Monday, 16 January 2017

The Child Who by Simon Lelic

The Child WhoThe Child Who by Simon Lelic
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Publisher - Penguin Books

Pages - 303

Blurb from Goodreads

An unimaginable crime and the man who must defend it-a probing psychological thriller from the author of A Thousand Cuts.A chance phone call throws the biggest muder case in southern England into the hands of provincial attorney Leo Curtice. Twelve-year- old Daniel Blake stands accused of murdering an eleven-year-old girl. But who is truly responsible when one child kills another? As Curtice sets out to defend the indefensible, he soon finds himself pitted against an enraged community calling for blood. When the buildup of pressure takes a sinister turn, he fears for his wife and young daughter's safety. Must he choose between his family and the life of a damaged child? With piercing psychological insight, Lelic examines a community's response to a hideous crime.

My Review

A child murdering another child is always going to be a dark book, however, the focuses of this tale is more on the lawyer Leo I felt than the actual case or killer. Leo is a small time lawyer and this case will be very good for the firm and his career. Everything comes at a price and for Leo and his family the price is high.

The book starts off with a female, Leo's wife, it is a tad confusing and takes a bit to understand what she is talking about. The story itself I felt was a wee bit jumpy and took a bit to work out what was going on. It soon becomes clear, twelve year old Daniel has murdered another female child and Leo will be his defender. His daughter is a teenager and faces the wrath of her schoolmates when it becomes public knowledge. His wife is also targeted by the community and Leo begins to get threats. Leo seems completely focused on Daniel and getting through to him, Daniels step father and mother are cold and distant, Daniel seems to have no one which may be why Leo feels compelled to help.

Frustrating at times as you aren't too sure the timeline, always recent but sometimes it is after one incident, back to the run up to the trial and then after without clear timeline markings. With so much focus on Leo I think a lot of Daniel and his crime was missed, whilst you aren't left completely without answers I think there is a huge gap for Daniels psychological state and an examination of that.

Instead we see a reaction to a horrendous crime within a community and the impact that has, one to the actual community in how it responds and more centrally to Leo and his family. The repercussions of his decisions and the ripples caused in the relationships with those he loves. Cause and effect is key to the story however I feel the author missed a golden opportunity by not including more of Daniel, 3/5 for me this time. This is my first time reading this author, I would read his works again.

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Book Club meet up TBConFB

So Saturday saw the first meeting up our way for the book club TBConFB (THE Book Club on Facebook). The lovely Sharon, TBConFB admin, took on the arduous task of sorting it all out. I think there was about 30 of us in total, authors, reviewers and fabulous book lovers, I am only just getting my wee post on now because, well it is me you know what I am like, procrastinator! I did get most of the photos up on the club already so it isn't all bad/late!

This is one of the print outs holding our booked tables so I of course needed to capture a shot of it, you know me and my love for a billion photos.

A wee Blue Wkd was had, as well as being my favourite tipple, the author of Blue Wkd (read my review here) was coming so we needed the prop for the book :D

We had a hilarious and fabulous reading of The Gruffalo , Glasweigan style. Considering neither Alan Jones nor Owen Mullen had practiced or met each other before hand it was flawless, see my Instagram for a wee look at the video.

A captivated audience, I am sure someone from the club has the whole thing on video.

Sadly I didn't get to speak to everyone as I had triple booked the evening and had to leave early however it was lovely to put faces to the names you chat with online and speak to people in person! Not only did some of these authors give up time from their busy schedules, they brought signed books for raffle, personalised items (some of which I won by the lovely Fiona Wilson).

I love this and I am taking the wee chip to Las Vegas with me, hoping it will be a good luck charm.

And if all that wasn't enough, we also got a wee free pen, who doesn't love stationary! A great day with some beautiful people.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them by J K Rowling

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original ScreenplayFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 3 hours

Pages - 293

Publisher - Arthur A Levine Books

Source - Bookstore

Blurb from Goodreads

When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt's fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. Featuring a cast of remarkable characters, this is epic, adventure-packed storytelling at its very best.

Whether an existing fan or new to the wizarding world, this is a perfect addition to any reader's bookshelf.

My Review

First off, I am not a fan generally of screenplays, I would much rather a novel, however after The Cursed Child I found I could get into these, written by Rowling, quite easily. Everyone has seen the trailer for the movie, just in case you missed it, we head back to the wonderful world of magic. Newt Scamander is a Magizoologist (finds, protects and looks after rare/magical beasts), scouring the world to locate and help them. He arrives in fabulous New York and no sooner has he arrived when things go all wrong. Magic in front of muggles, saved magical creatures on the loose and that is only the beginning. Newt finds himself in big trouble and taking those with him down the same route!

