Sunday, 24 July 2016

The Fire Child by S K Tremayne

The Fire ChildThe Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Publisher - Harper Collins

Pages - 400

Blurb from Goodreads

When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.

But then Jamie’s behaviour changes, and Rachel’s perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the spectre of his late mother – David’s previous wife. Is this Jamie’s way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?

As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie’s outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife’s untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie’s words:

‘You will be dead by Christmas.’

My Review

We start 178 days before Christmas, Rachel is a new wife, moved to be with the man she loves and his son Jamie. Young Jamie is troubled, his mother died and as Rachel spends more time with him his behaviour becomes even more worriesome. Jamie appears to be haunted by his mother and making scary predictions that Rachel fears are coming true. The most recent "You will be dead by Christmas", Rachels husband doesn't want to know so Rachel starts to dig into Jamies claims and their past. Some things are best left alone but Rachel is scared, lonely and the more she digs the more her husband pulls away from her, is Rachel really in danger?

This is Tremaynes second book and I actually prefered this one to the first. It has the same eery spooky under currents of the Ice Twins but I felt this one draws you in from the offset. The chapters vary in length but are all relatively short which I quite like in a book. Each chapter has a photograph at the beginning of the chapter of the settings of the book which is a relatively nice touch, I have the hardback version but assume all formats will have this.

The characters are well drawn, the little boys behaviour fluctuates from affection and acceptance of Rachel to withdrawn and preocupation of her demise or his mothers ghost. Rachel is a bit unreliable as a person, she begins relatively strong but as she gets spooked her behaviour becomes somewhat questionable. The book deals with some tough issues, death, mental health, violence, loss, love, acceptance, ghosts, martial issues to name just a few. I think if you take the story as it is you will really enjoy it, creepy, dark and eery with a bit of suspension of reality required. 3/5 for me this time, I would read this authors work again, thanks to Harper Collins for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Willnot by James Sallis

WillnotWillnot by James Sallis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 192

Publisher - No Exit Press

Blurb from Goodreads

In the woods outside the town of Willnot, the remains of several people have suddenly been discovered, unnerving the community and unsettling Hale, the town's all-purpose general practitioner, surgeon, and town conscience. At the same time, Bobby Lowndes--his military records disappeared, being followed by the FBI--mysteriously reappears in his hometown, at Hale's door. Over the ensuing months, the daily dramas Hale faces as he tends to his town and to his partner, Richard, collide with the inexplicable vagaries of life in Willnot. And when a gunshot aimed at Lowndes critically wounds Richard, Hale's world is truly upended.

My Review

By reading the blurb, I took this book to be a crime/murder/who done it with the effects it has on the small town. It isn't that kind of book at all really, whilst there are bodies found and shootings, the book is not primarily about that. It is more centered on the ripples the bodies found has on the town and the main character, who he is, what he does for the town, flashbacks to things that happened in his life.

I have found this to be the case before, reading the blurb sets a bar and raises expectations of what said book will be about, as a result I didn't enjoy this book. I think had I picked it up and just read it I would have liked it far more as most readers loved it and it has high praise indeed. Instead I found there was a lot of characters that I couldn't quite see what part they would play in the crime aspect of the book and looked for plots and skulduggery where there weren't any.

A book that focuses on relationships, how events from the past can shape us as people and how a small town accepts folk quirks and all. It has quite a bit of medical talk in it being as the main character is the town doctor/surgeon I actually quite enjoyed these bits and it kept me reading. Not badly written at all however when you go into a book thinking it is one thing and it ends up being something entirely different it does dampen the enjoyment and raise expectations. Sadly 2/5 for me, I would read this author again however I would skip the blurb next time. Well written and enjoyed by many so give it a bash, it just wasn't for me.

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Friday, 22 July 2016

Bad Blood by Julie Shaw Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the Blog Tour for Bad Blood by Julie Shaw, her newest novel which is now available to buy in paperback or kindle edition.

I have had the pleasure of reading this book already, you can read my review here.

Welcome Julie, thanks for stopping by and taking the time out to answer some questions for us.

1. Hi Julie, welcome to So Many Books So Little Time. This is your first Blog Tour if I am correct, how are you finding it?

I am really enjoying it. It’s especially interesting to answer the numerous questions I have been asked as it gets me really thinking about why I write the things I do.

2. I have read one of your books before Bad Blood, your settings are always in lower class gritty scheme settings, what draws you to these and do you think you will ever branch out from them?

I was actually brought up in very similar circumstances to a lot of my characters. By that I mean on the same estates, had very similar friends, and had family members who lived through very difficult circumstances. Since being very young I have tried my hand at all genres, and many different styles of writing, but I’m much more comfortable writing about the grittier, seedier side of life. Will I branch out? Maybe, I don’t know at the moment, but what I do know is that I feel much happier writing about the tougher side of life.

3. The character Lizzie, page 30 had me horrified, without spoiling it for others, how did you manage to come up with her and that scene? Creative genius or tapping into a true event?

Oh dear, unfortunately I have known many Lizzie’s in my time. Her character is an amalgamation of quite a few women I knew over the years. That scene was also easy to write as that was very definitely a true scenario, believe it or not.

4. Who inspires you to write?

Lots of people actually. As a child I would lose myself in any books I could get my hands. A story took me away from everything and I could be anyone and anywhere I wanted to be. If I had to choose an early writer that made me think ‘yes! I want to do this!’ then it would have to be Enid Blyton – I thought she was simply incredible. These days however, my hero is Kimberley Chambers. Her characters are so bad, I just love them! Now she really does tell it like it is!

