Tag: contemporary

Sunday Summary – 17th July 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my Sunday Summary update for this week!

Although my first blog post of the week was drafted ahead of time, there has been no rest for the wicked this week. My blog tour review of Twelve Nights by Penny Ingham went live on Monday; it was a pleasure to take part in the tour. Twelve Nights is a historical thriller/mystery novel. If that’s the kind of thing that floats your boat then I recommend you check this out.

Later in the week I took another look at my TBR and shared a Shelf Control post. In this post, I feature a sequel that has been on my list for quite some time. I even re-read the first book of the series to refresh my memory. But five years on, I still haven’t read the sequel! If you are curious to know which fantasy book I featured in this week‘s post, there’s a link above so you can go and take a look.

My blogging schedule hasn’t been quite so manic this week. However, I have been busy behind-the-scenes working towards a goal I set myself at the beginning of the year. To date, I’ve not been doing that well with it. This week, I prepared and scheduled next week’s posts. I wanted to get myself into a position where I was scheduling blog posts a week ahead of their publishing date, and I’ve got there. I bought myself a weekly planner so it’s a little bit easier for me to coordinate and organise myself! Fingers crossed I can keep it up!

 

Books Read

When I shared my Sunday Summary update with you last week, I had just finished reading Twelve Nights ahead of the blog tour. By rights, I should have moved on to my next and last ‘fixed read’ of the month, The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman.

However, I didn’t. When I was planning to take a book to bed with me on Monday night, I just really didn’t fancy going into that book just yet. I was looking for a book to counterbalance the injustice experienced by women in Twelve Nights. There was only one book on my bookshelf that would do this, and that was Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes.

I made the right decision to pick this book up. It gave me everything I needed and was a really interesting non-fiction book as well. This ticks off another goal for this year – picking up more non-fiction! In case you are unfamiliar, Pandora’s Jar takes a look at women in Greek myths and in particular, focuses on those who are not done justice in their stories. This could be because they are largely ignored or overshadowed by men, are made out to be evil… or worse yet, painted as straight-up monsters.

I really enjoyed the discussions In this book. It’s very well researched and it’s a good way of diving into Greek myths, and especially how the stories have evolved over the course of time.

I started reading The Man Who Died Twice as well. I picked this book up a couple of days ago and I am already a healthy 179 pages in. Initially, the hardback copy of this book looks quite long. It’s around 425 pages in total, but I was delighted to see that the text in this copy is huge! At least, compared to Pandora’s Jar. I’m absolutely flying through this book as I’ve only picked it up on three occasions over a couple of days. It is everything I was hoping it would be based on The Thursday Murder Club and I’m glad to be back with our main characters and a whole new mystery!

I have also been back on the audiobooks this week. I originally started listening to these again as I was completing a craft project (that I couldn’t share at the time because it was a gift for a friend). Around about a month ago I was discussing how I have a hit-and-miss relationship with them. It is around this time that I received my kit to complete my friend’s gift, and I fell back into them.

Rachael’s Wedding gift

In making my friend’s gift, I have motivated myself to get back into a craft project for myself. I bought myself a cross-stitch kit a while ago, and now I am making this for myself. I’ve made some progress with it this week, and at the same time, I listened to a couple of hours of The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I only have about an hour and a half left, so I’m hopeful I can finish this very soon!

 

Books Discovered

I was very good last week and I didn’t add a single thing to my TBR. However, the streak hasn’t lasted.

I saw a really cute video on Instagram of a friend of the author opening a copy of The Wonderland Trials. It was a really cute video and was captioned with a message about all the hard work the author has put in, as she very nearly didn’t publish this book. This made me look into it a bit more, and it’s very different from the sort of thing I would normally read. However, I’m intrigued, so it’s on the list!

 

Coming Up…

As I said above, I have been busy this week. Normally in this section, I talk about what is going to be shared on my blog this week, being in a position where I haven’t written it yet. Not this week! I already have next week’s posts scheduled and ready to go!

