Month: February 2019

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Book Review: A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

How does anyone even begin to write a review of the first book in such a popular series? I have read A Game of Thrones no less than three times now, so I am as best equipped as I am going to be!

Goodreads – A Game of Thrones

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

Goodreads

My Thoughts…

There is a perfect balance of diplomacy and war, court intrigue and scandal; politics and religion and conflict and magic. It has all the elements of great fantasy novels, brilliantly written and interwoven to create the driving force behind the tale towards its yet-unknown conclusion.

I can come back to this book again and again and never be bored, and that owes to the sheer depth of the narrative. One of my favourite elements of A Game of Thrones is that there are many clear, distinct chapters from a wide range of characters. As much as I say this, it was the character-neutral prologue and the chilling, deathly magic of the Others that sold A Game of Thrones to me all those years ago.

It would be a failure on my part not to acknowledge the rich history of the fantasy world. Before the series has even been concluded, there are a number of books which delve only into the history of the world without touching on ‘current affairs’. With other book series, I have gotten the sense that background detail and setting builds and becomes more sophisticated as it develops. These pale by comparison to A Game of Thrones. From the get-go, the background context of each place, family (past and present, major and minor), events and magical races have already been developed and in existence long before the first words were committed to paper.

It is as if the lands of Essos and Westeros have not been conjured out of the mind of a literary genius… but rather that they have always been there, just waiting to be discovered.

I can’t say I would ever care to visit though…

As rich in detail as the books are, I didn’t find the descriptions or contextual details overwhelming. Each and every one of these books is substantial, so there is no need to rush in providing the detail. In reality, there is so much detail that even the most die-hard Game of Thrones fans would struggle to remember them all to a letter. Often, contextual details are cleverly repeated in a way that refreshes the reader without making the narrative clunky or repetitive. Without these references, it would be easy for anyone to get lost.

I am in a position in which I can look back on the first book of the series, having read them all to date; in fact, I have recently begun a re-read of A Storm of Swords, book three of the series. By comparison, this first book is ‘simpler’ than the rest. I would argue that a lot of the character interactions and their consequences are yet to develop. In this sense, the book makes for an ideal introduction to the start of the epic conflict of the five kings (and one queen).

The perspectives we live this magical tale through are an experience in themselves. The characters and their take on the world are completely unique to one another. What impresses me the most, the variety of the characters that George R. R. Martin successfully navigates around the chessboard of life coming a close second, is how consistent the characters are. They are all shaped by the influences of their family, their history and own personal experiences. Juggling so many characters, you would think it very easy for the lines to blur between them. I would like to suggest that at this stage I know many of the characters almost as well as my own sister. I haven’t ever identified an inconsistency in them. Ever. That, my friends, is bloody amazing!

To top it all off.. dragons! Need I say more?

The Song of Ice and Fire novels are truly an experience to be had… so get out there! Watch the show or read the books, whichever your preference. To those that stay away from it because of the hype and fandom, don’t avoid it because it’s too ‘mainstream’ and because not gushing over it makes you ‘cool’. It’s popular for a reason; you are the ones missing out.

I feel like I have barely scratched the surface… and yet to continue I would find myself prattling nonsense, or repeating myself. For someone who didn’t even know how to begin, I haven’t done too badly!

Words cannot truly express just how much I love this book and the remainder of the series. The only way to know whether you will enjoy it or not is to try for yourself.

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 24th February 2019

Happy Sunday folks! How has your reading week been?

Mine has been reasonable, although I have had a few bits and pieces to take care of here at home as well. Last weekend I re-painted my bedroom in anticipation for some new furniture arriving on Friday. I am glad I did – there is no way on this Earth I can move the new wardrobe, but I am very impressed with how it looks!

As a consequence of the upheaval from re-decorating and changing furniture, I spent a fair bit of time just getting the place back in order this week. I was off work on Friday and managed to get a fair bit of reading done, but not as much as I would have liked. After the new wardrobe arrived I had to tidy up, “move in” and inevitably had a bit more of a clear out.

In addition to the promised Down the TBR Hole post, I also told you that I was going to be publishing a review of A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. Unfortunately, due to the above and currently completing a proofread, I didn’t get around to that review. Apologies!

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Books Read

The majority of this week has been dedicated to reading (and proofreading) Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares by Shaun Hume. I have enjoyed putting the time into this book this week and have jumped from 10% to 73%. I am hoping to finish this within the next few days and offer my feedback to the author shortly!

