Saturday 28 September 2013

Review - Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep (The Shining, #2)Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2.5 days

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Pages - 482

Blurb from Goodreads

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

My Review

I loved the Shining, who didn't - it was a Stephen King masterpiece and had some very unforgettable characters. The story picks up right where the shining left off, the aftermath for Danny and his mum after the hotel burned down. Danny isn't completely free from his trauma and people from the original story turn up whilst he is still young and we are catching up. Then we move on to Danny being an adult, a drunk and a disappointment when something happens that makes him sort himself out and settle in one place. We flip to Rose the hat, leader of The True Knot, beings that where once human that now live of the essence of kids with the shining. Introducing Abra Stone, a kid with the shining, making Danny's look like a flash in the dark in comparison. Before long, these three become linked and it is a matter of life and death, a battle against evil and survival of the fittest, who will survive?

Aw I was so happy to finally get my copy of this, it isn't often I pre-order anything but I wanted this since I heard Mr K was writing it. Not only do we get to reacquaint with wee Danny who is now a grown up, we get to see the effect that crazy hotel had on him and if he still shines as an adult. He isn't the only character from the past to pop up and I loved not knowing who was coming next.

Rose the hat is evil, however she has her own band of "family" so you get to see two sides of her, the one that will do anything for her crew and the one that kills and tortures innocents. Abra reminded me a bit of Carrie but without all the negativity and social awkwardness, she has the shining in bucket loads, has an amazing ability that of course freaks her parents out. She is a great wee character for someone so young and has bounds of personality that wee Danny lacked in the original book.

The story has a fair amount of building to do as we meet new characters and learn about Danny as an adult, however I found this fascinating to see his progression however some may feel it a little slow in parts. This is not a super scary book by any means, there is supernatural activity and beings, there is murder and some horror but nothing compared to the shining or indeed some of his other works. I personally wouldn't call it a horror as I am used to his stuff being much stronger and darker but it would be classed in that genre due to some of the content.

There is definitely parts that keep you on the edge of your seat, I couldn't put it down as I wanted to find out what happens to all of the characters. The more they interact the more the tension builds and you cannot wait for everything to come to a head. For all the fans of the shining, I think you will really enjoy this book, it is a different feel altogether as I remember being scared senseless reading the shining. Doctor Sleep doesn't have the terror or maybe it is just as I am older and read so much now but it does make the hair on the back of your neck stand at parts and keeps you hooked. Was it worth the wait? I think so, I really enjoyed it and will revisit some of his older work, 4/5 for me this time.

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Friday 27 September 2013

Review - The Return Man by V.M. Zito

The Return ManThe Return Man by V.M. Zito
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Blurb from Goodreads

The outbreak tore the USA in two. The east remains a safe haven. The west has become a ravaged wilderness, known by survivors as the Evacuated States. It is here that Henry Marco makes his living. Hired by grieving relatives, he tracks down the dead and delivers peace.

Now Homeland Security wants Marco for a mission unlike any other. He must return to California, where the apocalypse began. Where a secret is hidden. And where his own tragic past waits to punish him again.

But in the wastelands of America, you never know who - or what - is watching you.

My Review

A zombie novel with a bit of a twist, this one is purely centered around America, the West is abandoned barring those reanimated with the virus. The East is a safe haven where the survivors are residing and living in safety. Henry Marco is in the West with the walking dead and making a living by bringing them peace after being hired by their family. His business partner is in the East and deals with the contracts, money and people whilst Henry does the dirty work. Henry has a personal agenda and is on the lookout for his wife whom he lost during the in initial outbreak, four years ago. As always there is corruption and Homeland Security makes Marco an offer he can't refuse, to go into the heart of the outbreak, risk life and limb to complete his mission.

There is a lot going on in this wee story, it starts off with Henry tracking a relative for someone on the other side and we get an introduction into what he does. Henry is haunted by the fact he finds others relatives but can't find his own wife, this is what keeps him in the West and in constant danger. He then meets up with Kheng Wu - Kenny, although Henry mostly calls him Wu, they make a great team although Wu is not all he seems although the reader knows all along his secret.