The first post you will see next week will be published on Tuesday. This week is a freebie in the Top Ten Tuesday series. That meant I had full discretion on what I wanted to share. I decided to combine two popular topics on my blog – A Game of Thrones, and my favourite quotes.

Later in the week, a First Lines Friday post is scheduled for you! In this post, I feature a book I intend to read very soon. It has been on my reading list for such a long time too! I’ve already talked about this book a couple of times on my blog recently. If you’re not sure what it is or want to find out more, you can check out that post on Friday.

As always, I’ll be back at the same time next week for another Sunday Summary update. With any luck, I’ll have kept up with drafting blog posts a week in advance! I’ve already done the hard work; it should be plain sailing from here on out!

That’s all from me for this week’s Sunday Summary update. Have you been reading anything interesting this week? As always, I’d love to know what you’re reading!

 

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Monthly Wrap-Up – April 2022

Welcome to today’s Monthly Wrap-Up for April 2022! We are already a third of the way through the year and honestly, time is flying once again! In today’s post I want to talk about the books I’ve been reading throughout the month of April, as well as provide a little commentary on where I’m up to with my 2022 Goodreads Challenge.

Get yourself a cuppa and make yourself comfortable!

 

Books Read

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

My first read of the month, carried forward from March, was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. This is the longest read on my list so far this year; even having started and read a couple of hundred pages in March, I still had around five hundred to go to get to the end of this epic! And epic this story is! I’m glad that I’ve completed my reread of the Harry Potter series; it’s one that I loved as a teenager as I grew up with them. I’m pleased to say that even reading them through the perspective of somebody little bit older, they still have all the appeal they did when I read them first.

 

The Thursday Murder Club

Next, I moved on to something a lot more lighthearted, and a book that I was recommended to read. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman was a completely different ballpark, but I loved every second of this one as well! I say this one was lighthearted, but there was one section in the story really took me by surprise. There are a couple of chapters in the book that take a very sudden turn, and whilst their inclusion in such a generally lighthearted book meant that the chapters had more impact, they made me cry.

This was another fantastic read overall. I loved the characters and the story in general, because I had me questioning everybody and their motive to see if I could get to the bottom of the story before the end of the book. The writing had me questioning pretty much everybody had some point, so it was really good in that respect! I’m definitely going to continue to read more of these books. If you like the idea of a whodunnit, but with a private investigation being led by more geriatric members of society, then you’ll enjoy this one as much as I did.

 

Ravencry

Ravencry

Lastly, I read Ravencry by Ed McDonald in the month of April. Having read and loved Blackwing at the end of February/early March, I knew I wanted to continue the trilogy in full. I read these books originally over 3 years ago now and loved them – so much so that I’ve gone on to gift two copies of this trilogy to friends.

Picking this up again has been great for me. I have enjoyed having the confidence in knowing that I’m going to enjoy a book, especially at a time where things aren’t exactly all that great in the world, and a guaranteed pick me up is a blessing. You have probably gathered that my overall reading speed isn’t the same as it was a couple of years ago either, and whilst I’m certainly not trying to break any records or push myself too hard, I would like to be reading a little bit more than I am.

Picking up books by fantastic authors such as Ed McDonald really help motivate me to do so!

 

Ideally, I would’ve liked to have picked up Crowfall, the last book on my ‘set list’ before the end of the month. I set myself another ambitious list last month with the aim of trying to pick up my books. But, the beauty of having mood reads is that it doesn’t matter so much if I don’t get round to them. Naturally, I would like to get to a point where I have a little bit of freedom of choice with my reading (because that’s the format I’m setting myself this year – a fixed reading list and then potentially a couple where I have flexibility if I complete the set list).

At the same time, I’m not beating myself up about it either. You may not know, but I am currently studying for an exam that I’m sitting at the end of June. Whilst it’s not a large one by any means, I’ve been working through the content nice and early so I’ve got plenty of time to iron out the kinks and work out what I need to work on a little bit more. I’ve put in a lot of hours this month towards studying. In reality, if I had put that time into reading instead I would have completed my reading list very early this month. But, priorities are priorities. The fact that I’ve achieved both, as well as continuing to blog, is something I’m proud of!

