Tag: book love

Book Review: Imaginary Friend – Stephen Chbosky

Today’s book review post features a book I very gratefully received from Orion Books in October last year. I took part in a promotional competition by sharing a post on Twitter about the upcoming release and I was chosen to get an early access copy of the book via Netgalley! I have to say before I go further that my review is an honest one.

I did actually start reading this at the end of that month whilst on holiday, but it has taken a while to catch up with all my reviews to get my thoughts to you all. No doubt my Netgalley rating will look a little healthier after I share this with them. I’m not a big Netgalley user, but it does come in handy for blog tours and such.

Some of you may know Stephen Chbosky for another popular book he has written – The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I haven’t read this myself, so this was my first experience of his writing. As the genres of these two books are so different, I don’t think it matters whether you have read this, or any of his other books, or not.

 

Imaginary Friend – Stephen Chbosky

Goodreads – Imaginary Friend

Imagine… Leaving your house in the middle of the night. Knowing your mother is doing her best, but she’s just as scared as you.

Imagine… Starting a new school, making friends. Seeing how happy it makes your mother. Hearing a voice, calling out to you.

Imagine… Following the signs, into the woods. Going missing for six days. Remembering nothing about what happened.

Imagine… Something that will change everything… And having to save everyone you love.

 

My Thoughts…

When the promotional email I received for the book likened Imaginary Friend to Stephen King’s IT, I had very high expectations of the complexity and creepiness of this thriller novel. Glad to say those expectations were met entirely, but what I didn’t expect was the length of it! Granted, IT is an exceptionally long novel at 1,396 pages. Still, Imaginary Friend weighs in at just over 700 pages. Compared to other horror/thriller novels I’ve picked up, it’s EPIC! There were some sections of narrative that were stickier than others to read. Could it be shorter? Perhaps. That said though, I do think it all adds up to the overall ending, so it’s not wasteful content. It’s relevance just isn’t known at the time.

The content of the book is sinister enough, but what gave me the chills more was the protagonist subject to the horror and paranormal goings-on is a child. It made me question what was going on; could it be nothing more than Christopher’s vivid imagination, or was it real? I can’t say this novel gave me nightmares because I’m not really affected that way when it comes to horror. I know it to be fiction and so it doesn’t bother me that way. Judging from other reviews though, not everyone can say the same!

As can be expected with such an epic, there are a lot of characters that play their part in this story. Whilst Christopher and his immediate family are probably the most developed throughout, there is still plenty of time put into the ‘minor’ or ‘supporting’ characters. The detail that went into establishing each of the characters and their relations with others to build the whole dynamic of the town is astounding. I feel like I know everyone like I’ve lived amongst them myself! I absolutely had my favourites – Ambrose, special shout out to you. I invested heavily with the characters, and knowing the plot is heading towards a cataclysmic event spurs you on to find out what happens!

There may be some readers that don’t like some of the religious undercurrents towards the end of the story. I’m quite happy to put out there that I’m not religious at all, but I didn’t mind its inclusion or influence on the plot at all. I personally think it made it more interesting.

Have you read Imaginary Friend? What did you make of the book?

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books for a little escapism

Welcome to today’s Top Ten Tuesday post! I really like writing these posts and decided it was time for another. 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 quite often go it alone with topics rather than following the set topics for the week. Sometimes the prescribed topics just don’t fit my blog at all! Instead, I have been having a think about an alternative topic for this week. I don’t know about you, but I read for a bit of escapism. I like to break away from the mundane routine. Well, normally. Fact is, the normal mundane routine has been ripped up and tossed out the window. It’s not a very nice situation we are in right now and more than ever I am looking for escapism. I’m sure others are too… and that’s what gave me the idea for this post.

I thought I might struggle to put this list together, but I had the opposite problem! I’ve had to cut it down quite a lot. I’ve excluded a lot of larger names that I would love to feature here because they’re well-known enough to recommend themselves. J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings are great books – but you probably know about them already. In today’s post, I wanted to talk about books and authors that aren’t as well-known – although they deserve to be!

 

The Mistborn Series – Brandon Sanderson

It would be pretty sacrilegious not to include my current read on this list. I’ve devoured the last three books of this series with fervour over the past few months. The books published to date are split into two timelines. I loved the first trilogy years ago but recently, the later books set in the fictional city of Elendel have reiterated why I love Brandon Sanderson’s writing. The depth of history of the magic, the characters… it’s all fantastic.

