#IncidentReport |#BookReview | YOU (You #1) by Caroline Kepnes @CarolineKepnes (18th June 2015, Simon & Schuster @SimonBooks)

YOU (You #1) by Caroline Kepnes
18th June 2015, Simon & Schuster

When a beautiful aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

Okie doke. Where do I even start?! This book has been winking at me on my bookshelf for more years than I care to admit to. It was always one of those books that languished on my seemingly never-ending TBR.

Then on Netflix, this little ball of handsome pops up on my screen!

A Netflix adaptation of said book that’s now shouting at me from my bookshelf; “Yeah! That’s right! You gonna read me now huh?!”. I ignored said shouting until I caved. As much as I want to sit and binge my way through the show – there was no way that was going to happen until I’d read the book.

Wow. This book is….NOT what I expected. I say this in the BEST possible way. I’ve read so many psychological thrillers now that claim to have the biggest twist, and one you can’t put down, etc but YOU is something else.

The first thing to throw me off was the narrative. It’s written in the first person, but as if telling a story to the third party. This style of writing hooked me straight away and then the race was on to gorge on this story as soon as I humanly could!

Second thing about this book….Joe.

I get it now. Reading reviews of both the book and the series and the number of people who were really rooting for Joe was a little worrying. Joe is (this is not a spoiler!) a stalker. There’s no doubting that. He has an unhealthy obsession with a woman and really tries to infiltrate her life in every which way. So why root for him? Well that brings me onto the third thing I loved..

Beck. Ugh. Peach. Ugh. “Dr” Nicky. Ugh. Benji. Ugggggh. These four characters are actually the worst. The kind of people that you probably would do your best to avoid. Self absorbed, selfish, entitled. As the story progresses, I found myself questioning why I cared so much about Joe. Caroline Kepnes, I salute you. I’m still trying to compute my feelings! I cannot get my hands on the follow up novel, HIDDEN BODIES quick enough!

When I put this book down and started writing this review, I stumbled on this gif which pretty much sums up my experience with this book. I agree with you John Stamos, you handsome son of a gun!

You can buy YOU (You #1) from the following booksellers (however, there are MANY more!!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

-S.

#BlogBlitz | #BlogTour | #BookReview | STOLEN SISTER by Linda Huber @LindaHuber19 (25th March 2019, Bloodhound Books @Bloodhoundbook)

Welcome!! This is our stop on this Blog Blitz Tour for STOLEN SISTER by Linda Huber.

I would firstly like to say a rather big thank you to the amazing Heather @ Bombshell Books and of course the wonderful Linda Huber who gifted me an early copy of STOLEN SISTER. I am forever grateful and promise that the review below is 100% honest and of my own views.

To kick off, we have the “blurb” for the book;

What happens when a baby goes missing? 

Twenty-two years ago, Erin and Vicky’s parents were killed in an explosion. 

Now grown up, Erin and Vicky – who have been separated – are unaware they are siblings. But when Vicky is called to her great-aunt’s deathbed, she learns that she isn’t alone after all. 
But where is Erin? Vicky’s search begins…

Elsewhere, Christine has problems of her own. In the first week of her new job, she makes a disturbing discovery, and is struggling to come to terms with impending motherhood. 

Vicky is almost ready to give up her search when an old foster mother calls with shocking news. 

What links Vicky and Christine?

Will Vicky ever find her sister? 

And can Christine’s baby escape the past that befell her mother?

So, you want to know what I think?

This book starts with a heart breaking tragedy that has your heart in your mouth from the beginning!

When a fire breaks out in the hotel where Paula and husband are staying with their 5 day old baby, their friend Sylvie takes the baby Erin without informing anyone. When Paula’s auntie takes on the other 2 children and has them taken from her, Sylvie decides the best thing for her to do is keep Erin, the baby. 

Maisie reveals this information to her niece Vicky on her deathbed it sets into motion a chain of events that leads to Sylvie’s life crashing down.