There is a lot of action and the zombie scenes kicked my heart rate up a bit just about every time. It has the zombie theme at the heart of the story but also love, devotion, friendship, trust, betrayal and corruption. I really enjoyed this and it was my first zombie read in a wee while. I have added the next in the series on to my wish list as although this was my first time with this author I did quite enjoy it and would like to read more about the characters in this story. 4/5 for me this time, I did like it, it has good pace however I am fussy with zombie stories and there was one or two wee things that didn't bring it right up to the five star mark.

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Sunday 22 September 2013

ARC - Bad Blood by Mark Sennen

Bad Blood (A DI Charlotte Savage Novel)Bad Blood by Mark Sennen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 5 days

Publisher - Avon

Blurb from Goodreads

‘We’re going to find them, sort them, pay them back …’

When the body of a six-year-old girl is found buried beneath a patio, nobody is surprised when a local paedophile is murdered shortly afterwards. But when a member of DI Charlotte Savage’s team is abducted and several men are executed in cold blood it becomes apparent that there’s a psychopath on the loose with no mercy for his victims…

It becomes clear that the killer isn’t selecting his victims at random and soon Savage is in a race against time to stop him. But what if this man has a message for Charlotte herself? One she won’t forget in a hurry. It’s payback time. Deadly payback time.

Part thriller, part police procedural, a must-read for fans of Mark Billingham and Chris Carter.

My Review

This is the second in a series, I was given an ARC copy from the publisher so this is my first encounter with this author. I think, personally I would recommend you go and get the first book in the series instead of starting with this one as I believe it will make the story more enjoyable. The story opens with the prologue, we meet the mastermind bad guy, Ricky Budgeon and a very brief look into his views on what has happened prior and brings him to the actions that follow. A bit vague? I thought so too and the theme follows throughout the story but it does all come together and information is released in snippets.

We move on to Savage, who turns out to be DI Charlotte Savage, at home with her family when she gets a reminder from a colleague about the PSD (Public Standards Department) inquiry meeting regarding her actions in a previous case. I believe this is also something that happened in the last book although I am not 100% sure. We then go to another scene where a body is discovered and DI Savage is called in, our story really starts here. Soon a child’s body is discovered, linked to an old residence of a paedophile and soon a paedophile is found murdered.
Shortly after that a member of DI Savages team goes missing, bodies are turning up murdered in vicious and horrific crime scenes and Savage and her team are running out of time to solve the mystery and save their colleague.

Exhausted reading all that? It is quite a lot to take in and to be honest, had I read the first book and had a feel for some of the characters it would probably have been a lot easier to get into. As it was I felt there was a lot of characters to try and get to know, a few different stories lines going on and I had to re read bits to try and establish what was going on.
There is a lot happening and plenty to keep you interested and intrigued as to what is going to happen and who is linked to whom but I would suggest reading it in big chunks or in one go if you can. Reading this over a few days can be a bit hard going as it is such a busy story.
It is quite violent and gorey, there is a lot of swearing and quite a few terms that are racist so be warned it may offend quite a few readers. DI Savage I found to be hard to like, she has been through a lot which may attribute to her attitude and almost total disregard for her professional standards and behaviour. She seemed like a loose cannon at times rather than a level headed leader of a police team and lead investigator in a high profile case. As I said I think maybe going back and reading the first book would give a bit of clarity and help with the enjoyment and understanding of this book.

All your ends are eventually tied up, most things are linked and explained although at the end of this book a character throws a curve ball that will pull followers from the first story to get the third book. I have only read book two however I want clarification and closure on this particular issue from the stories, a rather clever ploy from the author, always leave them wanting more. A rather mixed bag for me, it annoyed me on so many levels but got me there in the end and had enough intrigue to keep me going to the end so 3/5 for me this time. Thanks to Avon Books for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review and for introducing me to this author whom I will read again. This book is available to buy from all good retailers from the 26th of September 2013, in paperback format and for the kindle.

