Blog Tour Review: Grace & Serenity – Annalisa Crawford

Hello everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Grace & Serenity by Annalisa Crawford. I’m excited to be taking part and sharing my views on the book and the topics it covers. Usually, I’d be sharing my weekly update Sunday Summary post a little later today, but that will be going live first thing Monday morning instead.

Before we get into the details of the book and what I made of it, I always like to take the opportunity in this introduction to thank both Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and the author for the chance to take part in the tour!

Now, here are the details of the book –

 

Grace & Serenity – Annalisa Crawford

Goodreads – Grace & Serenity

Living on the streets is terrifying and exhausting. Grace’s only comforts are a steady stream of vodka, and a strange little boy who’s following her around.

At nineteen, Grace has already had a child and endured an abusive marriage. But she’s also had her baby abducted by her vengeful husband and been framed as a neglectful mother. Even her own parents doubted her version of the story. So she did the only thing that made sense to her—run away.

The streets are unforgiving. Winter is drawing in. And Grace isn’t prepared for the harsh realities of survival. At her very bleakest, a Good Samaritan swoops into her life and rescues her. With a roof over her head and food in her stomach, she longs to see her baby again.

But nothing ever comes for free.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

It’s hard to imagine the struggles the young girlish version of Grace we see at the beginning of the book will go through.

One of the biggest flags for how well a character is written is how much I get emotionally involved with them. Within the first few pages, we see Grace’s planned-out life spiralling out of her grasp and into trouble. A lot of the struggles she goes through throughout the book aren’t her fault and as a reader, my heart went out to her. I wanted to help her get out of the difficult situation she found herself in, just as you would if you met this person in real life.

Another character, Neil, made my blood boil. I can think of plenty of names for this “man”, but for the sake of keeping this review PG, I won’t mention them. Even just the mention of him riled me up. From the very beginning, his controlling nature is apparent, but Grace doesn’t see his true colours until it’s too late.

Many tricky subjects are covered in the book. Domestic abuse is one of the most prominent ones, but I also suspect Grace experiences postnatal depression. It isn’t really made a point of in the book, but there are some symptoms hinted at in the narrative. It just goes to show how easily it can go undetected.

I found the structure of the book to be really easy to read. The short chapters make the text digestible and it’s easy to justify the ‘one more chapter’ before bed. It was never just one more in my case… trust me! The action moves at a compelling yet steady pace, which keeps the narrative moving along nicely.

As the book is written from the perspective of Grace we experience her life in detail. Interwoven with all the action are her intimate thoughts and feelings. It’s really easy to find yourself in her shoes and understand her position. The delicate balance of character development and action means that there is no compromise on either side; Grace & Serenity has an enjoyable, detailed storyline and strong character development.

I really enjoyed this dark contemporary novel and it has been a pleasure to share my thoughts with you for the blog tour! If you want to find out more, please check out the listings on Amazon and/or the posts of other bloggers who have also taken part in the tour.

 

Author Bio

Annalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall UK, with a good supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, two sons, and dog.

Crawford writes dark contemporary, character-driven stories, with a hint of the paranormal.

Over the years, she has won several competitions, and had many short stories published in small press journals and online. Highlights include being placed 3rd in the Costa Short Story Award 2015 and being longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and Bath Short Story Award in 2018.

 

Social Media Links –

Website: https://www.annalisacrawford.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/annalisacrawford.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnalisaCrawf

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annalisa_crawford/

 

Shelf Control – 10/07/2020

Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

In today’s post, I am featuring yet another classic novel that I really want to read. I know for a fact that other classes in my year at school studied this book, and I was always curious about it and why each class had different material.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Goodreads – Lord of the Flies

At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate; this far from civilization the boys can do anything they want. Anything. They attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin and evil. And as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies is perhaps our most memorable novel about “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”

 

My Thoughts…

I think Lord of the Flies will be a really interesting read. In just about everything there are rules, expectations of how to conduct yourself and behave. It’s drilled into us from childhood – from being polite and using your manners to society as a whole, there are a lot of conventions. Take that all away though, and what would happen?

