Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Review - The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell

The Death of BeesThe Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - <3 hours

Publisher - Harper

Pages - 320

Blurb from Goodreads

A riveting, brilliantly written debut novel-a coming-of-age story with the strong voice and powerful resonance of Swamplandia! and The Secret Life of Bees—in which two young sisters attempt to hold the world at bay after the mysterious death of their parents.

Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved.

Marnie and her little sister Nelly are on their own now. Only they know what happened to their parents, Izzy and Gene, and they aren’t telling. While life in Glasgow’s Hazlehurst housing estate isn’t grand, they do have each other. Besides, it’s only one year until Marnie will be considered an adult and can legally take care of them both.

As the new year comes and goes, Lennie, the old man next door, realizes that his young neighbors are alone and need his help. Or does he need theirs? But he’s not the only one who suspects something isn’t right. Soon, the sisters’ friends, their other neighbors, the authorities, and even Gene’s nosy drug dealer begin to ask questions. As one lie leads to another, dark secrets about the girls’ family surface, creating complications that threaten to tear them apart.


My Review

I have had this book on my TBR for ages and picked it up last night as it had Christmas in it, the story was not anything like I was expecting. The blurb packs a punch immediately "
Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved." The story starts in Winter, just before Christmas with Marnie, 15 years old and her younger sister Nelly. The chapters are split and titled by the person who is talking in that chapter which makes for easy reading, despite their being a few voices telling their tale. As well as Marnie & Nelly, Lennie comes into the tale, he is the pervert next door, nosey and always watching, which causes concern for Marnie in case he sees them burying their folks. As the tale progresses we see there is more to Lenny than first suggested and we hear the tale from the perspective of the three main characters.

This is a great read, despite the dark content within it, murder of ones parents, abuse of the children, a pedophile next door, drugs, underage sex and thats just a few of the topics covered. Marnie is trying to cope with keeping up appearances so the authorities don't find out the girls are home alone, food, bills, education, keeping some semblance of a normal life. Nelly is a unique wee character, she is socially awkward, has no filter and sees the world in a unique light which cause Marnie concern and irritation in equal measure.

Lennie is a threat to the girls secret being exposed, between his nosey window watching and his wee dog constantly digging up their garden. However as the story progresses, the girls form a relationship with Lennie and he offers them support in ways they couldn't have imagined.

It is a story that is hard to put into one box, it covers a lot of content, is set in Glasgow so has some fresh language, swearing and behaviours that some people may find uncomfortable or upsetting to read. Whilst there is abuse, it is not heavily centred or described in the book, however it is enough for you to be aware it has taken place.

This is a fantastic, strong, gripping, dark and somewhat humourous in places, debut novel. I had never read this author before, got through this in under 3 hours, in one sitting and would certainly read more by this author! 5/5 for me this time and I would recommend it to anyone to be honest, certainly worth checking out and I will seek out what else is on offer from this author.



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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Decembers Giveaway is an Amazon voucher



The season of jolly is here! I am going to do an Amazon giveaway, a £5 voucher. I may try and add another wee additional themed giveaway in the next week or two.


As always, the competition will run until the end of the month. Entries can be gained by filling out the Rafflecopter, the more options you complete, the more entries you have. Please note, the entries are checked upon drawing a winner, any incomplete will be disqualified and another winner chosen, sadly this has happened a few times. No postal address required but the mandatory box will be for the email, this will be kept confidential and deleted after the competition, so I can send your voucher upon the draw ending.

Good luck everyone and as always, thanks for stopping by. Have a great week!

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Review - The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

The House at RivertonThe House at Riverton by Kate Morton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 7 days

Pages - 599

Publisher - Macmillan Pan Books

Blurb from Goodreads

Summer 1924

On the eve of a glittering society party, by the lake of a grand English country house, a young poet takes his life. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again.

Winter 1999

Grace Bradley, ninety-eight, one-time housemaid of Riverton Manor, is visited by a young director making a film about the poet's suicide. Ghosts awaken and old memories - long consigned to the dark reaches of Grace's mind - begin to sneak back through the cracks. A shocking secret threatens to emerge, something history has forgotten but Grace never could.

