Tuesday, 7 April 2020

The Language of Kindness A Nurses Story by Christie Watson

The Language of Kindness: A Nurse's StoryThe Language of Kindness: A Nurse's Story by Christie Watson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Vintage

Source - Bought copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Christie Watson was a nurse for twenty years. Taking us from birth to death and from A&E to the mortuary, The Language of Kindness is an astounding account of a profession defined by acts of care, compassion and kindness.

We watch Christie as she nurses a premature baby who has miraculously made it through the night, we stand by her side during her patient’s agonising heart-lung transplant, and we hold our breath as she washes the hair of a child fatally injured in a fire, attempting to remove the toxic smell of smoke before the grieving family arrive.

In our most extreme moments, when life is lived most intensely, Christie is with us. She is a guide, mentor and friend. And in these dark days of division and isolationism, she encourages us all to stretch out a hand.



My Review

Watson takes us on her impressive career as a child's nurse and the exposure she had giving others care. The run up to how she got into care, person experiences, different areas and situations. Some of it is harrowing, some of it uplifting and as I have always known, I could never be a pediatric nurse, hats off to them.

An eye opening story about different aspects of care, pressures, fears, struggles and some of the most rewarding points of working as a nurse in these areas. There are some big words used that if you don't work in health you would need to look up, a wee glossary would have helped for non medical folk. I don't think it detracts overall from the stories though. Emotive, thought provoking and a huge thank you to Watson for the care she gave over the years to all of those patients.

I have found myself buying and reading a lot more medical books and those in other professions, it gives the public an insight into just how horrific some of these jobs are and how much it can demand from a person. 3.5 out of 5 for me this time, absolutely worth a read, have a wee tissue nearby though.

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Sunday, 5 April 2020

The Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour, please check out the other stops as we all offer different content.





About the author:




Brian McGilloway is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Inspector Benedict Devlin and DS Lucy Black series.

He was born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1974. After studying English at Queen’s University, Belfast, he took up a teaching position in St Columb’s College in Derry, where he was Head of English until 2013. He currently teaches in Holy Cross College, Strabane.

Brian’s work has been nominated for, and won, many awards, including Borderlands (shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger), Gallows Lane (shortlisted for both the 2009 Irish Book Awards / Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year and Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2010), and Little Girl Lost (winner of the University of Ulster’s McCrea Literary Award 2011).

In 2014, Brian won BBC NI’s Tony Doyle Award for his screenplay, Little Emperors, an award which saw him become Writer In Residence with BBC NI.

Brian lives near the Irish borderlands with his wife, daughter and three sons.

Social Media & Links

Facebook: @bmcgilloway

Twitter: @brianmcgilloway

Website: www.brianmcgilloway.com

About the book




“Moving and powerful, this is an important book which everyone should read.” Ann Cleeves

“The Last Crossing is a brilliant excavation of the recent past.” Adrian McKinty

Tony, Hugh and Karen thought they’d seen the last of each other thirty years ago. Half a lifetime has passed and memories have been buried. But when they are asked to reunite - to lay ghosts to rest for the good of the future - they all have their own reasons to agree. As they take the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland the past is brought in to terrible focus - some things are impossible to leave behind.

In The Last Crossing memory is unreliable, truth shifts and slips and the lingering legacy of the Troubles threatens the present once again. Out to buy NOW from Amazon.

For my stop I have my review, enjoy.

The Last CrossingThe Last Crossing by Brian McGilloway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 4 days

Pages - 380

Publisher - The Dome Press

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

“The Last Crossing is a brilliant excavation of the recent past.” Adrian McKinty

Tony, Hugh and Karen thought they’d seen the last of each other thirty years ago. Half a lifetime has passed and memories have been buried. But when they are asked to reunite - to lay ghosts to rest for the good of the future - they all have their own reasons to agree. As they take the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland the past is brought in to terrible focus - some things are impossible to leave behind.

In The Last Crossing memory is unreliable, truth shifts and slips and the lingering legacy of the Troubles threatens the present once again.


My Review

This is my first dance with this author, we open to the scene of an execution. Tony is headed back to Scotland to face their past and the actions that cost a young man his life and impacted on theirs. Tony, Hugh and Karen haven't seen each other for years, their fate cast by an act they committed and the choices they each made.

The book splits in two, pre assassination (the past) and post assassination (present time) flipping between the two with alternating chapters. It took me a wee bit to notice, just coming off shifts, that each chapter ends and begins with a linking word or sentence, pretty nifty and well done!

The book looks mostly at Tony, main character, and how things centered around him, his feelings, job, attitude and what drew him into such a dark group, activists who met out "justice" as they see fit. His brothers death, him wanting someone to pay, a group who see him ripe for joining, all of this is set in Ireland. Then Tony flees to Scotland and the book is across the two locations although primarily Ireland I would say.

It is a dark read, how easy it is for people to get involved in a movement, killing and how small choices and actions can have huge consequences, impact and far reach even many years later. This was my first book by this author, it won't be my last 4/5 for me this time.

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Sunday, 29 March 2020

The Winner by David Baldacci

The WinnerThe Winner by David Baldacci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 528

Publisher - Grand Central publishing

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

The Dream

She is twenty, beautiful, dirt-poor, and hoping for a better life for her infant daughter when LuAnn Tyler is offered the gift of a lifetime, a $100 million lottery jackpot. All she has to do is change her identity and leave the U.S. forever.

The Killer

It's an offer she dares to refuse...until violence forces her hand and thrusts her into a harrowing game of high-stakes, big-money subterfuge. It's a price she won't fully pay...until she does the unthinkable and breaks the promise that made her rich.

The Winner

For if LuAnn Tyler comes home, she will be pitted against the deadliest contestant of all: the chameleonlike financial mastermind who changed her life. And who can take it away at will...