 

Goodreads Challenge Update

In my monthly wrap-up posts, I am yet to comment on where am I with regards to my Goodreads Challenge for this year. I’ve therefore decided to add this review to this post, and I will also be looking at my progress in my August month-end review, and finally again at the end of the year.

As I say above, I’ve not been reading as much as I have historically, but the great news is I am perfectly on track with my Goodreads Challenge. As of drafting this post I am neither ahead nor behind. At this stage it’s a great confidence booster, because it means I don’t have to put any pressure on myself to catch up, but equally I’ve not set myself a challenge that is too easy. There have been a couple of years where I have set myself challenges and then up to them at a later date as I underestimated my capabilities. So far, it doesn’t look like I have to do that this year.

For a quick recap, here is a list of books I have read so far this year: –

  1. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  2. The Feedback loop
  3. Dune
  4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  5. Clockwork Magpies
  6. Son of Mercia
  7. The Diary of a Young Girl
  8. Blackwing
  9. Keep You Safe
  10. Lean In
  11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  12. The Thursday Murder Club
  13. Ravencry

What I hope this list also demonstrates is that I am picking up a variety of books. There is fantasy and science fiction, mystery and thrillers, as well as historical fiction and even a couple of non-fiction books. For someone who doesn’t read a lot of non-fiction generally, I’m really happy that I’ve managed to squeeze two into such a short list!

So there you have it – my monthly wrap-up post for April 2022! I hope you enjoyed today’s post and you are looking forward to finding out what I’m going to be reading in May. If you are, keep your eyes peeled for a post going live in the next couple of days!

What have you been reading? Have you got any good book recommendations? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Shelf Control #32 – 02/07/2021

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

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

I like to take this opportunity to have a look at the books on my TBR, in order, to share with you why I’m interested in them. It’s also to filter out any I no longer want to read too. A lot of the older books on my list were added a good number of years ago, so I have filtered a few out since starting the series.

This week‘s featured book has been on my TBR since July 2017 and having read the synopsis again, I really can’t wait to see if I love this book as much as I think I’m going to. It has a really unique premise and it’s unlike anything I have seen before.

Read on to find out about the book!


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Goodreads – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.


My Thoughts….

I really like the concept of this story. It’s unusual and unique and I’m hoping I really get on with a slightly different style of narrative. Having read some reviews, this seems to be a love it or hate it book. I for one am optimistic that I will enjoy this one and I hope to be picking it up before too long.

From the synopsis and the reviews, I’m not really sure what kind of genre this fits into. It doesn’t seem to fit too well into horror, despite what the synopsis makes you believe. But I don’t know where else it would sit. I suppose in a way that can be seen as a good thing. It’s a way of diversifying and reading something new – which I’m always keen to do.

Have you read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children? What did you make of it if so?

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Shelf Control #31 – 28/05/2021

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

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

I like to take this opportunity to have a look at the books on my TBR, in order, to share why I’m interested in them, but also to filter out any I no longer want to read. A lot of the older books on my list were added a good number of years ago, so I have filtered a few out since starting the series.

This week‘s featured book is a little bit different from the usual books on my TBR. It’s a contemporary and a classic with elements of crime and mystery. There is plenty there to draw me in even though it’s not typical book I would read. However, I do really like the sound of the synopsis… and this book comes recommended too.

Read on to find out about the book!

 

The Secret History – Donna Tartt

The Secret History

Goodreads – The Secret History

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

 

My Thoughts….

It isn’t often I reach for a contemporary, however I really like the sound of this. It’s also a bit of a classic and that’s another reason I want to give this a try! It is a little bit different from my typical reading choice and I hope picking it up pays off.