Although I know the book was studied I don’t actually know it that well. I have no idea of the story or how events play out (although I can guess from the synopsis, not too well). It’s a relatively short read at just over 180 pages, so quite approachable. It also has good reviews from a number of my friends on Goodreads, so I’m pretty confident I’ll enjoy it!

Have you read Lord of the Flies? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By

Hey guys – welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday post! It has been a little while since I posted one of these and I liked the look of this week’s topic. If you want to check out the schedule of topics, they can be found on the host’s blog at http://www.thatartsyreadergirl.com/top-ten-tuesday/.

The best book recommendations are the books you have read yourself. It’s fair and well recommending a book you have heard of based on its genre, for example, but it’s not the same as a recommendation based on your own experience of it. If I’m asked for recommendations I will always try to suggest something I have read personally. If you ask me for a romance recommendation, then you’re out of luck. Otherwise, I’m sure I’ve read something that may be of interest.

The best recommendations when it comes to authors, in my book, are for authors that you go back to again and again. There are a number of fantastic authors I don’t get to feature here as we are purely talking numbers. These top ten authors are the ones I have read the most books by. I had a good idea of who the frontrunners were going to be when I picked the topic, but others towards the end of the list were a bit less prominent in my mind. Would you like to find out who my top ten are?

 

Terry Pratchett – 18 Books

I have a bit of a confession. Sir Terry had actually slipped my mind when I was having a casual think about my list. He is the frontrunner by far with my reading his Discworld books. How I could forget about him is beyond me!

I like the Discworld series for the variety of characters, and that whilst the storylines have different themes and topics, there is plenty of diversity. The characters do tend to pop up again as well. I doubt any of them could avoid mischief if they tried!

In addition to the Discworld series, I also tried Good Omens, a collaboration between Terry and Neil Gaiman. I didn’t really get on with that book though. If I’m honest, I think its Neil Gaiman’s twist on the tale. Terry’s humour was there, but I wish there was more of it.

 

Brandon Sanderson – 8 Books

Brandon Sanderson was the first name that popped into my head for this topic. It’s only fair really considering I’ve read three of his books this year alone.

The thing I love most about Brandon Sanderson is that you find all the great qualities of his writing in all his books and across vastly different series. The main one I have read is the Mistborn series, but I have also started The Stormlight Archives and I read Elantris last year. His writing is consistently good across all the books I have read so far. I also have many more on the TBR, which is testament to how highly I rate him as an author.

 

George R. R. Martin – 8 Books

George R. R. Martin was also bound to be high up on the list. The current count stands at 8 books – I have read all the books of his A Song of Ice and Fire series (more than once!) and a collection of short stories called Dreamsongs. I also have Fire & Blood on my shelves to pick up… and maybe I’ll even pick up some other GoT related books whilst I’m waiting for the next book in the series.

Whilst he isn’t the frontrunner on my top ten list, he is by far my favourite!

 

J. K. Rowling – 7 Books

J. K. Rowling is a standout inclusion on the list. No prizes for guessing that she features on the list as I have read all the Harry Potter books. What makes her the most unusual author on this list is that I haven’t read any of her books for a long time. I’ve picked all the others up a lot more recently. I’m trying to think back and honestly, I can’t remember how old I was when I finished this series. I was definitely a teenager and still in school. I can even remember the summer holiday we were on when I read it, but not the year. It’s a long time ago anyway.

I am seriously considering a re-read of these books, perhaps next year. I really enjoyed these growing up, but I wonder if I’ll read them differently now I’m older and know the story. Are there details I missed?

 

K. J. McGillick – 7 Books

 

I hadn’t realised I had read so many of K. J. McGillick’s books now, so this was a little bit of a surprise to me. I’ve taken part in the blog tours for all the books I’ve read and every book has been consistently good. As a lesser-known name than some of the others I’m featuring in this list, I’d like to take the opportunity to give her a shout out and recommend you to read her books. If you are a fan of thrillers, please check them out!

