Wednesday 26 January 2022

Tell Me How To Be by Neel Patel

Tell Me How to BeTell Me How to Be by Neel Patel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 2 days

Pages - 336

Publisher - Trapeze books

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Lost in the jungle of Los Angeles, Akash Amin is filled with shame. Shame for liking men. Shame for wanting to be a songwriter. Shame for not being like his perfect brother. Shame for his alcoholism. And most of all, shame for what happened with the first boy he ever loved. When his mother tells him she is selling the family home, Akash must return to Illinois to confront his demons and the painful memory of a sexual awakening that became a nightmare.

Akash's mum, Renu, is also plagued by guilt. She had it all: doting husband, beautiful house, healthy sons. But as the one-year anniversary of her husband's death approaches Renu can't stop wondering if she chose the wrong life thirty-five years ago and should have stayed in London with her first love.

Together, Renu and Akash pack up the house, retreating further into the secrets that stand between them. When their pasts catch up to them, Renu and Akash must decide between the lives they left behind and the ones they've since created.

By turns irreverent and tender, filled with the beats of '90s R&B, Tell Me How to Be is about our earliest betrayals and the cost of reconciliation. But most of all, it is the love story of a mother and son each trying to figure out how to be in the world.

My Review

Growing up in a family where expectations and traditions are set, your brother is everything to make the parents proud and you seem to always be the opposite. You can be your true self, your career is a disappointment - you just want to write songs and you have a secret that is tearing you apart. That is Akash, never measuring up to family expectations, hiding his sexuality, shamed and his internal war causing addictions and destructive behaviour.

The book splits between the view points of Akash and his mum Renu, after his fathers sudden death she is finding herself in a strange new life. She can do what she wants and Renu has her own guilt and secrets. With opportunity and freedom she looks up her old flame but can a widow, with expectations really follow her heart after all these years?

The book is really emotive. I felt for Akash, I got annoyed at him, I felt sad for him, I wanted to hug him, I wanted to slap him. Self destructive behaviour, lashing out, hiding behind a fa├žade and struggling between who he is and who he appears to be for his family. They both, Akash and Renu visit back to their past and secrets that have plagued them and impacted on who they are and actions to the present predicaments they find themselves in.

Again with Renu, I fist pumped the air at one point GO GIRL then another I wanted to slap her for her cruel mouth. As you learn more about both complex characters you understand a bit more about why they are the way they are now, in the present. Woven throughout the book we have lyrics and music from the 90's some I knew and had a wee bit of nostalgia, some I had to ask Alexa to play.

I also liked learning a bit about Akash and Renu's culture, I was often putting the book down to google stuff and I do enjoy when a book gives you a chance to learn a bit more like this. the book features a lot of themes, as I said it is emotive. A gay man having to suppress who he is and the negative impact that has on him, sexuality, sex, love, relationships and Renu, how an arranged marriage impacted so heavily on her life, outlook. What it is like living where she is as a married woman, how the locals treat her and how things are different now she is a widow.

I could go on and on about this book to be honest, it has a very raw and human feel to it, things you like about them, things you don't, how they behave, react, act, family/relationship issues and of course the old actions and consequences. This is my first time reading this author, it won't be my last 4/5 for me this time.

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Friday 21 January 2022

No Less The Devil by Stuart MacBride

No Less The DevilNo Less The Devil by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 1 week

Pages - 480

Publisher - Bantam Press

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

'We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.'

It's been seventeen months since the Bloodsmith butchered his first victim and Operation Maypole is still no nearer catching him. The media is whipping up a storm, the top brass are demanding results, but the investigation is sinking fast.

Now isn't the time to get distracted with other cases, but Detective Sergeant Lucy McVeigh doesn't have much choice. When Benedict Strachan was just eleven, he hunted down and killed a homeless man. No one's ever figured out why Benedict did it, but now, after sixteen years, he's back on the streets again - battered, frightened, convinced a shadowy 'They' are out to get him, and begging Lucy for help.

It sounds like paranoia, but what if he's right? What if he really is caught up in something bigger and darker than Lucy's ever dealt with before? What if the Bloodsmith isn't the only monster out there? And what's going to happen when Lucy goes after them?

My Review

I love MacBride's Logan series and do enjoy his banter throughout his tales. In this one Detective Sergeant Lucy McVeigh is on the case of the Bloodsmith butcher, seventeen months, taking body parts and the police are seemingly no further forward. Lucy is also contacted by the now released killer of a homeless man, Benedict Strachan who was only a child when he committed the murder. If all that isn't enough Lucy is recovering from an attack, pushed to see a counsellor by her superiors or risk being taken off the case. Tis a busy book with a fair amount of bouncing between the case, Benedict and knowing something bad happened to the sergeant but not what.

