Tuesday 28 February 2017

New feature Paws and Pages


So two things that I absolutely love are animals and books, in reality, who doesn't. I have been thinking for a while of doing some kind of feature with them both however I am not great with creativity. Blogger is grand and really user friendly but trying to incorporate a feature that people can add their own photos too hasn't been easy. If you can think of any suggestions please let me know, I was considering a tab of their own and some kind of linky to take you back to your page but think I would need more of a meme style thing maybe with questions. That however would mean bloggers would need to make an actual post like this in order to link back.

Isn't she beautiful, if you have been to the blog before this face needs no introduction, if you are a new visitor then introducing you to Princess Trixie (used to just be Trixie but she got upgraded to match her Diva attitude). This is her with The Watcher by Ross Armstrong, read my review here.

And here she is with Rattle by Fiona Cummins, review here.

So until I can accommodate something here I have set up a photo album on So Many Books, So Little Time. You can upload your photo to the album and share your beautiful babies and books.

Some people have reporting issues with the FB link, try this one *CLICK HERE* it takes you direct to the page and you just need to click on photos and find the album that way.

If you do not have Facebook and wish to participate please tag me @smbslt on Twitter, use the #PawsandPages or email your piccy to alwaysreadingsmbslt and I can upload it for you. Let me know your blog url and or blog name and I will add that to the post. If you are an author I think this is a cute way of advertising your book, a picture of your book baby and fur baby (or scales or whatever kind of pet you have). Get involved guys, you can tag on Instagram too. Any other suggestions let me know the usual routes, here, insta, facebook, twitter or email.

Sunday 26 February 2017

Bones In The Nest by Helen Cadbury

Bones in the Nest (Sean Denton #2)Bones in the Nest by Helen Cadbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days on and off

Pages - 351

Publisher - Allison and Busby

Blurb from Goodreads

The second book in the Sean Denton series. A young woman is trying to rebuild her life after prison, but someone is out there who won't let her forget what she's done. Racial tension is bubbling up on the Chasebridge Estate and Sean is drawn back into a web of family and neighbours he'd rather avoid. When a body is found in the stairwell of a block of flats, Sean is right at the heart of the case.

My Review

First off I would like to say if you haven't read the first book in the series you could get away with reading this one itself but I would recommend grabbing the first as it is good to get to know your character(s).

The location goes between York and Doncaster and gives the reader an insight into the locations which in part I could actually see the places I was reading which is always nice, I have been to York once as a child.

It took me a wee bit to get my teeth into this one, not because it starts off slow but we flip between Sean Denton who is now a police officer and a young lady who has not long been released from prison and trying to keep to her parole conditions and re adapt to society after murder. Sean is trying to do his job on his home turf which presents personal and professional dilemmas. A young man is murdered, Sean finds himself in a unique position to aid the investigation however he is limited in his choices due to being "off duty" and in an estate where people will use and abuse anyone who can give them an advantage.

Chloe, our newly released prisoner finds herself also being challenged, trying to reintegrate to society, maintain the conditions of her bail and establish relationships Cadbury highlights the emotive and trying journey Chloe endures. Both characters have arduous paths ahead of them and in stark contrast to their situations they both have similarities. Between the murder, Denton's personal and professional struggles and Chloe's story the story keeps the reader on their toes. Expect the unexpected, estate life, violence, professional and personal struggle, alcoholism and abuse makes for uncomfortable reading at parts but echoes the realism of every day life that some readers will identify with more than others. 4/5 for me this time, I look forward to the next installment of Denton's journey from a rookie cop hopefully to a seasoned officer!

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Bound By Their Secret Passion by Diane Gaston

Bound by Their Secret Passion (The Scandalous Summerfields, #4)Bound by Their Secret Passion by Diane Gaston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Mills & Boon

Pages - 288

Blurb from Goodreads

A forbidden attraction… A hidden desire!

Years ago, penniless Lorene Summerfield wed for duty, giving her siblings the chance to marry for love. But now the generous-hearted countess finds herself widowed…and the man she's loved in silence for years is falsely accused of her husband's murder!