I did actually have a chat about this book with my boss a little while ago. We quite often have little ‘what are you reading’ chats, as he is a reader himself. It just so happens that he has picked this up himself and as he was telling me about it, I recognised it. Knowing that this book comes with his recommendation makes stepping out of my comfort zone easier. It’s a chunky size book so it’s going to be a solid read, but I can’t wait to give it a try.

 

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Spotlight Feature Post: Justice Gone – Nicholas Lombardi Jr

Today’s blog post is a spotlight feature for a fantastic legal thriller novel that is very relevant to a lot of discussions ongoing at the moment. I actually read and reviewed this particular book back in April 2019 as part of a blog tour shortly after its publication. Since then, the book has gone on to win many awards, with its fifth and latest just recently.

To celebrate the occasion, I spoke to the author about his inspiration to write the book, how it relates to current events and what more we can expect from him. Before that though, here are the details for Justice Gone: –

 

Justice Gone – Nicholas Lombardi Jr

Goodreads – Justice Gone

WINNER OF FIVE AWARDS

  • 2020 INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD
  • NEW YORK CITY BIG BOOK AWARD 2019
  • 2019 AMERICAN FICTION AWARD
  • NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCY AWARD – Best Legal Thriller of 2019
  • SILVER MEDAL WINNER 2019 READERS’ FAVORITES AWARDS

Chosen by Wiki.ezvid.com among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers

 

The courtroom scenes are wonderfully written…the characters are well described and the author paints a picture of each in the mind of the reader…Strong plot, strong characters and a strong writing style that I really enjoyed. This one is a definite “thumbs-up.” Strongly recommend! I look forward to reading additional works by N. Lombardi, Jr.

Kim M Aalaie, Author’s Den

 

One of my favorite suspense novels of the year. It will make you question the legal system.

The Eclectic Review

The courtroom action is excellent, trimmed to the most gripping parts of the trial, with plenty of emotional impact…a fairly realistic portrayal of the way small-town US society works…a fast-moving story with plenty of dramatic moments, and a big twist in the final pages.

Crime Review 

 

An act of police brutality hurls a small town into a turmoil of rage and fear, igniting a relentless witch hunt and ending in the trial of the decade.

“When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.

A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.

Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.

Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?”

 

Purchase Links: –   

Amazon UK   Amazon US   Amazon India   Barnes & Noble   Book Depository   Waterstones   Kobo

 

 

Author Interview

What led you to writing this novel?

I can’t recall exactly how I came across this story: a homeless man beaten to death by police in a small town in California, but I do remember a series of YouTube videos that documented this event. There was a video recording taken from a closed circuit TV camera at the adjacent bus stop showing the beating, a silent witness to a brutal act.  What was more appalling to me than the impending assault, was the exchange of two of the police officers with the soon-to-be victim, a harrowing display of sadistic provocation. The fact that the officers were indicted and brought to trial at all was a precedent – up to that time no police officer had ever been prosecuted for excessive force in the history of Orange County, a tradition that likely imparted a sentiment of immunity on the part of the accused officers when they were partaking in their vicious act.

In addition, videos of street protests decrying such police violence illustrated the collective shock of a small town. The town was Fullerton, California; the man was Kelly Thomas. The year was 2011

This case was the seed from which my novel, Justice Gone, sprouted.

 

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How do you think it could contribute to the currently ongoing discussion?

The incident of excessive force in Justice Gone is not an isolated action, but occurs within the context of local politics and a flawed legal system, where outcomes are determined by the attitudes of people. I feel that a discussion of the violation of civil rights by law enforcement should include these elements, as they may be responsible for any sense of impunity the involved officers may have.

 

Are there any personal experiences that might have (inadvertently) made their way into the book?

Fortunately, I’ve never had an encounter with a police officer, nor was I ever trapped in the unfeeling machine of the legal system, but then again, I’ve lived most of my life outside of the United States.

 

In the current call for books by own voices, how do you feel as a white person narrating the viewpoint of an African-American person?

Well, I’ve never attempted to do that. I don’t think it would work. Justice Gone is written in a show, not tell, style of narrative. Essentially, these are the characters, this is what they do, this is what they say, and this is what happens in the story.