 

Stephen King – 6 Books

Stephen King was another name I was certain would be on today’s list. I’ve read a bit of a mix of his books and I have plenty more on the TBR. I originally read The Green Mile, which is one of my favourite books of all time. From there I tried The Gunslinger, the first book in his The Dark Tower series. As a blend with fantasy, it was the perfect book to read to try more of his works. I fell in love with his writing style and shortly after read my first horror novel, Pet Sematary. That was shortly followed by IT.

I plan on reading a lot more of his books. Again, Stephen King is a fantastically diverse author and I enjoy reading his completely different stories. I have some iconic books like Carrie and The Shining to read yet…

 

Laini Taylor – 5 Books

I’m glad Laini Taylor made the top ten because I always enjoy talking about her books. I bought a copy of Strange the Dreamer having heard fantastic reviews and let me say, I’m so glad I did! I remember I picked up the book on a whim one day – I must have been having a slow time with my current read at the time. It wasn’t on my reading list, and yet I read it from cover to cover in a matter of days! I was hooked from the beginning and so excited for Muse of Nightmares that I pre-ordered a copy. I don’t pre-order books that often so the fact that I did should say a lot!

More recently I have fallen in love with her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. You can find many posts on those on my blog so I won’t waffle about them here. I haven’t got any other books of hers on the TBR, but I’ll be watching closely for any new releases in case they catch my eye.

 

Jennifer Macaire – 5 Books

Jennifer Macaire was another surprise name on the list. To date, I have read four books from her The Time for Alexander series and another novel set in a different time period but linked to that series. I am always trying to broaden the topics and time periods featured in the historical fiction novels I read, although I will always have firm favourites as well. The Time for Alexander was a completely new setting for me and really fun to read.

Again as a lesser-known name, this is a shout out for historical fiction fans to check her out!

 

Terry Goodkind – 4 Books

Having gone through my read list, I had a few authors floating around the 4 books mark. It was a little difficult to choose who to feature at this point, but I felt it only fair to include Terry Goodkind. I discovered his Sword of Truth series in my high school library and I read the first few books whilst I was there.

Years later I picked up the fifth book of the series, Soul of the Fire, although since it had been such a long time since reading the previous books I struggled and eventually DNF’d it. I think I would like to try and get back into it again and finish the series – but it’s a long one!

 

Bernard Cornwell – 4 Books

For the same reason as Terry Goodkind, I included Bernard Cornwell on the list over other authors I have also read four books by because I am reading a fifth at the moment. I started The Burning Land, the fifth book in his Saxon Stories series just a couple of weeks ago and it’s on this month’s TBR.

So, there’s my top ten list! Have you read any books by these authors? Are any your favourite? Let me know in the comments?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 5th July 2020

Hi guys and welcome back to another weekly update! I hope you are all keeping well?

My blogging week didn’t start until Wednesday evening. You may recall from last week’s Sunday Summary post that I mentioned I had an exam coming up. Well, that took place on Wednesday morning and good news – I passed! My absenteeism from blogging up until that point in lieu of studying paid off, so it was all worth it. Since it was the beginning of a new month, it felt right to share this month’s planned reading list. It’s a little more ambitious since I have some more free time (but also because I have a little catching up to do from last month).

On Friday I shared another First Lines Friday post, with this week’s featured novel being a five-star rated read. I enjoyed the challenge of setting criteria for the book to be featured. It gave me a narrower pool to search in and made finding this week’s historical fiction novel feel more selective as opposed to random. I might try and do that more often in future posts.