I’m not quite sure what genre you would put this book into. There is an element of chick lit, an element of a thriller and also a tragedy which kind of confuses things a bit. However, despite this, it is still a very enjoyable read and I found myself flying through the pages! Written in three parts the story moves from Sylvie making the decision to bring Erin up herself, to the search for her by her sister Vicky and ending with the family discovering who Sylvie really is.

There seems to be a lot of characters in this story but it was easy to keep track of who was who, and as each chapter is labelled as certain dates it’s easy to see what happens and when so you don’t feel like your getting lost with timelines or people.

I found the subject of this book interesting. I’ve never really read a book that deals with adoption or lost family before so it was good to read something different to what I’m used to. It made a really nice change for me and it was so easy to read I managed to finish it in just two days.

I felt the ending was good and didn’t leave any unanswered questions and I finished feeling satisfied. There were sad parts of this book which add to the emotions I felt as a reader. I did guess one of the “surprises” though but that didn’t take anything away from the book for me.

Would highly recommend to anyone that enjoys easy, fast reads that is looking to try something a little different to the usual books on their shelves. 

About Linda Huber;

Linda grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but went to work in Switzerland for a year aged twenty-two, and has lived there ever since. Her day jobs have included working as a physiotherapist in hospitals and schools for handicapped children, and teaching English in a medieval castle. Not to mention several years spent as a full-time mum to two boys, a rescue dog, and a large collection of goldfish and guinea pigs.

Her writing career began in the nineties, when she had over fifty feel-good short stories published in women’s magazines. Several years later, she discovered the love of her writing life – psychological suspense fiction. Her first novel was published in 2013, and was followed by eight others. Under her feel-good pen name Melinda Huber, she has also published a charity collection of romantic short stories and a series of feel-good novellas.

After spending large chunks of the current decade moving house, Linda has now settled in a beautiful flat on the banks of Lake Constance in north-east Switzerland, and is working on another suspense novel.

Links:

Website: https://lindahuber.net/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Linda-Huber/e/B00CN7BB0Q/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindaHuber19

FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/authorlindahuber/

STOLEN SISTER is out now and can be purchased at the following outlets;

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (AU)

*L*

Be sure to check out the other blogs who participated in this Blog Tour. See below for further details and be sure to follow all of the action across Twitter!


#PTurnersBookClub | #BookReview | A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara (March 10th 2015, Picador @picadorbooks)

A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara
10th March 2015, Picador

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition.

There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

[K] Review

22.02.19 Literally just finished, I think I need some time to gather my thoughts before reviewing this one

25.02.19  I think I have had enough time now to gather my thoughts and my page and a half of review notes to give this a go.

This book was read as part of the P Turners blog book club.

I do have to say A Little Life isn’t a book I would normally pick up, I seem to live in a cave as I had never heard anything about this book or any of the fervor this book created being nominated for the Man Booker Prize. Nor is there any synopsis on the back of this book (again doesn’t encourage me to pick it up).

Without giving too much away about this book it follows the life of Jude St Francis, where we first meet him whilst he is in college. There are flashbacks to his harrowing childhood and how he was brought up and we follow him onward from college to his older years. We get to meet all the people he interacts with, good and bad, some deserving more detail than others. I felt emotionally involved in the story and characters as if he was speaking to me about his life in a journal. Speaking about his friends in such a way I very nearly googled them, to then remember these were fictional.

Whilst I have had book hangovers before despite this taking me 3 weeks to read (it is a lot of pages!) I have never felt this sense of loss I felt when finishing this story. I found I was held rapt and enslaved with the detail and depth of the writing.  This novel has taken me well out of my comfort zone and my ‘safe’ genres but will definitely be one that will stay with me.

*L* Review

This book was actually picked by S for a blog book club read and although I’m not sure I would have chosen it for myself to read, I am not one to not at least try so I got started. 

I didn’t not like this book but I struggled with the amount of words and the way it was written. Personally for me I felt that Hanya could have gotten away with a lot less description, there were points where I found myself losing interest and would drift away from the story. It certainly didn’t grip me, I found myself just wanting to get to the end by about 80%.

