Thursday, 19 April 2018

The Man I Think I Know by Mike Gayle

The Man I Think I KnowThe Man I Think I Know by Mike Gayle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days as time allowed

Pages - 310

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Whatever happens to those kids at school who are always being tipped to be stars in adult life?

It's a question all of us find ourselves asking at some time and Mike Gayle's powerful, poignant novel answers it with regard to Danny Morgan and James McManus - rivals for top honours in everything throughout their school years in Birmingham.

Whatever their friends and teachers might have expected, neither Danny nor James is currently running the country.

Depressed and unemployed, Danny is facing an ultimatum from his girlfriend Maya: if he doesn't get out and get a job, she's leaving.

It was an accident that changed James's life and now he is looked after affectionately by his parents. But his sister Martha believes that the role of full-time carers is destroying their lives - and infantilising her brother.

She suggests that James should go into a respite home while her parents take a break.

The respite home, as it turns out, where Danny has just got a job.

What is the path that has brought these two people to this unexpected place, and where will it take them next?

This is the story of Danny and James, but also of the families who love them and of the women they love. It is a story of many surprising twists, by turns funny and sad, painful and uplifting, and marks a brilliant new stage in the writing career of one of Britain's favourite novelists.



My Review

Danny is a bit of a lay about, his girlfriend is getting sick of him not having a job, no life direction and now his benefits are being stopped. James was on the path to success, becoming an MP, a beautiful girl and the world was his oyster.............before "the incident". Fate bring these two together, connecting a past and a future bringing life changes that neither could have foreseen nor will be the same again.

I genuinely didn't know what to expect from this book, I have never read the author and by the time the book arrived I forgot what the book was about. Personal growth, friendships, family, life, love, loyalty, learning to recover, moving on, self belief and so so much more. The chapters alternate between Danny and James, two very different men who have so much to offer, to learn and being brought together they discover so much about themselves. You know something has happened to change their lives pretty quickly but it takes a bit before anything is revealed.

There is a lot of emotion, humour and some sadness - it is quite an emotive read in parts and takes you on a roller coaster, even after I have read a few other books I am still thinking about it. It provokes you to think, just how much a life and life path can be changed by one single event, an act of kindness, bravery and the long lasting affects they can have. It shows the importance of human interactions, the strength of relationships and just how much of an impact one human being can have on another. I feel like I am not doing this book justice, it is hard to emphasise just how fabulous it is without giving away spoilers. Needless to say it warms the soul, gives you something to chew on and I think depending on your life experiences it will impact on different levels with readers. 4/5 for me this time, whilst this is my first dance with this author it absolutely won't be my last, a great read! You can buy your own copy from the 19th of April 2018, ebook and treebooks available from Amazon.

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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Sweetpea by C J Skuse

SweetpeaSweetpea by C.J. Skuse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 384

Publisher - HQ

Source - Gift from O/H

Blurb from Goodreads

The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcoholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…




My review

Rhiannon is working as an editorial assistant for a newspaper, once Rhiannon was the news, front page now she can't get a chance to write something proper. But Rhiannon has bigger issues than bitchy colleagues and a crappy set of stories to write. Rhiannon is a killer, brutal but always in control, well almost always. Every day she has a list of people she could kill, if an opportunity presents itself she takes it all whilst juggling her own problems. A boyfriend who is playing away, work colleagues who either don't value her or can see through her mask, Rhiannon needs to up her game. Especially when some of her "activities" have started to make the news themselves.

You know from the offset who the killer is, sure it tells you in the blurb. We hear from Rhiannon in first person narrative so we know her thoughts/feelings/insights which some will love some will hate, I enjoyed it. The warnings, if you are easily offended this is not the book for you. Graphic sexual references, crude, dirty ooft she has a mouth on her that would make a sailor blush. Brutal killings, infidelity, sex, violence, unpc humour, she is hilarious at points but it is one of those you laugh and think oh I shouldn't. I will check out more by this author, if bad language, brutal gutter mouth and unpc humour makes you uncomfortable then this isn't the book for you. If you don't mind a book that pushes it, rude, crude, funny, brutal then this one ticks the boxes for you. 4/5 for me this time!