My Review

LuAnn Tyler is living in a crappy trailer, her wee girl is her world, her boyfriend is a lazy cheating violent idiot. She is working a dead end job trying desperately to make ends meet. When a chance of a lifetime comes along, the offer to win the lottery and become a millionaire but she must leave the country, tell no one and never come back. How could she refuse, but when there is a murder LuAnn ends up on the wanted list. Life is good, she has everything she needs and keeps on the move with her daughter, ten years pass and LuAnn does the one thing she was told not to, she returns to America and now it isn't just the police after her.

I really enjoyed this one, pacey, morals, death, a killer who has everything at his disposal, a master of disguise and on the hunt for LuAnn. The lotttery aspect is something different, wouldn't we all love to win the lotto, what if it meant breaking the law? The concept of how was interesting and there is enough action to keep you going page after page.

I have read Baldacci before and it was fine but this one I really enjoyed, 4/5 for me this time.



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Sunday, 22 March 2020

The Unreliable Death of Lady Grange by Sue Lawrence Blog Tour




Today is my stop on the blog tour for "The Unreliable Death of Lady Grange" by Sue Lawrence, I am the last stop and closing the tour, please check out the previous stops, we all offer different content.


About the book:




Blurb

Edinburgh, January 1732: It's Lady Grange's funeral. Her death is a shock: still young, she'd shown no signs of ill health. But Rachel is, in fact, alive. She's been brutally kidnapped by the man who has falsified her death - her husband of 25 years, a pillar of society with whom she has raised a family. Her punishment, perhaps, for railing against his infidelity - or for uncovering evidence of his treasonable plottings against the government. Whether to conceal his Jacobite leanings, or simply to `replace' a wife with a long-time mistress, Lord Grange banishes Rachel to the remote Hebridean Monach Isles, until she's removed again to distant St Kilda, far into the Atlantic - to an isolated life of primitive conditions, with no shared language - somewhere she can never be found. This is the incredible and gripping story of a woman who has until now been remembered mostly by her husband's unflattering account. Sue Lawrence reconstructs a remarkable tale of how the real Lady Grange may have coped with such a dramatic fate, with courage and grace.


The book is out to buy NOW Publisher on Twitter

About the author




As well as writing popular historical thrillers, including Down to the Sea, Sue Lawrence is a leading cookery writer. After winning BBC's MasterChef in 1991, she became a regular contributor to the Sunday Times, Scotland on Sunday and other leading magazines. Raised in Dundee, she now lives in Edinburgh. She has won two Guild of Food Writers Awards. You can catch the author on Twitter @SueHLawrence




This is a #LoveBooksTours run by Kelly Lacey, please check them out HERE

For my stop I have my review, enjoy

The Unreliable Death of Lady GrangeThe Unreliable Death of Lady Grange by Sue Lawrence
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out as able over 1 week

Pages - 304

Publisher - Contraband

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Edinburgh, January 1732: It's Lady Grange's funeral. Her death is a shock: still young, she'd shown no signs of ill health. But Rachel is, in fact, alive. She's been brutally kidnapped by the man who has falsified her death - her husband of 25 years, a pillar of society with whom she has raised a family. Her punishment, perhaps, for railing against his infidelity - or for uncovering evidence of his treasonable plottings against the government. Whether to conceal his Jacobite leanings, or simply to `replace' a wife with a long-time mistress, Lord Grange banishes Rachel to the remote Hebridean Monach Isles, until she's removed again to distant St Kilda, far into the Atlantic - to an isolated life of primitive conditions, with no shared language - somewhere she can never be found. This is the incredible and gripping story of a woman who has until now been remembered mostly by her husband's unflattering account. Sue Lawrence reconstructs a remarkable tale of how the real Lady Grange may have coped with such a dramatic fate, with courage and grace



My Review

So I hadn't heard of Lady Grange ever before let alone her disappearance, to be fair my knowledge on history is pretty sparse. I liked the sound of this one so signed up for the tour, we are headed back to the 1700s and we meet Rachel and hear how she came to be Lady Grange. She has a bit of a stain on her past, her families name rather so is delighted to catch the eye of someone so prominent. Marriage and babies come along and quickly we head to her disappearance and death.

The chapters are titled for who is speaking so easy enough to follow, Rachel is a bit of a lively character, especially for ladies of that time. Expected to behave in a certain way Rachel is very much an anomaly in her behaviour. We follow her through her early relationship with her husband to be until later when she is kidnapped and everything that follows.

The book doesn't go into any horrific details so if you fancy a book that has a genteel pace but still a flash of darkness then this is for you. Not much is known about Lady Grange, Lawrence has done her research on what she could find and made an account of what she thought may well have been Rachel's thoughts/actions during what we do know of her life. I am interested in reading more about this historical character and even the locations where the story is set. I have lived in Scotland my whole life but a bit like my history, my knowledge of places is very lax and I do like islands and remote places. The pace and feel definitely turned in the last quarter of the book and I ended up keeping the book in hand and read the last quarter in one sitting. This was my first time reading this author, I will be checking out their other works.

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Thursday, 19 March 2020

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten Blog Tour




Today is my stop on the blog tour for "Dead Wrong" by author Noelle Holten, we all have different content so please check out the other stops.


The book cover




About the author




Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog. Dead Inside is her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.


Where can you connect with Noelle?

Twitter: (@nholten40) https://twitter.com/nholten40

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/noelleholtenauthor/

Blog FB page: https://www.facebook.com/crimebookjunkie/

Instagram: @crimebookjunkie

Website: https://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk

Bookbub Author page : https://bit.ly/2LkT4LB

For my stop I have my review, book blurb included, enjoy.

