Thursday 30 August 2018

Whisky from Small Glasses by Denzil Meyrick

Whisky from Small Glasses (DCI Daley #1)Whisky from Small Glasses by Denzil Meyrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 368

Publisher - Polygon

Source - Waterstones

Blurb from Goodreads

When the body of a young woman is washed up on an idyllic beach on the west coast of Scotland, D.C.I. Jim Daley is despatched from Glasgow to lead the investigation. Far from home, and his troubled marriage, it seems that Daley’s biggest obstacle will be managing the difficult local police chief; but when the prime suspect is gruesomely murdered, the inquiry begins to stall. As the body count rises, Daley uncovers a network of secrets and corruption in the close-knit community of Kinloch, thrusting him and his loved ones into the centre of a case more deadly than he had ever imagined. The first novel in the D.C.I. Daley Thriller series, Whisky from Small Glasses is a truly compelling crime novel, shot through with dark humour and menace.

My Review

When the body of a young woman is discovered in the small town of Kinloch, DCI Daley is dispatched to investigate. Whilst Daley tries to deal with police politics, large egos, his personal life and a killer at large things are heating up.

So, we have a murder, team dynamics those established with Daley and those in Kinloch who are adverse to city cops stepping on toes. We follow the investigation, the boundaries breached and set by Daley, grieving families and breaking through small town ranks.

This isn't a gore fest crime, it is a lot on police procedural with Scottish banter, swearing, secrets, good old fashioned police work and family dramas thrown in for fabulous effect. The wife I didn't like to start with, Daley I really took to quickly as with members of his team. He is a good cop who just wants to do his job and be happy. The locals were a mixed bag, predictions, helpfulness, standoffish, wanting to make sure Daley is fed, it is a wee town (barring the murder) you would want to go visit.

For me a fantastic opening to the series, yes there is a murder and investigation but it is a strong builder for who the characters are. I look forward to more of Daley and his team, 4/5 for me this time. I have the whole series on my tbrm so I am looking forward to catching up with what is in store for the team next.

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Wednesday 29 August 2018

Q & A with author Cheryl Elaine

Welcoming the lovely Cheryl Elaine to So Many Books, So Little Time. She has kindly taken some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for us.

Talking about book “No Ordinary Girl” Ooft what a debut, was this really your first book?

Absolutely! Although, I have many dark and grisly tales stored on my laptop from years ago, but was too shy to put myself out there.

For me I got Hostel meets Saw and that was just scrapping the surface, did you feel that vibe yourself or did it shock you when people got that from it?

I love a good horror film and was over the moon that No Ordinary Girl was compared to such classics, so yes it was a total shocker! I guess when I’m writing my focus is on the horror which resulted in the crime. (There’s no crime without the monstrosity and horror of mankind).

What made you write this book?

It’s a long story ha-ha, but in a nutshell Aimee’s abduction was sparked from my eldest daughter travelling to an eastern European country (her boyfriend’s home country) and the nightmares I endured after learning that I had to sign legal documents to safeguard her from being trafficked. Scary but true, she has since dumped the boyfriend so panic over.

It is horrific in the level of brutality what made you go down that road?

Probably because it’s the type of book I like to read, I’m not fluffy lol. Plus I hate it when a book is crammed with filler, so my intention was to keep the story as raw as possible and action filled, so the reader wouldn’t want to put it down.

What did you do for research as it came across quite authentic in the voices of your characters?

Google is a great source, also working in mental health services for some time, plus the voices in my head, ha-ha.

You know some folk are going to get ruffled because it has such dark, abusive themes, how do you cope with that?

At first it did give me some sleepless nights, but now I’ve learnt to take it on the chin (although I may have to hunt these people down ha-ha). My writing style is more about the victims and the mind and reasoning of the killer not the police procedure, so to capture what the victim endured the brutality was my focus and this was also my reasoning to use a graphic reader advisory warning to alert readers on the content.

You have another book “Dragged to the Depths” that could not be further from this genre, how do you manage writing such different genres?