I also found it hard to keep track of the the timeline of events, the story would start at one point and then jump back in time to something that happened a few months before hand and then back to the starting point and I found myself not really knowing what happened when. It starts off with 4 main characters and I got the impression that the story would be based on the 4 but it seemed to then switch to all be about one particular character with narration from another at points. The other 2 became more like back ground characters although one of them does have a part that’s about him but it’s not consistent. I disliked that as I think I would have enjoyed reading about the 4 and not just the small glimpses we get. I feel that if Hanya wanted it to be about Jude then she should have left the bit based on JB out completely. It felt like a bit of a teaser and irrelevant to the rest of the book. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if there were more about the other characters we are introduced to. 

This book is a very hard hitting book to read. It should come with a number of trigger warnings. Depression and child abuse being the worse things that come to mind. Hanya does write about depression well and those scenes of hyenas chasing Jude came to live in a real way. I found it difficult to read the parts about Jude’s childhood and found I had to take a break several times during those parts. I feel they are needed to really understand why Jude is the way he is and some of the decisions he makes. Hanya describes the self hatred and the emotional depth of Jude’s character extremely well and those bits affected me, to hear what he has been through and continues to struggle with was very difficult.

I did feel a bit heartless when I found myself getting frustrated with Jude. I think I discovered more about myself whilst reading this book. I did quite like Jude’s character, in as much as his friends become his world and when he falls in love you can tell he does it so completely with all of his being, however there were points where I just wanted to take him by his shoulders and shake him to wake up and realise just what he has surrounding him but I guess that’s just one of the ways that depression can affect a person.

All that being said when I got close to the end of the book I did find myself getting very emotional and I realised that maybe this book had affected me a little more than I realised. One very big warning though – do not go into this book expecting a happy ending!

Overall this book will probably stay with me for just how hard hitting and difficult it was. One of the signs of a good book is a book that you find yourself thinking about without even realising and I think this will be one of those for me.

You can buy A LITTLE LIFE from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

#ArdentlyAustenBookClub | #BookReview | SENSE & SENSIBILITY by Jane Austen (October 30th 1811) #ClassicFiction

SENSE AND SENSIBILITY by Jane Austen
September 25th 2017, Worth Press (Original Publication: 30th October 1811)

Sense and Sensibility’s two heroines – so utterly unlike each other – undergo the most violent passions when they are separated from the men they love. What differentiates them, and gives this extraordinary book its complexity and brilliance is the way each expresses her suffering.

Marianne – young, impetuous, ardent – falls into paroxysms of grief when she is rejected by the dashing John Willoughby; while her sister, Elinor – wiser, more sensible, more self-controlled – masks her despair when it appears that Edward Ferrars is to marry the mean-spirited and cunning Lucy Steele.

All, of course, ends happily – but not until Elinor’s ‘sense’ and Mariannes’ ‘sensibility’ have equally worked to reveal the profound emotional life that runs beneath the surface of Austen’s immaculate art. 

[K]’s Review;

Reading as part of an Ardently Austen Book Club readalong on Instagram this was my first ever Jane Austen story and from what I’ve read, her debut novel. Given the wide variety of reading material we have now this book is a bit of a slow burner and for a start I did struggle with the language used, but once I got used to the writing style, into the story and invested with the characters I found it flowed really well.

The story centres around two sisters Elinor and Marianne and their life. I found both to be strong characters, although disposed to bouts of histrionics, which to be fair I thought was within reason at times. In the modern world where women have a lot more free reign this was a reminder to me as to how life was for women in the late 18th century, how they were supposed to behave, what society expected from them and what hardships they could face.

I cannot wait to start the next book (PRIDE & PREJUDICE) in February.

-S.’s review;

My review for SENSE & SENSIBILITY is not too dissimilar to [K] in that when this readalong kicked off and I started to read the book, I found the language very try to get my head around. I found myself reading the same paragraph two or three times to understand what was happening!