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Wednesday 18 September 2013

DRC (Netgalley) - Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Forever, InterruptedForever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2.5 days

Publisher - Washington Square Press

Blurb from Goodreads

“Have you ever heard of supernovas? They shine brighter than anything else in the sky and then fade out really quickly, a short burst of extraordinary energy. I like to think you and Ben were like that . . . in that short time, you had more passion than some people have in a lifetime.”

Elsie Porter is an average twenty something and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year’s Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn’t expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they’ve eloped.

Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met—and who doesn’t even know Elsie exists.

Interweaving Elsie and Ben’s charmed romance with Elsie and Susan’s healing process, Forever, Interrupted will remind you that there’s more than one way to find a happy ending.

My Review

The story starts in June, present day, when Elsie and Ben are very much in love and only 9 days since they got married. When Ben nips out to get something for Elsie and is killed, Elsie finds her whole world collapsing, we follow her journey through grief and reliving how they met to present day. The story flips from now, the after math of the accident, to months previous when they first met and their relationship progression.

Aw I really liked this story, total chick lit type novel. It has a bit of everything in it, grief is a big part of the story as Elsie is having to learn to adjust to life without her husband. As they had a whirlwind romance and very quick marriage they hadn't met everyone in each others lives which poses additional difficulties for Elsie. From reactions from his friends and family, to her own, Elsie faces all the issues that comes with the loss of a loved one as well as additional issues you would hope never to encounter.

The present is really sad and anyone who has lost someone will be able to identify with her behavior and actions as she grieves. The recent past on how they met and how their relationship progresses is cute, childish, romantic and fairly sweet although I think a few cynical readers may be irked by some of it but I really liked it.

The story has many layers to it, I felt, aside from the grief and romance, you have trust issues, learning to work through obstacles I am sure many of us have faced at one time. Friendship, jealousy, anger and the amazing ability, we humans have, to pick ourselves up and rebuild our life when the rug has been pulled from under us.

I would recommend this book to anyone to be honest, it is a good wee read and had life not got in the way I would have got through it in one sitting easily. The characters are likable, brought to life well and can I just say, I loved Ben and George Callahan, although George doesn't appear in the book often, he has a strong presence and offers much to the story.

For a debut novel I think it is very well put together, it covers many important issues and is a great wee tale that I didn't want to put down. I will definitely keep an eye out for this authors future work, 4/5 for me this time. Thank you so much to Netgalley for introducing me to a new author and providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review. You can buy Forever, Interrupted now in paperback format and ebook now from all good retailers.

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Tuesday 17 September 2013

Books are my bag campaign

Have you heard about the books are my bag campaign? You can find out more about it here but basically it is the biggest ever campaign to support your local bookshops. On the 14th of September 2013, bookshops had a celebration with balloons, banners, bags, t-shirts and bookmarks spreading the theme #booksaremybag - Celebrities have taken part too and you can do your part if you haven't already.

Visit your local book shop and buy a book or two. I went out specifically looking to find a bookshop that was celebrating books are my bag and found a book store I had walked past and hadn't even noticed before. It is called Oswald Street Bookshop and can be found in 27 Oswald street, Glasgow - you can follow them on Twitter @OSBookshop

Here is some pictures from my visit:
I love books, I love bookshops and I love chatting with people about books. As much as I love Waterstones I have never really appreciated the smaller book stores or really went into them. This campaign has certainly made me appreciate them and think twice before ordering from a large chain or online.
I went inside and had a browse about the books, the shop is spread across one floor and all the books are focus around Scotland, be it authors or the country.

The owner is a gentleman called Denis who came over to see if I needed any assistance, he dealt with his customer and then came back to help me with my queries. I asked if he was involved in the campaign and we chatted about how I had heard about it. We then had a lovely chat about books, authors, the stock he had an how he could order any book in and that the shop had been open for 21 months. He recommended a new author to me and we discussed some other authors and chatted for a while longer. I cannot express how much of a difference this kind of personal customer service made than in a big chain where you are lucky to have a moment to chat with the cashier. As a result I will be heading back to put in an order for my next read and hope to continue supporting local book shops. If you have a chance, please stop by. You can join the chat and share your pics on Twitter with the hash tag #booksaremybag or on facebook, just search books are my bag.