I actually wrote Dragged to the Depths under a Cherry Laine edition for my disabled and younger daughters, they really wanted to read No Ordinary Girl and you can imagine my face (no way, your too young was my reply). They read YA books and love Harry potter and PC cast novels, which is also a guilty pleasure of mine, so I decided to write a YA novel with the mindset that my daughters could read my work and be part of my Author journey but still wanted a dark element, hence an apocalyptic love story filled with mythical creatures.

What did you prefer writing?

I now have a taste for both Crime and Fantasy, but if I had to chose just one, I would stick with crime as that’s when I feel that I can really let go, as you’re aware I don’t hold back on the detail.

Will we see any more from the characters we have met in your two books?

Yes, I’m currently at tweaking stages for my next crime novel, so you will be seeing more of Aimee and Detective Johnson in the future, although I’ve written another which is a crime standalone which will hopefully be coming out at the end of the year. With the fantasy range I have already started a draft but will contain a whole new subject and characters.

What is next for Cheryl Elaine?

To get my next crime novel- Stitched complete by the end of the year, but more importantly to try and master the art of social media, plus upgrade my naff tech skills lol.

Where can fans get in touch?

Up for grabs is an Amazon voucher to buy one of Cheryl's books (ebook format) either Dragged to the Depths or No Ordinary Girl This giveaway is UK only, good luck if taking part and as always please use Rafflecopter to enter.

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Tuesday 28 August 2018

Celebration Flash giveaway

Hey you guys, over the social media platforms for the blog we have hit 2000 (plus) that sounds braggy but really it is a this is why we are celebrating so thank you so much.

Our Twitter is at 2,883 followers and if you don't follow the blog on there yet you can find us by clicking HERE or searching @smbslt on there.

Our Facebook has hit over 2000 likes, if you don't follow us on there (and want to) click HERE, you can search our name, there are a few So Many Books, So Little Time but you recognise ours by miss paws.

And it was finally our Instagram catching up and hitting 2000 followers that prompted this wee giveaway. We had hit is and went under as folk followed the account then unfollowed once we added them? I do not understand that and have since blocked those accounts. Totally random, if you wish to follow us on Instagram you can click HERE or search @always_reading also Prince Trixie also her her own account (yes I am that sad human who created an account for her cat!) she is princess_trixie2018 or click HERE.

I put the feelers out across the medias and everyone seemed to like the wee mermaid pin. So that is the wee prize for this flash giveaway, will leave it up for approximately one week. As it is so small and we have support from across the globe it will be open world wide. It is so nice gabbing to bookworms and with the internet it means distance is no issue. Thanks for all the comments, likes, shares, recommendations, feedback AND for letting me know when a prize, RAK or giveaway arrives. SO much stuff goes out and not everyone lets me know it arrives, a wee notification it arrived is grand, a thank you is lovely.

If you missed it this is the prize, just one, as pictured, a wee mermaid pin or button, folk seem to call them different things. Good luck to all entering, please use the Rafflecopter below.

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Wolf Night by Tracey Sinclair

Wolf Night (Cassandra Bick Chronicles #2)Wolf Night by Tracey Sinclair
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 256

Publisher - self

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

After narrowly averting a supernatural war in London, Cassandra Bick just wants life to get back to normal. Or as normal as life can be when you run a dating agency for vampires, your best friend is a witch and the oldest, strongest and sexiest vampire in town is taking a very personal interest in your business. But when a vicious new supernatural enemy threatens her friends, Cass finds herself once again fighting for the fate of her city – and having to face some demons of her own.

Snarky, sexy and fast paced, Wolf Night will leave you breathless.

Wolf Night is Book 2 in the Dark Dates series, the Chronicles of Cassandra Bick.

My Review

Just when Cassandra thought things were settling down (post book 1) another problem rears it's head. In true book form it can never be just one issue though can it :D Laclos, her now business partner continues with his in your face sexual vibrancy, reminding Cassandra just what she is missing. When a new threat has come to town Cassandra has no idea how much it is about to turn her world upside down and threaten everything and everyone close to her.

Ooooh dramas, death, destruction, sexual tension, friendship, sex, violence, homosexuality, racism, witchcraft, fighting, humour, drinking blood and that is just for starters. It is a busy wee book, if you have read the first book you will be familiar with Cassandra's love "triangle" and her small group of friends. We have a more intimate knowledge of their relationships in this book along with the new threat, action, fighting and love.