 

Books Read

From midweek I have had more time for reading and other hobbies, projects etc as I sat the exam I have been talking about in recent posts on Wednesday morning. I left off reading both Chimeborn by Daniel Curry and The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell. This week I have picked up and finished the first of those two reads, but not really picked up on the second. I started Chimeborn first and only really picked up The Burning Land last week as a break. Although I am far from Chimeborn’s target audience, I still really enjoyed reading it! The book had a couple of themes I wasn’t expecting to be included but did and I really liked that about it. For the target audience, it definitely has an educational aspect that I’m glad is featured.

As I have a couple of blog tours coming up over the next couple of weeks, I don’t expect to pick The Burning Land up again until those books are read. I might read the odd chapter here and there, but it’s temporarily on hold until later this month.

Another book I have made progress with this week is Whispers Underground. Since I have been studying I haven’t really had time for audiobooks, but I enjoyed listening to this again. I’ve started another crochet blanket for the lounge (to avoid getting more blue hair dye on the back of my sofa!) and the two hobbies go together really well. I’m roughly 40% through as of this week, and since I have next week off doing bits around the house I think I’ll be listening to a lot more as I’m working.

 

Books Discovered

Again, nothing to add here this week. I did walk past a bookshop today for the first time in months. I was restrained and didn’t go in though – promise!

 

Coming Up…

I want to start off next week with a Top Ten Tuesday post. My last one was shared at the end of May, so it has been a little while since I’ve done one of these. This week’s scheduled theme is ‘Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By’, and I think that will be a fun post. I can already think of who the front runners are going to be, but it’ll be interesting to see who else makes the list!

Friday’s regular feature is another Shelf Control post. This week’s featured book is another classic added during my spree in June 2017 – yes, over three years ago now!

Next week’s Sunday Summary post will be shared slightly later as I have a blog tour post going live. I’ll be sharing a review of my next read, Grace & Serenity, so I hope you can check-in for that. My Sunday Summary post will be going live at 00:01 on Monday morning instead. It’s only a couple of hours delay compared to normal really.

There you have it – you are all caught up with my week! What have you been reading?

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 03/07/2020

In my recent Sunday Summary post, I set myself a theme for today’s First Lines Friday post. I didn’t really know what book or genre I wanted to share, but I wanted to set some criteria so my selection of book was less random than usual. In the end, I settled on choosing a book that I have read and rated five stars.

I spent a long time last night flicking through a number of highly-rated reads and finally settled on today’s selection. It’s a historical fiction novel I read in 2018 and if I remember correctly, I read this in two sittings over two days. It is really easy to read and I was surprised to learn it was written for a younger audience than I expected considering the subject matter. Have you any idea what it might be from the hints? If not, perhaps the opening lines might give it away…

 

One afternoon, when Bruno came home from school, he was surprised to find Maria, the family’s maid – who always kept her head bowed and never looked up from the carpet – standing in his bedroom, pulling all his belongings out of the wardrobe and packing them in four large wooden crates, even the things he’d hidden at the back that belonged to him and were nobody else’s business.

‘What are you doing?’ he asked in as polite a tone as he could muster, for although he wasn’t happy to come home to find someone going through his possessions, his mother had always told him that he was to treat Maria respectfully and not just imitate the way Father spoke to her. ‘You take your hands off my things.’

Maria shook her head and pointed towards the staircase behind him, where Bruno’s mother had just appeared.

 

Intrigued to find out what the book I am featuring this week is?

 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne

Goodreads – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The story of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some clues about the book on the back cover, but in this case we think that would spoil the reading of the book. We think it is important that you start to read without knowing what it is about.

If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. (Though this isn’t a book for nine-year-olds.)  And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.

Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to encounter such a fence.

 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is such an iconic story that I think everyone has an idea of what it’s about, even if you haven’t read the book or watched a film based on it. I went into this book with a vague idea of the story, but reading it for myself was a completely different experience. It’s one of the few books that have made me really cry at the end. Despite the emotional aspect of the story, I absolutely recommend it to anyone and everyone. It offers a child’s innocent and completely different perspective to an awful event.

Have you read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas? Let me know what you think of the story in the comments!