Monday 16 September 2013

ARC - MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood

MaddAddam (MaddAddam Trilogy #3)MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 11 days

Publisher - Bloomsbury

Blurb from Goodreads

A man-made plague has swept the earth, but a small group survives, along with the green-eyed Crakers – a gentle species bio-engineered to replace humans. Toby, onetime member of the Gods Gardeners and expert in mushrooms and bees, is still in love with street-smart Zeb, who has an interesting past. The Crakers’ reluctant prophet, Snowman-the-Jimmy, is hallucinating; Amanda is in shock from a Painballer attack; and Ivory Bill yearns for the provocative Swift Fox, who is flirting with Zeb. Meanwhile, giant Pigoons and malevolent Painballers threaten to attack.

Told with wit, dizzying imagination, and dark humour, Booker Prize-winning Margaret Atwood’s unpredictable, chilling and hilarious MaddAddam takes us further into a challenging dystopian world and holds up a skewed mirror to our own possible future.

My Review

Before I put my thoughts I want to express that my issues with this book are a lot to do with not realizing it was part of a trilogy. I would strongly recommend to everyone they should go and read the first two before purchasing or attempting to read this one.

The book deals with the aftermath and current struggling of a small group of survivors after a man made plague has slammed earth. Along with the few survivors is "Crakers" a species created through bio-engeneering, gentle creatures to replace humans. The tale follows Toby, Snowman the Jimmy, Zeb and a few other characters throughout. As they try to survive and get on with "life" as best they can, along side the Crakers and avoiding the painballers who are hell bent on violence and destruction.

The book gives a four page catch up on the previous two books, this is no where near enough for someone who hasn't read anything of the previous story as this book is very much a follow up to them. The book is heavily focused on Toby and Zeb's relationship as well as throw backs to Zeb and his brother Adam's relationship. To be fair to the writer, when it was dealing with Toby and Zeb or going back to everything that happened with Zeb and Adam I could follow it and what was happening, it just seemed almost everything out with this I didn't understand what was going on.

Creatures and a lot of terms mentioned throughout the book I had no idea what they were, although pizzlies and grolars explanation was covered. Mo'Hair herds I assume are cow like creatures, Pigoons I think may have been huge pigs although I am not sure were they bio-engineered or a cross with pigs and something else? I think had there been an appendix with the unknown words and a brief explanation, at the front or back of the book, this would have made such a huge difference to my reading experience and understanding of the tale. Sadly I spent a huge amount of time confused reading the tale and not always sure what was going on or how it came to be. After 200+ pages I felt I understood a bit more of the hows and whys but it was hard going. I think if your a fan of the previous books you will get on well with this as it gives closure on the main characters and where their paths lie. I struggled with the tale, terms and what was going on most of the time although I did enjoy reading about Zeb and Adam so for that reason I am giving this book a 2/5. My thanks to Waterstones for introducing me to a new author and giving me an advance copy to review in exchange for an honest review. This book is available to buy now from all good retailers.

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Sunday 15 September 2013

Review - The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald

The CryThe Cry by Helen Fitzgerald
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Publisher - Faber and Faber

Blurb from Goodreads

He's gone. And telling the truth won't bring him back...

When a baby goes missing on a lonely roadside in Australia, it sets off a police investigation that will become a media sensation and dinner-table talk across the world.

Lies, rumours and guilt snowball, causing the parents, Joanna and Alistair, to slowly turn against each other.

Finally Joanna starts thinking the unthinkable: could the truth be even more terrible than she suspected? And what will it take to make things right?

The Cry is a dark psychological thriller with a gripping moral dilemma at its heart and characters who will keep you guessing on every page.

'Fitzgerald is dark, clever, highly inventive.'