It isn't Harry Potter that is for sure but instead we have another world filled with magic, good and bad, wizards, muggles (although they are called No-Majs this time), danger and best of all fabulous magical creatures. My absolute favourite was Picket and when you read the book you will see why, he doesn't have a huge part in the book which is disappointing, I would love to have heard more but I did love the small glimpses we had.

The book is only a short 293 pages and quite a few are filled with beautiful illustrations so the actual story isn't that long at all. I devoured it in about 3 hours, had I not had interruptions I would have got through it in an hour. If you liked The Cursed Child and the Potter books I am sure you will enjoy this. Beautiful images on the pages, I love the cover too, dark blue with beautiful gold writing and the writing itself is what we have come to expect from Rowling. She casts her own spell, creating a fictional world that you have no problems conjuring up in your mind and briefly escaping reality to dabble with a little bit of magic, 4/5 for me this time. If she brought out more of these I would read them however I would much prefer them to be novels!

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Run by Mandasue Heller - Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for RUN by the fabulous Mandasue Heller, I was very lucky to receive an arc from Netgalley, click HERE to read my review. Mandasue has very kindly agreed to do a Q&A so without further delay, welcome to So Many Books, So Little Time and thank you so much for taking the time out to answer some questions.

It has been quite a time for you since your last book release, how are you doing?

I had to skip a year to look after my mum so it’s been difficult, but I’m slowly getting back on my feet.

Run is quite a book, mixed with friendships, relationships, lies and secrets, how hard was it writing it?

It was really hard, because my head was elsewhere for so long. I completely lost sight of it halfway through and didn’t know if it was good or bad, so my lovely man, Win, read the first half and told me it was fine and he didn’t see what I was worrying about. He also made a suggestion about one of the characters that I hadn’t thought of, which really moved it forward.

Who is your favourite character in the book and why?

I really like the friendship between Leanne and Chrissie, and I have a big soft spot for Ben. As for favourite, I’m not sure. Possibly Chrissie, because she’s sharp and takes no shit.

I felt Run snared you from the opening chapter as you didn’t know who was in such peril, was this intentional or just fabulous writing?

It was intentional, although I originally had a different scene as the prologue. My editor suggested changing it when I’d finished, because it gave too much away - he was right.

Do you read other books whilst penning a new novel or do you have a set routine

I used to be an avid reader, but I read very little now as I tend to mentally rewrite everything, which takes away the enjoyment.

When is the next book and do you have a story line in mind?

I’m writing the next book already, and it should be out next year. I’ve also made a start on the one I’ll be working on after that.

I have to ask for our Scottish fans, do you think you will ever make it up here for a launch?

I have done events in Scotland in the past, and imagine I will again in the future. Beautiful place.

What about a duo author interview night with Kimberley Chambers?

We done several events together in the past, and will definitely hook up again at some point.

What is next for Mandasue?

When my latest book is finished, I’ll start writing and recording songs for the album of ballads Win has been composing for me while I’ve been working. After that, it’ll be time to crack on with the next book :)

Thanks again for stopping by Mandasue, good luck for the release date. You can buy Run from all good retailers from tomorrow 12/01/2017 available in paperback and ebook. Follow Mandasue on Twitter @MandasueHeller or visit her Facebook page

January Competition

As I have the signed book of the fabulous Theresa Talbot to giveaway (click here) I thought I would do a wee additional.

This is a wee vintage style bookmark, looks wooden but it really just a nice thick cut paper style, this giveaway is open to all. As always, use the Rafflecopter below to enter, the more entries you complete the more chances you have of winning. I will leave this open to the end of the month, good luck if you are entering and as always thank you for stopping by.

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Backstabber by Kimberley Chambers

BackstabberBackstabber by Kimberley Chambers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 480

Publisher - Harper Collins

Blurb from Goodreads

The final thrilling showdown between the Mitchells and the Butlers. This is Kimberley Chambers at her heart-stopping best!

There’s never a dull moment in the Butler family and when Vinny starts to receive mysterious packages containing dead creatures, it can only mean one thing… someone is out for blood.

For a long time, Vinny Butler and Eddie Mitchell ruled their manors from a respectful distance. Now they’re doing business together and their family has just been united in a way they never expected.