I love the banter, there is one particular scene, typical of that individuals heritage, that I actually fist pumped and shouted yaaaaas! Cassandra refers to her gift a lot, her sense that helps her detect danger, picks up Cain, vibes and it comes up a lot but as she is surrounded by so much supernaturals it isn't to be unexpected.

The book has a lot of everything but it is crafted together well, the characters, the narration, it has a variety of content and I personally laughed more than a few times. I have the next in the series on my gigantor tbrm, I cannot wait to read the next and see what is in store for the characters, 4/5 for me.

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Monday 27 August 2018

Saturday at Edinburgh Book Festival

Finally, I got some friends to come to the book festival with me, it was much easier to be fair after I had written about what to expect at the festival and what it is all about.

We only had one show booked and that was to see author John Boyne. After a horrendous train journey where Scotrail had allowed far more on the train than capacity could handle, we got there in once piece. I did message this which thus far has been ignored, I have photographs should they want it, children and adults on every spare bit of the floor, first class opened to accomodate and still far too many! So unsafe and thankfully no one became unwell, you couldn't get out of your seat to go to the toilet much less someones aid! Not happy.

Anyway, back to the event, the weather was bright, Boyne I have read a few times and this is for his new book "A Ladder to the Sky". The event was chaired by Lee Randall, John sold 9 million copies of "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" the book most people know him for. Boyne joked about almost not making it, his plane was stopped on the runway as the Pope landed at the same time, he jokingly said he considered getting off and having a word.

War is a recurring theme in many of his books, "The Heart's Invisible Furies" had a long passage that didn't make the final but other books centre around war or have some kind of reference or passage in it. He comments on how folk can say (in relation to world war two and the Nazi's) "Oh I would never have done that" but it is easy to say that with time and geography on your side. Lots of those who did things in the war, soldiers etc would have been 17-18 years old and most of that age were signing up. He discussed his protagonists and of them says they are never the ultimate good guy or bad guy but somewhere in the middle, in one book something horrific is happening and the main character is complicit in the knowledge and doing nothing about it.

We were treated to a reading from the book and he discussed his writing, reviewing other books and how he passed on a book as he didn't enjoy it and didn't want to write a bad review. A few months later said author contacted him and dug him out for it, there started a campaign of almost hate again him on Twitter and how not only can you get flack for having an opinion but also for not having one (as such). He didn't name any names but sure is that not shocking!

He spoke of authors private lives and how he isn't interested in what they do, the only thing that interests him is the book itself, the personal life of that author is, to him, irrelevant. Some authors write from the head, some from the heart, Boyne states he writes from the heart. Most of his favourite authors are women, he comments on how grand Maeve Binchey is and had she been Maurice she would have had more respect, awards etc. He actually recalled an author (or was it a critic?) who gave a glowing review and when he found out X book was written by a woman he withdrew his previous comments and slated it, is that not just mind blowing!

He played to a full house and I am not surprised. When asked how he felt, from a pressure point of view with new books against the boy in the striped pyjamas he said he knows nothing he writes now or later will sell more so there is no pressure. He also doesn't believe that is his best book, he chose his best as "The Absolutist" (I have yet to read that so will comment when I have). On plotting he says he never plots out a book in advance, he just writes a sentence and sees where it goes, fantastic, was lovely listening to him and that accent, well, I could listen all day!

After that me and the group went off to Mary King's Close, I have been before but one of the friends it was their first time.

The stairs to get up there almost killed me, my dodgy ankle and my pal who is a smoker!

Mary King's Close is a fantastic tour, 1 hour long and at time of posting £15.50, you learn a good bit about Edinburgh's history, a wee bit of banter and see and walk in old standing buildings. You are not allowed to take any photographs once inside the tour but you get a wee photo to buy if you wish and they sell programs also.

Edinburgh has some pretty amazing history and buildings, you could stoat around for hours to be honest and go back the next day with still loads more. There is almost always something bookish on too and now I am comfortable travelling on the train there I Will certainly be seeking out more!

I finished with a wee read of one of the books I bought at the Edinburgh Book Festival, I also seen this author talk twice so heard his voice the whole time I was reading. Review for this book will follow shortly, keep your eyes peeled.

