Friday, 22 June 2018

Deja vu by Emma Clapperton

Déjà VuDéjà Vu by Emma Clapperton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 30 mins

Pages - 37

Publisher - self

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

1987

Celia was found brutally murdered in a railway underpass. No one was ever charged with her murder, it was like the killer disappeared into thin air. But Celia knew her killer and after she died, she fought for her soul to re-enter her body, to carry on with life. But the force is too strong for her and her soul is cast aside.
Celia did not want anyone to forget what happened to her.

PRESENT DAY

Alice has suffered from anxiety as far back as she can remember. With certain music causing unexpected emotional outbursts and recurring nightmares, she can’t take much more.
But when she gets the job she applies for, the future seems brighter. Soon after her first shift at the office, the recurring dreams intensify, become more detailed. They feel real.
And that’s when déjà vu sets in.
Alice begins to wonder if these spells déjà vu, are actually memories…




My Review

This is a wee short story, I normally don't read short stories as they leave me irritated and wanting more, usually just getting started when it ends. However with Deja Vu we plunge in quickly, we open with Celia, if you have read the blurb you know what is happening, if you haven't you just know something isn't right. We jmeet Alice in the next chapter, Alice is just a normal girl who suffers from anxiety, it is getting worse, music can set off panic and vomiting, not good when you are about to start a new job. Alice doesn't know why she is experiencing this, Celia needs justice for what happened, what is linking these two seemingly separate women?

There is an eerie atmosphere that builds from the first chapter, you know what has gone down but not where the story is going or where the link between the two main characters is. The timeline splits from 1987 with Celia to present day with Alice.

I couldn't figure where the story was heading, which in only 37 pages is pretty good going. I actually gasped at one point, it is testament to the authors ability to evoke an audible response from their reader. Whilst I am still not a fan of short stories I did really like this one, I have read this author before and have another on my TBRM to get to. 4/5 for me this time, if you like short stories you will love this, if you don't like short stories you will still enjoy this, I did!

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Thursday, 21 June 2018

An evening with crime writers at Waterstones





I love book events, I haven't been to many of late but I managed to hobble along last night, my o/h and friend came too. My o/h reads very few authors/books and usually on when on holiday, he came last night more as a "carer" for me but actually really enjoyed the evening.


Last night was Steve Cavanagh and Mark Billingham chaired by Christopher Brookmyre, these guys are hilarious. I had no idea Cavanagh was irish and could listen to that accent all night!





James introduced the guys, went over the safety as per and opened a great evening. If you aren't familiar with Sauchiehall street Waterstones they are now sporting a wee bar. So you can enjoy the events with a wee wine, soft drink or a water if that suits you. They also have a Harry Potter section, it is like a wee Harry Potter common room, I dind't get any pictures, I was so sore by the time I got there I beelined for my chair. I have took pictures previously, I am sure they are on my Insta, next time I am in I will get more.





Neither of the guys read out of their books, they just chatted, shared some stories, had a laugh and spoke about the books. Mark's book "The Killing Habit" is ook 15 in the Thorne series. There has been a lot of chat in the clubs about this one as the perp is killing animals and hasn't yet moved onto humans. I really hate animal cruelty and struggle to read books that contain it, however listening to Mark last night I am hoping it isn't actually too huge in the book, or too graphic. I may get my o/h to read it first for me though, just in case lol, inspired by the "Motorway cat killer" and discussing how many of these poor animals have been killed by this maniac.





Steve spoke about his new book Th1rt3en it is part of a series but can be read as a standalone. This will be my first book by this author, if you haven't got it yet, Tesco is doing a promotion for the next week I think where if you buy The Sun paper you get it for £2.





The guys talked about Cavanagh and Luca Vestes podcast, I have neverlistened to a podcast before but I think I will check this one out. They also chatted about their "band" and they will be playing in Bloody Scotland, if you haven't already you may want to check it out. Pictured is Mark reading out some of his one star reviews from Amazon, I LOVE when an author takes something negative and makes a positive from it. We all laughed at the daftness of some of them, brilliant!