Dead Wrong (DC Maggie Jamieson #2)Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages -

Publisher - One More Chapter

Source - Review copy


Blurb from Goodreads


The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson's past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…

They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…

But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…




My Review


This is book two in the DC Maggie Jamieson series, you can absolutely get away with reading this as a standalone however the first book is pretty awesome so go read it if you haven't already. Maggie is back with her team and absolutely raging. The notorious serial killer, Bill Raven, that Maggie and squad put away a few years back is now rearing his ugly head. Behind bars for the murder of at least three women, he confessed in graphic detail what he did to them. Now, a body has been found of his first named victim and they only died very recently, with Raven in jail he couldn't be the killer. Appealing his sentence and now his mental health condition is medicated and controlled Raven wants out and is happy to "help" the police. Maggie KNOWS he is guilty but can she convince her team.

Ooft poor Maggie, so book one made no mention of this bad guy so you can absolutely start with this book, we learn of Raven and his crimes through Maggie and the team going over past history. The guy is clever, manipulative and the higher up in the force want Maggie to tread carefully because if they have convicted an innocent guy - the press are having a field day and the real bad guy needs to be caught.

The book has a fair few dimensions, mental health, friendships, sexuality, family, addictions, murder and is hugely centred around police investigation. If you like police procedural you will love this as it goes in depth but flings you extras with relationships and the personal life of Maggie, friendships, who she is as a person, her family and her wee furbaby - Scrappy the cat, who doesn't love a cat!

I couldn't see where the book was going to go, how was the story going to round, answer my questions and most importantly solve the case. Kept guessing from the first few chapters and teased along to pretty much the very end. Holten needs to be penning book three already, I need to know what is coming next for these characters, 4/5 for me this time.


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Monday, 16 March 2020

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

A Good NeighborhoodA Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 279

Publisher - Headline Review

Source - Review book

Blurb from Goodreads

In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. Xavier is headed to college in the fall, and after years of single parenting, Valerie is facing the prospect of an empty nest. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door―an apparently traditional family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenaged daughter.

Thanks to his thriving local business, Brad Whitman is something of a celebrity around town, and he's made a small fortune on his customer service and charm, while his wife, Julia, escaped her trailer park upbringing for the security of marriage and homemaking. Their new house is more than she ever imagined for herself, and who wouldn't want to live in Oak Knoll? With little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie's yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers.

Told from multiple points of view, A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today―What does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don't see eye to eye?―as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending star-crossed love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.


My Review

Valerie Alston Holt is living in a wee neighborhood in North Carolina with her bi racial son Xavier, he has the whole world ahead of him, a scholarship, fabulous music career and he is a healthy good looking boy. Valeria is a professor and very eco friendly, when her new neighbours move in, a while affluent family, the house built for them and a lot of trees lost to accommodate it Valerie isn't best pleased. When the tree in her yard, 80 odd years old starts dying as a result of the new home Valerie decides to take on Brad Whitman, local celebrity and her new neighbour. If that isn't enough, Mrs Whitman has just been to Valerie's for book night and to make friends and her oldest daughter Juniper and Xavier have just started to notice each other, talk about bad timing!

It is a busy wee story, we hear from the three main characters, each varying chapters and getting to know and see from their perspectives. Juniper is a bit of a grumpy problem teen, mocked at school for valuing her purity and having a brain. Xavier hasn't really found anyone he is interested in and he is out of here in six short months but there is something about Juniper....

The book has a few turns and goes into some pretty shocking topics, racism, power, abuse, wealth (and a mix of abuse of power/wealth), the depravity of some humans and the shocking way some people think. How easy it is to ruin/change a life with one decision, one action and the ripple effects that has. It is one of those books you aren't too sure where it is going to go and I was shocked at the depth of how some of it went. A modern day Romeo and Juliette type story but with so much more issues and themes that left me a bit shocked to be honest. 4.5/5 for me this time, first time reading this author I will absolutely be looking into her other books!

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Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Strangers by C L Taylor

StrangersStrangers by C.L. Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Avon

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before.

Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life.
Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards.
And Alice is being stalked.

None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die.

Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

The million-copy bestseller returns with a gripping new novel that will keep you guessing until the end.


My Review

If you follow my reviews you will know this house is a big fan of Taylors writing. The opening scene captures you straight away and leads you into the book wanting to know, why, how and what happened before hand, who are these people!

Three main characters, Alice - trying to get back into dating, her husband left her, her daughter is having boyfriend trouble and Alice is dipping her toes back into the world of dating. Ursula, ooft what a car crash of a person, we know something has happened and she is struggling to get through day to day. She is her own worst enemy and being a kleptomaniac and compulsively choosing the wrong decision in almost everything isn't helping. Gareth, caring for his mother who has dementia whilst holding down a security job with its own pressures. All three couldn't be anymore different so what links them and what will bring them into each others path?

The dating stuff, ugh I could have screamed at Alice and her daughter, warning flags and just no don't do that, don't text ahhhh. I suppose that is a nod to the authors talent, creating characters and situations that make you so mad because they are so real to life, we have all seen or done some of these things! Ursula, same, warning flags, don't do it, ask this, question that but when you are desperate you tend to ignore warning flags and when things are so bad and you have limited options you can only go with what is available to you. Gareth is a different character, I felt so sorry for him, caring with someone with dementia is heartbreaking, having unresolved father issues is something many readers will empathetic with.

Each character gets chapters and titled so you know whose is who and it is easy to follow. You have no idea what is coming, where the story is leading (for any of them) and I love when books do that for you. 4.5/5 for me this time, I have read all of Taylor's books (to my knowledge) and cannot wait for the next. Out to buy from April 2nd, ebook and hardbackk, paperback will be available in September.

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Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith

Espresso Tales (44 Scotland Street, #2)Espresso Tales by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 345

Publisher - Abacus

Source - Amazon

Blurb from Goodreads

44 SCOTLAND STREET - Book 2

The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy—just ask his mother.

Back are all our favorite denizens of a Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh. Bertie the immensely talented six year old is now enrolled in kindergarten, and much to his dismay, has been clad in pink overalls for his first day of class. Bruce has lost his job as a surveyor, and between admiring glances in the mirror, is contemplating becoming a wine merchant. Pat is embarking on a new life at Edinburgh University and perhaps on a new relationship, courtesy of Domenica, her witty and worldly-wise neighbor. McCall Smith has much in store for them as the brief spell of glorious summer sunshine gives way to fall a season cursed with more traditionally Scottish weather.