Sunday 26 August 2018

Day four at Edinburgh Book Festival

My day four of the festival, not actual day four. I went to see three events kicking off with authors Eva Dolan and Emma Viskic.

The event was chaired by Roland Gulliver and BSL interpretation by Jo Ross, the main character in Emma's book is deaf so felt it appropriate to have BSL during the chat. Emma's new book "And Fire Came Down" Caleb is her main character whom she was writing as a woman but it didn't work. Emma (and Eva) discussed using the plot to explore something that fascinated you or other issues. Eva said you need the murder to get you through the gates and then you can talk about everything else. Eva's book is "This Is How It Ends" and is a standalone and step away from her series. Eva almost gave up on the book as she had issues with the reveal, then a bolt from the blue and she had it down! Her book has two main characters, challenging themes, one younger character and one older, how they are brought together and of course a dead body!

Both woman really hit it off almost negating the need for the chair, they chatted with ease, discussed racism, how people treat you when they, for example, hear their surnames and "passing" also as a woman outsider, these issues not so much in the 80s but how things are turning and touched on politics.

They discussed how broad crime is now (previously saturated in slasher style and how many ways to skin someone) and now how writers have really upped their game and that in turn inspired and pushes them as writers. Emma sees this as being a four books series. Both fascinating to listen to, I have read Dolan before but yet to read Viskic.

Up next was Craig Robertson and Luca Veste, these guys are funny and an hour isn't enough really. They were chaired by Zoe Venditozzi and Zoe said with so much to cover there would be no reading from the books, I think that was a good shout because the house went so quickly. Spotted in the audience, supporting their fellow writers were Chris Brookmyre, Mark Billingham, Eva Dolan and Craig's wife Alexandra was also there.

Craig was chatting about his book "The Photographer" the 8ths book but 6th in the series looking at misogony, violence against women and the dangers of social media. Luca chatted about his, "The Bone Keeper" a bit of a departure from standard crime, horror elements. Both have a bit of a theme of being watched & not knowing, Craig called Luca the Scouse Stephen King, Luca is delighted with that!

Discussing how they create, Craig advises he plots a lot more than Luca does, Luca admitted to texting himself ideas whilst Craig uses the note function on his phone. Luca has no current plans to return to his series as he is happy writing the standalones. They discussed the things fans have pulled them up for or commented on, one fan took Luca they now take the long way to their house because they can't pass X location where something bad happened in one of his books. Craig spoke of when he wrote "Murderabilia" he has three pieces of Murdeabilia, a piece of the fire place where Sharon Tate was killed, a lock of a killers hair and a letter written by another infamous killer. Really fascinating, I have read Veste before but not Robertson so bought one of his to try and have Vestes new one sitting on standby.

And last of the day Alex Bell and J A Henderson, I hadn't read any of these guys before but heard horror and thought oooh I will check them out, both I believe do YA although Henderson has some non fiction books and his next is about Edinburgh where he used to be a tour guide.

Neither really wanted to do the reading first but both did read a bit from their books and I am glad they did as I was unfamiliar with their writing. Andrew's book is kids find AI that tells them the world will end if they don't break out a specific serial killer from jail and THEN put him back in. The story is about them doing just that and what follows.

Jan talks of how he plans, starts with an idea, sees where it goes and starts to form a plot. ANything can then change it, something he is watching, hears etc.

Alex then read from "What Charlotte Says" a prequel to "Frozen Charlotte" and discussed how she goes through the writing process. She knows the opening and how it will end. She has given up on planning as it just doesn't seem to work for her. On research Alex admits she doesn't normally do a lot of research but she did for the prequel, researched haunted dolls and there are lots of stories out there. Jan admits he would sell his soul for his book(s) to be picked up for a movie and would sell no issue, Alex would love it but feels she would be particular about the details. Jan admits to not reading much at all and whilst watches movies finds himself picking them apart. Alex spends a ridiculous amount on buying books, she loves horror movies. What was fantastic about this was this event, for me, was the amount of young readers who were so excited and engaged with what the writers were saying. Almost all had at least one book with them, I love this, especially in this day and age where technology and mobiles seem to be everything and everywhere!