I get lost in these books! They’re the kind you promise yourself ‘just one more chapter’ before bed and before you know it, it’s WAY past your bedtime. I don’t regret it either.

 

Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

This is also a recent discovery. I think the fact that I listened to all of Rivers of London and a third of Moon over Soho in the past couple of weeks alone says it all! If it doesn’t, I don’t know what will!

I’ve been listening to these as audiobooks whilst crocheting. It’s nice to break up the format of ‘reading’ – but I have to praise the narrator Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. He manages to take the author’s already interesting and diverse characters and breathe life into them. The book also balances action, character development and sensory descriptions really well. If you like magical and supernatural mysteries or think you might, I would definitely recommend these books as a starting point! I suspect I’ll continue to binge-listen to these!

 

The Last Kingdom – Bernard Cornwell

Something for historical fiction fans here! I’m not even halfway through this series yet but I love it so much! It was recommended to me by a work colleague and friend. She is Danish, and it prompted some interesting conversation about the historical period. For those that don’t know, it’s set at the time the Vikings invaded Britain. The main character Uhtred is an Englishman, but living in the North, his village was raided when he was a boy and he was subsequently raised by Danes. His personal conflict between both sides runs throughout the books I have read so far and it makes for a really interesting perspective on the period!

 

Simon Says – Jo Wesley

If standalone books are more your thing, then Simon Says might be of interest to you. I’m going to be upfront and say that the storyline is based on the sensitive topic of rape, and the consequences of it. That might put some people off, and that’s fine! This book isn’t for you in that case. Considering the nature of it, I think that it is handled really well. I was really impressed with this book – so much so it made it on my top reads of 2019 list!

 

Daughter of Smoke & Bone – Laini Taylor

This book (and series) also qualified for the top reads of 2019 list! I love Laini Taylor’s style of writing and I’ve really enjoyed her Strange the Dreamer duology previously. The Angels vs Demons (monsters) baseline is plot is great because she breaks down the stereotypes of good and evil and tosses them out of the window.

 

Blackwing – Ed McDonald

Blackwing

If, like me, you love fantasy series with epic fantasy worlds with plenty of lore in a post-apocalyptic setting, then the Raven’s Mark series could be for you! Magic ravaged the world in a cataclysmic event and razed the landscape now known as the Misery. If that’s not interesting enough for you, then how does a plotline indicating that a similar event with even more catastrophic consequences sound?

It was a winner for me and I really, REALLY recommend this one to any and all fantasy fans!

 

Nevernight – Jay Kristoff

Nevernight

The Nevernight Chronicles is another great fantasy series for those that love fantasy novels with lots of history to them. Throw in a young girl who has had her family ripped apart since childhood, rare magic power and a terrible grudge… and you get an amazing, murderous and vengeful trilogy. Determined to bring down the institution that tried to have her murdered as a child, Mia Corvere is a force to be reckoned with. I also quite enjoy Jay Kristoff’s parallels between himself and Mercurio – that’ll make sense if you read the books.

 

The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

It has been a long time since I read these books, but they have definitely made a lasting impression! The first thing I love is the narration style. The tale is told from an older (and hopefully wiser) Kvothe, our main character. He is very candid over the past mistakes of his youth, which we learn about as he retells the tale.

Again, this is a series with a lot of development into the world and characters, so those of you that love that and all the action of the narrative should get on with this very well.

 

The Chalk Man – C.J. Tudor

Here is another standalone for those of you that don’t have the commitment for a series. The Chalk Man is a mystery thriller novel with a chilling premise and plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes! In their youth, Eddie and the gang drew chalk men as a means of communicating with each other secretly around town. However, twenty years on they reunite, and the chalk men have made a mysterious reappearance…

 

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

The last book on my list is another standalone mystery. The premise of the novel is like a traditional murder mystery, only its groundhog day. The protagonist has seven days to relive the day in the bodies of each guest and then name the murderer.

I really liked this one – I thought it was really unique. It’s also very cleverly-written too!

Hopefully, you have found some inspiration from this Top Ten Tuesday list, if that’s what you’re looking for! If not, well I hope you enjoyed this post! Do you agree with any of my recommendations?

 

 

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Book Review: Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

Today’s review features a book that I was really unsure of when I borrowed it from my library in August last year. That’s precisely why I borrowed it from the library really. I didn’t want to purchase it in case I didn’t enjoy it. By picking it up I was trying something completely out of my comfort zone.