I’m used to reading a lot of crime fiction with a strong female lead, one who doesn’t take any punches and goes up against pretty much all male counter parts. With this in mind, I found it a major shift to then look at Marianne and Elinor with how they behaved towards men…..then I remembered this book was written in the early 1800s! This book really does give you an insight into what life was life back then.

This was my first ‘proper’ classic fiction title and also my first Jane Austen novel. I’m glad I’ve read it now so I can try and act all smart over the dinner table (it’s not always appropriate to quote Fifty Shades….) but I wouldn’t say it’s a book I would go back and re-read.

Next on the list now is watching the movie adaption with Alan Rickman!

Have you read any Jane Austen? If so, what was your favourite?

Join in the book club over on Instagram!

#BlogTour | #IncidentReport | #BookReview | INBORN by Thomas Enger (January 23rd 2019, Orenda Books @orendabooks)

Welcome to my stop on this Blog Tour for the release of INBORN, the latest novel by the awesome Thomas Enger.

I would like to say that it is truly my pleasure to be invited onto this blog tour! Particular thanks to Anne Cater, Orenda Books and of course the awesome Thomas Enger who gifted me an early copy of INBORN. I am forever grateful and promise that the review below is 100% honest and of my own views.

To kick off, we have the “blurb” for the book;

When the high school in the small Norwegian village of Fredheim becomes a murder scene, the finger is soon pointed at seventeen-year-old Even. As the investigation closes in, social media is ablaze with accusations, rumours and even threats, and Even finds himself the subject of an online trial as well as being in the dock … for murder?

Even pores over his memories of the months leading up to the crime, and it becomes clear that more than one villager was acting suspiciously … and secrets are simmering beneath the calm surface of this close-knit community.

As events from the past play tag with the present, he’s forced to question everything he thought he knew. Was the death of his father in a car crash a decade earlier really accidental? Has his relationship stirred up something that someone is prepared to kill to protect? It seems that there may be no one that Even can trust.

But can we trust him?

A taut, moving and chilling thriller, Inborn examines the very nature of evil, and asks the questions: How well do we really know our families? How well do we know ourselves?

So, want to know what I thought?

Well…that was a pleasant surprise! After coming out of my Henning Juul book hangover, I was more than keen beans to read INBORN. I was ready to fully invest myself in Thomas’ writing and how he masters building a character base.

INBORN is a fast paced courtroom drama, with plenty of twists and turns throughout. Short, choppy chapters keep the pace of the book moving quickly. There’s no time to get bored in this story! The switch between ‘then’ and ‘now’ with each chapter threw me straight back into Even’s world as he pushes to learn the truth. Just as I thought smugly to myself ‘Oh – it’s them. It HAS to be.’ I am soon feeling a little silly. This is a book that keeps me on my toes throughout.

The story is written predominantly from Even’s perspective and his manner is very typical of a young person in today’s society. Ruled/governed by what is posted on social media, Even feels the full force of his peers suspicions. Before he even faces the courtroom, he is already fighting in his corner in the trial by social media – a trial led solely on speculation.

Given the location and the plot – I can see this easily being turned into an online series. One which I would happily sit and binge in an afternoon! There is enough with each character to have you wanting more and I finished this book very much with more questions than I had answers to.

This is a great book for younger readers who love their crime fiction, or for those looking for a book to get them started! I’ll certainly be recommending this book to my friends who have children! I cannot wait to read what’s next for Thomas!

About Thomas Enger;

Thomas Enger (b. 1973) is a former journalist. He made his debut with the crime novel Burned (Skinndød) in 2009, which became an international sensation before publication. Burned is the first in a series of 5 books about the journalist Henning Juul, which delves into the depths of Oslo’s underbelly, skewering the corridors of dirty politics and nailing the fast-moving world of 24-hour news.

Rights to the series have been sold to 26 countries to date. In 2013 Enger published his first book for young adults, a dark fantasy thriller called The Evil Legacy, for which he won the U-prize (best book Young Adult). Enger also composes music, and he lives in Oslo.