In addition to Ewan Pendle’s adventures, I have been interspersing my reading of that book with a few more chapters of A Storm of Swords. 13% doesn’t sound like much, but it is well over a hundred pages of this epic tome. I’m happy to just keep chipping away at this one in between current reads at the moment. It’s going to take a while to read…

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Books Discovered

Technically I don’t have ownership of this book yet, but yesterday I ordered myself a practical book. Following my recent proofreading experience, I have taken a bit of an interest in the job and would like to learn a little more about it. If it’s feasible, I might consider proofreading or copyediting freelance in addition to my day job. So, I’ve ordered Copyediting and Proofreading for DUMMIES by Suzanne Gilad.

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Coming Up…

To make good on my promise last week, I’ll be posting my review of A Game of Thrones in the next few days. It is only fair after all. How I am even going to begin such a mammoth task is, for the moment, beyond me. I’ll find a way. I always do.

Before we know it, February has been and gone and it’s time for a new reading list. I am taking part in three Blog Tours in March and I cannot wait to share the details with you! My post will be going live on Friday.

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Top Blog Posts of the Week

I’m a terrible person and I’ll be the first to admit it here, but I haven’t read any other blogs this week AT ALL!! Such a slacker, I know! I’m sorry folks… I’ll be back on it next week!

If you have some really awesome links you would like me to read in the meantime, you are more than welcome to share them below! Pretty please 🙂

down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #18

Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Let’s review the next five books on my list!

 

No Ordinary Girl – Cheryl Elaine

Goodreads – No Ordinary Girl

What started out as a night of celebration for Aimee soon turned into a nightmare. Snatched by cruel, sadistic monsters – the worst creatures mankind has ever produced – she’s thrown into a metal container, among other victims too frightened to make a single sound.

The game-keepers force everyone to play. They deliver torment and pain in equal measure. Every hunter has their own agenda and reasons to maim and torture.

Detective Johnson is one step away from catching the killers. Wrestling with his instincts as a father to serve justice his own way, this is no ordinary case for him. Can he stop the vile sadists before they damage more young girls, as well as his own daughter?

Aimee’s ordeal within the compound brings her to the conclusion that she’s no ordinary girl. But can she hang onto her sanity long enough to escape? And will she find a different way to play?

This crime thriller will keep you riveted. It’s no ordinary story.

 

I’m finally getting around to books that I’ve added within the past year(ish)! Hooray!

I added this book to my list having read a really good review of it. Having reminded myself of the synopsis, it’s staying. It sounds morbidly creepy and equally interesting…

Verdict: Keep

 

A King Ensnared: A Historical Novel of Scotland – J. R. Tomlin

Goodreads – A King Ensnared

On the dangerous stage of medieval Scotland, one man–in an English dungeon–stands between the Scots and anarchy.

Robert III, King of the Scots, is dead, and Scotland in 1406 is balanced on a knife’s edge. As he eyes the throne, King Robert’s ruthless half-brother, the Duke of Albany, has already murdered one prince and readies to kill young James Stewart, prince and heir to the crown.

James flees Scotland and his murderous uncle. Captured and imprisoned by the English, he grows to be a man of contradictions, a poet yet a knight, a dreamer yet fiercely driven. Hardened by his years in the Tower of London and haunted by his brother’s brutal murder, James is determined to find some way to recover his crown and end his uncle’s misrule. But the only way may be to betray Scotland and everything he believes in.

 

You know me and my historical novels. Where would I be without them? I am trying to make an effort to read more local history, so to speak, so this is perfect. Im pretty sure I bought a copy of the book straight away, having seen it on Bookbub. It will be my first read from this author, so it will be interesting to see how I get on with it…

Verdict: Keep

 

The Mountain Between Us – Charles Martin

Goodreads – The Mountain Between Us

When a blizzard strands them in Salt Lake City, two strangers agree to charter a plane together, hoping to return home; Ben Payne is a gifted surgeon returning from a conference, and Ashley Knox, a magazine writer, is en route to her wedding. But when unthinkable tragedy strikes, the pair find themselves stranded in Utah’s most remote wilderness in the dead of winter, badly injured and miles from civilization. Without food or shelter, and only Ben’s mountain climbing gear to protect themselves, Ashley and Ben’s chances for survival look bleak, but their reliance on each other sparks an immediate connection, which soon evolves into something more.

Days in the mountains become weeks, as their hope for rescue dwindles. How will they make it out of the wilderness and if they do, how will this experience change them forever? Heart-wrenching and unputdownable, The Mountain Between Us will reaffirm your belief in the power of love to sustain us.

 

I’m going to be totally honest. I discovered this book courtesy of a review by another blogger. As well as referencing the book, they discussed the film released, starring Idris Elba. That is 100% the reason I added this book. Bad, right?