So, if it was completely out of my comfort zone, why did I want to read it? Well, I’ve read and heard great things about it, for a start. Not only that, but I was drawn into it by the fact that it handles a very sensitive subject: euthanasia. I’m glad I read it too! Whilst it was a gamble, it was one that paid off massively!

 

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

Goodreads – Me Before You

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

 

My Thoughts…

If I were asked to liken myself to a book character, I would have to say Louisa. She is a ditzy, clumsy, optimistic young woman who always tries to please others. She doesn’t always succeed, but she does her best. From the very first few pages, I felt like I knew her – I liked her. Her bubbly personality makes her instantly likeable and her evident flaws have you laughing along at her. Good naturedly, of course. Will is very much her counterpoint. After the accident that left him paralysed, he feels he has very little to live for. His friends and ex-girlfriend have long disappeared, his family broken apart from the strain of it all and he is trapped in the middle with no escape. His pessimism and sarcasm make him an entirely different character to Louisa, verging on unlikeable.

When Louisa takes on the job of caring for Will, she has no idea how that decision will change both of their lives. Did I expect to enjoy the romance element of the book? No. I didn’t really. It’s not my cup of tea, and yet, I couldn’t help but find myself warming to the two of them. Their relationship builds subtly over time. At first their differences set them miles apart but Louisa’s persistence wins through. We see a side of Will that he has tried so hard to close off, to make things easier at the end. Their feelings for each other don’t stem from a shallow physical attraction. It’s an emotional bond all about companionship. They see the worst of each other and it doesn’t matter.

Will’s position and views are difficult for a lot of people to come to terms with. His choice must be an impossible one to make. You would think his very contrary position would make him difficult to relate to, but I didn’t find that at all. The subject is handled so well. Me Before You is a very emotional book. I knew the ending, so I knew what I was getting myself in for anyway. Don’t worry; I made sure to finish this at home so I could bawl my eyes out without being judged. If you’re judging me now for it, you clearly haven’t read this book. I challenge you to read Me Before You and not cry.

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Reasons I Love Being a Book Blogger

Hello lovely readers and welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday post! It’s been three months since I put together my last TTT post. They’re a favourite to read and a lot of fun to write!

Today’s post is all about celebrating what I enjoy about being a book blogger. If you think it’s easy, think again – it’s like a part-time job! I probably average around 6-8 hours a week writing blog posts, never mind the number of hours reading the books I feature. That being said, I love it. It doesn’t feel like a job when it’s something you love to do and it comes with a lot of perks.

Here are my favourite things about being a book blogger!

 

Lots of reading!

It goes without saying, but if you want lots of material for your book blog you have to read. The backlog of books you read as a child/teenager will only go so far. Talking about the same books all the time makes for stale content too.

I’ve always loved reading – a good thing, I suppose. It was actually my love of reading (and getting back into it after a long while) that prompted me to think about starting Reviewsfeed. I couldn’t tell you how many hours a week I spend reading. It’s such a habit that I couldn’t imagine not reading. I can probably count on one hand the number of days a year I don’t pick up a book all day.

 

Book recommendations EVERYWHERE!

The advantage of being part of a book-loving community is that we are all talking about fantastic books. Pretty much any blog hopping session results in stumbling across someone’s great review for a book that’s right up your street. I think it’s great. My TBR list not so much… but what book blogger doesn’t have a humongous list of books to read? It wouldn’t be natural…

 

Trying new things

Since starting my blog I have been a lot more adventurous in my choices in reading material. I basically only used to read fantasy novels… maybe the odd science fiction or rarely a historical fiction if I really wanted to push the boat out. Thing is, I’d get bored of the same old tropes and it felt like reading the same books over and over again. It’s one of the reasons I let my reading habit slip after I left school.

Before my blog started, I had never read a horror novel. Stephen King was a name I was well familiar with (obviously), but I hadn’t even entertained reading one of his books. I’m an idiot, I see that now! If you had told me I would go on to re-read books I hated at school, like Of Mice and Men and 1984, or I would read more such ‘classics’, I’d have laughed at you. Having an audience to write for, and encourage you, makes a huge difference. Without it I think I would be just as unadventurous as before.

 

Hot off the press

The great thing about working with publishers (or even just following them) is knowing what new releases are coming out, and when!