I didn't get a chance to say hello or hug half the people I wanted to, there were so many great bloggers and authors in the audience. We had to leave pretty much as soon as it was over, I was just too sore. However we had a great night, the beautiful and talented Sharon from Chapter in my Life brought me a bookmark to cheer me up. I thought she had got it from the author for me, no, this talented beaut actually made it, have fantastic and thoughtful! I am honestly so blessed to have so many beautiful humans in my life.





My other friend brought me a book and some candles, spoiled! xxx





Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Q&A with author Isobel Hart

Welcoming Isobel Hart to So Many Books, So Little Time, author of Still Life, four other novels and currently writing the follow up to Still Life.





Thanks so much to Isobel for taking some time out to answer some questions for me. You can read my review for Still Life HERE.




Tell us about Still Life

Still Life is a romantic contemporary sci-fi. It tells the story of Samantha Davis; she’s clinging to the remnants of a broken relationship. After her boyfriend survives an accident – against expectations – he’s changed. For the better, some might say. The question is, why?


What made you genre switch?

I have always written pure adult contemporary romance up until now. And will again, I have no doubt. What Goes Around Comes Around and Full Circle are part of a 2-book series, Compromise Agreement is a standalone. Still Life may be a bit different but it’s written in the style of a contemporary romance. Pure Sci-fi fans will find it too light on the science, I imagine. What they have in common is real women, flaws and all. I didn’t consciously genre switch – I’ve always read across a wide variety of genres – I just wrote the story that was shouting loudest at the time. I still think it will appeal most to people who like romance.


When I picked up the book I thought Still Life was going to be very Sci Fi, it is more a mix of romance, relationships, abuse with mild sci fi themes, was this your vision for the book?

Yes, absolutely. It was always about Samantha – a very ordinary woman – who finds herself caught up in events. Her relationships are at the heart of the story. Her reactions, whether you agree with her choices or not, are the lens through which the story is told. I intended to make it plausible – this is a recognisable world on the brink of change.


How is the next in the series coming on and due for release?

I’m writing it now – all being well, I’d like to get it out early 2019. If possible, before.


I enjoyed the sci fi aspect of the book, will book two be more focused on that thread of the story or more relationship focus with mild sci fi themes?

I intend to answer the questions about the virus, but ultimately Still Born will be about Sam, and how she copes in the circumstances she finds herself in.


Rape and abuse are in the book but not given a lot of coverage, almost covered in passing, was this intentional. Did you feel this was important to include?

The story is told through Sam’s eyes – she’s not been exposed directly to the atrocities herself, only aware it’s been happening. Also, the timeline of events is relatively short – they’re in survival mode at the moment. They haven’t had much time to reflect on everything. That will come.


Which did you enjoy writing more, your previous books or this?

That’s like asking which of my children I love more! I love writing every book, there is space in my heart for all of them. This one seems to be more polarising in its appeal – you’ll either enjoy the rollercoaster, or hate it. I still love it.


How many more books do you see in the series?

Originally, I thought it would be a trilogy – now, I think there will only be 2 books. I intend to complete the story in the next book.


Where can fans find you?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/isobelhartbooks/<br />
Website: www.isobelhartsbooks.com

Twitter: @bellahartloves

Anything else you would like to answer that I haven’t asked?


Just thank you for reading, and reviewing. Bloggers are our lifeblood. I’m immensely grateful


And if all of this isn't enough to spoil you I am offering up my pre loved copy of Still Life, it is in perfect condition AND signed by the author. It is a bit chunky at over 400 pages so this one I will keep UK only, sorry guys.


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Monday, 18 June 2018

Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

Silent Scream (D.I. Kim Stone, #1)Silent Scream by Angela Marsons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - over 2 days

Pages - 406

Publisher - Zaffre

Source - I bought 3 copies of this lol, Amazon (ebook), The Works and I think the other was part of an online deal

Blurb from Goodreads

Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…
Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …
Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.

But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.

As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?



My Review

Welcome to book one in a series, introducing D.I. Kim Stone investigating the murder of a seemingly upstanding member of the community. Soon another murder happens and the police have to consider is their a link between the two. When the body count continues and remains are found at an old children's home Stone and her team need to work hard to catch the killer before they strike again. The discovery of the bones not only throws a new light onto the investigation but causes Stone to revisit her own past and demons.