It took me ages to settle to the book because it was jumping about. Benedict was a kid when he brutally murdered a homeless man, now released but his delusions have him in a deep grip. Why does Lucy give him any time? So we have that vein of the story. Then we have the something bad happened but we don't really know what because she doesn't want to gab about it but is going to a therapist, reluctantly and under threat. And then then main course, the investigation into the Bloodsmith, the brutality of the bodies, what is the motive, why does he gut them? As Lucy and her colleague dig into the case Lucy is being stalked, is it the butcher?

The book has so much going on and for me it didn't flow, it jumped too much. Then it got to a part where I had to go back and re read a few chapters because I was so confused to what was going on. What had I missed. I am the first to admit my concentration is a bit off just now but I don't think I am alone in feeling like this. It goes from being mysterious and suspense to just off the chart madness and I really struggled to gel with that. 2.5 rounded up to 3 because I do like his work, I did enjoy some of the laughs and the Dunk but otherwise, I can't say this was my favourite nor even close. MacBride is a witty writer, he combines macbre with humour and usually hooks you early on, this one just wasn't my fave of his offerings.

Available for pre-order from Amazon click HERE out to buy 28th April 2022. .

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Sunday 16 January 2022

Written In Blood by Chris Carter

Written in Blood (Robert Hunter, #11)Written in Blood by Chris Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time take to read - 3 days

Pages - 496

Publisher - Simon & Schuster UK

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

IF HE WRITES YOUR NAME DOWN, IT'S A DEATH SENTENCE . . Los Angeles, December 4th - exactly three weeks until Christmas day. Angela Wood, a master in the art of pickpocket, has just finished for the day - six hundred and eighty-seven dollars – not bad for less than fifteen minutes work.

As she celebrates her profitable day with a cocktail, one of the patrons in the lounge she’s in catches her attention by being rude to an old man. Angela decides to teach him a lesson, and steals the man’s expensive-looking leather bag.

Inside is no money ... no laptop computer ... nothing of any value ... at least not to Angela. Just a black, leather-bound book, surprisingly heavy. Curiosity takes over and in the comfort of her apartment, Angela quickly leafs through the pages.

That is when the worst nightmare of her life begins.
This is no ordinary book.
Read it at your own peril.

My Review

An exceptional thief decides to punish someone for their rudeness and steals something that puts her life in danger. A serial killer that wasn't on anyone's radar, killings follow seemingly no pattern or victimology. When Angela tangles with a cold calculated killer and takes what is his she tries to offload to the police and go about her business. Unfortunately for her she has no idea who she has robbed and Hunter and co may have to face a killer like none they have faced before.

This is book eleven, you could well pick this up as a standalone but the books are so good I would say go read them. Hunter is one of the best detectives, he has been head hunted by the FBI he is that good. Him and partner Garcia are up against a killer that has no fear, no set pattern and a unique insight into the killers crimes.

Brutal in how some of the killings are yet one or two have vibes of previous book kills or themes. I still really enjoy Carters books, the chapters are short, the storyline engaging and in this one very much cat and mouse yet it isn't always the police playing the role of the cat. Always interesting to hear from a cold killer and the *motives* of this killer is chilling, 4/5 for me. Looking forward to book twelve, can't believe that is me caught up with the whole series!

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Wednesday 12 January 2022

The Ends of the Earth by Abbie Greaves Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for The Ends of the Earth" by author Abbie Greaves.

About the author:

ABBIE GREAVES studied at Cambridge University before working in a literary agency for a number of years. She was inspired to write her first novel, The Silent Treatment, after reading a newspaper article about a boy in Japan who had never seen his parents speak to one another before. Abbie lives in Brighton. @AbbieGreaves1 IG @abbiegreavesauthor

The book is out NOW and available in treebook and ebook format, click HERE for Amazon.

The Ends of the EarthThe Ends of the Earth by Abbie Greaves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 325

Publisher -

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Mary O’Connor has been keeping a vigil for her first love for the past seven years.

Every evening without fail, Mary arrives at Ealing Broadway station and sets herself up among the commuters. In her hands Mary holds a sign which bears the words: ‘Come Home Jim.’

Call her mad, call her a nuisance, call her a drain on society – Mary isn’t going anywhere.

That is, until an unexpected call turns her world on its head. In spite of all her efforts, Mary can no longer find the strength to hold herself together. She must finally face what happened all those years ago, and answer the question – where on earth is Jim?

