ten like this and, as always, these are in no particular order!





(This one represents basically all of the Geek Girl Books!)







I Hope I've included a nice mixture of genres and themes there for you. I loved all these books and that's why I read them in one sitting but if you would like a similar list of short books that I really enjoyed then please do let me know in the comments and I'll put one together for you!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Review: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Despite their differences, Erika and Clementine have been best friends since they were children. So when Erika needs help, Clementine should be the obvious person to turn to. Or so you'd think. For Clementine, as a mother of a two desperately trying to practise for the audition of a lifetime, the last thing she needs is Erika asking for something, again. But the barbecue should be the perfect way to forget their problems for a while. Especially when their hosts, Vid and Tiffany, are only too happy to distract them. Which is how it all spirals out of control... 




Review: Ok, full disclosure, this wasn't my favourite Liane Moriarty novel. I absolutely flew through her previous novels, most of which I listened to on audio book, waiting in the car for them to finish or staying up late to hear the end of a particular scene but this book took a while to get going for me. Liane Moriarty's novels are always very character heavy and so it can take a while to understand who is who and how they all relate to each other, but this book seemed to take extra long for that to happen. Once I worked out who all the characters were and what their individual quirks were, it was definitely easier to read/listen to and I really got into the storyline. 

The structure of this book is that there is a neighbourhood BBQ and we know right from the beginning that something happened at this BBQ but we don't really know what or who was involved and so this is where the thriller aspect of this novel, something which is ubiquitous with Liane's writing, really comes in. We have scenes set in present day and we also have flashbacks to the day of the BBQ. I think this may have been slightly easier to follow, had I read the print version of the book and not the audiobook, but sometimes it was hard to adjust back to the current storyline after the BBQ flashback because I had to work out which character's storyline it was. 

The storylines themselves are all very relevant. People having to struggle with being the second wife, with being a working mum. There are story lines dealing with mental health and hording, IVF and pregnancy, and what happens when an elderly neighbour suddenly hasn't been seen. I found all of the plot very interesting and I liked the way it was woven in with this thriller/mystery aspect of what happened at the BBQ, I think the clarity only becomes a little muddy when working out which mummy and daddy were which. 

I found all of the characters easy to read, once I had worked out who was who and for the second half of the book I was definitely rooting for them all. This author has a skill at spending part of the book portraying a character to be a little spoiled, or a bit of an outsider and then turning a corner and making you really sympathise or empathise with them and you really start to love them where you once hated them. I think my favourite character in this book was Erica. I liked her relationship with Oliver, her husband and I really liked the issues that Erica had to deal with. I think all the characters go on a journey over the course of this book, but I liked Erica's the most. 

If you are a Liane Moriarty fan then I definitely think you will enjoy this book. If this is going to be your first foray into this author's work then I would recommend picking up one of her other novels before this one as they are a little more fast paced and better reflection of her awesome writing. Not my favourite Liane Moriarty but I definitely enjoyed it from the half way point onwards!

To get your copy of this novel and see for yourself, just click here!