Sunday, 23 October 2016

Wee additional giveaway & thank you

Image credited from here

THANK YOU! The blog twitter account has hit 2000 followers and the Facebook page is over 1700, thank you so so much guys for your support, interactions and recommendations for books and book events. I started this blog to keep track of books I have read, I kept re buying ones forgetting I had read them until a few chapters in. So I started the reviews to keep track and it links in with Goodreads which is awesome, so when people starting to interact, authors offered to send books, publishers and publicists reached out I was delighted and pleasantly surprised. My reviews are not literary masterpieces by any stretch of the imagination, I just write what I liked, what I didn't and recommend books to folks that I think will love them, even ones I disliked because one man's rubbish is another's gold. I have "met" so many great bloggers and bok lovers who are so supportive, been introduced to many great authors I would otherwise have missed and some absolute gems of books. So, as well as the current competition running just now, click here for details, this is just a wee additional & keeping in theme with Halloween.

A wee dvd called "Dead Of The Night" and a magnetic bookmark, both as shown in the picture above. To enter, just head over So Many Books So Little Time's Facebook page or click here to be redirected, like the post, share and comment. I will give you a number on your comment and at the end of the week I will random generate the winning number. This competition is open to everyone, you just need to like/share and comment, that is is. Good luck if you are entering and thanks again for your continued support.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

The Secret by Kathy Hughes

The SecretThe Secret by Kathryn Hughes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 day

Pages - 416

Publisher - Headline Review

Blurb from Goodreads

Mary has been nursing a secret. Forty years ago, she made a choice that would change her world for ever, and alter the path of someone she holds dear.

Beth is searching for answers. She has never known the truth about her parentage, but finding out could be the lifeline her sick child so desperately needs. When Beth finds a faded newspaper cutting amongst her mother's things, she realises the key to her son's future lies in her own past. She must go back to where it all began to unlock...The Secret.

My Review

We open in June 1975 Mary Roberts whole world ended as she knew it. Flip ahead to 2016, Mary has passed leaving behind her daughter, grandson and a secret that could literally mean life or death for her daughter Beth's son. Beth's fathers identity is a secret, only Mary could have told her who he was, now Mary has died and Beth's son Jake is ill, could Beth's father's identity hold the key to saving his life? As Beth starts to go through her mothers belongings she finds clues that could help save her son, a secret from the past that may touch the lives of many.

Whilst the story timeline flips a wee bit, it is done so in a way the reader can follow easily. 1975 initially, 2013 to give some build to the main characters before heading back to the past where we pick up in 1976. We meet characters who seem to have no relationship or relevance to our present day story. We delve into the past, meet new characters, love and hate them in equal measures, Hughes takes us into a story of love, loss, sacrifice, family and how some secrets can have long reaching consequences and the fall out from it. This is a lovely story that has elements of sadness, courage and the impact secrets can have, how in protecting those we love we can actually cause more harm.

Beautifully written with characters that jump off the page and into your heart, or the ones that irritate you and get right under your skin. A skillful writer who creates a world you fall into and want to keep reading about long after you finish the last page. 4/5 for me this time, this is my first time reading this author, it won't be my last, thanks to Bookbridgr for sending me a copy of this to review and introducing me to a new author.

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The Killing Room by Richard Montanari

The Killing Room (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #6)The Killing Room by Richard Montanari
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off for 5 days

Pages - 358

Publisher - Sphere

Blurb from Goodreads

Hear the footsteps, feel the screams. The chilling new Byrne and Balzano thriller from the Sunday Times bestseller. Product Description Nothing will ever be the same again... In the heart of Philadelphia's badlands, Homicide Detectives Byrne and Balzano are called out to a particularly chilling crime scene. Once the pillar of the neighbourhood, an abandoned church has become a killing room. At first it looks like a random act of violence. But then a second body is found, and a third. Each crime scene more disturbing than the last, each murder more brutal. And it soon becomes horrifyingly clear that a cold, calculating and terrifyingly precise mind is at work. With very few leads, and a mastermind who always seems to be one step ahead, Byrne and Balzano are faced with challenges they could never have imagined as they race against time to hunt down their killer, before it's too late...

My Review

An ex police officer found in an abandoned chapel, kept alive and wrapped in barb wire for ten days but why? Only one day later, another victim, another chapel just as disturbing, when a third is found the police know they need to move fast, but what drives this killer and what links the victims. Clearly a religious aspect and footage shows a victim voluntarily heading to the location they die, what can have a hold over these people and why are the chapels important?