Full of McCall Smith’s gentle humor and sympathy for his characters, Espresso Tales is also an affectionate portrait of a city and its people who, in the author’s own words, “make it one of the most vibrant and interesting places in the world.”




My Review

If you haven't read book one you really need to so you get the background and introduction to all of the characters. We pick up on this one where we left off in book one. Following the tales of poor wee Bertie and his insufferable mother. Bruce, lost his job as a surveyor, is a looker/charmer and knows it, he now is turning his luck to the wine business, what could go wrong. Pat is trying to get it together but still a bit standoffish after her experience with Bruce but her old pal Domenica won't let her stand in her own way. And Matthew, still working away in the art gallery but with the good influence of Pat he is actually turning a profit and has found something he likes and is good at. We see a wee bit more of him and his relationship with his dad.

Whilst all of the characters get a crack of the whip there is no doubt wee Bertie is the bigger focus in this book. Still being dragged to therapy by his mother, a pink bedroom and those pink dungarees, she can call them any colour she likes, they are pink. Bertie is only six but advanced for his years and the poor wee mite is having some time of it.

Humour throughout and poking a wee bit of fun at Edinburgh, Smith brings to life the characters and makes you want to go page after page to see what is coming next. Friends meets the big bang theory with a few other echos of similar shows, the characters are across the age range so I think there is something for everyone. Despite Bertie being a bairn his story, certainly in this book was the one I most wanted to read more about, 3.5/5 for me, I will be buying the next in the series.

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Friday, 6 March 2020

Rust by Eliese Colette Goldbach Blog Blast

Quercus is having a wee blog blast for "Rust" by Eliese Colette Goldbach. It ended tomorrow, if you haven't see or heard about this one please check it out, ebook available now on Amazon.




Rust: A Memoir of Steel and GritRust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit by Eliese Colette Goldbach
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 308

Publisher - Quercus

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads


One woman's story of working in the backbreaking steel industry to rebuild her life—but what she uncovers in the mill is much more than molten metal and grueling working conditions. Under the mill's orange flame she finds hope for the unity of America.

Steel is the only thing that shines in the belly of the mill...

To ArcelorMittal Steel Eliese is known as #6691: Utility Worker, but this was never her dream. Fresh out of college, eager to leave behind her conservative hometown and come to terms with her Christian roots, Eliese found herself applying for a job at the local steel mill. The mill is everything she was trying to escape, but it's also her only shot at financial security in an economically devastated and forgotten part of America.

In Rust, Eliese brings the reader inside the belly of the mill and the middle American upbringing that brought her there in the first place. She takes a long and intimate look at her Rust Belt childhood and struggles to reconcile her desire to leave without turning her back on the people she's come to love. The people she sees as the unsung backbone of our nation.

Faced with the financial promise of a steelworker’s paycheck, and the very real danger of working in an environment where a steel coil could crush you at any moment or a vat of molten iron could explode because of a single drop of water, Eliese finds unexpected warmth and camaraderie among the gruff men she labors beside each day.

Appealing to readers of Hillbilly Elegy and Educated, Rust is a story of the humanity Eliese discovers in the most unlikely and hellish of places, and the hope that therefore begins to grow.




My Review


i don't know why but I thought this was going to be quite heavy on emotional/angst side, it wasn't that at all. Eliese had set ideas on the steel mills growing up as well as religion and politics. As Eliese becomes an adult and things happen in her life she finds herself not only questions but 360 on quite a lot of the ideas she had growing up.

Rust takes us into the steel mills, what it is like to work in a perilous environment, where one mistake can literally be death to you or a co worker. The hazards, the problems being a woman in this environment, the difference between being a new start and becoming an established part of the team with union cover and job protection. The stories of folk who have died in the company, the very real hazards, even in the departments most sought after. Eliese takes us on the journey of her life, through this very male dominated work force, money at the top and how current politics affects the job.

Aside from this, we have to remember this is a true story memoir and we get the rest of Eliese's lie experiences. A very honest and brutal look at mental health, how it affected her day to day life, relationships, good days and bad and a sexual attack and the impact that had on her and her views.

I am not a fan of politics but it was interesting to see how Goldbach examined hers and challenged her family, over dinner as you imagine with the current political issues this is happening across the globe, in many variations.

The book does jump around a wee bit, in time, from the job and heading back to growing up, ideas formed, back to current day/work back to college and what happened there. Her mental health is discussed sporadically throughout the book. When it comes up it does go into very vivid details cataloguing some of the episodes she survived or getting through that particular day. Then we go back to the steel mill and what was happening in that recounting. I really enjoyed the steel mill stuff as it isn't something I have ever thought about or read so I found it fascinating, the jumps may be a bit distracting to some readers but once she got into her stride, be it the mental health encounters or the mill I found it pretty fascinating and didn't want to stop reading. 4/5 for me this time, I think I would like to read more on the mills and prior to this book I doubt that is a sentence I would have thought let alone said. A raw and brave look into a woman's life who has battled so much and came out fighting at the other end.

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Thursday, 27 February 2020

Worth Fighting For by Lisa Niemi Swayze

Worth Fighting For: Love, Loss, and Moving ForwardWorth Fighting For: Love, Loss, and Moving Forward by Lisa Niemi Swayze
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - as able over 4 days

Pages - 336

Publisher - Atria Books

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Wait a minute . . .
. . . there.

I made it to the next moment.

And that’s how you get through a bad moment of grief. You do it one moment at a time.