 

 

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Reading List – July 2020

I can’t believe I am writing yet another reading list post. Where is the year going? Don’t get me wrong, with this year’s track record it’s not a bad thing, but still! We’re now over halfway through the year, and I’m definitely not half-way through my reading challenges. Oh well, maybe that’s a discussion for another post, but I’m not beating myself up over it.

For now though, shall we jump into the next few books I am planning to read over the next month?

 

Chimeborn – Daniel Curry

Goodreads – Chimeborn

Welcome to Whitby, the quaint, magical town on the sea. Its ruined Abbey watches over from the East Cliff, broken and long since abandoned. However a magic within watches over Darcy Colben and his friends – the Chimeborn.

Born in the witching hour of midnight and gifted with magical sight, Chimeborn can see the Abbey for what it really is. A centuries old academy for their kind, and home to the Council of Chime. The power of Saint Hilda still resides in Whitby and this power has been shattered among the modern Chimeborn. A battle brews for control of the ancient magic, and sides will need to be chosen by all.

Ideal for strong young readers, and an enjoyable story up to young adult, this tale of power and growing up will leave you desperate to explore the shores of the north-east of England and find the magic for yourself.

 

I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting to carry this book forward to this month, but here we are. I had to cut back a lot of my jobs around the house, as well as hobbies in order to study for an exam. As it happens, I actually sat that exam this morning and the hard work paid off, so it was worth it! I still have around two-thirds of the book to finish, but that equates to a couple of hours reading time, so not a huge thing.

 

The Burning Land – Bernard Cornwell

Goodreads – The Burning Land

The enemy is massing on the borders, a united force for once.

The king, a man of many victories, is in failing health, and his heir is an untested youth.

Uthred, the king’s champion, leads his country’s forces to war, but his victory is soured by personal tragedy and by the envy of the king’s court. So he breaks with the king and takes off for the land of his birth, determined to resist all calls for his return. That is, until one unexpected request…

This is the making of England brought magnificently to life by the master of historical fiction.

 

Despite not finishing Chimeborn, I did actually start The Burning Land – the last book on last month’s TBR. I was confident this was going to be a carryover when I wrote last month’s TBR, so its reappearance isn’t a surprise.

A few nights ago I did allow myself a break from studying to have a ‘fun’ read before bed, but I was in the mood to start this book. I’ve read the first few chapters, so I’m 7% of the way through at the moment. I’m optimistic I will get to finish it this month!

 

Grace & Serenity – Annalisa Crawford

Goodreads – Grace & Serenity

Living on the streets is terrifying and exhausting. Grace’s only comforts are a steady stream of vodka, and a strange little boy who’s following her around.

At nineteen, Grace has already had a child and endured an abusive marriage. But she’s also had her baby abducted by her vengeful husband and been framed as a neglectful mother. Even her own parents doubted her version of the story. So she did the only thing that made sense to her—run away.

The streets are unforgiving. Winter is drawing in. And Grace isn’t prepared for the harsh realities of survival. At her very bleakest, a Good Samaritan swoops into her life and rescues her. With a roof over her head and food in her stomach, she longs to see her baby again.

But nothing ever comes for free.

 

I was really glad to be invited onto the blog tour for this book because doesn’t it sound so sinister?! I’m intrigued to read more and find out what it’s all about! I recently read another novel with a strong theme of abuse and it was written really well. I hope this is just as good, because if so, I am bound to enjoy it!

 

The Dead Tell Lies – J  R Kirwan

Greg Adams, a criminal psychologist at Scotland Yard, specialises in bringing serial killers to justice. He tracks down a spree serial killer nicknamed the Divine, who has already killed six teenage girls and is about to kill a seventh. Greg works out the location where he is hiding and joins a raid. The police capture the Divine and save the girl, but on the very same night, Greg’s wife is brutally murdered by another serial killer, known as the Dreamer.