Truthfully I think I’ll enjoy this type of storyline more if I watch the film rather than read the book. If not, at least there is eye candy! Haha!

Verdict: Go

 

The Litigators – John Grisham

Goodreads – The Litigators

The partners at Finley & Figg—all two of them—often refer to themselves as “a boutique law firm.” Boutique, as in chic, selective, and prosperous. They are, of course, none of these things. What they are is a two-bit operation always in search of their big break, ambulance chasers who’ve been in the trenches much too long making way too little. Their specialties, so to speak, are quickie divorces and DUIs, with the occasional jackpot of an actual car wreck thrown in. After twenty plus years together, Oscar Finley and Wally Figg bicker like an old married couple but somehow continue to scratch out a half-decent living from their seedy bungalow offices in southwest Chicago.

And then change comes their way. More accurately, it stumbles in. David Zinc, a young but already burned-out attorney, walks away from his fast-track career at a fancy downtown firm, goes on a serious bender, and finds himself literally at the doorstep of our boutique firm. Once David sobers up and comes to grips with the fact that he’s suddenly unemployed, any job—even one with Finley & Figg—looks okay to him.

With their new associate on board, F&F is ready to tackle a really big case, a case that could make the partners rich without requiring them to actually practice much law. An extremely popular drug, Krayoxx, the number one cholesterol reducer for the dangerously overweight, produced by Varrick Labs, a giant pharmaceutical company with annual sales of $25 billion, has recently come under fire after several patients taking it have suffered heart attacks. Wally smells money.

A little online research confirms Wally’s suspicions—a huge plaintiffs’ firm in Florida is putting together a class action suit against Varrick. All Finley & Figg has to do is find a handful of people who have had heart attacks while taking Krayoxx, convince them to become clients, join the class action, and ride along to fame and fortune. With any luck, they won’t even have to enter a courtroom!

It almost seems too good to be true.

And it is.

The Litigators is a tremendously entertaining romp, filled with the kind of courtroom strategies, theatrics, and suspense that have made John Grisham America’s favorite storyteller.

 

John Grisham is one of the more famous writers out there. As of yet I havent read any of his books; that is precisely why he is on the list. Relatives of mine are also known to have enjoyed his books. This one seems like a fun place to start!

Verdict: Keep

 

 

The City of Brass – S. A. Chakraborty

Goodreads – The City of Brass

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

 

Having added this to the TBR, I am now having doubts. Its not that I dont like the sounds of it, Im just not sure if its what I am in the mood for right now. I added loads of books like this on the back of epics in the genre. They somehow just dont quite live up to expectation. Thats my concern, so I think Ill set this one aside.

Verdict: Go

So, thats 2/5 books off the list! Do you agree with me? Have you read any of the books on my list?

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 17th February 2019

Writing my Sunday Summary post this week is a job I have been looking forward to. Why? Because it’s been a very busy weekend here and I am grateful for something I can do SITTING DOWN!!! Haha!

On account of being a little bored of the decor in my bedroom and knowing that I am having some new furniture delivered very soon, I decided it deserved a new lick of paint. I only decided to follow through with my whimsical fancy just over a week ago and now it’s a reality! I’m glad I’ve done it, although I can’t say I enjoyed the doing of it too much. I’ve found muscles I never knew I had…

Consequently, I have only managed to do a little bit of book reading this weekend. I had a pretty good week though, so I can’t grumble. In terms of blog posts published this week, I shared my review of Karma Never Loses an Address by K. J. McGillick as part of the organised tour by Rachel’s Random Resources. Later in the week, I published a very long outstanding review of Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett.

 

Books Read

 

I started the week by going back to a book that I carried over from January. Technically it was a last minute addition for the remaining days of the month, but still, I am glad I managed to finish it in good time. It was my first library loan and non-fiction book of the year, Mythos by Stephen Fry.

In October last year, I had the pleasure of reading Breachers by Anthony Thomas. Following that review, I was invited to read a short, two chapter sample of the second book to offer feedback on. It was such a tease for the rest of the book – I just can’t wait!

Next on my list is an ARC that I have had for a little while, Ewan Pendle and the Castle of Nightmares. In much the same vein as Breachers Book 2, the author has asked me for feedback on this book. His first book of the series was one of the very first I reviewed on my blog nearly two years ago (where the devil did that time go?!). I’m about 10% through at the moment. It will be interesting to see what adventures await Ewan in this second instalment.

My fandom for A Game of Thrones has already got me started on the first few chapters of A Storm of Swords. I can’t help picking these books up in between other readings. Since I’m counting down the days to Season 8 on the TV now, which is probably driving my obsession!