—from Worth Fighting For


My Review

This is Patrick Swayze's wife book about their time together, pre and post diagnosis, treatment and through his lie and when he passes on. Written almost in diary form, first person, some thoughts lifted and put in amongst the chapters. Each chapter has a photograph at the header. We learn about their relationship, married for over 30 years, how Lisa dealt with Hollywood/fame being mrs Swayze and the heartbreaking diagnosis and journey that followed.

You can tell this book has been a form of therapy, you can feel the emotion outpouring in some of the chapters. The parts dealing with the ins and outs, how Lisa got through each day being there for her husband, keeping on top of the treatments, keeping upbeat, being supportive and dealing with the press. The newspapers and how some people invaded their lives, the crass and disgusting behavior and blatant lies told to sell newspapers. Think of the person you love, dying, trying to keep positive, going through day to day and reading horrific lies, death predictions splashed all over the news. I really do feel for celebrities at times and their families, it is like people forget their are human, nothing is sacred and I felt so bad for Patrick's family and wife, especially at one point his poor wee mum. You can't even imagine trying to deal with a diagnosis like that and keep positive when lies and death speculation is spread all over the papers. Now it would be worse with online so popular and easily accessible.

I hope if nothing else this book makes people think about how exploited people can be all in the name of flogging some newspapers. I loved watching Patrick Swayze movies growing up, I remember being shocked to find out he sang She's Like The Wind - he has such a beautiful voice. I learned more about him as a person in this book and as with anyone, reading about anyone going through cancer - it is an emotive read. If you have lost someone to cancer or had someone diagnoses with it I think you will find some parts of the book hard hitting, if you haven't I think you will still find it an emotive read. 4/5 for me this time, after finishing this I find myself re watching some of the old movies - he was a fabulous actor (in my opinion) and from reading this book he seemed like a genuinely nice human being. I hope writing this brought his wife some peace, your heart goes out to anyone losing someone to cancer and these days it seems most of us have.

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Saturday, 22 February 2020

Lover Revealed by J R Ward

Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #4)Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 480

Publisher - Piatkus books

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Butch O'Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex-homicide cop, he's the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world—to engage in the turf war with the lessers. He's got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, an aristocratic beauty who's way out of his league. If he can't have Marissa, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers...

Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he's found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back. But even her love may not be enough to save him...


My Review

Butch is human but still very much one of the Brothers inner circle, in lover with Marissa (vampire) and knows he has no chance. He helps the brothers hunt down the lessers (those who hunt and kill the vampires) and stuck in limbo between not having his own human crew but not a vampire either. When Butch is attacked brutally by the lessers and infected, it is touch and go if he will survive and the brothers need to find out what happened to him.

The book has as usual action, slaying of vampires and lessers, we follow Butch's progress as his illness takes its toll. His battle with his feelings with Marissa and back and forth between the two, when something seems to go good, something else falls apart.

If you are knew to the series this is book 4, I would suggest going back and reading the others as you get so much back story. If you are offended by sex, especially in graphic detail, the series may not be for you. There is a lot about the society, brotherhood, vamps/lessers but sex features throughout the series and pretty explicit/detailed in the scenes it pops up. 4/5 for me this time, I cannot wait to see what is next for the brotherhood, these books have been on my shelves for years so I have a lot of catching up to do. One other thing to mention, the book has terms that the reader won't have heard of, coined by the author, all the books I have read so far have helpfully had a glossary at the start which helps no end trying to figure out what is going on and who is who within the royalty terms.



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Thursday, 20 February 2020

The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for debut novel, "The Memory Wood" by author Sam Lloyd, please do check out the other stops, we all offer different content, this is a RandomThingsTour.




About the book:




Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known. Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape. When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave. Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood. As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood... Rights have been sold in 14 territories and counting. Perfect for fans of Stephen King, C.J. Tudor’s The Chalk Man and Adrian McKinty’s The Chain. You can buy you copy now, released today, from AMAZON

About the author:

Sam Lloyd grew up in Hampshire, making up stories and building secret hideaways in his local woods. These days he lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and a dog that likes to howl. He enjoys craft beer, strong coffee and (rarely) a little silence. The Memory Wood is his debut thriller.




A wee note from the Author:

I already had my crime scene. Pretty soon, I had my protagonist: thirteen-year-old chess prodigy Elissa Mirzoyan, a quietly precocious girl who wakes underground after being snatched on the most important day of her life. Her determination to survive the coming ordeal wouldn’t be driven by mere instinct. It would come from a flat-out refusal to leave her mum alone in the world, and would be tempered by a ferocious hunger for vengeance. Plotting a novel, for me, always feels more like a process of investigation than invention – the slow reveal of a dirt-covered mosaic. And as I teased out more of this story’s individual tiles, I learned something even more compelling about Elissa’s plight. While engaging her abductor in increasingly dangerous mind games, she’ll face a separate threat even harder to navigate. It’ll come in the form of a frail young boy, Elijah North, who discovers her subterranean prison while playing in his local woods. Steadily, Elissa will gain Elijah’s trust. But when she persuades him to raise the alarm, he’ll return with a tale too outlandish to be credible. More of the mosaic revealed itself, at which point I learned something about the story that knocked me flat. And then I had to write the book, just to find out how it ended...

For my stop I have my review, enjoy, if you have read it I would love to hear your thoughts.

The Memory WoodThe Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 375

Publisher - Bantam Press

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known.

Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape.

When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave.

Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood.

As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood . . .


My Review

Elissa & Elijah are our main characters, each chapter titled who we are with a each point. We open with Elijah, twelve years old and with the police then an introduction into The Memory Woods, on day 6, and then we flip to Elissa, day 1, pre kidnap. Because that is the heart of the book, thirteen year old Elissa is kidnapped and we flip between the chapters and their journey as Elijah stumbles across her and Elissa is desperate to stay alive and survive. We also intermittently have Mairead, detective superintendent who is leading the investigation into Elissa's disappearance. As well as following the investigation we get to know the very human side and personal struggles Mairead is going through whilst trying to crack one of the most important cases she will ever face!