A year later, unable to bring the killer to justice, Greg has quit his job and is ready to end it all, when he receives a phone call from a man who tells him the Dreamer is dead, and that he didn’t kill Greg’s wife, Kate.

Greg returns to Scotland Yard to work for Superintendent Chief Detective Donaldson in the hope he can re-examine the case with the help of two new detectives, Finch and Matthews.

As Greg delves into the case further, he becomes more convinced that the Dreamer wasn’t the man responsible for his wife’s murder.

​But if it wasn’t the Dreamer, who was it?

In order to solve the mystery around his wife’s murder, Greg is going to have to delve even deeper into the mind of a terrifying psychopath. And this time he might not make it back in one piece…

 

It has been a little while since I’ve read a crime thriller, so I’m looking forward to taking part in this publication blog tour. I’m a sucker for a psychology element to a novel! More details about the book are being published closer to the publication date, including the cover. So, I can’t share that with you right now, hence the placeholder image. Sorry guys!

 

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

Goodreads – Sleeping Giants

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

 

I’m going to try my best to get to this last book on the TBR, but as with The Burning Land in last month’s reading list – if I manage to start it I’ll be happy. In theory, I do have a bit more free time coming up so there isn’t any reason why I wouldn’t get round to this. I picked Sleeping Giants as the genre varies from the books already on the TBR, but also as it will count towards the Beat the Backlist challenge I am taking part in this year. I’ll admit, I’ve written off completing it, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up on it entirely!

Have you read any of the books on this month’s reading list? What are you reading?

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 28th June 2020

Hey guys! Another week is over and it’s time to update you with another Sunday Summary post. As always, I hope you have had a good week?

Before jumping into what I’ve been doing this week, you may have noticed my blog artwork has changed slightly. Yes, I dyed my hair blue last weekend! As you’ll see below, last Sunday night was a bit hectic so I didn’t have time to change my artwork then. However, I’ll be updating it going forward. If you haven’t seen the picture I shared over on my Instagram and Facebook accounts… here it is!

I started this week’s blogging schedule early with a blog tour review of Never Ever Tell by Kirsty Ferguson. This post was scheduled last Sunday after publishing my Sunday Summary post, so it was a busy night! I then had a few days off before drafting and publishing my regular Friday feature Shelf Control post. The book I featured this week is a classic novel by an American author. I read another of his books during school, and in classic fashion with me, I hated it at first but came to love it later.

 

Books Read

I left off last week with around half an hour’s reading time of Never Ever Tell left to go. Naturally, I finished this after last week’s post so I could write my review. It feels kind of cheaty including it, but technically it is progress I’ve made since last week so I’m including it here.

I also started a children’s fiction novel called Chimeborn by Daniel Curry. I read and reviewed another book of his called The Kitsune and the Lantern a good while ago now. Since I really enjoyed that, I was glad when Daniel approached me and asked if I was willing to review this new book. I’ve made a solid start to this book, but as I have been saying a lot lately, other things have taken priority. I have mentioned a few times that I am studying for work and a good deal of my free time has gone towards that. Also… I watched an epic thunderstorm on Thursday night. We don’t get them very often, so I have no regrets!

 

Books Discovered

The advantage of keeping busy is that I’m not discovering new books to add to the TBR. Despite the fact that I read a lot, the list doesn’t seem to be going down…

Admittedly, I have fallen off the wagon in terms of reading other blogs (my main source of discovering new books) lately. I am going to try and get back to it again. I need to make a habit of it really.

 

Coming Up…

So, as I’ve mentioned, I have been studying a lot this week. That’s because the imminent exam I have coming up is next week. With that in mind, I think my first post next week will be published on Wednesday evening. By then my exam will be done and I can start prioritising other things again! Since it is the 1st July on Wednesday, it only seems fitting to share my planned reading list for the month.

Friday’s post will be another First Lines Friday feature. As yet I haven’t decided what book I’ll be featuring next week, but I think I am going to try and set a theme. It’s a little more fun that way rather than it just being random. With that in mind, this week’s book is going to be a five-star rated read.