I may not have gotten much reading done (in the conventional sense) this weekend, but I did re-discover my love of audiobooks! First, I listened to an audible original drama based on The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Fun fact: The War of the Worlds was the first ever e-book I read when I got my first Kindle many, many moons ago. After that, I picked up with Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff. Thankfully, despite it being months since I last listened to the book, I have actually remembered what is going on so I haven’t had to start again. Result! I need to get back into listening to this regularly.

 

Books Discovered

I’ve really put my blinkers on at the moment because I already have a huge pile of books to get through. Not only that, I am really trying to save money this year, so less haphazard spending. Yes, that includes books too…

 

Coming Up…

 

down the tbr holeSpeaking of my existing large pile of books, I think it’s time I go through that again. With all my blog tour obligations, it’s been a while since I sifted through the TBR. With that in mind, I’ll make that Tuesday’s endeavour!

 

 

In line with my current obsession, the next book on my list to review is none other than A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I have absolutely no idea where to even start with such a task, but I have to try. I’ll probably just end up ranting about how amazing it is, but I’ll try to give it some honest, constructive and coherent critique.

 

 

 

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

 

Kaylsallbooked – Unboxing | Alchemy & Ink’s Wicked & Scarred Mini Box!

Zooloo’s Book Diary – #BookReview of Karma Never Loses an Address by K.J. McGillick @KJMcGillickAuth @rararseources #LiesandMisdirections – Zooloo’s Book Diary

A Reading Brit –Lord of the Rings Films Vs. Audiobooks

Reading Sumpton – Bookstagram Behaviours That Are Making You Look Like An Idiot

 

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Book Review: Interesting Times – Terry Pratchett

Since I finished reading Interesting Times in October last year, I’ve put myself at a little disadvantage with writing this review. I really don’t like leaving it so long because of immediate impressions from reading the book fade over time. You forget things. Well, I do, as my whole family will attest to!

I’ve had a lot of other blogging obligations, such as reading and tours to get on with, so reviewing the books I have chosen for myself “for fun” have gone on the backburner. Maybe I shouldn’t take on more than I can handle.

Anyway, enough excuses – let’s delve into the realms of the Discworld!

Goodreads – Interesting Times

‘A foot on the neck is nine points of the law’

There are many who say that the art of diplomacy is an intricate and complex dance. There are others who maintain that it’s merely a matter of who carries the biggest stick. The oldest and most inscrutable (not to mention heavily fortified) empire on the Discworld is in turmoil, brought about by the revolutionary treatise What I did on My Holidays. Workers are uniting, with nothing to lose but their water buffaloes; warlords are struggling for power – and what the nation wants, to avoid terrible doom for everyone, is a wizard. Rincewind is not the Disc’s premier wizard – in fact, he can’t even spell ‘wizard’ – but no-one specified whether competence was an issue. And they do have a very big stick…

Mighty Battles! Revolution! Death! War! (And his sons Terror and Panic and daughter Clancy).

 

My Thoughts…

“May you live in interesting times” doesn’t exactly feel like much of a curse to you or I. On the Discworld though, there’s never a dull moment! Karma could be just around the corner…

Beloved Rincewind finds himself in more trouble when the Unseen University finds the prime opportunity to get rid of him. The Counterweight Continent is in dire need of a wizard, but perhaps they hoped for one better than him.

I really enjoyed the links this book has to the first two of the series, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic. Up until this point, I had seen those two books as an introduction to the Discworld universe more than a cohesive part of it. The reappearance of Twoflower and the tales of his holiday to Ankh Morpork play a large part in the narrative of Interesting Times; the link back to those first two books is refreshing. Of course, Twoflower is causing mayhem again. As if he hadn’t caused Rincewind enough trouble in the first place ON his holiday… he also causes him grief after it too!

I also enjoyed the appearance of some of the Discworld’s famous heroes – Conan the Barbarian and his crew throw themselves into the fray with swords raised, (as can only be expected).

Without his humour, Pratchett couldn’t have made the Discworld series the way it is today. I can’t say it often enough – it’s such an approachable series to read, enjoy and laugh at. Yet in this light-hearted, comical narrative, Pratchett always has something to say. In this particular novel, I think the focus is the farcical fighting over power and leadership. Topics like gender roles, death and religion are on the agenda in other parts of the series too. If Pratchett had something to say, his books were his outlet. Even in writing the books and achieving the success he did left behind a powerful message to the people who told him he would never amount to anything in his life.

They are a lasting legacy of a genius of our time.