'FitzGerald excels at twisting the reader's expectations and turning our assumptions on their heads.' The List

My Review

This is a story about Joanna, Alistair and their baby Noah, more characters come into play but these three are the starting point. On a long haul flight from Glasgow to Australia, a distraught Joanna tries to console and quieten an even more distraught and screaming Noah. Once they arrive in Australia Noah goes missing. People are interviewed from the plane, speculation is rife, the news and police are all over it and Joanna and Alistair are hiding a big secret that will threaten everything they have. This is a story that looks at a relationship and what a traumatic event like this can do to a couple and how easily things can spiral out of control.

I went to the author event launch for this book, tickets were free and I wasn't sure what to expect as I had only read one of her books. She read two excerpts from the story, the very beginning and near the end, I had to buy a copy immediately and find out what happens.

Everyone judges people and this book gets into that when the world speculates on what happened to Noah, the Internet is used to show how quickly people make up their own minds and get involved. The heart of the book is centered on the relationship between Joanna, Alistair, his ex wife Alexandra and her daughter Chloe. You find out very early on what happened to the baby so it isn't a who done it or mystery, it focuses on the relationships, manipulation, blame, loss, grief, deceit, anger and hurt, to name a few of the themes going on.

The character are very well carved out, great emotion is evoked when you get a feel for them and some of the choices they make. I went through different emotions with Joanna, I felt for the ex wife and her daughter and I hated Alistair with a passion. The story flips around from the initial lead up to the baby's journey, him going missing, to months later and then back to the initial time period at the start of the tale. Joanna's voice starts the tale and then we flip to Alexandra's, the two time periods and hearing the same events through two people are fantastically done. This doesn't always work out well in stories as I feel you can get confused with the time jumps let alone bringing a second voice into it. Fitzgerald does it with an ease that you follow exactly what is going on without having to jump back a page or two to see who is talking or what time period it is. Also the chapters are listed by whose voice it is in case anyone does have problems following and the month is also listed so you know where in the time scale the story is. The chapters are fairly small, which is always a favorite with me, I found this book hard to put down. Had work not got in the way I would have easily read this in one sitting, this book will take you on an emotional roller coaster and stay with you long after you have finished it. It has taken me days to decide how I would write this review as I have so much to say about things within it however I do not do spoiler reviews so it took a lot of thought. I would recommend this book to everyone, no matter what genre you like as it is a great read that packs a punch and leaves you wanting more. 5/5 for me and I already have a few more by this author on my tbr so I will be reading her again. If she continues along this path I may have to put her on my favorite writers list.

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Wednesday 11 September 2013

Review - You belong to me by Karen Rose

You Belong to Me (Romantic Suspense #12)You Belong to Me by Karen Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 5 days

Blurb from Goodreads

Baltimore city Homicide Detective J.D. Fitzpatrick has seen a lot of violence but nothing like the trail of tortured bodies that are turning up throughout the city. And now he's starting to suspect that his medical examiner, Dr. Lucy Trask, may be shielding a dark secret that could connect her to these vicious killings-and put her next on the killer's hit list...

My review

Dr. Lucy Trask has a past she would rather forget however as a killer starts pilling up bodies and Dr Trask is at the center of the killers attention she may need to face it sooner than she expected. J.D Fitzpatrick is the homicide detective investigating and can't help but be distracted by Lucy while he tries to discover what the link is between her and the killer.

I really like Karen Rose, I have the books I have read so far and I did enjoy this one. The killer has a voice throughout the book and we go from chapter to chapter from Trask and Fitzpatrick to our killer and what he is doing. The killings are graphic and bloody, there is some sexual scenes throughout so it is not for the faint hearted. The pace is fairly quick and the killings start from the outset. The only thing I would maybe grump about would be the way the interaction/relationship plays out between our two main characters, Trask and Fitzpatrick. It is almost like a cat and mouse game with them to begin with and they are very cat on hot coals with each other yet they need to work together to figure out what is the obsession with this killer.