I hardly read them straight away, but there is the odd exception to the rule. My point is, I have the choice to drop every book on my TBR for a new one if I really want to. It has been known and I didn’t feel remotely guilty!

 

Taking part in blog tours

I’ve discovered a love for taking part in blog tours. That probably won’t come as a surprise to you if you know how many I take part in. This partly links to the above point, because it’s a great opportunity to try something new. Through taking part in tours I have read books that I wouldn’t have necessarily discovered myself.

I also enjoy tours as I get to support new or indie authors. I have many favourite big-name authors that I read as well, but I try to balance my content to feature lesser-known or upcoming names as well. They have great books and it’s a pleasure to recommend them to others with similar reading tastes to me!

 

Collaborating with authors

Honestly, working with indie authors is the best! I have worked with many authors through direct requests and through tours now. A good number of them have come back to me to ask for further reviews as well. It’s satisfying, and they are truly so grateful that you want to work with them. I love getting feedback from them.

I’ve given up tagging well-established authors in posts unless it’s for a tour because it won’t get acknowledged anyway. They don’t ‘need’ your publicity. Indie authors are the complete opposite end of the spectrum though. They’ll keep re-posting your material for months afterwards – and not necessarily just your reviews of their book(s). They are the heart of the community.

Collaborating with authors is just part of the process. This point is more broad-based though. By supporting authors, I mean helping them to by sharing my reviews on other sites than my blog. The more reviews a book has on Amazon and the like, the more likely they are eligible for promotions and increased exposure.

 

Being part of an amazing community

Sticking with the theme of community, everyone’s great really! There’s no rivalry or bitterness over viewer numbers or content. Everyone is so supportive and engaging with your content as well as their own. Sure, you get the odd spanner making ridiculous claims that book bloggers aren’t ‘real readers’ and such, but they are few and far between.

We are all around because we are doing something we love – sharing our love of books with each other!

 

Getting the odd “free” book

I say “free”, but they aren’t really free. There are two main ways of getting books for no cost in this community – winning it in a promotional competition or by receiving it with the expectation of a review. It might not seem like much, but it’s actually several hours of my time in reading the book before spending a couple more drafting and editing my post before it goes live.

Everyone likes a freebie, I’ll be honest. However, I take issue with those that automatically assume that a review following receipt of a “free” copy is a dishonest one – that I’ve been bribed with it. I’m looking at you Amazon. My hobby is all about sharing my honest thoughts about (and recommending) books with a community of readers. If I lie and my opinions can’t be trusted by the very people I am putting them too, I’m ruining my reputation and integrity. It does me literally no favours to lie.

 

Freedom to speak my mind

It’s not very often that you can speak your mind freely about something. I try my best in everything I do, but sometimes there’s a time and a place and it’s not it. The advantage of having my own little corner on the internet is that I can share my thoughts freely. Fact is, I like offering my opinion (whether you like it or not). Here, no one tells me to shut up or keep my opinions to myself!

 

Sense of achievement

I’ll be the first person to hold my hands up and say that I am awful for starting new things and not seeing them through for very long. I get bored or lose interest. My blog is the exception to that rule. Even when I started it, I didn’t know how long I was going to stick at it for. I started with a completely free one at first while I tested out my initial commitment. As I found my feet, I decided to invest in it and it’s taken off from there.

I couldn’t tell you how much of my time I have funnelled into my reading and my blog to date. A lot! It’s rewarding though. To be able to say I stuck at something, and to be proud of my blog is a great feeling. If even one person reads my content and decides to buy a book based on it, that’s all the satisfaction I need.

Are you a book blogger? What are your favourite things about being one?

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: Tooth and Blade – Julian Barr

Welcome to today’s blog tour review for Tooth and Blade by Julian Barr. I hope you are having a lovely weekend?

I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you about this book. When Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources circulated the book and tour details, I was immediately drawn in by the combination of Norse mythology and fantasy. I’ve read a few books with elements of Norse mythology in them, such as Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Stories (aka The Last Kingdom) series. I really enjoy reading more about it and was curious to see how these elements would come together.

As always, thank you to Rachel and to the author Julian Barr for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!

 

Tooth and Blade – Julian Barr

Parts 1-3 of the legendary TOOTH AND BLADE series together for the first time!

Two worlds. One destiny.

