Wednesday 31 August 2022

Meredith Alone by Claire Alexander

Meredith, AloneMeredith, Alone by Claire Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 368

Publisher - Michael Joseph

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

She has a full-time remote job and her rescue cat Fred. Her best friend Sadie visits with her two children. There's her online support group, her jigsaw puzzles and favorite recipes, her beloved Emily Dickinson, the internet, the grocery delivery man. Also keeping her company are treacherous memories of an unstable childhood, the estrangement from her sister, and a traumatic event that had sent her reeling.

But something's about to change. Whether Meredith likes it or not, the world is coming to her door. Does she have the courage to overcome what's been keeping her inside all this time?

My Review

Meet Meredith, she has been a prisoner in her own home for over 1214 days, she has a phobia of going outside but it hasn't always been this way. We meet Meredith on the morning it kicks off, ready to leave for work before being overcome and thereon in, effectively a prisoner of her home. However she has a full life, she has her wee companion Fred the cat, she is a dab hand at jigsaws, has online friends and support, her bestie comes round with the kids and she can make beautiful cakes. She has routine, her house is sparkling clean and now she has a "companion" coming, Tom, she doesn't expect much, he is paid to be there. However she finds herself opening up a little between Tom, her new online friend Celeste and one of the local kids who is cheekily charming. Meredith isn't speaking to her family and as the story unfolds we start to learn all about Meredith, her family and her condition and what brought her to how her life is now.

I really like this book, it brought me out of my reading slump and in some ways found myself relating to Meredith. I have withdrawn a bit from everything I love/do normally whilst trying to deal with grief/loss so finding some of Meredith's routines brought a bit of comfort. Set in Glasgow, who doesn't love a book with a location you know and or can relate to and whilst we predominantly are in Merediths life and house it is still nice.

The book has humour, hard themes, loss/grief (also of self), friendship, recovery, mental health, abuse, secrets, family, coping mechanisms as we go through life with Meredith not as a self help type. The book packs a lot in and whilst some scenes gave you a chuckle some made you just want to hug her. I think depending on your own experiences will depend on how much impact the book has on you but regardless of that I think just about everyone would enjoy it. It covers a wide range of issues through Meredith's personal accounts/experiences and gives the reader a chance for empathy rather than preaching or teaching but I think it carries an important message within. This is a great debut, 4.5/5 for me.

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Wednesday 24 August 2022

Edinburgh Book Festival

I went to pick up my pass, it isn't in the same location as when I went ?2 years ago, maybe 3? So this time it is at Edinburgh College of Art. It took us a bit longer to get to, the city was so busy, parking and get the tram was a no, there was no spaces and folk parked up on the verges. We parked along near the zoo and got the bus in then walked.

Luna didn't come with us but she absolutely checked out the pass and lanyard when I got home.

As you go in (depending which enterance you use) there is a bookshop and stand you can pick up a programme showing all the dates/times/events so we got one of them.

I forgot to mention the wee rubber ducks at the press tent, I love them although this year seemed less than previous but look how cute!

the enterance we went in had the site map (not sure if they are scattered around or if this is the only one).

There is decent amount of signage and we had gotten there in the afternoon so not sure if it would be the same from early on but there was still seats available. At the big screen and scattered around, grassy areas.

Wee gin van and there were other areas marked for food but we didn't go around all areas marked on the map (t was quite a quick visit for us) and a bar to the left of the press tent.

The toilets, they have male, female and one for everyone, nice to see inclusivity and they were kept in good order.

The usual big book display was on, I do love them.

Book signing tent, in the main part we went into.

And you can't go to Edinburgh without getting a picture of the castle.

Hopeful to actually get to see one of the events as the festival is 13th til the 29th but we also have the option of online if in person isn't achievable.

Wednesday 17 August 2022

The Survivors by Jane Harper

The SurvivorsThe Survivors by Jane Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 375

Publisher - Little Brown Books

Source - Netgalley & Bought Hardback

Blurb from Goodreads

Coming home dredges up deeply buried secrets...

Kieran Elliott's life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences.

The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he once called home.

Kieran's parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn.

When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away...