 

The book was published in February 2019. You must have worked on it for a while before then. Anytime during that process, did you expect the turmoil to reach the pitch it has now?

I expected the rage against abusive police actions to be sustained, and suspected that it might grow with time, but I wasn’t certain, because sometimes people forget until the next time it happens.

 

Stepping back from the book itself, what is your writing process?

Basically to relax and let my mind wander over the story – that’s the way my ideas come, usually with a glass of wine.

 

Is there anything else you want to convey to your readers?

To the few readers I have, I would like to say that we haven’t seen the last of Nat Bodine, the blind lawyer, nor the last of legal fiction that encompasses social issues. The matter of the death penalty, instances of racial discrimination, legal representation for the mentally disabled, and the sentencing of juveniles to life without parole are among a host of topics that can be explored through fiction. Although tragic, I intend to write about such inequities while infusing a note of hope in the stories.

 

About the Author

N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

 

Visit his Goodreads and Facebook pages!

Blog Tour Review: Grace & Serenity – Annalisa Crawford

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

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

Now, here are the details of the book –

 

Grace & Serenity – Annalisa Crawford

Goodreads – Grace & Serenity

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

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

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

But nothing ever comes for free.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Author Bio

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

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

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

 

Social Media Links –

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnalisaCrawf

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

 

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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Shelf Control #16 – 13/03/2020

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! In today’s post, I am featuring a contemporary novel on my TBR. I wouldn’t describe it as my typical type of read, but I love the sound of the book based on the synopsis. I am a sentimental person, so I think I am really going to get on with the book and the main characters!

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

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

 

Shelf Control posts allow me to look in more depth at the books I have added to my TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. It’s a great chance to talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Keeper of Lost Things – Ruth Hogan

Goodreads – The Keeper of Lost Things

A charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.

Lime green plastic flower-shaped hair bobbles—Found, on the playing field, Derrywood Park, 2nd September.

Bone china cup and saucer—Found, on a bench in Riveria Public Gardens, 31st October.

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidentally left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.

Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.

As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?

Full of character, wit, and wisdom, The Keeper of Lost Things is heartwarming tale that will enchant fans of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Garden Spells, Mrs Queen Takes the Train, and The Silver Linings Playbook.

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

My Thoughts…

Not only do I love the premise, but in part, I want to pick up The Keeper of Lost Things to enjoy a change of topic and pace of novel. I love reading a number of genres – fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thrillers (you name it… there’s a good chance I read it!). There are a few exceptions though, and as contemporary fiction often overlaps with romance novels, I don’t tend to pick them up.

Based on the reviews there is an element of this in the book. Not the end of the world so long as it doesn’t dominate a narrative. I can’t be doing with several hundred pages of romantic sappiness. I don’t think there is going to be too much of it here though, which will be fine!

 

Have you read The Keeper of Lost Things? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

 

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Sixty Minutes – Tony Salter

I’m really pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Sixty Minutes by Tony Salter today! The synopsis piqued my interest immediately. I also enjoyed reading something a little different and getting different perspectives on the run-up to a catastrophic event.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and to the author for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!

 

Sixty Minutes – Tony Salter

Goodreads – Sixty Minutes

Five different people. Five separate lives. Sixty minutes to bind them for ever.

Hassan, Jim, Shuna, Dan and Nadia come from very different worlds. If life were straightforward, their paths would never cross. But our lives are rarely that simple and, as the clock ticks away the minutes of a single hour on a July morning, fate draws all five together in a headlong rush towards disaster.

Who are the heroes and who are the villains?

Tony Salter’s latest novel leaves us guessing right up to the last page.

 

Purchase Links Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

One hour. That’s the difference between a normal day in the normal life of five very different characters, and disaster. As the minutes while away we learn about what brings the characters together in the epic race against time.

I enjoyed how the chapters are headed as the time of day on the approach to “the event” and divided between each of the main characters. Dividing the narrative in that way builds tension, without making each chapter too long. It also means we can keep track of each of the characters as there aren’t large gaps between their movements.