Dóta has dwelled sixteen years among the trolls. She knows nothing but the darkness of her family’s cave. Her mother says humans are beasts who would slay them all. Yet the gods of Asgard whisper in the night: Dóta is a child of men, a monster unto monsters.

To discover her human side, Dóta must take up her bone knife and step into the light above. Secrets await her in the human realm—beauty, terror, the love of a princess.

Soon Dóta must choose between her clan and humankind, or both worlds will be devoured in fire and war.

A monster sheds no tears.

Norse mythology meets historical fantasy in TOOTH AND BLADE. Step into a realm of haunted meres, iron and magic.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US     Books2Read

 

My Thoughts…

Dóta is a daughter of two worlds. Born to human parents but raised by trolls, she is a unique character. Until she is permitted to go up to the surface and experience the world for herself, Dóta lives a sheltered life. Only her mother and brother’s stories about her past and the world above feed her curiosity, until one day she is sent above to hunt for herself.

Tooth and Blade is a tale of magic, discovery, identity and conflict. As I expected, I really enjoyed the Norse mythology element. I am still a novice when it comes to knowledge of Norse mythology, however, I know the basics. The gods and concepts of destiny and fate were present consistently throughout the book, so it definitely has a significant influence on the narrative.

At 288 pages, these three novellas together are an excellent length to establish an interesting world and allow for plenty of action and character development. I actually read Tooth and Blade in a couple of days. The story and writing style flow so well that it makes for an easy read to pick up and enjoy.

Tooth and Blade has many elements that wouldn’t typically be put together into one narrative, and yet it all gelled perfectly. The narrative has a solid plotline that cleverly brings all the characters and their different backgrounds together. Dóta is my favourite of all though. She is a truly unique character who doesn’t strictly fit in. She’s fierce and a fighter, and after all the turmoil of discovering who she really is, she decides to carve her own path instead of letting others decide what role she should play.

Dóta isn’t the only strong female character. There are other female warriors, trained to protect the King no less. My experience of Norse/Viking novels is that lead characters are very young, alpha-male personalities. Men. Tooth and Blade showed a completely different perspective, which is refreshing!

If you’d like to read more about Tooth and Blade, you can check out some of the other blog tour posts – details below.

 

Author Bio

Julian Barr first fell in love with all things ancient and magical in childhood, when he staged his own version of I, Claudius using sock puppets. After his PhD in Classics, he did a brief stint as a schoolteacher, hated being called ‘sir,’ and dived into storytelling. Although he remains open to the possibilities of sock puppet theatre, historical fantasy is his passion. He has published scholarly research on Roman medicine and the gastronomic habits of Centaurs, but prefers to think of himself as an itinerant bard. He is also the author of the Ashes of Olympus trilogy.

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/jbarrauthor

https://www.facebook.com/jbarrauthor/

https://jbarrauthor.com/

 

Top Reads of 2019!

I really enjoyed writing my Year in Books post, which looked back at my reading progress, resolutions and achievements in 2019. Today’s post is going to reflect to last year’s reading as well. It’s the perfect time to talk about my favourite reads of the year – why I loved them and why I hope I can persuade you to read them as well!

I have read a number of similar posts by bloggers and enjoyed them. Some have even written worst book posts, although I have decided I won’t be writing one of those posts. I didn’t read a bad book at all last year and none were unfinished. It wouldn’t be fair to a book on that list to label it as the “worst” just because it was “okay” instead of “great”.

So, instead, let’s spread some book positivity and talk about my best reads in 2019! Unfortunately, I can’t feature all 30 of my 5* reads of the year, so I have narrowed it down to the best of the best, and most likely, the books I’ll want to re-read in the future! I take that as the best measure of which books made the biggest impression on me throughout the year. So, let’s dive in!

 

The Testaments – Margaret Atwood

Goodreads – The Testaments

Purchase Links: – Amazon UK     Amazon US    Waterstones

I cannot tell you how excited I was for the publication of The Testaments by Margaret Atwood last year. It’s rare that I pre-order books in anticipation of their publication, but this was a notable exception. That actually worked out in my favour too, as I was entered into the prize draw held by my local store to win a signed copy – and I won!
It’s funny, because the first time I read the prequel, The Handmaid’s Tale years ago, I hated it. I put it down about a third of the way through. I was only a teenager then; the appetite for this kind of narrative has come with maturity, I think.
I’m glad that The Testaments wasn’t written too similarly to The Handmaid’s Tale. I think trying to mimic the style of the original 30 years later would have been a mistake. I like the fresh perspectives that we get in The Testaments from multiple characters and backgrounds within and around Gilead. It’s a lot more modern and consequently, more applicable to readers in today’s society!