My Review

Bless her, poor Mary is devoted to her vigil. If she isn't working or volunteering she is spending her time with her sign at the train station "Come Home Jim" - it has been seven years and Mary hasn't missed a day. We don't know what happened to Jim nor why Mary does this. People think she is mad. When Mary gets a call to the volunteer line her whole world is shook and Mary's routine and life are about to take a huge turn! Alice is a reporter who chances upon Mary and wants to know more about her Jim, because of Alice's own past she can't let it go and won't stop until she gets answers.

So the story splits between present day, Mary's life/vigil and her past - how she met Jim, the impact he had on her life and what led up to the vigil.

I have been struggling to read, looking after a family member, stress city and now after effects of covid ugh my concentration is rubbish. This book I managed to sink into and read well over 100 (maybe closer to 200 if I remember) pages in one sitting. I haven't managed that since before everything kicked off here.

You feel for Mary, she is obviously devoted to Jim but what happened to him, where is he? I had so many theories and none wasn't even close. I got pulled into the story, their courting, the early days, the sadness and heartache in the present. Mostly just super nosey and wanting to know where Jim was!

Alice is a good character too, *journalist* you are like oh God she is going to exploit Mary for her own gain but she actually she really likes Mary and wants what is best for her. However she is also at risk of losing her job and Mary's story "Come Home Jim" could do just that but at what cost.

The characters are flawed but loyal and have heart so quite relatable for the reader, to us or loved ones. It was nice to pick up a book and fall into someone else's lives if only for a wee while. That is why I have always loved reading, the perfect escapism from your own life for a short time. This is my first time reading Greaves, she creates characters and situations you just want to know more and more about, if you want a page turner and to step into someone else's chaos for a little while. The book covers a fair few themes, relationships, friendships, love, recovery, mental health, loss, grieving, families, secrets to name but a few. 4.5/5 for me this time, as I said this is my first read by this author it won't be my last.

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Wednesday 5 January 2022

January Giveaway

Happy January. Our first competition of 2022.

Up for grabs is x1 £5 Amazon voucher. Amazon will not allow me to gift outside my own country therefore this is UK ONLY. To enter please use the rafflecopter below. Please only click options you complete, we do check and so many entrants were disqualified last month.

I know we have followers worldwide so I will get another competition up asap that everyone can enter, keep your eyes peeled.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday 4 January 2022

A Toast to the Old Stones: A Tale from Kinloch by Denzil Meyrick

A Toast to the Old Stones: A Tale from KinlochA Toast to the Old Stones: A Tale from Kinloch by Denzil Meyrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out as able over 4 days

Pages - 160

Publisher - Polygon

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

It's 1968, and the fishermen of Kinloch are preparing to celebrate the old New Year on the twelfth of January. The annual pilgrimage to the Auld Stones is a tradition that goes back beyond memory, and young Hamish, first mate on the Girl Maggie, is chuffed that he’s been invited to this exclusive gathering – usually reserved for the most senior members of Kinloch's fishing community.

Meanwhile, it appears that the new owners of the Firdale Hotel are intent upon turning their customers teetotal, such is the exorbitant price they are charging for whisky. Wily skipper Sandy Hoynes comes up with a plan to deliver the spirit to the thirsty villagers at a price they can afford through his connections with a local still-man.

But when the Revenue are tipped off, it looks as though Hoynes and Hamish’s mercy mission might run aground. Can the power of the Auld Stones come to their rescue, and is the reappearance of a face from Hoynes' past a sign for good or ill?

My Review

It is the 1960's, location is Kinloch, Scotland, the fishermen are preparing to celebrate and keep old traditions. To be invited along with the fishermen on such a "quest" is an honour not bestowed to many. Add into that a wee sneaky additional "mission" getting some bootleg whiskey into the hands of the locals whilst trying to avoid the authorities!

I loved reading about young Hamish, after reading the Daley series and we get wee bits of Hamish I am always wanting more, his back story, he is an interesting character. We get a bit more of that in this book. A book that looks at traditions, the livelihood of the locals, the perils of the sea (and trying to get some booze sneaked across the waters). Old stories/ghosts/history of the people/traditions - Scottish dialect, it was just a nice break from reality across the waters and time.

I hadn't realised this was book two so have just bought and downloaded the first "A Large Measure of Snow". You can absolutely read this as a standalone as I have, I love Hamish and his "gift" so reading about him as a youngster, his mentor/people and why Kinloch is a special wee place. As we have come to expect and know from Meyrick we also have a few chuckles along the way and being a bit spooked, it was just a perfect blend I thought! Looking forward to reading book one and hopefully we may see a third? 4.5/5 for us this time.

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