Although he closed his heart to love long ago, the Earl of Penford has always found Lorene irresistible. Their newly ignited passion may be scandalous, but now he'll stop at nothing to clear his name and win Lorene's hand!

My Review

Set in the Eighteen hundreds women are demure, main focus is marriage and babies, matched to families dependent upon their dowry. Lorene will do anything for her siblings including sacrifice her own happiness to secure a future for them. Resented by the staff, thought to be a gold digger after marrying a wealthy older man and unable to escape her mothers past Lorene defies her husband to see her family. When he dies in suspicious circumstances, suspicion falls on the Earl of Penford, the man Lorene's husband accuses of having an affair with his wife. A small down, titles, separated by classes, society is very judgmental and Lorene just wants a quiet life when her past catches up with her bringing trouble, judgement and heartache.

It has been a long long time since I read Mills and Boon books, I loved them as a pre teen. This was brought to my attention with the Mills and Boons insider and just what I needed at this time. Set in the eighteen hundreds I generally don't prefer historical fiction but it works in this book. A genteel period where women and the times are very different from modern day society. Lorene has always been attracted to Dell (the Earl of Penford) but her choices have meant she could never allow him or anyone to know. With suspicion cast on Dell for murder Lorene needs to keep her distance but she has never felt more alone. Then the past caught up with Lorene and her family bringing its own problems, emotions and judgments from the small town.

Very well constructed, the flow goes nicely, kicking off with the lead up t and death of Lorene's husband that sets the path for all that follows. A book that very much looks at morals, societies attitudes, the defined classes, love, families and as with all Mills and Boons stories there is a sex scene or two. Lorene is one of a kind, strong, selfless, loyal, passionate, kind and caring to a fault, whilst her character is one to be praised there were moments when I wished she would be a little selfless and stand up to one or two folk. Overall a really good tale of love, morality, class distinctions, family and honour, just what I needed, 4/5 for me this time. This was my first time reading this author, I would certainly read her again! Thanks to Mills and Boon for providing me with an ARC of this title.

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Tuesday 21 February 2017

Underground by Darren Shan

Zom-B Underground (Zom-B, #2)Zom-B Underground by Darren Shan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 1 day

Pages - 212

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Blurb from Goodreads

Waking up in a military complex, months after zombies attacked school, B has no memory of the last few months. Life in the UK has turned tough since the outbreak, and B is woven into life- and battle- in the new military regime quickly. But as B learns more about the zombies held in the complex and the scientists keeping them captive, unease settles in. Why exactly was B saved? And is there anyone left in the world to trust?

My Review

This is the second book in the series so if you haven't read the first, stop reading this review and grab the first one. B has lost time, she doesn't remember the last few months and is now under military capture. With a team and under direct instructions B has to come to terms with who she is now and what is expected of her. She isn't gelling with her new team, her is adapting to her situation but as with the first book she has an internal battle going on.

I actually preferred this book to the first, this B has some tough choices to deal with and adaptions to make to get through the situation. She shows much more integrity with darker trials presented although the racist aspect is still looming in there. The setting is within a military building which could have be boring for some readers but I think it was a perfect setting for the build up and examination of B's character and those around her.

It is a zombie book with a twist, yes zombies who can think and talk have been done before but Shan puts a spin on that and offers, certainly for me, a unique take on the whole zombie them. One that can think, ones that are cannibalistic monsters, a mix of both and a stab at an explanation for it, we don't often get that. There is a fair amount of gore and splatter in the book but then it is a zombie apocalypse, we also see a bit of soul and there is some humour infused into the tale. 4/5 for me this time, but for the fact I have a ridik amount of review books awaiting my attention, I would have tore into the next installment of this series!