 

So, that’s all from me this week! Sorry it’s not a longer update. What have you been reading this week?

 

 

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Shelf Control #21 – 26/06/2020

Today’s Shelf Control features yet another book on my TBR because I think we’ve ascertained I have no s(h)elf control when it comes to books! Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

In today’s post, I am featuring yet another classic novel that I want to read. The author of this classic isn’t new to me, so I’m confident I’ll be able to read and enjoy it. This was just one of the books I added to my list in a classics blitz – I decided one day that I should make an effort to read more and so added a bunch to the TBR all at once.

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

Goodreads – The Grapes of Wrath

The Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression, a book that galvanized—and sometimes outraged—millions of readers.

First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads—driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into Haves and Have-Nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision, elemental yet plainspoken, tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.

 

My Thoughts…

If you’d asked me if I would ever pick up another book by John Steinbeck after I initially read Of Mice and Men, I would have answered no. I hated Of Mice and Men to start with. It was boring, depressing and it was a book I had to study for school. There is something about having to write essays about books… or micro-analyse them that sucks the joy out of reading. That’s why I disliked this first book so much.

I did actually read it again in 2017 and my attitude towards it was completely different. I had struggled to get on with this for my GCSE’s, but I read it within a couple of hours. And I enjoyed it! My newfound appreciation for Of Mice and Men is the driving force behind wanting to try The Grapes of Wrath. It’s also a classic, but I feel it will have the same vibe as Of Mice and Men and cover a period of history that is of interest to me – the Great Depression.

Have you read The Grapes of Wrath? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: Never Ever Tell – Kirsty Ferguson

Hi guys and welcome to today’s blog tour post for Never Ever Tell by Kirsty Ferguson. I very kindly received a copy of this book in exchange for a review. As always, I like to take the opportunity to thank both the author and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and inviting me to take part!

Just a quick word before I begin my review to make readers aware that this book includes a number of sensitive and potentially upsetting topics, including domestic abuse, rape and suicide. If you aren’t comfortable with this, please take this as a fair warning so you can stop reading now.

 

Never Ever Tell – Kirsty Ferguson

Goodreads – Never Ever Tell

She’d do anything for her boy…

Vanessa Sawyer knows all about pain. She’s felt it every day since marrying the boy who fathered her baby in high school. All he’s meant are broken bones, broken heart and broken dreams.  But he also brought her the love of her life. When her son Wren was born, her baby boy was her salvation.

Vanessa watches Wren grow and become a young man she can be proud of. Until one night everything changes, including Wren. One night that her son refuses to speak of. Now Vanessa can’t rest, not until she uncovers the secret that her son has been hiding from her.

Will she find the answers she’s searching for or will her quest for the truth take her to a dark place where all hope is lost?

One evil act. One tragedy. Lives destroyed forever.

Page-turning, heart-pounding and unforgettable, Kirsty Ferguson has written the perfect novel for all fans of B. A. Paris and Adele Parks.

 

Purchase Link – Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

Never Ever Tell is a gripping thriller that makes you question everything about the people you think you know. The story is told predominantly from the viewpoint of Vanessa Sawyer, a woman who has been to hell and back throughout her lifetime, yet always tried to do her best by her children to give them a better life than she had.

As characters go, Vanessa has to be one of the most three dimensional, well-developed characters I have ever come across. A lot of time is invested into Vanessa’s history, which all has relevance to the story. From being taken advantage of as a young girl to becoming a mother, your heart goes out to Vanessa for all she has suffered. She is downtrodden, blamed for everything that happens and subjected to abuse from friends and family alike. Her only salvation is her children, particularly her eldest, Wren.

Yet when Wren, her beautiful, open, honest boy – her best friend – starts keeping a secret, Vanessa becomes obsessed with discovering the truth. Her obsession takes over and she neglects everything else. Honestly, I became frustrated with her and her complete lack of empathy for what impact her behaviour was having on others. Vanessa’s fallibility makes her a very realistic character and enjoyable to read… even if you want to shake her to make her see what she’s doing!