My Review

Book location is Evelyn Bay, Tasmania, beautiful but unpredictable sea that has already claimed lives. Kieran Elliot is back to help his mum, dad's dementia is much worse than Kieran realised and being home reignites all his guilt. Twelve years ago his brother and friend died and it is all Kieran's fault. Now back with his partner, also from there, with their baby Kieran is feeling mixed emotions and reception from people. When a young girl is found dead an investigation starts and a lot of the past is raked up which is never a good thing in a small town.

Intrigue, mystery, secrets, love, friendship, lies it has a mix of everything and I loved reading it when our weather turned so we had a thunder and lightning storm. It just made it for perfect reading, very atmospheric, she creates a great visual for the reader anyway but having it both on paper and surrounding me was just perfect timing.

It isn't the type of book where it is actions and fast paced, more of a slow burner but absolutely drawing you in. Small town, no privacy, everyone has an opinion on everyone and everything and you feel Kieran reexperiencing how he obviously felt back when the tragedy struck. Things highlight why we left i the first place, the impact on his relationship with his parents. Small bits of the story teased out and slowly revealed so you are kept guessing, well I was.

I think this is my second book by Harper and will absolutely be reading her others, 4/5 for me this time.

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Monday 15 August 2022

August Giveaway x1 of The Accomplice by Steve Cavanagh

Sorry it is halfway through the month, still trying to get on top of things here but didn't want to miss another giveaway, they always cheer me up :D

So up for grabs, as pictured, is x1 hardback copy of the newest crime fiction, Eddie Flynn book 7, "The Accomplice" only just released in July (21st) & x1 packet of Haribo gums. I will also add in a wee bookmark.

If you are in the UK and would rather an ecopy please specify that & we can have one sent directly from Amazon to your kindle. Treebook and sweets, as photographed, is open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday 13 August 2022

The Chosen by J R Ward

The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #15)The Chosen by J.R. Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 544

Publisher - Piatkus

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.

Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.

As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love... or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.

My Review

So I missed this book and read the one after so was going back however the books focus on certain characters and the one I read didn't have any impact from missing this. Book 15, we know Layla and Xcor's history was going to come crashing down at some point, we knew it would be fiery, I don't think anyone appreciated just how implosive it would be.

There is so much history between The Blackdagger Brotherhood & Xcor's band so I don't think anyone could have foreseen where it was headed. Now these books are always adult themed and have erotica with graphic scenes and body fluids galore. However this book actually, I felt, had much more focus on storyline, development of the characters, a lot of things I had been looking for closure or development from previous books/threads came to fruition. There is still romance, erotica and all that jazz but much more action this book round and sometimes I think you need it especially with so many characters. 4/5 for me this time, I have the next few of the series so hoping it won't be long before I get to the next installment.

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Monday 8 August 2022

Looking For Jane by Heather Marshall

Looking for JaneLooking for Jane by Heather Marshall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 384

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Amazon

'Just tell them you're looking for Jane...'

When Angela discovers a mysterious letter containing a life-shattering confession in a stack of forgotten letters, she begins to look for the intended recipient. Her search takes her to the 1970s and 80s, when a group of daring women operated an illegal underground abortion network known only by its whispered code name: Jane . . .

As a teenager, Dr. Evelyn Taylor was forced to give her baby up for adoption. Swearing she'll do everything she can to make sure other women have the right to choose, she joins the Jane Network to provide safe but illegal abortions. There, she crosses paths with Nancy, who was told that if she ever found herself 'in a position', she should ask for Jane. Nancy soon becomes the Network's newest volunteer, desperately trying to help others while family secrets threaten everything she knows to be true.

Over the years, Evelyn, Nancy, and Angela's lives intertwine to reveal the devastating consequences that come from a lack of choice, and the buried secrets that will always find a way to the surface . . .

Spanning decades, Evelyn, Nancy, and Angela's lives intertwine to reveal the devastating consequences that come from a lack of choice, and the buried truths that will always find a way to the surface...

My Review

Spanning over many timelines and characters the book focuses centrally on abortion, it is fictional based on historical facts around abortion. It looks at young mothers to be, unmarried, no father for multiple reasons and the home for these "unfortunates" and the nuns that "care" for them.

We go through the horrors women face because abortion is illegal at one of the timelines and what they go through, in detail at points, protests. We also look at motherhood, the impact is has when it is thrust upon you, when you have a partner, when you don't. Options available to women back then or lack of and how one woman's experience drives her to "Looking for Jane".