Despite the weather being vile I had a fantastic day.

Saturday 25 August 2018

Play Dead by Angela Marsons

Play DeadPlay Dead by Angela Marsons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 2 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Sphere

Source - The Works

Blurb from Goodreads

The dead don't tell secrets... unless you listen.

The girl's smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess. Westerley research facility is not for the faint-hearted. A 'body farm' investigating human decomposition, its inhabitants are corpses in various states of decay. But when Detective Kim Stone and her team discover the fresh body of a young woman, it seems a killer has discovered the perfect cover to bury their crime.

Then a second girl is attacked and left for dead, her body drugged and mouth filled with soil. It's clear to Stone and the team that a serial killer is at work - but just how many bodies will they uncover? And who is next? As local reporter, Tracy Frost, disappears, the stakes are raised. The past seems to hold the key to the killer's secrets - but can Kim uncover the truth before a twisted, damaged mind claims another victim ...?

My Review

This is book four in the series, you would manage this as a standalone but I would say to read the previous three. You get better insight into the characters, their background and they are just really good books. DI Kim Stone and crew are headed to a body farm, ordered by the boss the team reluctantly go and come across a body that shouldn't be there. When it soon becomes apparent they have a serial on their hands the team is pushed to get to the bottom of it before another life is taken.

The book splits into two, the murders/police investigation and an unknown character (written in italics) we don't hear often from them but as the book progresses we get a bit more clarity of what is the point. Stone has to find out who the victim is, why someone would have so much rage toward them and what the motivation could possibly be. Whilst dealing with that she also has a journalist under her feet, Tracy Frost, Tracy has a nose for these things and wants the scoop, regardless.

I love Stone and her team dynamics, even snarky encounters she deals with them brilliantly and always the champion for the victim. What I liked about this book (as well as the norm stuff we see from Marsons) was the body farm stuff, what they do, different tests on the subjects, it isn't something you really ever think about. Action packed as per, relationships, police investigation, dead bodies, serial killer what more could you want? 4/5 for me, I have the rest in the series on my shelves, cannot wait to see what is next for Stone and the team.

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Friday 24 August 2018

Another wee day at Edinburgh Book Festival

I need to talk about the thing that is Scottish weather, so the report said wind and rain so I had my jumper, double lined jacket and sure enough on route to the station I got rained on. I got off the train to the sun splitting the skies, 20 degrees, so I nipped into the shop and bought sun glasses. Two minutes out and it started pelting again, we played the weather game for about thirty minutes, I was a riot by the time I got to the festival.

So, I went to three events, the first up was Ian Rankin and John Harvey. It was Ian really interviewing John which is absolutely grand I just thought it was be back and forth. I hadn't realised John was 79 (I don't always check out personal details about my authors I generally just read a book, like and get more of them) nor of his health issues.

Before we started Ian asked folks to make sure their phones where off, a guy in the audience shouted out "PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN" when Ian had started talking to John. Ian was taken aback, as was most of us and asked what? The guy said someone in the front had their phone up and they couldn't see, Ian was like well I did think I am only holding my glasses not a phone, Awkward with a capital A but then we were off. Mid interview the police sirens went off, Ian said he liked to think it was the local police, knowing the crime writers were on having a talk and that was their nod to them.

John talked about his Resnick novels, he was stopping at ten, had a farewell party and then he HAD to write the 11th it was like an itch that needed scratched and then you can finish on 11 books so another came. Body and Soul is the newest book in the Frank Elder stories and will also be the last. When quizzed on this John talked about previous writing, how long it takes, promoting and he is 80 next year, currently dealing with health issues and for him, this is it. He will continue doing short stories and those that are shorter but at this stage he cannot go through the long novels and processes. After writing this I checked out his works on Fantastic Fiction, wow this man has offered us a lot! I will be checking them out. Ian himself was lovely to listen to and acknowledged as he gets older his books are shorter, he also spoke of similarities of his character and Johns Resnick and why he made some changes to Rebus. It flowed well, a very good combo and I am so happy I got to see Harvey.

Up next was Lori Anderson and Jennifer Hodgson, chaired by Sheena McDonald. Discussing two British authors who are pretty much forgotten in literature. Half the room put their hand up that they had heard of Lorna Moon, only one for Ann Quinn. Both ladies took time out to give us a reading from each, Jennifer from her book.