 

The Chalk Man – C. J. Tudor

Goodreads – The Chalk Man

Purchase Links: – Amazon UK     Amazon US      Waterstones

After reading The Chalk Man, I was surprised to be reminded that this is the debut novel by C. J. Tudor. I already had my eye on other books written by her, but I will certainly be reading them now! I mean, I’ve even recommended this to my mum to read; she has my copy at the moment.

The Chalk Man is the kind of book that has you guessing until the end. It’s cleverly written, entwining two timelines 30 years apart to unravel the truth behind the identity of the chalk man and the murder of a young woman that has remained unsolved for 30 years.

The characters are something else as well! There is so much depth to them that they are very real and easy to invest into. They are also portrayed cleverly and I think the author has written them in such a way as to suggest what your perception of them should be. It’s so subtle but it’s all part of maintaining the suspense and mystery.

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy

Purchase Links: – Amazon UK     Amazon US      Waterstones

There was no way I was going to be able to pick just one of these books to feature. Individually and collectively they are brilliant fantasy novels. I wouldn’t describe myself as a binge reader particularly. I like the variety. All the same, I devoured this series! I read the first book on holiday in October and finished the series with a matter of weeks until the end of the year!
The combination of a unique premise, fantastical characters and creatures, magic and humour worked really well for me! I’ll play the devil’s advocate and say that I did not expect to like the whole relationship element between a couple of the main characters. Yet, I did. Their relationship, in my opinion, is a lot less sexual than most. Both characters have grown up without a real sense of family, so their union is emotional; it’s about belonging and trust.
As always, Laini Taylor’s writing is beautiful. The narrative is effortless to read. These books may be several hundred pages each, but the pages sail by as you get lost in the story!

 

Simon Says – Jo Wesley

Goodreads – Simon Says

Purchase Links: – Amazon UK      Amazon US

Now we get to my second-best rated book of the year and it was a tight contender for the top spot! I was blown away by this book. The subject matter is dark and gritty and it drew me in immediately. Simon Says is also a dual timeline narrative – one of my favourite formats. As a reader, we get to experience events spiralling to their feared, inevitable conclusion in Cindy’s childhood and live through the aftermath and her confronting those demons in her adult life.

All of the characters are very true to life and reflect the different ways in which people react to such a traumatic event. It was an emotional rollercoaster for me too. From feeling sick to sad and then rage at how a young girl has had to go through something so awful, I felt it all.

I read Simon Says back in September 2019 and to this day I still think about it occasionally. It’s stuck with me. I can’t tell you why, but it has.

Crowfall – Ed McDonald

Goodreads – Crowfall

Purchase Links: – Amazon UK      Amazon US     Waterstones

Finally, a shout out to my favourite read of 2019 and of course, it would be a fantasy novel! The world, the magic and fantasy setting of Crowfall is truly unique. I have loved the series from day 1 and I was very happy, but equally sad to have finished it! It’s definitely very high up on my list of books to re-read.

Ryhalt is an anti-hero you cannot help but invest into. He’s a flawed, unlucky in love drunk at the beck and call of a deity essentially as powerful as a God. He’s been corrupted by magic poisoning a land known as the Misery… for a very good reason! In an epic battle between the Nameless and the Deep Kings, humans are no more than collateral damage – and they want to unleash a magical weapon just like the one that corrupted the Misery in the first place!

Grimdark is a genre rapidly going up in my good books. I also really loved reading Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire series. Between Mark Lawrence and Ed McDonald, they have set a VERY high bar for the genre.

So there you have it! These were my best reads of 2019! Have you read any of these books or added them to your TBR? I’d love to know what you make of them in the comments.

 

 

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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!

 

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 27th January 2019

Happy weekend everyone! I hope you’ve had a good one! It’s time to take a look back at my week in books:-

My first blog post of the week was the Coffee Book Tag. I loved the idea so much, I had to do it for myself. If you haven’t read it yet or would like to have a go, then count this as a TAG for you to do it! If you do, I would love to see your answers to the questions!