Before I even start on the book we need to talk about a major geek moment. The book takes place in Black Country, I had never heard of it before reading this book. There is a reference, in one conversation between one cop to another with a reference to the place and it being the inspiration for a very famous place in another book. I was actually geeking and will leave you to discover it for yourself (or if you are too nosey you can look at my Instagram as I popped a piccy up on there with the passage).

Stone is a fantastic character, she is work orientated, honest, strong sense of what is right and will get justice now matter what. She has a past, some issues but isn't flawed as so many detectives with a penchant for booze, drugs or risky sexual encounters. She is a fantastic creation, her team respect her, she doesn't bow down to office politics, she is for the victims, she will get them justice!

There is lots of action, we open in 2004 with five adults around a grave, burying an innocent, binding them all together with a horrific secret. We go to present day and the first murder kicks off so we are right into the action straight away. Relatively short chapters, which I personally love, following the investigation, the murders and even have a few wee chapters dottered in the book from the killer giving an insight into their history and mind set.

If I wasn't so knocked off just now I would have read this in one sitting, it is a great introduction to what I am told is a fantastic series. I have the next three in the series already and absolutely will be buying the rest. If you are looking for a new series (well new to me, originally published in 2015 by Bookouture) with a strong female who isn't perfect but isn't plagued with booze reliance or anything of that ilk, this is for you. 4.5 out of 5 for me, refreshing, engaging and hooked from the first page!



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Friday, 15 June 2018

Q&A with author Maximilian Hawker





Welcoming Max to So Many Books, So Little Time, thanks for taking time out to answer some questions for us.



What made you decide to write the book?

Breaking The Foals, at its heart, tells a story of the historical Troy of myth and the characters who might have lived there. I suppose I had become so immersed in reading Homer, Virgil, Quintus and others like them, that I couldn't help but wonder: were any of their tales based on fact? I was aware of so many modern writers setting their books in the Bronze Age, but I couldn't find anyone who had actually researched the historicity of Troy and written a fresh story based on that research. This gap in the market was something that I was excited to try and fill.


What research did you have to do?

I read predominantly about the Hittite Empire, to which Wilusa - the historical Troy - was a vassal state. Fortunately, a number of scholars, including Michael Wood and Trevor R. Bryce, had explored the historical Troy and its culture in close detail, so there was plenty of material with which I could become familiar. But the research didn't end there. I accessed archaeological journals and visited Turkey as well to better immerse myself. The thing with research is that it can become addictive, and learning what the historical Troy would have been like was utterly compelling.


If you could liken it to a work already out or genre which would you liken it to?

Hard to liken it too much to something I've already read. But fans of Mary Renault, Emily Hauser and Madeline Miller may very well enjoy Breaking The Foals.


Who inspires your writing?

In terms of actual writers who've inspired me, the Number One author for me has always been the inimitable Louis de Bernières. I remember reading and adoring Captain Corelli's Mandolin when I studied it at GCSE level, and that prompted me to go on and read everything else the man had written - I have been enthralled ever since. My other two influences are Thomas Hardy and David Mitchell: both sublime in entirely different ways.

However, in terms of who inspires me to actually persevere with writing: that would be my two daughters. Writing is such a passion that I want them both to see that it is possible to succeed at doing something you love.


What is next for Max?

As I am a debut novelist, next is for me to carry on building an audience and getting my name out there. I recently read at Brixton BookJam, and will be part of a panel at an all-day event at Nottingham Waterstones in October; I am also trying to make appearances at other festivals and events.

In terms of writing, I am halfway through the first draft of my second novel, which is a high-concept sci-fi for a 9-12/Teen audience, dealing with themes of child abuse and mental ill health - two issues that I feel need to be explored more in children's fiction. This departure from historical fiction is inspired by the fact that I work in frontline children's social care and I suffer from OCD, so I am pouring a lot of heart into this next project. I will be pitching it to Unbound when I have finished and edited it sufficiently, so watch this space.



Where can you connect with Max? Twitter

Facebook

Max's website



Max's book was released on the 26th of April, this year by Unbound. Available to purchase in treebook format or ebook from Amazon





Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Munitions Girls by Rosie Archer

The Munitions Girls (The Bomb Girls #1)The Munitions Girls by Rosie Archer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 432

Publisher - Quercus

Source - Amazon

Blurb from Goodreads

An enthralling, eventful WW2 saga from the popular writer of the Daisy Lane novels - perfect for fans of Daisy Styles.