The book is graphic, brutal, emotive and heartbreaking at points. It has been well researched and multiple links and info available for the reader when they finish.

You don't realise how lucky you are (general you) in the healthcare and options we have as modern day females. That said what is going on in America with the abortion laws really brings a lot of this home just how scary it truly is and the risk women are yet again going to put at. A book that gives pause for thought, 4/5.

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Sunday 7 August 2022

The Last House by R.G. Adams - Blog Blast

Today is my turn on the blog blast, for my turn I have my review, enjoy.

The Last HouseThe Last House by R.G. Adams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 320

Publisher - Riverrun

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

Social worker Kit Goddard is convinced that Sandbeach Child Services have let an injured seventeen-year-old boy down, just like they'd done to her brother ten years earlier. Since the referral came in, it had been passed between departments, her own manager Georgia and colleague Tim brushing it off as a low risk, low priority case. But Kit can't shake the feeling that something isn't quite right.

Scanning the referral, she notices that the house seventeen-year-old Dylan Meredith lives in with his 'weird' mother had been described as decrepit. The anonymous caller said he was injured, frightened and afraid to tell the truth.

As Kit begins to look deeper into the history of the family, she learns that Dylan's grandmother had been an inpatient at Penlan psychiatric hospital and had died there in 2012. But as her colleague Tim had stressed, this was not a case for psychiatric services.

In a bid to trace the anonymous caller for more information, Kit sets of to the small coastal town of Rock. Only to be confronted with the sense of strangeness that surrounds the Meredith family and the rumours that have troubled this small community for years.

My Review

So if you haven't read the first book in this series I would say it isn't necessary to be honest as Kit is still relatively new to the job and finding her feet. Her recent case is referenced and there are still teething problems to her settling and finding her rythmn. A seventeen year old comes across her radar, a fair few red flags and it seems people in the office are quite eager to close the case. Kit being a kid from a care background feels something isn't right and takes a vested interested getting herself into some hot water, bit of a theme with her.

I think this book is very different pace and feel from the first book, this one has a more slower pace as Kit tries to bond and get a handle on Dylan, his mother and their situation. We also see a lot of Kit's own personal life, issues with her biological parents, her relationships with her siblings and a bit of a curve ball from life causing them all to assess their relationships and actions going forth.

I think the book may prove a tad emotive for some depending on your own personal history and mental health does feature a bit within this book. We also have a look at the issues faced by social workers, red tape. office politics and abuse of power and manipulation especially as Kit is a newbie and does get herself involved more than some of the other workers seem to. Really interesting to read despite not being huge parts of the story I thought it was interesting none the less and how shady and not very nice some of these characters are. It is a bit of a slower start than book one but the last quarter really kicks up a notch and you find yourself not wanting to put it down to see where it goes 4/5.

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Tuesday 2 August 2022

The Dry by Jane Harper

The Dry (Aaron Falk, #1)The Dry by Jane Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 336

Publisher - Abacus

Source - bought

Blurb From Goodreads

A small town hides big secrets in this atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.
In the grip of the worst drought in a century, the farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily when three members of a local family are found brutally slain.
Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk reluctantly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his childhood friend, loath to face the townsfolk who turned their backs on him twenty years earlier.
But as questions mount, Falk is forced to probe deeper into the deaths of the Hadler family. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret. A secret Falk thought was long buried. A secret Luke's death now threatens to bring to the surface in this small Australian town, as old wounds bleed into new ones.

My review

Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk is heading back to his small town home, left under a dark cloud and now no choice but to return. His childhood friend Luke and his family are dead by murder/suicide. Aaron can't quite believe it but on some level maybe just maybe could Luke have really have done this atrocity?

Aaron doesn't get the most warm welcome, the small town is facing the worst drought in one hundred years which is affecting everyone and tempers are raised. Whilst Aaron and one officer unofficially look into the deaths Aaron also has to face the wrath of what he ran from. Small towns don't forget and everything must be answered for.

This is part police investigation, a bit psychological thriller, small town mentality and intrigue as we flip between present and the past with the lead up what led Aaron to leave town. Violence, secrets, lies, friendships, small town mentality and all the jazz that comes with it. You have the two deaths/timelines also the effects of the drought on the towns people and the stresses/issues that brings too. Different but interesting and book one, I will be looking out for the next in the series, 4/5 for me.

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