Set as the war-shattered Edwardian summer surrenders to the decadent twenties, The House at Riverton is a thrilling mystery and a compelling love story.



My Review


Grace Bradley is 98 years old, reminiscing on her days as a housemaid, and later as a ladies maid at Riverton Manor. A movie is being made of its history and Grace is being interviewed, this brings back many memories and secrets, some of which the family, and Grace would prefer to stay in the past.

The story goes between the 1920s and present day, set to 1999. The story revolves around Grace going into employment within the Riverton Manor, where her mother worked years previously. There is a blatant theme from the servants that they know something about Grace, and her mother, that she isn't aware of. The story build up is long, drawn out and takes, I felt, forever for anything to actually happen or come to fruition. The last quarter of the book is where it really starts to come together, you get an insight into what has been hinted at throughout the book and some closure with the characters, past and present.

I think it is a nice tale if you like a sedate pace, a long and winding tale with lots of mundane stages that allude to something big coming. It was nicely written and a well received book by many, however, for me I prefer a bit more meat to my read. 2/5 for me this time, I would read this author again however I won't be rushing out to buy up her work.

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Friday, 21 November 2014

Review - The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

The Witching HourThe Witching Hour by Anne Rice
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 15 days

Pages - 1207

Publisher - Penguin Books

Blurb from Goodreads

Demonstrating once again her gift for spellbinding storytelling, Anne Rice makes real a family of witches-a family given to poetry and incest, to murder and philosophy, a family that is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous and seductive being."

My Review

Rowan Mayfair was kept from her immediate family from birth, to save her from the family legacy and curse. Events take place that will bring Rowan home,the history of the witches and its ghost are about to come to a head and something new is coming along.

Rowan is a fabulous young doctor, she saves the life of Michael in a chance meeting that will change their lives forever. Michael is suffering from visions and his hands are picking up vibes and readings from anything he touches. He needs to figure out what it all means before going crazy. Rowan is desperate to meet her family, despite making a promise to the woman who raised her that she would never return. Together Rowan and Michael try to unravel the mystery of the Mayfair family and what it means for them and their relationship.

The book covers the past and present, the history of the family ghost and all of the Mayfair witches to date. It gives some insight into Lasher, the family ghost, although not in depth as this will follow in the second book.

The book covers secrets, murder, sex, incest, magic, history, lies and deception to name just a few of the themes covered within this tale. It is quite a long book standing at over 1200 pages, some of this I feel could have been trimmed off and not have affected the overall tale. It has mystical and magical happenings, sex is a strong theme throughout which may make some readers feel uncomfortable. For me, this is a reread, I read this as a teenager and loved it. I still liked it as an adult however, after having devoured so many books I find myself much more critical and clearly not as enamored with the tale as I had been as a teen. It is a great book, opening up a new world with ghosts (or demons if thats your preferred term for Lasher) and witches that spills over into our world.

This is the first in a trilogy, as I have said I have read it before and will track the others down, they are somewhere in my many book shelves. Despite the time line jumping around and there being quite a few characters, the story is quite easy to follow and Anne Rice has created a world that many will love. Certainly worth a read if you like mystical type tales laced with sex and family tragedy and secrets, 3/5 for me this time.

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Saturday, 15 November 2014

Review - Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Rot & RuinRot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time Taken to Read - 3 days

Blurb from Goodreads

Pages - 458

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Nearly fourteen years ago, a freak virus swept across the world turning the living into the undead. Benny Imura was only a toddler, but his last memory of his parents is tainted by the image of them becoming zombies, and he blames his older brother, Tom, for not saving them.

Now Benny is fifteen, and Tom wants them to put their difficult relationship behind them and work together in the “family business”: as zombie killers. It’s the last thing Benny wants to do, but he needs a job and he thinks it’ll be an easy ride.

But when they head into the Rot and Ruin, an area full of wandering zombies, Benny soon realises that there’s more to the job than just whacking zombies. And, as he’s confronted with the truth about the world around him Benny makes the most terrifying discovery of all, that the worst monsters you can imagine might actually be human ...