And Lori from "The Collected Lorna Moon"

I hadn't heard of either of these ladies at all. What followed was an interesting introduction to these ladies, who they were, the shock of their behaviour especially for the time they were around and how harshly women where judged. Jennifer Hodgson has spent 10 years on Ann Quinn, exploring, travelling the globe and speaking to ex partners and getting her hands on her work which she has now created a book on and we had a reading. The Unmapped Country Stories and fragments - Ann Quinn by Jennifer Hodgson is available to buy now, click here. I loved that both these ladies found a passion for two ladies who they have effectively resurrected, I certainly will be checking out their works. I also LOVED that Jennifer was so excited when someone had her book to buy/sign after the chat, she is actually too cute and I love when anyone gets so excited, immersed and involved in literature like that. Also next year fout of Anne Quinn's books are getting republished, I believe as a result of the interest in Jennifer's book so I will be looking out for them.

And my last event that day was Val McDermid and Philip Howard chaired by Ali Bowden and what was I going to read whilst waiting to goin, why "Trick of the Dark" by Val of />

After listening to Lori, Jennifer and Sheena talked about forgotten authors of their time I was primed for this event. Susan Ferrier (hailed as the Jane Austen of her time & the fabulous Muriel Sparks where the subject of the chat. We had two ladies acting out and reading as both Susan and Muriel. This centred around the "Messages From The Skies" where Val and Philip (with many others) brought to life a story with these two writers and projected in 12 buildings in Edinburgh. There as an app you could download and the journey around the city to hear the stories. We got a wee taster of what the New Year's Resurrection had been on Hogmanay and I so wish I had heard of this when it was actually available.

Philip had said he wanted Val but didn't think they would get her with her being so busy and was delighted when she accepted. Val described it as essentially being a feminine rant with murder. Looking at why women had been rubbed out of literature, how things are better now but we still have a long way to go. The interaction with "Susan" and "Muriel" was fabulous, Susan taking a murderous approach and killing off these critics and Muriel pointing out you kill one and five more bloggers pop up. It was great, they gave us some humour about how the locals reacted to some of the prep work (the Arthur Conan Doyle pub becoming the J K Rowling oh my!) and a statue going missing (really it had been moved and wasn't anything to do with the project) and the things they had come up with. An audience member asked if it could be bought as a dvd and Val had said whilst it can't (currently) the footage is all available so maybe that is something they could look at. Also, a similar project could be coming for 2019 so now I am aware I absolutely will be keeping an eye out for that. McDermid is such a talented lady, I could listen to her for hours and she just seems to bounce off whoever is on stage with her, fantastic. It was yet again another full house! A fantastic third day for me, I wish I had better planned and been able to go to every day and had a time turner so I could go to all the shows!

Walking to get my train, I had to stop, doesn't matter how many times you go past, it is breath taking!

And I finally stopped in at the book shop in the festival and bought another Alexander McCall Smith. I read the blurb, soon as I seen the vegetarian dog I was like right this is the book for me, also the first in another series. I cannot wait to try one of his books, even reading the back I could hear his voice in my head just chuckling away.

Thursday 23 August 2018

11 Missed Calls by Elisabeth Carpenter Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for "11 Missed Calls" by author Elisabeth Carpenter. Today I have an extract of the book for you AND this is my first time ever having an extract on my blog, exciting!

Sheila sniffs and remains on her perch behind the till.

‘I don’t have to go in the back if I don’t want to,’ she says. ‘If she wants to say hello, she’ll have to come in here.’ She leans forward. ‘She could be a murderess for all we know.’ She whispers as quietly as a church bell.

I could argue that Ellen probably isn’t a convicted killer, and that being the veteran volunteer of the bookshop with twelve years’ service, Sheila should make an effort to welcome her, but I don’t. It will fall on deaf ears, as things like this usually do with her – she pretends, at times convenient to her, that she’s hard of hearing.

Instead, I say, ‘How many people do you know that have the same birth date as you?’

It’s like I can hear the index cards sifting in her mind as her eyes drift away into the past.