Despite the timeline jumping about a wee bit it is easy to follow as the chapter headers let you know what day it is and which character is that chapters focus. The scenes can be distressing, we have a child abducted, the officer investigating is going through a very trying time with some of her own scenes being quite emotive and distressing. The kids scenes, one is kidnapped and being held in horrific conditions and Elijah we know quite quickly that wee soul is living in a horrific situation also.

The book teases out the scenes, it is creepy, you know something isn't right, there is tension pretty much from the get go. This is really surprising it is a debut novel because to me it didn't read like it, you would think Lloyd had been cracking out books for years, their craft honed, that is how it came across to me. It is dark and disturbing but you struggle to put it down, when you jump from character to character you want to stay with that one to see where it is going, pulled in and immersed quickly.

As I said I can't believe this is a debut, I eagerly await their next offering as most authors will tell you they get better/stronger over the years so imagine what Lloyd has in store for us in the future, 4.5/5 for me this time!


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Monday, 17 February 2020

Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes

Chilling Effect (Chilling Effect, #1)Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days

Pages - 437

Publisher - Orbit books

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

A hilarious, offbeat debut space opera that skewers everything from pop culture to video games and features an irresistible foul-mouthed captain and her motley crew, strange life forms, exciting twists, and a galaxy full of fun and adventure.

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister Mari is kidnapped by The Fridge, a shadowy syndicate that holds people hostage in cryostasis, Eva must undergo a series of unpleasant, dangerous missions to pay the ransom.

But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead after she rejects his advances, and her sweet engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.

To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.





My Review

The book has an awesome opening, chapter title "Save the Cats" - the cover features cats in wee space helmets and every chapter has a wee hand drawn cat in a space helmet. They are sassy, trouble and did I mention psychic? What isn't to love, they were some of the things that made me want to read the book as I don't go in for a lot of fantasy/space type fiction. With a strong opening chapter I thought I was going to love this book, cats in space and psychic cats at that not to mention a whole whack of sassiness. However they feature very little after that and it really did have a huge impact because I thought with them being over so much of the cover/blurb/chapter headings they would have been integral.

The main character is Captain Eva Innocente and her crew on her ship, battering about in space and she ends up taking on a very unsafe mission to save her sister even though she is estranged from her family. She doesn't tell her crew, part of the agreement and she thinks in their best interest. What follows is a multitude of dangerous missions, being targetted by a sexist eejit, unbelieveable danger, a ton of swearing, attitude and more types of beings/creatures than I could keep count of. The main character also would have whole sentences of phrases that weren't english (the majority of the book is in english), I later picked up some of it was a type of spanish but mixed with something else. So I would stop to google the phrases which some would translate and others made no sense at all. I found it to be quite frustrating and I was possibly missing key information from those scenes.

Other times I have Guardians of the galaxy vibes and really enjoyed parts, space, action and even a wee bit of romance. I think if the book had a glossary to describe the different beings & maybe a wee explanation of the language used might have helped a wee bit as I did feel lost at times. I am hoping if this is a series then book two will embrace and include the space cats as I just feel there was so much they could have added and been part to. Who doesn't want more cats, psychic cats, cats, lol, 3/5 for me this time. It was nice to try a different author and it is no mean feat to create a whole different universe let alone beings but a wee space on a website or glossary in any following books to help the readers get to grips with all the new creations would be great, well I think so.

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Thursday, 13 February 2020

Cold Fusion 2000 by Karl Drinkwater Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for "Cold Fusion 2000" by author Karl Drinkwater, a BOTBSPublicity tour.







Book Description:

Alex Kavanagh is a pedantic physics geek – a teacher who hates teaching, a lover who’s always getting dumped, a writer whose articles all get rejected, a 28-year-old still living at home and bullied at the bus stop by teenagers – and he’s just had the worst day of his life. Things can only get better, right?

Enter his ex, Lucy, in what seems to be a chance meeting. Her betrayal marked the point when his life went nuclear. But – holy protons! – he still loves her.

Two problems. First, she isn’t who he thinks she is. Second, she’s going to leave him forever in 72 hours.

Cold Fusion 2000 is a haunting novel about a man who’s too rational to believe in ghosts and too short-sighted to see what was in front of him all along.

About the author




Author Bio:

Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but lived in Wales for twenty years, and now calls Scotland his home. He’s a full-time author, edits fiction for other writers, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science.

He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies. Not necessarily in that order.

FB https://www.facebook.com/karlzdrinkwater/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/karldrinkwater

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorkdrinkwater/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5766025.Karl_Drinkwater

Website: https://karldrinkwater.uk

For my stop I have my review, enjoy.

Cold Fusion 2000Cold Fusion 2000 by Karl Drinkwater


Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 302

Publisher - Organic Apocalypse

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Can love defeat the laws of physics?

Alex Kavanagh is a pedantic physics geek – a teacher who hates teaching, a lover who’s always getting dumped, a writer whose articles all get rejected, a 28-year-old still living at home and bullied at the bus stop by teenagers – and he’s just had the worst day of his life. Things can only get better, right?

Enter his ex, Lucy, in what seems to be a chance meeting. Her betrayal marked the point when his life went nuclear. But – holy protons! – he still loves her.

Two problems. First, she isn’t who he thinks she is. Second, she’s going to leave him forever in 72 hours.

Cold Fusion 2000 is a haunting novel about a man who’s too rational to believe in ghosts and too short-sighted to see what was in front of him all along.



My Review

Alex Kavanagh is a geek - well I am a geek he is a proper nerd, heavily into physics, a teacher who has lost any passion for teaching. A bit socially awkward and never gotten over losing the love of his life Lucy. Unlucky in love, in a job he hates, living with his mum Alex is in a bit of a rut when Lucy appears back in his life could things finally be turning around for Alex? Lucy is different and finally he has a chance to tend to those old wounds, get answers to his questions and maybe have another go. However Lucy isn't quite what she seems and will only be back in Alex's life for a short time, can Alex finally get over his past to enjoy his future?