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Bride Without A Groom by Amy Lynch

Bride Without a GroomBride Without a Groom by Amy Lynch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 5 days on and off

Pages - 230

Publisher - Maze

Blurb from Goodreads

Rebecca has chosen the most luscious, five tiered, wedding cake – as featured in Hello! Magazine. The engagement ring that she has selected is celebrity inspired. The wedding singer is on speed dial. He doesn’t usually do Michael Bolton, but as it’s for a first dance he’ll make an exception. She has fallen for an ivory lace couture gown that is to die for. The down payment may require her to sell a left kidney, but it will be worth it. Isn’t that why you have two?
There’s one teeny problem. It’s nothing, really. No need to panic! It’s just that Barry has yet to propose. Truth be told, he’s had enough. There’s only so much wedding talk that one man can take. Now he’s leaving for a conference in Bangkok and frankly, he’s looking forward to the peace and quiet. As the Tiger beer flows and the tie loosens, his colleague Shelley is providing more than a shoulder for him to cry on.
Back in Dublin, Rebecca worries, and Operation ‘Win Back Barry’ is in full swing. But wait… who is the mysterious woman that is so keen to talk to her? And what is it that Barry needs to get off his chest?

My Review

Rebecca is thirty and has one thing on her mind, getting married to Barry. Barry isn't ready yet but that doesn't stop Rebecca, she has everything planned and frustration leads to impulsive behavior. She starts actually booking things for the wedding and Barry has had enough, they have a huge flight, Barry heads off to Bankok for work with his colleague who is more than happy to take his mind off things. Rebecca is left contemplating her behaviour, her life and of course still the wedding of her dreams.

Dear Lord this girl is bat crazy! Think of the worst Bridezilla ever, multiply her by ten and you are coming close to Rebecca. She isn't even engaged but she is seriously obsessed to the point she pushes her man to the limit. She is really spoilt and shallow, she spends his money with no second thought, she is obsessed with the celebrity style, labels, names and lifestyle. She cannot wait to be married because she can give up her job and spend her husbands money, ugh she has very little redeeming qualities to be honest. Whilst Rebecca is one of the most shallowest creatures created I think she brings to life to the character really well. We live in a modern world were so much is focused on money, showbiz, labels, fashion and I think Lynch en captures this well. Whilst Rebecca is a horror or a human being, she is also quite funny at times and I did chuckle at a few parts of the story.

I think this book is a cracking read for a holiday, spoiled madam, self examination, relationship troubles, infidelity, third world problems and obsession with the world created in magazines. Whilst I wasn't a huge fan of many of the characters in this book I did actually enjoy reading it, I think Lynch did well to bring the characters to life and capture modern day issues, 3/5 for me this time. This is my first time reading this author and I would read her again, thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of this book.

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Monday 20 February 2017

Wee catch up

February hasn't been the most active with posts on here as you may have noticed if you are a regular visitor to the blog, I also have only read 5 books this month which, for me, isn't a lot considering I had some time off. Well there has been lots going on and most recently has been with Princess Trixie (the adorable kitty that features on here).

We took her in for her check up, she is 16 has stage 3 kidney failure and every day we get is one more than we expected but she had been grand. It wasn't great news, her health had deteriorated, her weight dropped 7%, her eyesight was going, arthritis is getting worse and starting in her front legs. We left and it was pretty emotional however she got some strong painkillers which seen her rally the last time & they took some bloods.

We got a phone call from the vet on Saturday to say all bloods were much better than expected, we were going out to celebrate a friends big birthday so it turned into a double celebration. And what better way to celebrate than with my fav drink and a wee goblet with a super cool nerdy bottle opener.

One night after her painkillers and we had a very playful kitty, if you follow us on Instagram (Always_reading) you can see a wee video of her!

So now that we have our blog mascot fighting fit for another day, I am considering trying a new feature as I don't know about you but I LOVE seeing peoples furbabies and books so watching this space. Now I can concentrate on reading I can get stuck into the ever growing TBR list and I have some time off coming up which is just as well with all the incoming reviews.

Today will be catching up on my reviews, I have already posted my thoughts on Rattle, the new debut by Fiona Cummins and hoping to get another few up and finish my current read. I wanted something a bit different and it has been a while since I added to my zombie reads so today is Underground from the ZomB series by Darren Shan.