Blog Tour Review: Karma Never Loses an Address – K. J. McGillick

***I received a copy of the book from the author via Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated are my own***

 

 

Karma Never Loses An Address – K. J. McGillick

Betrayal on Every Level

Marley Bennington had brutally murdered her older sister Samantha in a drug fueled rage. Only two people know that fact as true. One of those two people, was sitting in a state prison, serving a sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. Who was that unfortunate person? Alex Clarke, Samantha Bennington’s husband, the man so buried in circumstantial evidence that he confessed to a crime he didn’t commit, rather than face a trial. He was now trapped with no way out.

It all began as sibling rivalry and jealousy, as so many tales of treachery do. Now, that intense jealousy had ended in her sister’s murder. Once Alex was tucked safely away in prison, Marley was set to inherit millions of dollars tainted with her sister’s blood. But suddenly, two obstacles stood in her way preventing her from quickly obtaining the reward for her well executed plan. One obstacle was her brother, and the other a nosy little old lady. But for Marley, this wasn’t a problem. She had killed twice already and cheated the justice system. What were a few more bodies?

Justice delayed is justice denied. Can Marley be trapped by the very people she tried to deceive? Will karma finally visit her door? Another gripping, tangled tale from the author of Facing A Twisted Judgment.

Purchase Links: Amazon UK    Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Karma Never Loses an Address follows on from events in Facing A Twisted Judgment. I had the pleasure of taking part in a Blog Tour for that book back on December 4th last year. If this is the first encounter you have had with the series, you can catch up on some of the details in that post, which can be found here.

There is something so satisfying about knowing that someone is going to get what they deserve, isn’t there? And Marley sure deserves it! With an art collection worth $130 million to fight over, the stakes are high. But is the risk worth the reward?

J. McGillick’s legal knowledge shines through once again. Battles are fought inside the courtroom as well at outside. The technical matters concerning inheritance in this complex case are detailed, yet kept at a level that is easy to follow for us law novices.

The balance of familiar characters and new faces to the Bennington’s row keeps the storyline fresh. Beloved Mary cannot help herself in ensuring that Marley gets her due. To do so, she recruits an unstoppable team including Tallulah West, a family law attorney. She is one of the main character POV’s in the book as she is assigned the task of preventing Marley from obtaining administration over her late sister’s estate.

Karma Never Loses an Address has a well-developed, sophisticated plot line. Full of unpredictable characters, you never quite know what is going to happen next. Unexpected turns keep you guessing until the very end!

 

Author Bio –

K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right? A Registered Nurse, a lawyer now author.

As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing, she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing.

 

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/KJMcGillickauthor/

Kathleen McGillick

@KJMcGillickAuth

http://www.kjmcgillick.com/

https://twitter.com/KJMcGillickAuth

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 10th February 2019

This week’s Sunday Summary is going to be written with a little haste, so apologies if you feel short-changed. I’m hoping not to compromise on the usual standards, but I have two posts to draft tonight instead of just one. I have coffee and determination – what else do I need?

Before I look ahead even into the next few hours though, let’s look back at what I have managed to achieve!

On Tuesday I published a fun post discussing my Bookish Pet Peeves. Cracked book spines and noise disturbances are just two of the things that make that list. What are your bookish pet peeves?

On Thursday I sort of cheated, but for a very good reason! Last year I won the opportunity to read an ARC copy of The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. I fell in love with the book immediately and I don’t think I have managed to read anything so fast since! After months of waiting, Thursday 7th was publication day for the book. With that in mind, I re-published my review of the book.

Saturday saw an epic blog post by usual standards, as I reviewed three books in Tom Trott’s Brighton’s No.1 Private Detective series. I was kindly invited to the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and I am glad I took part. Although, reading and reviewing those books in one post is no mean feat!

 

Books Read

 

This week has been all about the last minute reading for two blog tours I signed up for – Brighton’s No.1 Private Detective series and Karma Never Loses an Address (more on this later!). Taking on both of these tours within a matter of days was always going to be a challenge, but one I relished.

I started the week with about 25% progress already clocked on It Never Goes Away. I managed to finish this on the 6th February, a few days ahead of the tour. Thankfully I had some time to get my thoughts together for that post.

I haven’t been quite so lucky with Karma Never Loses an Address. I’ve finished the book in time for the tour, but admittedly I only finished it this morning. I had hoped to make significantly more progress (if not finish the book) yesterday, but I just wasn’t in the right headspace. Never mind – it’s not the end of the world!

 

Books Discovered

I have succumbed to a temptation that I have been trying to moderate for a while. My love of A Game of Thrones is hardly a secret here at Reviewsfeed. On Thursday I decided that enough was enough – I have had my heart set on buying paperback versions of the books for a while.