On Saturday I shared my review of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. It’s such a classic that most people know it even if they haven’t read it themselves. This was actually my first time reading it – I never got the opportunity to at school. I was reading books like 1984 or Of Mice and Men instead (also very good reads). I have come to appreciate them a lot more in adulthood I have to say.

 

Books Read

It’s been a busy, busy week guys! I feel like I have made so much progress, I cannot begin to express how happy I am about it! I’ve gotten myself into a right reading blitz… so much so that I am likely to have read an extra book by month end!

My reading goal from last week was to set aside A Clash of Kings in favour of You Can’t Make Old Friends and Choose Your Parents Wisely by Tom Trott. I picked up You Can’t Make Old Friends on Tuesday and I finished it on Thursday, which is a result. I’m currently 35% through Choose Your Parents Wisely, with more progress to be made tonight to get myself to the target of 50%.

I must confess I was kidding myself in saying that I could put aside A Clash of Kings. I was at the battle of the Blackwater; it’s one of the most exciting bits. Of course, I carried on reading it, but at least not to the detriment of the other books to read. I actually managed to finish A Clash of Kings on Friday, which is even better!

As hinted above, I have also started another book to round up the month. Do you remember my 2019 resolution to try and read more non-fiction? Well, having mooched around my library for some time for inspiration, I picked up Mythos by Stephen Fry. This is the second book of his I have picked up; I love his narrative voice and his ability to recount the Greek myths, so far, is phenomenal. It’s comical as well, making it all the more palatable.

 

Books Discovered

Technically I only have the one addition to the TBR, which is Mythos. I’ve already told you about that though, so let’s move swiftly onwards…

 

Coming Up…

So, what can you expect on the blog next week?

 

Well actually, I’m such a good egg that I already have tomorrow’s post lined up and scheduled! That doesn’t happen very often… I’ll tell you that for free! As part of the publication day blog blitz, I have read and reviewed Black Matter by G.D. Parker. It’s a fast-paced crime novel that centres on technology and the ability to use it against those that use it. I really enjoyed reading it; I hope you enjoy my review just as much tomorrow

 

 

 

Later in the week, I’ll be putting together my Reading List for February. I say putting it together – to be honest, it’s almost set in stone as it is. I have a couple of blog tours coming up in February and one of those is for three books. Two days later I am set to review a fourth. I’ve been very busy on the tour front lately, but I actually quite enjoy it. In addition to those tours, I have two books to read that I have been approached with independently and an extract from another book to beta read. I may add one more book to the list, but aside from that, I’m booked out!

 

As for reading progress, I would love to finish Choose Your Parents Wisely by Tuesday, but Wednesday at the latest. That still grants me a couple of days to work on Mythos for the end of the month. I want to have that one finished by the end of the week as well. As it’s a library loan, I don’t want to hold on to it for too long. Before the week is out, regardless of progress with Mythos, I have to start It Never Goes Away by Tom Trott. This is the third book of the crime series I have been reading lately, making up my triad of books for review next month. It’s a short deadline to get this read in time, so I can’t delay starting this one!

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

Do you recall last week I announced that I was adding a section to my Sunday Summary posts? Well, this is it! In a bid to get me to read other people’s blogs more and to recognise some lovely faces (old and new) in the blogging community, I’ll be providing links to blog posts I really enjoyed reading this week: –

India Reads – The Fellowship of the Ring Review

The Book Instruments – Bookish Tattoos

Bookish Worlds – Godsgrave

Reads, Reacts, Reviews – The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris

Paper Royalty Blog – Three Bookish Things Tag

 

What have you been reading this week? Have you read any of the books I discuss? What did you think of them? I would love to hear from you!

Coffee Book Tag

I saw this tag over at The Book Prescription and it looked like so much fun! I love books and I love coffee, although if you make one like this first mug in the picture, I’ll sacrifice you to the Gods for ruining a potentially good cup of coffee…

1.       Black Coffee | Name A Series That’s Tough To Get Into But Has Hardcore Fans

 

I’d probably only say this series is tough to get into if you ignore the fact that the TV series popularised the whole thing. I’m purely considering this from a book perspective. Each book is long, epic in its volume of characters and established families that geographically span two large continents. Each continent has many cities or kingdoms with their own history, customs and cultures.

You get the drill. The Song of Ice and Fire series is not for the fainthearted… that’s for sure!

 

 

 

2.       Peppermint Mocha | Name A Book That Gets More Popular During the Winter or A Festive Time of Year

 

This is one I haven’t actually read yet, but I have intended to for the past couple of Christmases. Maybe this year!