The events of the synopsis of Never Ever Tell take part in the second part of the book. Around 50% of the narrative is dedicated to the back story that plays a pivotal part in the devastating events that transpire. I love a lot of detail in character’s back story, but I will be honest and say I wasn’t sure at one point if there was a bit too much background compared to the action in the novel. It was still entertaining to read, so of course, I carried on. It was all worth it! I’m not going to spoil anything, but it all becomes relevant later on in the explosive ending.

And man, that conclusion I did not see coming at all! It made the book for me. I love thrillers that throw you a complete curveball and make you think back to see if you should have spotted the clues to the end sooner. This book definitely made me do that, although I don’t think I would have ever anticipated that ending!

 

Author Bio –

Kirsty Ferguson is a born and bred Australian. She writes crimes and mystery novels. Her stories center around strong women and dark themes that are topical and relevant to today. Kirsty chooses to deconstruct and enthrall her readers with the secrets of any everyday person behind closed doors. She has long been a lover or writing and reading, creating stories from a young age

Social Media Links –
https://www.kirstyferguson.com

https://twitter.com/kfergusonauthor

https://www.instagram.com/kirstyfergusonauthor/

https://www.facebook.com/authorkirstyferguson

 

 

Sunday Summary – 21st June 2020

Good evening everyone and welcome back to my weekly update post. I hope you have all had a good week and a good weekend celebrating Father’s Day? I was fortunate enough to be able to spend mine with my dad, and although we didn’t do too much, it was lovely to spend the time together.

I’ve kept the blog content pretty light this week as I have been busy with a few other things. I’ve finally got the thumbs up that the exam I had scheduled for next month is going ahead, so I’ve been studying a little more than usual. That said, I did publish a couple of posts this week. On Tuesday I shared the Stay at Home Book Tag. It has been ages since I’ve done a post like that and it was good fun! Friday’s regular First Lines Friday feature post shared the opening lines to a book I have on my TBR. I bought this book after reading the author’s debut novel. I was so impressed with it and I’m hopeful this will also live up to expectation.

 

Books Read

This week’s reading progress has been pretty good. In addition to studying, I managed to finish reading part 2 of A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin. That also means I’ve finally finished my re-read of the series! I started at the end of 2018 as I wanted to read them again before the next book, The Winds of Winter comes out. There is still no publication date for that yet, so it’s a good job I didn’t rush! I’ll probably be able to read them all again before it comes out. That’s not a complaint, don’t get me wrong. I would much rather GRRM took his time to get it right rather than rush it…

My second read this week was Never Ever Tell by Kirsty Ferguson. I am taking part in a blog tour tomorrow, and as at writing this post, I have half an hour’s reading time left. So, I have a busy night tonight! Once this post has gone live, I need to finish that and then write my review of the book ready to go live in the morning.

I haven’t really listened to much of Whispers Underground this week. Maybe half an hour at most.

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been *good* this week and I haven’t bought or added any books to the TBR this week. I’ve just spent my money on everything else instead…

 

Coming Up…

I’ve already given you a big lead as to what is coming up next week. My first post of the week is going live first thing in the morning. It has been a little while since I shared a blog tour post, so I’m looking forward to getting back into it. I’m not signing up for as many tours as I had previously, but I still enjoy doing them. Tomorrow’s post is a review of Never Ever Tell by Kirsty Ferguson.

My next post will be a Friday feature as I need some focused time on studying. Next week’s post is a Shelf Control post, so I’ll be looking at the next book on my TBR and discussing what I like about it and why I want to read it. I hope you can join me for that!

As always, I’ll wrap up the week with another Sunday Summary post!

I’ll wrap things up here as I still have a bit of reading to do and another post to write tonight! What have you been reading this week?

 

 

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