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Monday, 16 April 2018

The Maid's Room by Fiona Mitchell Blog Tour




Today is my stop on the blog tour for debut novel, The Maid's Room by author Fiona Mitchell. I had a great day chilling in the bath with this one and the cover matched my bath bomb from lush. Please check out the other stops on the tour as each offers different content.





The Maid's RoomThe Maid's Room by Fiona Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 308

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Set in the blistering heat of Singapore, The Maid's Room follows the lives of two Filipina maids - sisters Dolly and Tala who are working hard to send money back home, and British ex-pat Jules who has left her job as a midwife to move to Singapore with husband David.

Told with humour, heart-breaking detail about daily life as a maid, and with an exhilarating spirit that is ultimately uplifting, this book will resonate with anyone who has struggled to have their voice heard.

Perfect for fans of The Help and The Invention of Wings.


My Review


Two sisters Dolly & Tala living and working in Singapore as maids, earning money to support their families back home in the Philippines. This is their story, we see into their routines, how they are treated, spied on, disrespected, abused and how their strength of character, spirit and fight gets them through the days. Dolly is the quieter of the two, more in keeping in line, Tala takes risk, fights for the girls and is a strong woman who doesn't think twice of putting herself in the firing line. Blog posts make an appearance in this which I actually really liked, we have the blog from Vanda "Life as the Employer of a Foreign Domestic Helper" a poison pen employer who could be talking about items rather than human beings. She enraged me and also Tala who starts her own blog in response which soon takes off gives the maids a voice.

There is so much going on in this book, not just the maids, we get an insight into the families they look after, people they clean for and it leaves you worried for how vile some employers are. These woman are disrespected, abused, used and it really got me up in arms. Whilst this is a fiction book it is representative of the actual struggles going on for these maids, I was horrified and want to be educated more about it. An emotive book that commands the readers attention and made me want to do something to actually help these woman, a link at the back for something like that would be awesome. Working to support your family, leaving your own to care for others is not something I could ever do and only imagine the heartache. To then be treated as subhuman it makes you fear for humanity, vindictive and spiteful yet they trusting them to look after their precious children whilst starving them, abusing them ugh!

I loved the "retaliation" blog, I love Tala as a character, she is quietly fierce and of such strong moral fibre she is a fantastic character, I would have loved the book to be longer, seen more of the other maids and a bit more justice for the women. Then, real life isn't always like that and I think the book stayed true to what all transpired. 4/5 for me this time, a fantastic debut novel and I will be watching for more from Mitchell.

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Monday, 9 April 2018

Allison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeleine Roux

Allison Hewitt Is Trapped (Zombie, #1)Allison Hewitt Is Trapped by Madeleine Roux
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days on and off

Pages - 340

Publisher - St. Martin's Griffin

Source - Amazon

Blurb from Goodreads

One woman's story as she blogs - and fights back - the zombie apocalypse"

Allison Hewitt and her five colleagues at the Brooks and Peabody Bookstore are trapped together when the zombie outbreak hits. Allison reaches out for help through her blog, writing on her laptop and utilizing the military's emergency wireless network (SNET). It may also be her only chance to reach her mother. But as the reality of their situation sinks in, Allison's blog becomes a harrowing account of her edge-of-the-seat adventures (with some witty sarcasm thrown in) as she and her companions fight their way through ravenous zombies and sometimes even more dangerous humans.



My Review

Azombie apocalypse with internet and blog entries capturing Allison Hewitt's struggle to survive and all the issues she faces. Working in a bookstore you are very limited in your options when a zombie apocalypse kicks off, that is what happens to Allison. However we follow her journey, with a handful of other survivors as they slowly adapt and try to stay alive. As living conditions worsening, time is dragging on, it is clear they need to move on to stay alive.

I really liked the kick off for this, the blog aspect was new for me, as you know have read more than a few zombie books. We go through many avenues of emotional reactions, meltdowns, personal growth and all updated with her blog and some comments from other survivors and their plights. We see how different folk react, the dangerous interactions with not just the zombies but other survivors. Love, loss, bravery, humanity both the good and bad and the strength of humans to prevail and keep going.