I’ve started the collection at least! I’m only one book in so far. A Clash of Kings was regrettably out of stock… otherwise I might have bought that too. They had the later books of the series in stock, but I suppose you could say I am slightly OCD in admitting that I want to buy them in the right order. I’m in no rush either – I’m trying to save money so buying A Game of Thrones was a small indulgence that won’t break the bank.

 

Coming Up…

 

So I guess I have been hinting at it during my post, but I have a very imminent blog tour coming up. Yes, I am reviewing Karma Never Loses an Address as part of the Blog Tour tomorrow. I’m furiously typing this post here and now so I have time to put together my post in time for the morning. It’s funny what you can do when you know you need to get a wriggle on! I think this has to be the fastest I have ever drafted a Sunday Summary post!

 

 

 

 

All rushing aside, later in the week I have more time to play with. I’ve been looking back at the books I have read and realised I am WAY overdue reviewing Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett. I’m going to have to cast my mind back to mid-October for this review. Oops! I hate leaving it so long because quite often you forget details. I’m going to do my best though!

 

 

 

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

Jenacide by Bibliophile – Cover Reveal: Soul Seeker: Hell at Halfingdon Asylum (Book 9) by Alice J. Black

Audio Killed the Bookmark – I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella @KinsellaSophie @randomhouse #bookreview #ioweyouone

India Reads – Obsidio Review

Not Another Book Blogger – My Week In Books (10th Feb)

Blog Tour Review: Brighton’s No.1 Private Detective Series

*** I was kindly provided with e-book copies of Brighton’s No.1 Private Detective Series by the author, via Rachel’s Random Resources, for review. All the opinions stated below are my own***

 

 

Hi guys! Today I am sharing my much anticipated Blog Tour post reviewing Brighton’s No.1 Detective series by Tom Trott. Get yourself a cup of tea (or coffee, I don’t judge) and make yourself comfortable, because I have plenty to say on why I have really enjoyed being able to read this series and share my thoughts with you!

 

You Can’t Make Old Friends

Blacklisted by the police. Being sued by a client. And broke. Things can’t get any worse for Brighton’s No.1 Private Detective, Joe Grabarz.

That’s when his best friend’s body washes up on the beach.

Could it really have been ten years? What happened? How could his life have ended like this? He needs answers.

But with the city in the grips of organised crime, and struggling to deal with an influx of legal highs, who cares about just another dead drug dealer?

Joe, that’s who. After all, you can’t make old friends.

Purchase Link: tomtrott.com/ycmof

 

My Thoughts…

Struggling Private Detective Joe Grabarz is on the brink. Living in a small flat, sleeping on only a mattress, he is struggling to make ends meet. Who cares if your clients are a little shady? Their money pays the bills, right? Not when they refuse to pay. Such is Joe’s life. He has been cut off from assisting police, described only as “their dirty habit”.

When his childhood best friend is found dead, he is determined to find out how he met his end. His personal involvement in the case introduces some elements to Joe’s life as a youth, but we find a lot more of his past plays its part in the later books.

Joe is such an easy character to get along with. His unique take on rule bending and his chequered past plants him firmly in the grey area of morality. He has no illusions to that fact either. He’s a calculated risk taker… what I would describe as a ‘means to an end’ man. He wants answers and so do the police. Does it matter how he gets them?

You Can’t Make Old Friends throws you right into the action from the start. With drugs and gang involvement, Joe walks a dangerous path with the constant reminder that his friend didn’t make it out alive. The narrative is sinister but exciting. The fast pace in which events and their consequences unravel keep you on the edge of your seat for the next development.

Choose Your Parents Wisely

One missing girl and the whole city goes crazy.

It’s been three days, and now everyone in Brighton is looking for her. There is an army of police searching, her picture is on every front page, and the public can’t get enough of it. Gangs of good citizens are going door to door, turning their neighbours’ houses upside down, but still no one can find her.

For Brighton’s No.1 Private Detective, Joe Grabarz, it brings back too many memories of his first case, another missing girl, when he learnt too many lessons the hard way. No one was going door to door then. No one cared. But her mum and dad weren’t nearly as photogenic, nor quite so saintly.

It’s a lesson Joe learnt long ago that has come back to haunt him: choose your parents wisely.

Purchase Link: https://tomtrott.com/cypw

 

My Thoughts…

Choose Your Parents Wisely, structurally, is written differently to the first book of the series. Instead of looking after a personal case which delves into Joe Grabarz’s history, the narrative is split between the current case and a historic one. Both are similar enough to urge Joe to solve the case; he is all-too-aware of the outcome of the historic case. Can he navigate through the leads in time to save her?