But after one murder too many things start to unravel. The past comes back to haunt both families, and it will be the downfall of one of them.

Will it be the Mitchells or the Butlers who get what’s coming to them?

Who is the backstabber?

My Review

The Butlers & The Mitchell's together in one book! Vinny Senior and Eddie are working together in a joint venture, business for both families is pretty sweet. Now they are receiving threatening quotes accompanied by some disgusting packages, someone wants revenge but who is their target?

As always, when I pick up a Chambers book I do so initially with trepidation, when you have loved the previous books you can't help but worry the new one won't be as gripping. Unfounded fears good people, two dangerous families teaming up together for one huge finale. Action packed from page one, I actually gasped at the opening scene, why just why?!?! There went my day and if I hadn't had things to do I would have devoured it in one straight sitting. Death, families, love, betrayal, relationships, terror, mental health, sex & violence are only some of the themes covered in this book, as always bad language features so if you are unfamiliar with Chambers work be prepared.

Both families have had many enemies over the years, questionable behavior and choices by our characters, deaths aplenty so who is after one of our main characters and why? The writing and for why will keeping you going page after page, Chambers weaves a web of terror, fierce loyalty and opens a world to readers that most average Joe's could never imagine experiencing let alone glimpsing. Fast paced, engaging and finally the chickens are coming home to roost, if you haven't read the previous Butler & Mitchell series you really must before reading this one. Two fantastic series coming together, fans will not be left disappointed an explosive 5/5 for me. Hats off to Chambers for pulling off yet another amazing page turner, my first 5 star of 2017. Thanks so much to Harper Collins and Fliss for sending me and ARC of this!

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Friday, 6 January 2017

Q&A with Theresa Talbot

Welcoming Theresa to So Many Books, So Little Time, credit to Aldo Ferrarello for the featured photograph.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit. Let’s chat about Penance.

You have already written a book however this is your first venture into fiction, what inspired the book?

I’d always had the kernel of an idea for a book based around a religious thriller. My Dad used to tell me a ghost story of a priest dying on the altar and his ghost coming back to finish mass – I thought that would make a great book…. Then one day I was researching the Magdalene Institutions for a possible radio feature and discovered that there had been a Magdalene in Glasgow and it closed in 1958 following a 3 day riot. The girls were protesting against the abusive treatment they had to endure. I saw newspaper archives and one picture in particular of a young girl trying to make her escape. It struck a chord with me and I thought ‘that institution had been in Glasgow for over 100 years – what made the girls stand up and say enough is enough?’ - and I wondered what happened to them afterwards…I started jotting down notes and before I knew it had the outline of a story which I combined with the death of a priest on the altar…and voila Penance was born.

Some of the scenes back to the 50s is quite barbaric and horrifying, did you get information from your research or was that your creative side?

I did a lot of research about the treatment of women in institutions – not just the M.I. I looked at transcripts of interviews and documents from the time. But at the end of the day Penance is a work of fiction so I used poetic licence and amalgamated the information with my imagination and told the story of one woman’s struggle.

How much research did you find yourself having to undertake?

As I said above – I did a lot of research into the treatment of women at the time. Also the book is mainly set in present day Glasgow and the main character Oonagh O’Neil is a journalist – that bit was easy as I worked as a journalist at the time and I was lucky enough to have a couple of friendly coppers to call upon to ensure my police characters were realistic. One of the best advice I’ve been given regarding research is from Denise Mina – do your research then set it aside. Never forget you’re telling story. In other words don’t get too bogged down with detail.

I have lived here all of my life and never heard of the institution, how did you come to hear about it?

I always knew about the Magdalene’s – it was just part of my upbringing but I didn’t know there had been one in Glasgow until I started researching it for a radio item.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a follow up to Penance which I hope will be out sometime in 2017.

Do you see a series for Oona?

Well – Ooonagh is in the follow up and I think she’ll be in one more book before giving her a wee rest.

Where can fans find you?

Usually in the pub! But if you don’t want to buy me a drink then find me on or get me on the twitter-phone @theresa_talbot

Anything else you want to chat about I may have missed?

I rescue chickens…but that’s a whole different story – I also was a comedy writer for a short time…clearly I was the only one who found me funny or I’d still be doing it!

Great Q&A Theresa and thanks again for stopping by, sorry the interview has gone up a wee bit later than originally scheduled. And we have one signed paperback copy to giveaway. Due to rising postage costs this one will be to UK entrants only guys, sorry. As always, use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

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