You can buy INBORN from the following booksellers (but obvs you can get it at other awesome booksellers too!);

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

-S.

Be sure to check out the other blogs participating in this Blog Tour. See below for further details and be sure to follow all of the action across Twitter!

#LettersFromTheHeart | #BookReview | THE LOST ART OF KEEPING SECRETS by Eva Rice @EvaRiceAuthor (October 24th 2005, Plume Books @PlumeBooks) #BeatTheBacklist

THE LOST ART OF KEEPING SECRETS by Eva Rice
24th October 2005, Plume Books

Set in 1950s London The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets centers around Penelope the wide- eyed daughter of a legendary beauty Talitha who lost her husband to the war. Penelope with her mother and brother struggles to maintain their vast and crumbling ancestral home while postwar London spins toward the next decade’s cultural revolution.

Penelope wants nothing more than to fall in love and when her new best friend Charlotte a free spirit in the young society set drags Penelope into London with all of its grand parties she sets in motion great change for them all. Charlotte’s mysterious and attractive brother Harry uses Penelope to make his American ex-girlfriend jealous with unforeseen consequences and a dashing wealthy American movie producer arrives with what might be the key to Penelope’s and her family’s future happiness.

Vibrant witty and filled with vivid historical detail The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is an utterly unique debut novel about a time and place just slipping into history.

Sometimes you buy books that you think look and sound interesting and that you would enjoy, you take them home put them on your shelf and then look at them occasionally before choosing something else to read. This was the case for me with THE LOST ART OF KEEPING SECRETS. I bought it years ago and it has done 7 house moves with me and still I never got around to reading it. Until the Beat the Backlist challenge that we were set for the blog. I finally picked up this book and BOY am I glad I did!

What a wonderful, cute story. Penelope is a shy girl of 18 trying to adapt to life in a big house after the war which caused the family to lose the head of the household and Penelope’s mother’s reason for living. Penelope’s life is pretty boring until Charlotte comes along and picks Penelope out of a line of people at a bus stop. When Penelope and Charlotte take tea with Charlotte’s aunt a friendship is formed and Penelope’s life goes in a direction she never imagined.

We are introduced to lots of different types of characters. There is Charlotte’s cousin, magician Harry, head over heels in love with an American socialite who is just a little out of reach, Penelope’s brother Inigo who is so music obsessed it is all he lives and breathes as well as Penelope’s beautiful mother who is struggling to adapt to life without her husband in a house falling to pieces around her.

As Penelope sets on a path full of adventure, we get to go along for the ride. Penelope discovers lots about herself, love and music as she embarks on a new journey. I loved how Penelope developed from a shy unsure girl into a beautiful confident woman. Watching her grow was like seeing a flower bloom throughout the seasons. Penelope was easy to like and exactly how you would imagine a girl of 18 to start out as a grown up. 

I did keep having to remind myself that the book is set in the 1950s and not earlier as the description of the house and the manners of the people reminded me of what I have read about in the 1930s. I love the way that Elvis Presley is just starting out on his career and that was interesting for me to read about. 

I loved how the story ended with Penelope finally admitting her feelings for a certain boy but left open ended for the reader decide where they go from here. I imagine that Penelope got a happy ending and became a well known writer.

I adored this book, it was such a cute lovable story and I highly recommend for people looking for something to the usual romance type of book. Me enjoying this book so much has reminded me that I need to read more of the books sitting on my shelf, who knows what other gems are hiding there!

You can buy THE LOST ART OF KEEPING SECRETS from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

*L*

#TerrorTomes | #BookReview | SLEEPING BEAUTIES by Stephen King & Owen King @StephenKing (September 26th 2017, Hodder & Stoughton @HodderBooks) #BeatTheBacklist

SLEEPING BEAUTIES by Stephen King & Owen King
26th September 2017, Hodder & Stoughton

In this spectacular father/son collaboration, Stephen King and Owen King tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men?