 

 

 

 

 

3.       Hot Chocolate | What Is Your Favourite Children’s Book

 

I was actually shocked to find out this was even targeted at children, but it is. I only read this last year personally.

 

 

 

 

 

4.       Double Shot of Espresso | Name A Book That Kept You On the Edge Of Your Seat From Start to Finish

 

I read The Silent Patient last year – in less than 24hrs. That’s how much I was on the edge of my seat. I can’t remember the last time I read so fast!

 

 

 

 

 

5.       Starbucks | Name A Book You See Everywhere

 

This is one I haven’t read but am seriously considering picking up next month. Does anyone recommend?

 

 

 

 

 

6.       The Hipster Coffee Shop | Give A Book By An Indie Author A Shout Out

I have worked with so many indie authors that it wouldn’t be fair to single one out over the others. You are all fantastic guys!

 

 

 

7.       Oops! I Accidentally Ordered Decaf | Name A Book You Were Expecting More Of

 

 

So many people have raved about American Gods by Neil Gaiman, but I just didn’t get it. I stuck with it but struggled. Some suggest reading it twice, but I don’t think I’ll enjoy it again, so I won’t.

 

 

 

 

 

8.       The Perfect Blend | Name A Book Or Series That Was Both Bitter And Sweet, But Ultimately Satisfying

 

The only book I can think to put in this category is The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. Obviously, the bitterness comes from the harsh reality that Lale and Gita had to endure – it’s a telling based on a true account as well. The sweetness lies in the relationship that they maintained. They survived for each other.

 

 

 

 

9.       Green Tea | Name A Book Or Series That Is Quietly Beautiful

 

I wouldn’t say I am much of a reader of YA but this duology blew me away. I want my own Lazlo!

 

 

 

 

 

10.   Chai Tea | Name a Book Or Place Series That Makes You Dream Of Far Off Places

 

I’m not particularly travel ambitious; I’ll be the first person to admit this is a hard question for me to answer. Since reading The Song of Ice and Fire series (and consequently watching it – more weight is leant to this side of things), I have wanted to visit Dubrovnik, the set of King’s Landing. I was hoping to go last year, but alas, travel plans with friends fell through. Maybe in future!

 

 

 

11.   Earl Grey | Name Your Favourite Classic

 

It’s funny – each and every book I considered for this accolade has previously been on the “I hated this” pile. Isn’t maturity the strangest thing? I found it hard to pick this one. It was ultimately a tossup between 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale, but I think The Handmaid’s Tale just gets it.

 

 

 

 

I’m not going to tag anyone in this post in case you have already been nominated by someone else! If you would like to take part though, then TAG!! I want to see your answers!

Top Ten Reads in 2018

Narrowing down a list of Top Ten Reads in 2018 was always going to be hard. How can you pick favourites?! It’s like asking a mother to pick a favourite child!

When I was getting a list together of the books I read in 2018 in order to make my choices, I made two discoveries: –

  • Goodreads hadn’t credited me for 4 books read, so I actually managed to read 50 books in 2018 instead of 46
  • Of those 50 books, I rated nearly half 5* ; only 7 books got a rating of 3* or less

 

 

Boy, don’t I make my life difficult…

It’s been tough and I’ve had to be brutal. I read a lot of amazing books in 2018 (as you would guess based on my VERY high ratings), but I had to narrow it down to 10. So, here are my Top Ten Reads of 2018! Where I have reviewed the book on my blog, links to my review posts can be followed by clicking on the images.

 

Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Strange the Dreamer

Goodreads – Muse of Nightmares

 

Empire of Silence – Christopher Ruocchio

Empire of Silence

Goodreads – Empire of Silence

 

Children of Blood & Bone – Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood & Bone

Goodreads – Children of Blood & Bone

 

A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin

To be reviewed

Goodreads – A Game of Thrones

 

Blackwing & Ravencry – Ed McDonald

Goodreads – Blackwing

Goodreads – Ravencry

 

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – John Boyne

Goodreads – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

 

The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides

Goodreads – The Silent Patient

 

The Cathedral of Known Things – Edward Cox

To be reviewed

Goodreads- The Cathedral of Known Things

 

Did you read any of these books, and if so, how have you rated them? If you haven’t read them yet, are they on your list for 2019?

As ever, I would love to hear from you!