The opening chapter 1992 – June 2000 gives you a sentence run down of Alex’s year with a head nod to a song from that time. I absolutely love that, one wee chapter totally took me down memory land and I remember all of those songs, this book could have a wee playlist and it is a belter!

There is reference and nods to physics/maths/ numerology (I think you would call it) and some of it was a bit over my head. It gave me much discussion with my o/h who is a proper nerd and I had to ask some questions about, does it mean this, is it reference to that. I think if you are interested in physics and a smart wee chop you will get a kick out of the passages that have these wee snippets in them.

The actual story though, even though Alex is twenty eight he seems much younger, more innocent or dejected, moody and socially a bit awks. I wasn't sure if I liked him too much, felt sorry for him, liked him, wanted to hug him and went back and forth on it however I think he is a bit of a complex character you appreciate a bit more as you got further into the book.

The book is very much relationships and personal growth but hugely and cleverly littered with nods to science, significance of numbers and some other wee delights that for me had to go look up or gab to someone else about. The relationships were reminisce of some of my own from a time when I was much younger and I think Alex is a character pretty much any reader can if not identify with then appreciate in part, especially as the book progresses. Once Lucy entered I found it harder to put down and wanted to know exactly what was coming next, keeping me on my toes throughout. I have read and loved Drinkwaters other books, he branches into other genres so if you haven't read them do check them out as they are all very different!


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Tuesday, 11 February 2020

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

44 Scotland Street (44 Scotland Street, #1)44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 325

Publisher - Abacus

Source - Bought after seeing Smith at Edinburgh Book Festival

Blurb from Goodreads

44 SCOTLAND STREET - Book 1

The residents and neighbors of 44 Scotland Street and the city of Edinburgh come to vivid life in these gently satirical, wonderfully perceptive serial novels, featuring six-year-old Bertie, a remarkably precocious boy—just ask his mother.

Welcome to 44 Scotland Street, home to some of Edinburgh's most colorful characters. There's Pat, a twenty-year-old who has recently moved into a flat with Bruce, an athletic young man with a keen awareness of his own appearance. Their neighbor, Domenica, is an eccentric and insightful widow. In the flat below are Irene and her appealing son Bertie, who is the victim of his mother’s desire for him to learn the saxophone and italian–all at the tender age of five.

Love triangles, a lost painting, intriguing new friends, and an encounter with a famous Scottish crime writer are just a few of the ingredients that add to this delightful and witty portrait of Edinburgh society, which was first published as a serial in The Scotsman newspaper.


My Review

For reasons unknown I thought this was going to be a crime book lmao, I know I know I am a riot. Anyways welcome to 44 Scotland Street, Edinburgh. Flats where we meet Irene, an overbearing mother who is intent on getting the best/most for her five year old genius Bertie and nothing will get in her way. Pat has just moved into the flat and Bruce shows her about, attractive Bruce and by lord does he know it! Domenica is her neighbour across the way, widow, flashy, down to earth and fabulous. We also meet Matthew, owner of and art gallery and knows hee haw about anything really, his father uses his wealth to acquire jobs for him to keep him "busy" and Pat is now working with him but she actually knows a thing or two about art.

It is really a voyeurs book, you get to nosey into these characters mundane lives, who they are as people and how they judge others and themselves. Smith pokes fun at the hoity toity Edinburgh attitudes and self importance. By God that Irene is a nightmare, Bruce is so vain and shallow, I thought Domenica was fab and a well known author pops up in the book too.

There are wee drawn pictures in the book which I quite liked, you don't see that in a lot of books so it is nice when it pops up.

The stories themselves, it is a bit like watching the Royal Family (comedy tv show with Ralph Little) about "normal" people and their everyday lives. Nothing huge happens yet you are compelled to keep reading especially when they get themselves into a bit of a pickle. Daft decisions or actions you easily read thinking oh dear lord why did they do that or what will happen next. A good introduction to these characters and I want to see what happens next so book two was ordered just as I finished this one! 3.5/5 for me this time, witty, funny, silly a book type version of friends but instead of a group of boy/girl friends we have very different people in neighbouring flats and following their lives as they judge/interact with each other.

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Monday, 10 February 2020

The Other People by C J Tudor

The Other PeopleThe Other People by C.J. Tudor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages -

Publisher - Michael Joseph

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

She sleeps, a pale girl in a white room . . .

Three years ago, Gabe saw his daughter taken. In the back of a rusty old car, covered in bumper stickers. He was driving behind the car. He watched her disappear. But no one believes him. Most people believe that his daughter, and wife, are dead. For a while, people believed that Gabe was responsible.

Three years later and Gabe cannot give up hope. Even though he has given up everything else. His home, his job, his old life. He spends his days and nights travelling up and down the motorway, sleeping in his camper van in service stations, searching for the car that took her. Searching for his daughter.

Katie spends a lot of her life in service stations, working as a waitress. She often sees Gabriel, or 'the thin man' as she has nicknamed him. She knows his story. She feels for him, because Katie understands what it's like to lose a loved one. Nine years ago, her father was murdered. It broke her family apart. She hasn't seen her oldest sister since the day of the funeral; the day she did something terrible.

Fran and her daughter, Alice, put in a lot of miles on the motorway. Not searching. But running. Trying to keep one step ahead of the people that want to hurt them. Because Fran knows the truth. She knows what really happened to Gabe's daughter. She knows who is responsible. And she knows that if they ever find them, they're dead.


My Review

Gabe is late going home, it is just what happens with Gabe, he is sure he see's his wee girl in a car infront of him but he can't have because she is at home with her mum, isn't she? Three years have passed since that day, since life as he knew it changed forever. Gabe lost his wife and little girl, the police don't believe him so Gabe has been investigating/travelling the same routine/places trying to find a lead. Katie works in the service station where Gabe always goes, she has her own issues trying to make ends meet without looking into what haunts this man. And then there is Fran and Alice, on the run from whom we know not, just they are in grave danger. Add into that Alice keeps having these episodes that defy logic and Fran is struggling to keep them one step ahead from those who hunt them.