My Review


Benny is fifteen years old, in a world where the living dead are ever a threat to humans, when you come of age (fifteen) you must contribute to the community in order to eat, live, survive there. Benny's brother Tom has quite a reputation, a hero, he kills zombies and is well thought of in the community. Benny knows differently, he knows Tom is a coward and he hates him, however he has to learn the business in order to earn his keep. Benny starts to realize there is more to the job and indeed his brother as he ventures out into the Rot and Ruin. As Benny starts to see the world differently, he realizes how dangerous the world around him is and the things he thought he knew aren't quite what they seemed.

I have read a Jonathan Maberry before, Patient Zero, and loved it. This is very different, although both are zombie stories. This one heavily focuses on the personal journey young Benny takes, from developing interest in the opposite sex, family grudges, secrets and making the transition from petulant teenager into a young man. There is of course zombies and danger although it has a very different feel from his other tale. Discovering the zombies may be different from what young Benny had imagined and learning that sometimes people can be worse than the zombies, Benny goes on a journey of self discovery, growth and survival.

It is a good introduction to a new zombie series, it isn't just all gore and guts as a lot of zombie books are. It isn't the best I have read but I certainly enjoyed it and will follow the series as I come upon it, 3/5 for me this time.

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Saturday, 8 November 2014

Novembers giveaway is Watch me by James Carol

The book is in great condition, the spine is completely intact and looks as it did the day I bought it, little scuff around the corners but otherwise grand. I read and enjoyed it, 3/5 stars but haven't had time to review it yet.

Blurb from Goodreads Everybody's got something to hide . . .
Ex-FBI profiler Jefferson Winter has taken a new case in sunny Louisiana, where the only thing more intense than the heat is a killer on the loose in the small town of Eagle Creek.
Sam Galloway, a prominent lawyer from one of Eagle Creek's most respected families, has been murdered. All the sheriff's department have to go on, however, is a film of Galloway that shows him being burned alive.
Enter Jefferson Winter, whose expertise is serial criminals. But in a town where secrets are rife and history has a way of repeating itself, can Winter solve the case before someone else dies?

As always, competition runs until the end of the month. Enter using the rafflecopter below, the more entries you complete, the more chance you have of winning. Apologies it is late and good luck, thanks for stopping by.

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Friday, 7 November 2014

Review - Night Music by Jojo Moyes

Night MusicNight Music by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - <4 hours

Pages - 416

Blurb from Goodreads

The Spanish House is known to locals as an architectural folly, and it is now nearly derelict to boot. When its reclusive owner dies intestate the Spanish House is left to his city-dwelling niece. For the recently-widowed Isabel, the house is a potential lifeline. For her neighbour Matt McCarthy, the house is revenge.


My Review

Matt McCarthy and his wife, Laura, have pampered to their neighbour, taking him meals, cleaning his sheets, looking after him and putting up with his crude comments. All for the deeds of his house when he passes on, which should be soon they think, as he has no family. As it is, it passes to his niece and children, Isabel, Kitty, and Thierry, struggling with the death of her husband and their new financial issues they move to the country and learn a new way of life. However Matt isn't about to let his dream go and soon puts his plan into action, with consequences that change the lives of everyone.

I love Jojo Moyes, her books are always really different from each other and her style is so easy to follow, it is like getting into your comfy slippers. I normally take to one or more of her characters, especially the main players, however, I didn't find this the case in this story. Whilst Matt is deplorable and his wife a willing accomplice, Isabel isn't a great character either. Still wrapped up in the grief of losing her husband, her children have clearly suffered, she makes poor choices that impacts them and seems to take an age to come together. I did like the wee shop keepers right enough and the grumpy handyman had some redeeming quality's as the tale goes on.

As it is a country book there is some animal hunting which, whilst it doesn't go into minute detail it did still make me uneasy to read it. The story has some ups and downs, personal growth, a little bit of sex, manipulation, lies, family secrets and problems just to name a few of the themes within the book.

I got through it in 4 hours so it is a good story, it just isn't her strongest although still a good tale. 3/5 for me this time, I will definitely read more by Jojo Moyes, I have read most of them already and look forward to her next.

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