‘Mavis Brierly,’ she says. ‘Fattest girl at school, though I don’t know how; no one had much money to buy so much food. After that, I met a woman in the maternity ward when I was expecting Timothy – can’t remember her name … began with a “C”, if I remember rightly. So, two people. Though they’re probably dead now. Most people I know are.’

I shouldn’t have asked her; I shouldn’t be thinking like this.

The last time it happened was six years ago. It was the woman who used to work in the bakery a few doors down from the shop I used to work in. If it hadn’t been for Jack, I’d have a restraining order against me.

‘Okay,’ I say. ‘So, it’s not as unusual as I thought.’

‘Obviously not. There are only three hundred and sixty-five days in a year, and millions of people in this world.’ She leans towards me again. ‘Why do you ask? Has Tenko in there got the same birthday as you?’

‘Sheila! You must stop talking like that. Everyone deserves a second chance.’

Ellen clears her throat. She’s standing at the doorway.

‘This book,’ she says. ‘I think it might be valuable. It’s a Harry Potter first edition.’

Sheila picks up a pen and writes on the notepad next to the till on the counter. She pushes it towards me when she’s finished. She’s probably a thief.

My face grows hot as I rip the sheet from the pad. I screw it up and drop it into the bin, before ushering Ellen back into the storeroom. She can’t have seen what Sheila wrote, but she will have noticed the whispering, and the silence that followed her presence.

Wednesday 22 August 2018

The Rest of Me by Katie Marsh

The Rest of MeThe Rest of Me by Katie Marsh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Hodder

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Alex Fox knows there are lots of thing she should be. She should be the perfect wife to her chronically ill husband Sam, and the perfect mother to their two daughters. She should be excelling in her high-stress job. And she should be completing the demanding to-do lists she makes to keep herself on track.

Even if, just sometimes, she doesn't have time to breathe.

When Sam's condition worsens and Alex donates a kidney to save his life, her carefully scheduled existence starts to unravel. The operation leads to unexpected complications, putting a strain on Alex's marriage and her relationship with her children - and eventually forcing her to face up to a past that she has buried for years.

As the family she has fought so hard for threatens to fall apart, can Alex finally confront her imperfections and the mistakes that have shaped her - and rediscover what is most important in life?

The Rest of Me is an emotional and uplifting story which will make you laugh, cry and hug the people you love a little bit tighter.

My Review

Alex loves making a list, she is super mum, a hard worker at a job she loves and juggling many balls with her sick husband Sam. When the chance to save his life comes up, by donating her own kidney, Alex doesn't think twice. What she didn't bargain for what how dramatically it would change all of their lives. Their family life, her own health, her work life, everything changes and Alex is losing control and has to face demons from her past.

I have read Marsh before and enjoyed her books, she tells a genteel tale that packs an emotional punch. Family life, relationships, horrible bosses, bullying, marital issues - it covers quite a lot of ground that many readers will be able to identify with. We hear from Alex and her youngest daughter Izzy, from their voices, thoughts and feelings we see exactly how everything is impacting upon their family.

Izzy is the cutest wee chop ever, she is so laid back, loving, kind, sweet, trusting and all she wants is a happy family and to play football. Her older sister is at the teen stage where she knows everything, everything her mother does infuriates her and everything is boys and popularity.

Alex finds her slow recovery giving her a lot of time with her thoughts, losing control and having to face inner demons and a past she has ran from. I think this and young Izzy is where a lot of readers will ride the emotive train. Sadness, anger, love, loss, regret so so much and yet all is visited with just enough depth to give the reader a vested interest in the characters. Beautifully written, Alex could be any one of us, her road to recovery is anything but just a physical one, prepare yourself for a beautiful story that plucks on the heart strings, 4/5 for me this time.

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Sunday 19 August 2018

The Promise by Katerina Diamond

The Promise (DS Imogen Grey #4)The Promise by Katerina Diamond
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - less thank one day

Pages - 448

Publisher - Avon

Source - Netgalley (review copy)

Blurb from Goodreads

‘All hail the new Queen of Crime!’ Heat

When troubled teen Connor moves to Exeter from the US to escape his past, he finds himself embroiled in a world of popular kids and easy girls. Everyone wants to be his friend, but they don’t know about what he did…and they don’t know about his father.