The chapters flip between the three stories, building up a picture of what all three go through and wondering what if any connection they have. We know bad things have happened but each story is being teased out chapter by chapter whilst weaving in and out of the others stories. Alice's has a touch of something spooky, with her passing out and who is the girl in the mirror?

There is a character that is helping Gabe, a friend? a mysterious figure who goes by the name The Samaritan, assisting Gabe in his quest. I so so want them to have their own book, so much so I reached out to the author. He is one of those characters who doesn't have huge parts in the book but when he does you want more.

As the book goes on it draws you in, the hairs on the back of your neck creeping up as "The Other People" become apparent and you realise just what is happening. A tense book that grabs you very quickly, drawing you in deeper and deeper desperate to find out where it is all going and how it will all end, 4/5 for me this time. I have read Tudor's previous books and look forward to her next offering.

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Friday, 7 February 2020

Queenie by Kimberley Chambers

QueenieQueenie by Kimberley Chambers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - Every second able over 3 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Harper Collins

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

SHE WAS MADE IN THE EAST END . . .

For young Queenie, life in the backstreets of Whitechapel was a lesson in survival – Hitler’s bombs hit those with nothing the hardest. When danger strikes close to home, Queenie finds an ally in Mrs O’Leary, whose two sons are the kingpins of the East End. But while the O’Learys are the light in Queenie’s life, fate has a different path in store.

AND MEN ARE WHAT THEIR MOTHERS MAKE THEM . . .

Now married to the useless Albie Butler, Queenie is raising her children to fight their own battles. If the O’Learys taught her anything, it was that surviving meant doing whatever you had to, no questions asked, and family always comes first. The Butler boys will make sure their mother’s name becomes East End legend.

MEET QUEENIE.
THIS IS HER STORY.



My Review

If you are a Chambers fan then I have no need to say how long some of us hoped and waited for this book. If you are new to her writing then as this is Queenie's story, a prequel, here is as good a place to start as any. However, it is no secret I LOVE the Butler book's and whilst they have predominantly been about the boys, Queenie was always there. Now, with this book, we learn her story, how she came to be the woman we met over those books and that immovable relationship with her boys, particularly Vinny.

It is the time just before the war (world war 2) when it isn't quite kicked off yet. Queenie and Viv are close as close can be. We get a look at their lives, with their parents and poverty and pre war and then the steps taken during the war that have long reaching effects on Queenie.

It is so hard to go into it without spoiling anything and we do not do spoilers. We get to see Queenie as a child, a teen and adulthood. Events that lead to shaping her as a person and seeing why family is absolutely everything to Queenie, particularly her boys and her sister. At times she is hard to understand, I couldn't fathom some of her choices/actions. Others you get it, you get why she is the way she is and who she becomes.

I have loved the Butlers since i read the first book, I will need to go back and re read the rest of the series, they are always the first books of Chambers I recommend to people. Think the Kray brothers but there are three instead of two. In Queenie we meet their mum as a child, becoming a woman and how their story begins.

If you enjoy the previous books you will love this one. If anything instead of quenching your thirst it only has you wanting more. I always have the fear picking up a Chambers book because I loved the ones so much that came before so you figure, how long can you keep churning out fresh books, keep packing punches and keep the reader on their toes? yet she does it, every single time and has done it again, 5/5 for me this time. Do I want another Butler book? HELL YES, I do so hope we get another and will be patiently waiting for the next book, Butler related or not!

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Sunday, 2 February 2020

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

American DirtAmerican Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days (in and out as able)

Pages - 400

Publisher - Tinder Press

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Lydia Quixano PĂ©rez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.


My Review

For Lydia and Luca (the main characters) life as they know it is about to change forever. The opening chapter had me holding my breath and where we meet Lydia and Luca and the event that changes everything for them. The event kicks off their desperate journey to try and escape from Acapulco, turning into migrants desperate to escape to safety and all they endure and face to survive and gain their freedom with their lives.

The amount of controversy this book has caused. It is a FICTIONAL account of two humans, a mother and son, going from a pretty good life of luxury to losing everything and becoming migrants. Some people are livid at the author, some are livid at the portray of migrants in the book, have a look online and you will see. I myself got some messages because I was just reading the book, I cannot comment on the upset and hurt of others, only how I found the book itself.

Some of the chapters are harrowing, I actually caught my breath a few times reading the horrors some of the characters experience. Abuse, violence, rape, extortion, murder, danger it is unimaginable sitting in your warm safe home reading, albeit a fictional account but created after her own research. There are many books cited that Cummin's looked into during her years of research, I absolutely will be reading some of them and the true life accounts. It is heartbreaking and soul destroying to think of what some of our fellow humans have to endure to try and get to safety, to create a life free of danger and those "humans" they encounter, exploiting and abusing them. If this book helps to shine a light on the very real horrors out there and gets people talking, reading the real stories surely that can only be a good thing. I am mortified at how ignorant and unaware of things going on out in the real world you often don't know about because it hasn't touched your own life.

I found myself on an emotional roller coaster reading this and some of the people who have messaged me talked about the real accounts of life for migrants, devastating. Any book that helps people become aware of real life situations and issues out there, spreading awareness, remember this is a fictional account but of something that is very real in our lifetime, I think it is a good thing.

The book itself takes us between the journey they are experiencing and flips back to the before, how they came onto the radar of the cartel and examines of course the actual journey they undertake. I think whether you love or hate it, are angered or shocked (for whatever reason) no one can deny it is getting people talking and spreading awareness. This is A FICTIONAL ACCOUNT but it is getting people talking, thinking and debating about very real and serious issues, 4/5 for me this time.

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