Joe isn’t as down on his luck and we begin to see him progressing from an introverted version of himself. I wouldn’t define him as an introvert by nature… it was entirely circumstantial. Thalia, his childhood best friend’s sister becomes a permanent feature working as his secretary. She proves a keen detective though and is more than prepared to put the time into helping Joe crack the case.

I personally enjoyed the increased detail of Joe’s past in this second book. The first book of the series made an excellent introduction to our leading man; it was time to get to know him a little better. Where You Can’t Make Old Friends touches on some unpleasant aspects of his past life, this second book fills in the gaps in a way that is entirely relevant to the ongoing investigation.

As with You Can’t Make Old Friends the plot development is well paced without compromising the quality of the novel. The balance of description, dialogue and context build a rich narrative.

It Never Goes Away

From No.1 Private Detective to No.1 Suspect

A cryptic message from an old friend leads Joe Grabarz to an abandoned farmhouse in the middle of the South Downs. But Joe is too late, someone else has got there first: his friend is dead, and all the evidence points to him.

Ten years ago the farmhouse was the scene of three infamous murders when a young boy killed his mother, father, and little sister. Now an adult, he was released from prison with a new identity. Could he be involved? The farmhouse also sits on valuable land, fought over in a struggle between building houses and drilling for shale gas. But could it really be worth killing for? Whatever is going on, Joe knows one thing for sure: his friend’s murder is just a tiny part of it.

To bring the killer to justice Joe must dig up the past, and reckon with his own, because no matter how hard you work, it never goes away.

Purchase Link – https://tomtrott.com/inga

 

My Thoughts…

It Never Goes Away is a rollercoaster ride.

Joe Grabarz has turned his life around. His past life of living in a small, dingy flat with only a mattress to sleep on feels a distant memory. Work is better than ever. Joe has a new office, his own staff and the choice of clients. What could go wrong?

Being framed for murder sure puts a spanner in the works. With only the briefest sighting of the body and the cryptic clue of “Endeavour to Solve” against a £110,110.01 retainer, Joe has to pool every resource he has into uncovering the information his friend Clarence, also a private detective died for. Fraught with danger, Joe is pretty out of his depth. The scale of the criminal operation can only mean that someone very rich and powerful is pulling the strings and they are determined to get him out of the picture.

This third book of the series ties up a number of loose ends on a larger plot built behind the main investigation cases. There is a lot of depth to these stories, even in the early stages. It is clear the series as a whole is well planned and that the author has invested a lot of time into writing a developed, cohesive series. With some writers, you feel that their writing and storytelling ability matures as it progresses. Brighton’s No.1 Private Detective series hits the ground running and doesn’t look back.

I have already recommended these books to a number of work colleagues and members of book-related groups I socialise with on social media platforms. If that doesn’t tell you how much I loved the series then I don’t know what will.

 


Author Bio

Born in Brighton, I went to school in here, worked many jobs here, and have never lived anywhere else. I first started writing at school, where I and a group of friends devised and performed comedy plays for assemblies, much to the amusement of our fellow pupils. The young ones would cheer (and the old ones would groan) as we stepped up onto the stage, the buzz was tangible. It has been with me ever since.

As an adult I have written a short comedy play that was performed at the Theatre Royal Brighton in May 2014 as part of the Brighton Festival; Daye’s Work, a television pilot for the local Brighton channel; and won the Empire Award (thriller category) in the 2015 New York Screenplay Contest. I published my first novel, You Can’t Make Old Friends, in 2016; my second, Choose Your Parents Wisely, in 2017, my third, The Benevolent Dictator, in 2018, and now my fourth, It Never Goes Away, in 2019. When I’m not writing books, I’m writing about writing, books, and film on Medium.

My inspirations as a writer come from a diverse range of storytellers, but I have a particular love for the works of Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, Joel & Ethan Coen, Arthur Conan-Doyle, Daphne du Maurier, Alfred Hitchcock, Bryan Fuller, Ira Levin, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Towne, JRR Tolkien, and many many more books and films beside. If you can’t find me, or I’m not answering my phone, I’m probably at the cinema.

Social Media Links – www.twitter.com/tjtrott, www.facebook.com/tomtrottbooks, www.tomtrott.com

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Book Review: The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides

In July I received news that I was one of the few and fortunate to receive an early ARC of this AMAZING debut novel, courtesy of Orion Publishing. When this book is officially published on the 7th February 2019 (make a note of that date friends), I urge any fans of crime or psychological thriller novels… or frankly ANYONE to get a copy of this book!!