The chapters go between the police investigation and a glimpse to the killer, written in italics and interactions with the victims. This makes for very freaky reading, is there a spirtual element in the killings? Is the killer a mere mortal? The slayings are brutal and the scenes are not for the faint hearted. The book is quite heavy on police procedure which seems a bit drawn out in places and didn't capture my attention quite as much as other parts of the book. The supernatural tones really draw the reader in and were very creepy however the finale and wrap up raised some questions and made me question the plausibility of it all. A good read if you just suspend reality for a while, gruesome too with in depth police procedures and aspects of the investigation, 3/5 for me this time.

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How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

How I Lost YouHow I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Headline

Blurb from Goodreads

They told her she killed her son. She served her time. But what if they lied? I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don't you? My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address and a chance to rebuild my tattered life. This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he's dead? If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back?

My Review

2013 Susan Websters letter to the parole board is accepted, Susan is being released and starting a new life as Emma Cartwright. Emma can move on, meet new people and start to heal, Emma is not Susan, Susan who killed her twelve week old baby. Emma is ready to heal, however someone knows Emma is Susan, someone knows what she has done and now Emma has a letter hand delivered to Susan and a picture of a toddler, the same age as Susan's baby would be. Soon Emma is being tormented, could her son really be alive or is someone punishing Susan for her crime and is she in danger?

So the book opens in 2013 and pretty much jumps into the present with Emma getting the picture of a toddler suggesting it is her son. There is no memory of her child's death but she has been convicted, lost her husband and everyone has told her of her guilt. Now Susan aka Emma, needs to uncover who is tormenting her and if there can be any chance her child is alive. The story flips to the past 1987, written in italics and headed Jack. We go between the past, with Jack, and then to the present with Susan, the relevance of Jack doesn't become clear until much later in the story. With it being headed and in italics it is easy to identify the time jump and character distinction so doesn't disrupt the story too much.

Susan is unreliable at times, particularly as she is constantly questioning herself and her crime, things happen to mess with her mind and reality and you do feel sorry for her. She agrees to meet a reporter who seems to want to help her and believe she is being tormented. With little support and the scale of terror climbing up Susan has few places to turn. Her behavior at times is exasperating and questionable however if you had lost your child and being tormented, who can say how you would behave. Her poor choices and erratic behavior did impact on my enjoyment of the story to be honest and as it went on I did at one point think really? However, it does make for a very good page turner, I was invested in the story and needed to know how it all panned out. This was my first time reading this author, I would read her again 3/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Small Great ThingsSmall Great Things by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Ballantine Books

Pages - 480

Blurb from Godreads

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

My Review

Ruth is an experienced nurse of twenty years, helping ladies through their labour and delivery, Ruth is also African American which until now hasn't been an issue. Her latest baby is the child of white supremacists who refuse to have Ruth touch their baby. When short staffing forces Ruth to be the one to check on the child and the child is having a medical emergency Ruth is torn between instinct and following orders. What follows will change Ruth's life forever.

Picoult is known for pushing the reader out of their comfort zones, creating some of the darkest moments human beings can be faced with and the human response. The story is told through three main characters points of view, Ruth of course, the nurse and accused. Turk is the father of the baby, supporter and advocate of white power, thinks nothing of violence and spewing racial venom. And lastly from Kennedy, Ruth's lawyer, Kennedy is by no means racist however after spending time with Ruth and seeing the world through her eyes she realizes she has a lot to learn.

This is no two ways about it, this is not an easy story to read. Not because it isn't well written, it absolutely is and it is no secret I do like Picoult books. It is the subject content, the blatant racism, the enablers of racism, those behind it who promote it, live breath and spread hatred. The absolute horror that whilst this is fiction, much of this hatred and bile still exists in today's society.

This book provokes emotion, thought, anger and the reader to examine if they contribute to this type of behaviour, because one who stands by and allows or ignores actions can be equally as guilty as those who do it. It is a story of passion, love, loss, relationships, family, racism, societal attitudes and human behavior. A story that will stay with you long after you have finished the last page, 4/5 for me this time. Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an advance reader copy of this book.

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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

They Move Below by Karl Drinkwater

They Move Below: & Other Dark TalesThey Move Below: & Other Dark Tales by Karl Drinkwater
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 398

Publisher - Organic Apocalypse

Blurb from Goodreads

Horror lives in the shadows.