As Connor’s life in England begins to unravel, DS Adrian Miles and his partner Imogen Grey are working up against the clock to catch a serial killer who dates his victims before he kills them. Determined to uncover the truth, Imogen is forced to act as bait – but will she take it too far and risk her own life?

Katerina Diamond is back with a bang in this dark, twisted novel, perfect for fans of M.J. Arlidge and Karin Slaughter.

My Review

This is book four in the series, I say often you can pick up a book and start reading but with this I would advise going back to get the back story of the characters and more understanding of the existing relationships. Connor is 16 and moved with his dad to where his dad grew up, Connor is beautiful, popular and soon pulled into school life but they don't know why Connor had to leave his old school. Nor do they realise what Connor's father is really like and what is the pull to the neighbour next door?

Detective Imogen Grey and Adrian Moles are on the case of a murdered woman, why was she targeted and is this a serial killer? We then split into another narrative, a young trouble woman being abused, targeted and in fear for what is coming next. It took me a wee bit to settle into the three separate stories, Connor - we know something in his past happened but why and what is the deal with his father? The young woman whose story will bring chills to anyone who has dealt with an abusive and or manipulative partner. We get to see a more personal side to the detectives, four books we have been with them, seen them survives challenges, killers, family life, work life engagement. It is a really busy wee book but it works, I think Connor's story was the main focus rather than the killer/detectives or the unidentified woman but I found them all engaging .

I sank into the story quickly, I have read all the books in this series so was eager to see what came next for our officers. It is brutal in parts, riveting, shocking but we also see a gentler side of our detectives from the reverberations of everything that has passed so far. During a few scenes I gasped out loud, one in particular I had to read over again I was so shocked, I LOVE when a book catches you like that! 4/5 for me this time, I cannot wait for the next installment in the series, hurry up writing Diamond.

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Saturday 18 August 2018

Meg by Steve Alten

Meg (MEG, #1)Meg by Steve Alten
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 438

Publisher - Tsunami Books

Source - My keeper shelf

Blurb from Goodreads

Revised and Expanded. On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean's deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he's sure he saw but still can't prove exists - Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds. Taylor spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea. But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a hotshot female submarine pilot to dare him back into a high-tech miniature sub. Diving deeper than he ever has before, Taylor will face terror like he's never imagined. MEG is about to surface. When she does, nothing and no one is going to be safe, and Jonas must face his greatest fear once again.

My Review

This is a re read for me guys, prep for the upcoming movie (which I went and saw and loved and want to see in 4D). Let me say, for those who don't know, I LOVE sharks, shark books, shark movies so when something shark related comes along I tend to be over the top excited anyways.

Meg is about the long extinct Megalodon shark and our main character Jonas Taylor. Jonas used to go deep, he went to the Marina Trench seven years ago where something happened to change him. He is thee expert on Megs and once was very respected in his field, now his career is flailing, his marriage is in trouble and Jonas is still plagued by past events. When things come to pass that force Jonas to face his past and mans most terrifying adversary the question can only be who will survive?

EEEEEEK I love this, I love that we have some real facts in there and you learn stuff as you are scared out of your wits. The opening chapter just made me think of Jurassic park, the same feels and a sneaky peek into something we will never see in our live times.

Jonas is a great character, I think, can't say I loved a whole lot of the others but even the characters you hate/dislike bring something to the book. Meg herself is just a magnificent creation, Carcharodon megalodon with a bite sized estimated to be 10 feet, 10 feet!!! The ultimate killing machine, I could read about them all day long. The book has a lot of research put into it and any book that you learn stuff as you go gets thumbs up from me, then add in a shark, a HUGE shark and you just have a book that blows right out the water (see what I did there, the jokes never get better!).

This is the first in the series, the movie is currently in the pictures, I absolutely recommend this to shark fans, Jurassic park fans, fans who like a bit of horror/suspense I mean come on she is the ultimate killing machine! It has humanity, feeling, suspense, terror and one of those I couldn't read with my feet hanging over the edge of the couch, yes I am one of those! 5/5 for me this time, I have the next four on my keep shelf and the newest one is on order.

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