Whilst I did enjoy this I didn't like the abruptness of the end. As I was nearing the last few chapters I got a bit nervy of how it would wrap up. I am sure some loved it but I felt it should have been a good bit longer and more closure. There is another book after this one, I don't think it is any of the same characters though. I will buy it because I do love a zombie book and I did enjoy the authors writing style plus blog entries and a new spin on this genre, for me anyway. I just wish there had been more, sure they say a good author always leaves their audience wanting more, I would have just liked more closure, 3.5 stars out of 5 for me this time.



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Saturday, 7 April 2018

Happy Saturday

Hello lovely people, I hope you are having a great Saturday, I am catching up with review/blog stuff before going to meet up with friends. Some I haven't seen this year and may or may not have a wee tipple, well hello there blue Wicked!





I also plan on digging out the old selfie stick which I can never see one or use without thinking of the selfie queen, Miss Shell Baker from Chellesbookreviews blog, if you don't know her um where have you been lol. Seriously check out her blog though she is great crack and does so much for authors.





So, I have a wee giveaway going just now for a voucher to buy the ebook of Can't Get You Out Of My Head by Sue Shepherd, you just need to comment on the post to be included, ebook and UK only, click here.


And a wee unexpected fabulousness yesterday. I saw the voting was open for the Annual Blogger Bash Awards so I went on and voted for my pals and noticed a blog with the same name as mine was nominated. Chatting on Facebook and someone messaged me to say it was actually my wee blog, how awesome is that! Seven years of blogging and I have never been nommed for anything so I just want to thank the person who put my wee part of the internet up for nomination. I am so chuffed and you really cheered my day up yesterday, I wish I knew who it was to say thank you. Anyways, click HERE for the link to the nominees, you can vote for one blog per category, I am in the "Hidden Gem" category and have voted for all the blogs I like. Good luck to everyone, thanks to those who are and have voted for me and for everyone not nominated I think you rock anyway. Each blog does it different and each blogger is unique in their own way. Sure I don't use big fancy words, I make up words as I go, use daft phrases and have typos all over the shop. But it is our differences and uniqueness that makes us us.


And lastly but by no means least, an update on Trixie. She has found her voice in the last four days, kept me up most of the night but is eating and drinking well. I certainly think she is winding down but as long as she is comfy and happy we will take each day as we find it. To some she is just a cat, here she is part of the family and the amount of love, messages, wishes sent online on various formats has been touching. Oh and thee Karen Rose commented on her cuteness, what more could you ask for :D I hope you all have a great weekend and keep your eyes peeled for another giveaway coming up soon!


Friday, 6 April 2018

Too Close To Breathe by Olivia Kiernan - Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Too Close To Breathe by Olivia Kiernan, can we just take a wee minute to look at that book cover!


Too Close to BreatheToo Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 352

Publisher - Riverrun

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

TOO SOON TO SEE

Polished. Professional. Perfect. Dead. Respected scientist Dr Eleanor Costello is found hanging in her immaculate home: the scene the very picture of a suicide.

TOO LATE TO HIDE

DCS Frankie Sheehan is handed the case, and almost immediately spots foul play. Sheehan, a trained profiler, is seeking a murderer with a talent for death.

TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE

As Frankie strives to paint a picture of the killer, and their victim, she starts to sense they are part of a larger, darker canvas, on which the lines between the two blur.

Olivia Kiernan's debut is a bold, brilliant thriller that will keep you guessing and leave you breathless.




My Review

DCS Frankie Sheehan is back on the job after a horrifying attack, we don't know what exactly happened, the information is teased out as the story develops. An apparent suicide, Sheehan sees it for what it is, she is a hot shot profiler don't you know and calls it murder. As the investigation goes underway the clues lead them toward the dark web, dangerous fantasies and reluctant or missing witnesses. A high profile case is hard enough, fling into the mix personal demons, secrets and lies plus all the usual stresses in a police team you find yourself quickly hooked!

I can honestly say picking this up you wouldn't think it was a debut and I would actually like to see the author pen a prequel. Whilst we get a lot of answers by the end of the story I think it would be nice to get a fuller picture of Sheehan, damaged cops are a recurrent theme in many books although Sheehan is feisty and on point, a look at her back story would be great.