Another detail that will keep you hanging on is the motive the killer has is dragged out, in his chapters he makes it clear he blames Lucy for his vendetta and what happened and this is teased out in very small snippets throughout the book. Otherwise it is a book that keeps you going and interested until all is revealed. I like a book that ties up all loose ends and Rose delivers with this one, 4/5 for me this time.

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Sunday 8 September 2013

Author book launch - The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald

So a friend from my book group noticed that Helen Fitzgerald was going to be at Waterstones to launch her new book The Cry. I had never heard of this author so went off to have a nose, got her first book Dead Beautiful to see what her writing was like. You can read my review of this title by using the search box on the left hand side, I did try and link it in this post but the blog is having none of it today, apologies.
The tickets were free and it is always nice to go to an author event. This was one of the best events I have been to and I have seen a fair few author book events, both in the Waterstones in Glasgow and a few held in Sloan's pub. Normally you can get a ticket for free or sometimes you have to pay, it varies with each one. At Sloan's there is a bar where you can purchase your own drink, the previous Waterstone launches have been later so their wee cafe is closed and you can't get a refreshment. Me and my friends where the first to arrive as everything got set up. One of my friends, Kat, had been to a few of these but for Emma it was her first time.

Well Helen went over and above what any of the other authors did. There was glasses with water, fresh orange and wine available, complimentary as well as home made cakes and sweet pastries, homemade by her sister Rea. She had brought her family with her and they all put some plates and food on the tables and along with the staff ensured everyone had a drink. I believe there was other writers there that night also as I recognized some faces but couldn't put a name to anyone.

Helen gave the audience some background, read a little from the start of her book and then some from later on in the book, then took some questions from the audience. After the event had finished she announced she was going for a few drinks, said where and invited everyone to come along if they wished, how nice was that!

Back to the book, the story is very different from the one I read, this one concerns a family traveling on a long haul flight and they accidentally overdose their baby. The story follows on from what happens from there, I haven't read it but after the wonderful evening at Waterstones and hearing the excerpts from the book I have ordered it. I also bought some of her earlier work too, this is the power authors can have when they interact with their readers. I went there as a meeting point with friends and to hear about the new book and because it was a free event. After being treated so nice, exposed to her family and listening to her talk about her work I have not only bought her new book but bought three of her previous books. My advice to authors doing any events is by showing your readers a bit of appreciation for coming to see you, taking time to make things a wee bit more personable it benefits you in the long run. Even having the offer of a glass of water I feel would go a long way and to no cost of the author, as I say Helen Fitzgerald went over and above that and I loved that her family came and had some interaction with the crowd too. I would definitely go and see this lady again and my thoughts on her works will follow as I get to them.

The Cry is available from Amazon for £5.75 and from Waterstones although I am not sure how much they are charging for a copy as I forgot to buy mine on the night. The book is available to buy now. You can follow Helen Fitgerald on Twitter @FitzHelen she is also on Facebook and has a blog available online.

Saturday 7 September 2013

September giveaway - A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

This is a brand new copy of A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. It has a tiny wee mark on the top right side of the cover, residue from a sticker. Otherwise the book is in perfect condition and brand new, unread, see picture below.

As with the past few competitions I am using Rafflecopter, there are different options to enter and each option will give you extra names into the draw increasing your chances of winning. Good luck everyone and as always thank you for taking part. If you have any problems completing the form or any other problems please get in touch.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday 5 September 2013

Review - Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

Plain TruthPlain Truth by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Blurb from Goodreads

The discovery of a dead infant in an Amish barn shakes Lancaster County to its core. But the police investigation leads to a more shocking disclosure: circumstantial evidence suggests that eighteen-year-old Katie Fisher, an unmarried Amish woman believed to be the newborn's mother, took the child's life. When Ellie Hathaway, a disillusioned big-city attorney, comes to Paradise, Pennsylvania, to defend Katie, two cultures collide -- and for the first time in her high-profile career, Ellie faces a system of justice very different from her own. Delving deep inside the world of those who live "plain," Ellie must find a way to reach Katie on her terms. And as she unravels a tangled murder case, Ellie also looks deep within -- to confront her own fears and desires when a man from her past reenters her life.