Rattle by Fiona Cummins

RattleRattle by Fiona Cummins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days on and off

Pages - 352

Publisher - MacMillan

Blurb from Goodreads

A psychopath more frightening than Hannibal Lecter.

He has planned well. He leads two lives. In one he's just like anyone else. But in the other he is the caretaker of his family's macabre museum.

Now the time has come to add to his collection. He is ready to feed his obsession, and he is on the hunt.

Jakey Frith and Clara Foyle have something in common. They have what he needs.

What begins is a terrifying cat-and-mouse game between the sinister collector, Jakey's father and Etta Fitzroy, a troubled detective investigating a spate of abductions.

Set in London's Blackheath, Rattle by Fiona Cummins explores the seam of darkness that runs through us all; the struggle between light and shadow, redemption and revenge.

It is a glimpse into the mind of a sinister psychopath. And it's also a story about not giving up hope when it seems that all hope is already lost.

My Review

Jake Frith is a special little boy, he has a medical condition that means he needs to be extra careful and not hurt himself. For this reason he has come under the watchful eye of "The Bone Collector" a ruthless killer with one purpose in mind and nothing will get in the way of his goal. Etta Fitzroy is investigating abductions and soon finds herself in a cat and mouse game with a dangerous killer.

For a debut novel this book really packs a punch, we explore a rare medical condition, Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP) and it is evident how much research the author has sunk into that aspect of the book. I love fiction where you learn something and with anything else, if I come across something I don't know or don't know in detail I will go off and read about it so that ticks boxes here. The object of the killers desire is bone malformation and in this tale, two particular children fit the bill which will make some readers feel uncomfortable. There is also animal abuse mentioned, abuse to children and some of the scenes are very dark, creepy and chilling to say the least.

Etta makes for a great character as she has many flaws, she is determined to get the job done and will do whatever it takes to get the results she needs. I think this really brings the character to life and it shows a writers strength and ability to lift characters off the page. Cummins is definitely worth keeping an eye out for, I hope to see more in the series and look forward to her next offering, 4/5 for me this time.

View all my reviews

Sunday 12 February 2017

Backstabber by Kimberley Chambers - Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for the new novel Backstabber by Kimberley Chambers. Firstly, apologies my post has gone up so very late in the day, I had tried the schedule post option for the first time ever and it hadn't loaded. Scheduled as I had a busy day and have just got home so quite annoyed but just one of those things so apologies again.

You can read my review for this book HERE. If you haven't read the Butler/Mitchell books you NEED to before you buy this one, you will have missed so much back story and they are fabulous so buy and read them first. Backstabber is out to buy now, print and ebooks from all good retailers, from Amazon click here.

Please note Always Reading is my spot, my url is always reading the actual blog name is So Many Books, So Little Time lol this happens a lot! Make sure you check out the other blog stops for this tour & be sure to leave a review on all the usual places when you finish it, authors love that.

Wednesday 8 February 2017

Somewhere Inside Of Happy by Anna McPartlin

Somewhere Inside of HappySomewhere Inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 427

Publisher - Black Swan

Blurb from Goodreads

Maisie Bean is a fighter. A survivor. Seventeen years ago, she went on a first date that went so badly it was enough to put the girl off chips. The marriage that followed was hell but it gave her two children: funny, caring Jeremy and bullish but brilliant Valerie.

Just as it seems everything might finally start going right, sixteen-year-old Jeremy goes missing. The police descend and a media storm swirls, over five days of searching that hurtle towards an inevitable, terrible conclusion.

Maisie is facing another fight, and this time it’s the fight of her life. But she’s a survivor. Whatever the odds, she’ll never give in.

My Review

The book opens in present day, Maisie Bean is about to do a talk and she is feeling nervous. She takes the reader back to the past that shows us how she got to where she is and why she does what she does. She has two beautiful kids who have their own issues after watching their mother survive and abusive relationship. They live with Maisie and her mum whose illness provides more stress and strain on the family. Her youngest is moody, argumentative and trying to find herself and Jeremy is the apple of everyone eye, sixteen but responsible, kind, caring and trustworthy. This is what sends everyone into a panic when he doesn't come home, the media get involved and things from the past won't stay buried.