1943, Gosport, Hampshire. Pixie Saunders is 19 and employed in the local armaments factory. Not for the first time, her mother has run off with a dodgy-looking bloke, leaving Pixie to pay the rent and fend for herself. Pixie, along with her best friend Rita, Em, the factory overseer, and the rest of the girls are making the most of the war while trying to stay alive. The work is dangerous and the hours long, but in the evenings they take off their overalls and go to the pub or, better still, go dancing. Pixie meets American serviceman Cal and falls in love. But then Cal rejoins his ship.

When Pixie falls pregnant, her life changes dramatically. Alone and unable to work, she has to rely on the kindness of friends to help her survive. Happiness seems like a thing of the past. Little does she know that there are plenty of surprises waiting for her - good ones at that. Love may be closer than she thinks.


My Review

Meet Pixie, Rita & Em all working in the local factory helping to make weapons for the war. It is a dangerous job and not just because of the risk of blowing themselves up, their boss and son have wondering eyes and hands. Pixie lives at home with her mother when her mother graces her with her presence, normally flitting in and out, running up bills then going off with her newest man. Em runs the factory floor, cares for her disabled husband and her youngest daughter who is a beautiful young woman with the mind of a much younger child. Rita lives at home with her mother and stepdad and would rather be in the factor at risk or in the pub, anything to not be home.

This is a story of friendship, the threat of bombs a daily occurrence, family, the best of humans and the worst. I loved Pixie, no matter how shady her mother was she remained so loyal, she is a feisty, strong, independent and quick to stand up to injustice. I love when you get a strong female character and whilst she did swoon a bit I thought she was grand.

There are lots of themes to the book, some is light hearted, warming, sweet, however there are darker themes, abuse, social judgement, the ravages of war. It is very well written, the characters carved well to draw you in and actually want to know what happens next, even to the ones you aren't a fan of. This was my first time reading this author, it won't be my last, I have bought the next two in the series already, 4/5 for me this time.



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Monday, 11 June 2018

Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee

Drift Stumble FallDrift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 2 days

Pages - 310

Publisher - Hideaway Fall

Source - Review copy

Blurb from back cover

Richard Brown has had enough of his life of commitment, resentment, routine and responsibility. Staring out of his window, he enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, the neighbour living in the bungalow across the road. From his lounge, Bill keenly watches as Richard's young family grows. Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined. As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other people's lives are never what they seem.

My Review

Richard is a married father of two young children, he feels trapped, anxious and needs to get out for self preservation. The mundane life, the screaming children, the coldness of his wife, the irritation of his in laws, Richard cannot take anymore. When he looks out the window and sees his elder neighbour, calm, quiet, perfect he can't help but wish he could swap, even if it meant losing many years of his existence. Richard has to get out, he needs to escape, for himself and for his families happiness, the more he watches his neighbour the more he needs to cement his plan to be free.

Lee is an author who is a campaigner for mental health, from the books of his I have read this is very clear in the stories and his writing. Whilst Richard is the main focus of the story, we see signs of other glimpses of mental health in the other characters. His wife I felt had a huge struggle going on, in the glimpses we get of her and her interactions I think she is also suffering deeply and I think this is very clever writing by the author. We often get so self involved and wrapped up in our own lives, struggles, personal issues, Richard is so wrapped in his own journey and issues his wife is just background noise.

I think mental health is something we need more focus on and doing it in the form of fiction is a fantastic idea. We get to see inside a seemingly happy family life, we see that through Bill's eyes, the neighbour across the way that Richard covet's "happy" home. We see how Richard struggles daily and the lengths he will go to to avoid time with his family. I really wasn't a fan of Richard for a lot of the book, his plan on what he was going to do was despicable. However when you get into the story and understand his suffering, his journey it gives you a different insight.

An important show of how the grass isn't always greener on the other side, something many of us are guilty of yearning for. How mental health can affect us differently and completely control our lives, outlooks, actions. It provokes thought and challenges judgements the reader can't help but make when initially meeting Richard and by the end giving a completely different view point. 3.5 out of 5 for me this time, I have a fair few books by this author on my tbrm I need to bump them up the list.

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