All around the world, something is happening to women when they fall asleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed, the women become feral and spectacularly violent…

In the small town of Dooling, West Virginia, the virus is spreading through a women’s prison, affecting all the inmates except one. Soon, word spreads about the mysterious Evie, who seems able to sleep – and wake. Is she a medical anomaly or a demon to be slain?

The abandoned men, left to their increasingly primal devices, are fighting each other, while Dooling’s Sheriff, Lila Norcross, is just fighting to stay awake.

And the sleeping women are about to open their eyes to a new world altogether…

Okie doke. Where do I even start with writing a review for this book?! 

SLEEPING BEAUTIES always intimidated from the moment I held it in my hands – mainly due to its sheer size (I have the UK hardback at 713 pages) and I knew it would take me longer than most books to get through! I don’t mind that too much. Sometimes it’s nice to take your time with a book to really get yourself invested in it. Rewind five years and it took me THREE WEEKS to finish IT!! 

I’ve not read a lot of Stephen King (I have a fair amount on my TBR for this year though!) or even Owen King for that matter. Let’s not forget that this book is a collaboration with father and son! From what I have read of Stephen’s work, SLEEPING BEAUTIES is so far one of my favourites. 

If you are looking for a fast paced fantasy/horror novel, then I would look elsewhere. This is not one of those books. What this book does VERY well is embrace the slow burn. We spend a fair amount of the book learning the background of many of the ensemble characters, which a smidge of the ‘action’ (the action being the sleeping sickness). This continues to build until the balance shifts and the female characters are faced with a new world in which to learn how to live again. 

What I loved so much about this story was how you can take some of the themes from the ‘real world’ and with certain scenes and writing can be turned into horror. The treatment of women plays a large part in this story and their survival. Each female character has their own unique back story and how they react. From a feminist point of view, it makes for an outstanding read!!

I would encourage EVERYONE to read this book!

You can buy SLEEPING BEAUTIES from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (AU)

-S.

#BlogTour| #BookReview | ATTEND by West Camel @west_camel (November 15th 2018, Orenda Books @orendabooks)

Welcome to my stop on this Blog Tour for the release of ATTEND by West Camel.

I would like to say that it is truly my pleasure to be invited onto this blog tour! Particular thanks to Anne Cater, Orenda Books and of course West Camel who gifted me an early copy of ATTEND. I am forever grateful and promise that the review below is 100% honest and of my own views.

To kick off, we have the “blurb” for the book;

A mesmerising debut novel with echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism…

‘If Armistead Maupin were to write about a diverse group of friends in Deptford, the results might resemble this … You’ll miss these characters when they’re gone’ Paul Burston

Under their feet lies magic…

When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

So, want to know what I thought?;

WOWSERS! I was not expecting that. At all. I’m not really quite sure what I was expecting….but that wasn’t it. This book has taken my head and flung in all directions. ATTEND is unlike any book I have read before and I’m thankful for that as it meant I stopped trying to work out the story in advance and I was able to read and enjoy without prejudice.

The story is told from three very different perspectives (Anne, Sam and Deborah), with insight into Deborah’s life through flashbacks. Both Anne and Sam, handling their own crap life has thrown their way are bought together by Deborah and together they start a journey on self discovery and eventually happiness. All of which may sound rather cliche I know, but West has been able to write these characters and this story with such finesse that you soon forget you are reading a work of fiction.

If you are looking for something COMPLETELY different that hurts your head (in the best possible way!!) then ATTEND is the book for you! If this is West’s first novel, then I am excited to see what he releases next!

About West Camel;

Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing. He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch. He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda Books with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the

European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres,

A highly anticipated debut, blending the magical realism of Angela Carter and the gritty authenticity of Eastenders and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel..

You can buy ATTEND from the following booksellers (as always – be sure to support your local bookseller!!);

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US)

-S.

Be sure to check out the other blogs participating in this Blog Tour. See below for further details and be sure to follow all of the action across Twitter!

#Classics | #BookReview | THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Published 1911)

THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett
First Published; 1911

210288.jpg

Mary Lennox, lonely and unwanted, arrives from India to live with her uncle in Yorkshire.