My Review

It starts with a birth in the Amish barn, a young woman giving birth to a child. It then goes to the same barn a little later and the body of a baby being discovered and the police soon arrive. The story unravels with a young girl denying pregnancy and birth despite evidence to the contrary and the police looking to charge her with murder. Ellie, her distant cousin comes in as her attorney, reluctantly, to defend her and finds herself as much a prisoner as Katie, in the Amish farm as she tries to build a defense with no modern technology. Is Katie guilty of killing a baby she denies all knowledge of, will the truth out and can Ellie defend someone she knows is lying to her.

I feel bad saying I enjoyed this book as one of the main events is the murder of a baby however I couldn't put it down. I know very little about the Amish community so it was nice to have a bit of education in that respect. There is also some medical terms throughout the book, not in large parts, but as a student I found this really interesting too.

Katie is a young woman and comes across as a wee girl at times as she is so innocent. The mystery is there from the start as to what happened to the baby and we are teased along as the case progresses and Katie is interviewed by psychologists. Slowly Katie's memory is teased to reveal what she actually remembers whilst the story also focuses on Ellie and how she adjusts to living with the Amish people.

There are so many levels, I felt, to this story and relationships explored and budding. The pace goes along in some parts slowly but always enough to keep you drawn in. There are a few surprises in store and as always I love how Jodi writes so if your a fan this one is sure not to disappoint, 4/5 for me this time.

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Review - Filth by Irvine Welsh

FilthFilth by Irvine Welsh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 6 days

Publisher - Jonathan Cape

Blurb from Goodreads

With the festive season almost upon him, Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson is winding down at work and gearing up socially -- kicking off Christmas with a week of sex and drugs in Amsterdam. There are irritating flies in the ointment, though, including a missing wife, a nagging cocaine habit, a dramatic deterioration in his genital health, a string of increasingly demanding extra-marital affairs. The last thing he needs is a messy murder to solve. Still it will mean plenty of overtime, a chance to stitch up some colleagues and finally clinch the promotion he craves.

But as Bruce spirals through the lower reaches of degradation and evil, he encounters opposition -- in the form of truth and ethical conscience -- from the most unexpected quarter of all: his anus. In Bruce Robertson, Welsh has created one of the most corrupt, misanthropic characters in contemporary fiction and has written a dark, disturbing and very funny novel about sleaze, power, and the abuse of everything. At last, a novel that lives up to its name.

My review

Oh dear Lord what on earth can I say about this book! I have read some of Irvine Welsh before, it was years ago but I remember it being rude, naughty, disgusting and this one is no different unless it is to say it is bigger and badder on each level. Our "star" of the book is Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson and one of the vilest human beings to ever walk the earth. He is a corrupt police officer, nasty, vile, a sexual deviant and those are probably his better points!

There has been a murder with possible racist motives which Bruce has to try and solve in between going on vacation to Amsterdam, take illegal drugs, battle intestinal issues, a skin condition and women troubles. As the case goes on, Bruce gets drawn into darker ventures as his fight for power and his grip on sanity hangs in the balance.

I can honestly say this book would offend just about, if not every single person, I know! Racist, sexist, bestiality, prostitution, sexual deviancy are just a few things touched on. I picked this book up as the movie is due to be released soon and I am worried I may hate James McAvoy as he is playing Bruce. The story pushes all the pc boundaries and through certain bits of the book there would be text covering the story underneath with text within bracket like illustrations, as the book goes on this becomes clear what it is but it irritated me as you had to guess the words underneath.

I can't say I enjoyed this book as I was offended far to much by it but it has to be said Irvine Welsh is a genius for bringing characters to life and making your skin crawl with their vileness. You can see the character and the picture is painted so well it is as clear as a movie playing in your head. Please note this is a Scottish novel and the speech is written in slang for large parts which some people may struggle to get through. 3/5 for me this time and as before I would read Irvine Welsh again but I think I would need a drink or three to blunt the offensiveness.

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