There’s a great deal of diversity between each of the main characters. Their different backgrounds, upbringing and life experiences have their consequences. Each character and their history is distinguishable from the other and explored individually without preference or bias. They are all told equally well and are well developed, enhancing the story. In addition to the five main characters, there are a plethora of supporting characters that pull everything together. The premise is a simple one, but written brilliantly to maximise the drama!

Even as a contemporary psychological thriller, Sixty Minutes has a lot to say that’s relevant to today’s society. It’s a tale of humanity, desperation and despair, but also of hope, unsung heroism and a fighting spirit to carry on despite adversity. I’m deliberately not saying anything about the characters of the story as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone! For me, it was the element of mystery and vagueness of the synopsis that drew me in. There will be no spoiling the surprise for anyone else here.

I really enjoyed Sixty Minutes and I will definitely be reading some of Tony Salter’s other novels. I have already added his debut novel, Best Eaten Cold to the TBR!

 

Giveaway to Win 5 x PB copies of Sixty Minutes (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494327/

Author Bio

Tony’s latest thriller, Sixty Minutes, was released on 29th August 2019. Tony is the author of bestselling psychological thriller, Best Eaten Cold. He writes pacy contemporary thrillers which explore different themes, but all share Tony’s thought-provoking plots and richly-painted characters. Sixty Minutes is his fourth novel.

His second novel, The Old Orchard – a gripping family thriller – was published on the 7th of November 2017 and the sequel to Best Eaten Cold, – Cold Intent – was published in November 2018. Highlights of his early career include (in no particular order) three years as an oilfield engineer in the Egyptian desert, twelve years managing record companies for EMI Music in Greece, India and across Eastern Europe, running a caravan site in the South of France and being chauffeur to the French Consul in Sydney.

Having survived the Dotcom boom, he went on to be a founder of the world’s largest website for expatriates, a major music publisher and a successful hotel technology business. In amongst this, Tony found the time to backpack around the world twice (once in his twenties and once in his fifties), learn six languages (including Norwegian and Greek) and to find a beautiful Norwegian wife. He now lives in Oxfordshire and writes full-time. He has recently turned sixty and is married with three children and five grandchildren.

You can find out more about Tony at www.tonysalter.com

Social Media Links

https://twitter.com/TonyOxford

https://www.facebook.com/tonysalterauthor/

https://www.instagram.com/tonysalter2017/

 

Shelf Control #12 – 20/12/2019

Hi guys – Happy Friday and welcome to today’s Shelf control post! Once again I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the next book on my TBR and telling you why I am excited to read it!

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

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

By using these Shelf Control posts I can look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Women’s Room – Marilyn French

Goodreads – The Women’s Room

The bestselling feminist novel that awakened both women and men, The Women’s Room follows the transformation of Mira Ward and her circle as the women’s movement begins to have an impact on their lives. A biting social commentary on an emotional world gone silently haywire, The Women’s Room is a modern classic that offers piercing insight into the social norms accepted so blindly and revered so completely. Marilyn French questions those accepted norms and poignantly portrays the hopeful believers looking for new truths.

 

Purchase Links: – Waterstones     Amazon UK     Amazon US

My Thoughts…

I wouldn’t describe myself as a feminist; I don’t talk about it very often either, but it is a subject that interests me. I think there is a real misconception of feminism now – I almost get the impression that some “feminists” pursue female interests so hard that they promote inequality as a result. By definition, that isn’t true feminism. Feminism is all about equality. I’m of the opinion that if women want to be CEO’s, politicians, or firefighters… great! If men want to be dancers, make-up artists, hairdressers or nurses, that’s great too! You should be able to do whatever you want to do.

As a prominent work of feminist fiction, I can’t wait to read it and learn more about the history of feminism, as well as compare some of the topics covered and compare it to modern-day.

Have you read The Women’s Room or any other feminist fiction? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***