There is a lot of swearing, death, dark themes, suspense and the author keeps you guessing as to the who and why. Some of the dialogue between the characters was fantastic and witty, the pace keeps you gripped from the opening page. It is a busy book, focus on police procedure as they tackle the case but not so much that it affects the pace. We have threads of Sheehan dealing with her recent past, being back on the team, the suspects and witnesses interwoven through the investigation. I think Kiernan has carved out a great beginning for what I hope will turn into a series and look forward to hearing more about Sheehan. 4/5 for me this time, thanks to the publisher and Anne for sending me a copy.




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Please check out the other stops on the blog tour, each blogger features different content and always worth checking out.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Psychosis by Roger Bray - Blog Tour





Today is my stop on the blog tour for the the book Psychosis by Roger Bray, welcome to So Many Books, So Little Time and thank you for taking the time to join us for some questions.



Hi Roger and thanks for taking time out to chat to us.


For those not familiar with yourself or your work, tell us a bit about you and the books you write?

Books tend to be, in some way, autobiographical. If not in actual events then in experiences. I served in the Royal Navy for ten years before coming to Australia and I spent seventeen years as a police officer before being seriously injured arresting a domestic violence offender. My experiences of people, and how they react to different situations, is mirrored in my writing. My books are about ordinary people who find themselves in difficult or extraordinary situations and deal with them the best way they can.


What was the inspiration for Psychosis?

A little difficult to answer without spoilers, but two things I find abhorrent are mindless violence and injustice. I don't care for the myriad excuses often used to forgive such transgressions. I believe in a just society where people can live without fear of either of those things being visited on them. The inspiration for Psychosis was two news reports exploring such events and the writer’s inevitable moment of ‘what if?’.


Do you think you will ever revisit any of the characters in the book?

No, my books are stand alone novels about ordinary characters who are faced with extraordinary circumstances. I think that having suffered the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortune I have slung at them they deserves to go back to their ordinary lives.


Who are your writing inspirations?

Robert Harris, Bernard Cornwall, Tom Sharpe, Le Carré, John Birmingham and many others. I have an eclectic taste in books and movies so my inspiration comes from many sources.


If you could have written one book already published what book would you have chosen and why?

I always find this question a little pretentious. Who am I to pretend that I could write or rewrite a classic novel. Even so, in keeping with the question, I would have to say 1984. Not write it so much a rewrite, bring it up to date. I think there are things happening today that Orwell would scarcely believe. CCTV cameras everywhere, people not worried about being on camera but scared that they won’t be. I think Orwell would little believe the amount of personal freedoms we have willingly given away and the whole concept of 1984 would need to be reset. Orwell wrote a warning, we are using it as an instruction manual.


How did you get into writing?

I have always enjoyed writing for my own enjoyment but what pushed me into developing a novel was an idea. Or rather I was standing outside having a cup of coffee on an overcast day when a beam of sunlight came down into the garden. Clearly defined, exactly like a spotlight. I really didn’t think too much about it at the time but over the next days and weeks I started thinking of how to use that moment to develop a story. I had the first chapter and a lot of the rest of the novel mapped out in my mind before I actually started writing anything down


Do you have any rituals, must haves or do’s when starting, during and finishing writing a book?

No really, my only must do’s is to write. I give myself a date as a goal to get at least a first draft ready, or to finish ‘up to chapter x’ and sometimes I even stick to it


What is next for Roger?

I am working on a new novel at the moment, also set in Oregon, which I hope to finish in mid 2018. Once finished it the process of getting it ready for publication begins. Which, I have found, is harder than the writing.


Where can fans find you?

I have a website - https://rogerbraybooks.com/ through which I can be contacted and I am also on Facebook and Twitter. Please get in touch. Anything you would like to add that I have forgotten to ask?


Nothings springs to mind except to say thanks for the opportunity to chat.






I read this book in prep for the blog tour, this was my first time reading this author, I will be seeking out his other books, you can check out my non spoiler review for Psychosis here.



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