It exists under the earth’s surface in ancient caves; below the vast sea’s undulating waves; under dense forest cover; within a storm’s thick, rolling clouds; downstairs in our homes, when we hear the knife drawer rattle in the night. Even our minds and bodies harbour the alien under the skin, the childhood nightmares in our subconscious.

In this collection of sixteen tales Karl Drinkwater sews flesh onto the bones of our worst fears whilst revisiting some of horror’s classic settings, such as the teen party, the boat in trouble, the thing in the cellar, the haunted museum, the ghost in the machine, and the urban legends that come true. No-one is safe. Darkness hides things, no matter how much we strain our eyes. And sometimes those things are looking back at us.

My Review

I never pick up short stories as a first choice, it is very rare I like them although master King is always the exception. However, I read a Drinkwater novella before, a few years ago, and as he is horror/spooky this collection fits perfectly for my October reads so I thought I would give it a whirl.

Sixteen creepy short stories that will have the hair on the back of your neck standing, holding your breath and listening out for things that go bump in the night. I didn't love all sixteen, one or two I found only ok however the majority of them left me creeped out and back to how I felt back in the days when I first read horror. I love when an author recommends or mentions another author's work within a story, he did this with Koontz and I bought the book as I want to know the rest of the tale.

I would be had pushed to pick a favourite however of the lot I think "Just Telling Stories" two 'friends' in a hotel room freaking each other with scary tales which is something we used to do as kids. And "Claws Truth Forebear" a story that will have you feeling claustrophobic whilst the characters struggle through enclosed spaces and examining the consequences of ones actions. Some of the others are quite dark too but these two stuck out for me.

Drinkwater has the knack of creating a tense and terrifying atmosphere that draws in the readers and creeps them out almost from the get go. Some of the stories are only a handful of pages long whilst others have a bit more meat. I have read this author before and I will read him again, if you like a bit of freak and a good scare this is the book for you, 4/5 for me this time.

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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Q&A with Michael Christopher Carter

1. Welcome to So Many Books, So Little Time Michael, thanks for taking the time to come and chat. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in England’s Home Counties of Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, before succumbing to the Pembrokeshire Pull and moving to the wonderful Pembrokeshire Coast National park in the South West corner of Wales. The scenery, towns and cities of Wales have been a big inspiration, and feature prominently in many of my stories.

2. Who inspires you and are you reading anything just now?

I have enjoyed many of the biggest names—John Grisham, Stephen King, Dean Kuntz and Robert Goddard, but really I have a very diverse taste. Recently, I’ve been enjoying discovering independent authors but, whether it’s a thriller, or a comedy, or horror, or even an autobiography I do like a twist! I always have a twist in my stories, and because I plan them out beforehand, there are always clues along the way. I get very excited when I write something and imagine myself as the reader trying to work it out. When I get feedback from readers who have been hooked by my red herrings, I get very excited.

3. An Extraordinary Haunting, is this your first book? Without spoilers, what is your book about?

I wrote and released three other books before this one, each exploring different paranormal elements, and each having their own twists. This one’s about a houseful of students in Swansea who experience some weird poltergeist activity. Ghostly goings on are occurring in other places too: the local pub, as well as the new home of former housemate, Elin Treharne. Nothing is as it seems, and when hints of the truth are realised, all the threads collide in a thrilling climax. And I don’t like loose ends. I try to make sure all questions are answered; it’s one of the key questions I put to Beta-Readers.

4. What gave you the idea for it?

Real life experiences of my wife and my late mother-in-law were the inspiration. It’s difficult to say what those were without spoiling the story.

5. When I read the blurb I expected a completely different kind of read, what made you decide to tell the book with astro travel themes rather than horror?

It wasn’t so much a decision. It was always the inspiration. Offering a different perspective for poltergeist activity was my main intention. I love exploring the unusual, and imagining readers exploring with me is thrilling. Reviews all say how scary the book is, but to be honest, that surprised me. I’m pleased, but the thrust of the story for me are the twists. The scary parts were required to make those happen, but it seems to work!

6. Are you working on anything just now?

Of course! But I’m not sure ‘working’ is the right word, because I enjoy it so much. I am writing every day creating a couple of books at the moment; one, ‘The Nightmare of Eliot Armstrong’ is almost out with beta-readers, and my next novel ‘Destructive Interference’ is in alpha stage. I hope to release by November and New Year.

7. Where can fans find you?

On Amazon, worldwide. I have U.S. and U.K. author pages, Facebook, and Twitter, and at my website: Don’t be shy, I’d love to hear from you!

Twitter - @cartercarter72 Facebook -

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