Why? I started reading The Silent Patient late one night on a whim. I finished reading it in less than 24 hours and I was swept away. Yep…it really is that good, folks!

 

Goodreads – The Silent Patient

 

Synopsis…

Promising to be the debut novel of the season The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive…

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him…

 

My Thoughts…

I have always taken a keen interest in human Psychology. I was taught about the human brain and different types of therapy at school. It was one of the topics I enjoyed the most in my years of study. The reason I find psychological thrillers so entertaining is because I know just how unreliable the human brain is!

Alicia is an intriguing character. Basing a book around a character that refuses to speak is a difficult, but certainly not impossible, task. Despite her lack of verbal communication she has a strong presence throughout the novel. They say actions speak louder and words and this couldn’t be any truer in Alicia’s case. Even her silence has plenty to say when it wants to:

“Her silence was like a mirror – reflecting yourself back at you.
And it was often an ugly sight.”

Theo, the psychotherapist determined to break her silence, is just as complex. In fact, I would say he has a lot in common with Alicia. Both have had painful upbringings, have addictive personalities (different vices) etc. It really is like looking in a mirror.

As with all books of this genre I was trying to guess the ending, then second guessing my thoughts. The Silent Patient has a dramatic conclusion – one I didn’t even consider! I adored this book so much; I think that shows in the way I read it so quickly. It has been a long time since I have inhaled a book so fast. The Silent Patient is an entertaining, must-read psychological thriller!

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Bookish Pet Peeves

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. I was actually inspired to write this post based on a very similar post published when the meme was still hosted at The Broke and The Bookish. You can find their Bookish Pet Peeves here.

So, want to find out what gets my goat?

 

People presuming I’m lonely, antisocial or boring because I want to stay home and read

If it isn’t your hobby, don’t make the above assumption. I go to work for 8 hours a day, five days a week. Looking forward to the moment I can go home, lock the door and have some peace and quiet time is what gets me through my day. I live for and actively look forward to it. Don’t think so little of me.

 

Cracked book spines

Books, naturally, are meant to be opened and read. Why are book spines made so inflexible that you cannot open them without creasing / cracking it? I love to look after my books as much as possible and they are scarred by use – their purpose!

 

When a book ending just flops and drags the book down with it

How many of us have invested time into a book or series that ended up disappointing us? *raises hand* Not only am I disappointed that the book/series could have been so much better for itself, but the selfish part of me also regrets the time I won’t get back from reading it.

 

Annotating in books (especially in PEN?!)

Some people might actually love this. I know people at school used to fight over and jealously guard the annotated copies of books. It meant they didn’t have to read it for themselves or make their own mind up. For the true reader, having these notes just spoils the chance to make their own, unadulterated conclusions from the original text. Doing so in pencil is bad enough, but spoiling a book permanently in pen?! Are you Satan?

 

Disruptions when reading

I don’t mind a little brief conversation or question when I am reading at my desk, but try to tell me your life story and I will GLARE YOU DOWN. I also can’t read with music or my TV on. I’ve had to get used to listening to my neighbours TV. He lives in a separate, soundproofed flat downstairs but he is so hard of hearing, I can tell you what he is watching sometimes.

He likes to watch Countdown at 7am when I am getting ready for work.

 

Switching POV’s mid-chapter

This happens for more than I would like. I have no problem with books with multiple POV’s… if they are separated into different chapters. If I have to work out whose head I am in every few paragraphs, it can get confusing.

 

Folded corners for bookmarks

Again, for book aesthetic reasons. You can use literally ANYTHING as a bookmark!! Paper, card, hell even bookmarks themselves are cheap! Just don’t… I repeat – Don’t. Fold. The. Corners.

 

Shallow characters

If a character does nothing to move the plot along or impart some message to the reader, then they are a waste of space and energy. Get rid of them.

 

Overly specific and long-winded descriptions

Tolkien, I am looking at you here. As beautiful as the Lord of the Rings series is, it isn’t the easiest to read at times. There are lots of feasts with lots of food, all vividly described in detail. It contributes nothing to the plot and only serves to emphasise how greedy hobbits are.

 

Genre snobbery

I know some readers of YA literature feel ‘looked down upon’ by others for their reading choice. Personally, I think it goes both ways. I have previously gotten the impression that YA readers look down on those that don’t for not wanting to read the popular genre and almost label them as uncool. That’s just my interpretation – don’t bite my head off for it.

I can dip into the genre myself, but neither do I read a lot of it nor feel the need to for popularity sakes. Ultimately, we read the books we think we are going to enjoy for our own sakes. Let’s not judge each other for our own preferences.

 

What are your Bookish Pet Peeves? Do you agree with me?