5. What are your three top favourite books of all time?

I hate this question J I have so many that I love and I always feel horribly guilty about the ones I don’t mention. Also, my answer may surprise you. Okay, so the number one spot has to go to Mr Shakespeare himself with Romeo and Juliet. My first ever tragic love story. I was blown away by it. The number two spot would go to Roots by Alex Haley – another book that helped form my opinion on the world, and last but not least, They Put Me Inside by Tony Grestone – a book I read as a young teenager that really did change me.

6. What is next for Julie Shaw? Do you have another book in the process already?

I have just handed in Blood Sisters, which I’m sure you’ll like if you enjoyed Bad Blood, and I am just about to start writing a sequel to Bad Blood in fact. We don’t have a definite title for it yet, but I’m hoping it will be Sins of the Father. Watch this space J

7. Where can fans find you?

Facebook is simply Julie Shaw, though I also have a page especially relating to my books, and that is Canterbury Warriors. My Twitter is @jueshaw

8. Anything else you would like to add or tell readers about yourself?

I think I have gone on for long enough lol, but I do really appreciate all of my readers and particularly you fantastic bloggers who spread the word. Thanks again J xx

And up for grabs is 1 paperback pre-loved copy of Bad Blood, as always, use the Rafflecopter below to enter, this giveaway will run for 1 week.

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Sunday, 17 July 2016

Julys Giveaway is a £5 Amazon Voucher

Sorry it is a bit late, I have been so behind with everything and picking up extra shifts that I am only just managing to catch up today.

As always, competitions are entered by using the Rafflecopter below. The more entry options you complete they more times your name is entered into the draw. Competition runs until the end of the month, as it is a wee Amazon voucher it is open worldwide, all you need is an email address linked to Amazon. Good luck and thanks for taking part.

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Blood Wedding by Pierre LeMaitre

Blood WeddingBlood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days (on and off)

Pages - 320

Publisher - MacLehose Press

Blurb from back cover

Sophie is haunted by the things she can't remember - and visions from the past she will never forget.

One morning, she wakes to find that the little boy in her care is dead. She has no memory of what happened. And her side of the story is no match for the evidence piled against her.

Her only hiding place is in a new identity. A new life, with a man she has met online.

But Sophie is not the only one keeping secrets...

My Review

The story opens with Sophie, Sophie is tired, reflecting on her losses and now her job with little Leo, the six year old child in her care. Sophie looses time, when she looses time bad things happen and this time little Leo is dead. Sophie has to run, make a new life, get a new identity and hopefully a new man she meets online will be her salvation.

The story is split, Sophie's story then Frantz story, the timeline between the two jumps a bit to tell eachs story. Sophies takes a bit to get into, she is an unreliable narrator purely because she isn't always sure what has transpired, the reader is discovering happenings as Sophie does. Frantz part of the story is clear from the very beginning, it is dark and draws you in immediately. I felt more in the loop once I got half way through, things started to become clear. It is a dark and twisted tale that will freak the reader out and pull you down into Sophies darkness.

It isn't for the faint hearted, there are themes of abuse, sexual deviancy, murder, violence, drugs, relationships, brutality and much more. It is haunting because of how clever Lemaitre builds up the suspense and leaves the reader reeling to who is guilty, who is the bad guy and at times just what is actually happening. My first time reading this author, I would read him again, 3/5 for me, thanks so much to RealReaders for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Bad Blood by Julie Shaw - Blog Tour Stop

Today is my turn on the Blog Tour for Bad Blood by Julie Shaw, her newest novel which is now available to buy in paperback or kindle edition.

Bad Blood by Julie Shaw

Bad BloodBad Blood by Julie Shaw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Publisher - Harper Element

Pages - 336

Blurb from Goodreads

It’s 1981 and seventeen-year-old Christine is about to give birth to her son. When her family throw her out, Christine has the biggest fight of her life to bring up her son safe on the infamous Canterbury Estate in Bradford, rife with crime, alcohol and drugs, a place where family is everything and nothing.

It's Friday evening on the Canterbury Estate in Bradford and Christine, who's been rushed to hospital by her friend, Josie, is on the maternity ward giving birth. She's 17 and terrified. Not just of the pain, which is ripping her in two, but because she knows that once the baby arrives, her family is never going to speak to her again.

Her beautiful baby boy is about to start a chain of events that will lead to tragedy - and only her own family can save her.

My Review

Christine is seventeen, pregnant, single, it is 1981, if that isn't bad enough the fathers identity, if discovered, will have devastating consequences. With the birth of the baby life as Christine knows it changes forever. From a relatively innocent led life to one of poverty, drugs, addiction, abuse, violence and danger, Christine is forced to grow up quickly, make some tough decisions and learn that all choices come with grave consequences.

Oh this is a hard hitting book, set in estate life where drugs and poverty are rife, Christine has generally been untouched by it all until her life changes when her child is born. Gritty, hard hitting and at times makes for very uncomfortable reading with the subjects that are covered. Racism rears its ugly head, some scenes that would be fitting in trainspotting and the journey of one young woman trying to survive against the odds with her baby.

I have read Shaw before and I would read her again, whilst the subject matter is often hair raising and challenging it reflects true life which isn't always sweetness and light. There is bad language, challenging situations and questionable decisions made by the characters which again mirror reality which I think Shaw has captured well. 4/5 for me this time, thanks so much to the publishers for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. Bad Blood is available to buy now in paperback and kindle edition.

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