McPartlin has a style where she can hit some very dark and unsettling topics but still infuse the story with humour and provide light relief which I think is an amazing feat for an artist. The characters you immediately warm to, or hate pending on which ones we are talking about. She whirs up a storm and covers many issues in life that the reader can identify with or at least one of them. Friendship, love, domestic abuse, sexuality, homophobia, media scrutiny, personal growth, family secrets, the list goes on and on whilst not overstretching the story or realism.

I could have easily read this in one sitting had time permitted, you are drawn in within the first few chapters and I gasped out loud at least once. A very talented writer, I have read her before and I will read her again, I think her writing gains strength with age and experience, 4/5 for me this time.

View all my reviews

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Mary's The Name by Ross Sayers - Blog Tour

Welcoming Ross Sayers to So Many Books, So Little Time and today is my turn on the blog tour, apologises the post isn't as early as I had hoped, we ran into some internet gremlins but we are cooking with gas now. You can find my review for this lovely wee book HERE.

Ross very kindly took some time out to answer some questions about his new debut novel, Mary's The Name.

What made you pick Mary specifically as the protagonist, her age, being a girl etc?

I had been experimenting a lot with child narrators, working out what makes them believable. I wrote a lot of stories about young boys, so to get out my comfort zone, I chose a girl for the story I had in my mind at the time. Turned out the story had legs! I was quite nervous to show my early drafts to female readers, but thankfully, I seem to have picked a winner in Mary. Making her eight years old is helpful from a story point of view; she understands a good amount but isn’t quite clever enough to work out what’s really happening in some situations.

Why Scotland?

The more Scottish stories the better! They say write what you know, so I started the book in my hometown of Stirling. When it came to finding a more remote location for the rest of the book, I knew I wanted one of the islands. It really was a bit of a random pick, but I loved visiting Portree and hope to get back very soon.

How did the idea come about?

It was a case of the story coming to me bit by bit. Once I had Mary, I wanted a unique relationship for her, so her Granpa came into the story. Then I wanted an unlikely place for her to go, so I chose to have Granpa work at a bookies, where she goes to help. Once I decided on a robbery happening at the bookies, the rest of the story came from there…(no spoilers here!)

It was very well constructed, is this the first novel you have written?

That’s very kind, thank you! It is indeed. I have a story structure I like to use, to ensure the story is complete and satisfying. However, if an idea comes to me which disrupts the structure a little bit, I’m happy to go off-track and wing it!

Tinder, we have to talk about that, what made you come up with that idea?

So, having used Tinder before, I knew just how many people are on it, and how easily you can have your profile pop up on their phone. I hadn’t heard of anyone doing it before, so I set up my profile as the book’s cover, as well as a bio about how I would only talk about Mary’s the Name if I matched with them! Most girls thought it was funny and I had lots of fun chatting to them. I was a bit embarrassed, to be fair, but knowing I would get a good story and blog post out of it made it easier. There was a great reaction online, thankfully!

What is next for Ross?

I’m currently planning out novel number two! It’s looking likely it’ll be set around where I live, more specifically in the Bannockburn area of Stirling. It’ll feature some high school pupils getting into trouble with the law when they should be in class!

What is your favourite book of all time?

I don’t know if I have a definite number one? It’s too hard to choose! But given how much I love humour in books, I’ll give a special mention to two which made me genuinely laugh out loud: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, and True Grit by Charles Portis.

What are you reading?

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. I’m really enjoying it so far, and the little girls in the story remind me of Mary!

Where can fans contact you?

You can find me on Twitter (@Sayers33), Instagram (Sayers33), and I have a Facebook author page too. There’s also rosssayers.co.uk, where I blog about my experiences as a writer, and you can find the Tinder blog there!

Anything else you would like to add?

Just to say thank you so much for having me, Lainy! I’m really glad you enjoyed Mary’s the Name, and I hope your readers will too! 

And if all of this wasn't enough for you lucky lucky people, I have one paperback copy to giveaway, as always use the Rafflecopter below to enter.

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