Left to herself there is little to do apart from explore the huge, gloomy house and its surrounding until, one sunny morning, she stumbles across a secret garden, hidden behind ivy-clad walls.

For the first time in her sad short life she has found something to care for and determines to restore the garden to its former glory. As the garden begins to bloom and is magically transformed no one is left untouched…

Most people have seen the film of THE SECRET GARDEN at some point in their childhoods, I know me and my friends watched it over and over so when I got the chance to read the book the film was based on I was so excited to get stuck in.

Being a classic novel I wasn’t sure what to expect but I loved it. I struggled with some of the language, the old Yorkshire twang, but it was a really good, heart warming story and so like the film it made it so much more magical for my imagination to bring these characters to life that the movies had already developed.

Mary is sent to live with her uncle in Yorkshire from India when her parents die from Cholera. So used to being pampered by servants she gets a bit of a shock when the servants in her uncle’s house expect her to dress herself. As Mary discovers a love for the outdoors she begins to grow into her self both mentally and physically and begins to realise what a spoiled awful girl she used to be. As she meets new exciting people and finds hidden things and people inside the house, Mary falls in love with Yorkshire and her new home.

All of the characters are written so well that they jump out of the pages and run through your mind like a real life movie. Each new person we are introduced to becomes a big part of the story and even the ones we might dislike to start with soon begin to enter our hearts. Even the wildlife that are also a big part of the story are written so well that they become alive in front of your eyes. The house and gardens are described so perfectly that I wish they were real so I could visit and discover their many secrets for myself.

I loved this story so so much that I so wished I could jump inside the pages of this book and be a living breathing part of it, it filled my heart with so much joy and happiness. I turned the last page with the biggest smile and the warmest feeling.

 

You can buy THE SECRET GARDEN from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US)

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#ThrillerReads | #BookReview| ABSOLUTE PROOF by Peter James @peterjamesuk (October 4th 2018, Pan Macmillan @panmacmillan)

ABSOLUTE PROOF by Peter James
Published; October 4th 2018, Pan Macmillan

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Investigative reporter Ross Hunter nearly didn’t answer the phone call that would change his life – and possibly the world – for ever.

“I’d just like to assure you I’m not a nutcase, Mr Hunter. My name is Dr Harry F. Cook. I know this is going to sound strange, but I’ve recently been given absolute proof of God’s existence – and I’ve been advised there is a writer, a respected journalist called Ross Hunter, who could help me to get taken seriously.”

What would it take to prove the existence of God? And what would be the consequences?

The false faith of a billionaire evangelist, the life’s work of a famous atheist, and the credibility of each of the world’s major religions are all under threat. If Ross Hunter can survive long enough to present the evidence…

I found this story very gripping. I couldn’t stop turning the pages and found myself eager to discover what was going to happen next. As a main character Ross is very likeable and I did find myself egging him on and hoping this would be a case of the good guy winning. I did feel the side story of Ross’s romantic entanglements a little unnecessary and found myself thinking there would be a lot more to come from that side of the story and was slightly disappointed with the outcome.

There were a lot of different characters in this book and I still find myself a little puzzled as to who they all were and the point to some of them. The book probably wouldn’t have lost anything if some of them were not included.

Personally for me I found the story was slightly unbelievable with the whole absolute proof of god thing and did find the god references spoiled the story for me. I am not a non believer but the whole religion thing can be very complicated and I found myself very sceptical and all the references to god definitely took some of the enjoyment out of the book for me. My scepticism aside though the story is very well written and I still found myself completely hooked and engrossed and couldn’t wait to see what the outcome was.

I have only ever read the Roy Grace series by Peter James so it was good to try something different by him and despite not being completely blown away by Absolute Proof it has certainly got me intrigued to try more of his other novels.

This book gave me the feels of the Da Vinci Code and I’m sure fans of that will fast become fans of Absolute Proof.

 

You can buy ABSOLUTE PROOF from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)

Amazon (UK) | Amazon (US)

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