Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrère

Book Review

The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrère - Reading, Writing, Booking

"I was thinking of the big white void that had slowly taken over inside him until all that was left was that semblance of a man dressed in black."

The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception is written by Emmanuel Carrère and published by Vintage.

I'd never heard of The Adversary before, or Jean-Claude Romand, but when I saw this latest edition on NetGalley I had to request it as the true story sounded so incredible. In fact, I think if the story of a man conning his family for almost 20 years and then killing them all before his secret could come out was written in a fiction, I would have said it wasn't believable.

And yet, real life is often stranger than fiction, Luckily, Carrère tells this story in a way that is quite understated, letting the brutality of the crime do the talking rather than courting controversy by inserting thrills. The Adversary is a well written and fascinating exploration of a crime and the criminal.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Audiobook vs Reading - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - Reading, Writing, Booking

This is a general ramble on my part, a little bit about the pros and cons of listening to audiobooks over reading, it's not specifically about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy but as that's the audiobook I've just finished I'll mention it here.

First off, let me say, I loved The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Even though I'd never fully read it before I grew up knowing large parts of it because my Dad quoted it all the time

"The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't."

I quite often thought he was mad, going on about depressed robots and whales falling through the air, but all becomes clear once you read it, or listen to it.

That's what this is, it's not a review, I'll tell you right now that I gave it four and a half stars, I'd give it five but I only give it to my very favourite books and this didn't quite make it.
But part of me wonders if this is because I listened to it on Audible instead of reading it. Did I miss out on something? Or did I gain more by having it read to me by the wonderful Stephen Fry?

This is quite a rambling post about my own experience with audiobooks, if you want you can skip to the bottom where there's a simple pros and cons summary of audiobooks vs 'real' books.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

August 2017 Link Love

Hush Colourblock Jumper - Reading, Writing, Booking

Like my monthly favourites post I'm afraid August's link love post is late too, so late that it is now cold and raining and August feels like a distant memory. I  hope you like this month'slinks, there are a lot of book reccomendations, some great writing tips and quite a lot of autumn-themed randomness.

Monday, 11 September 2017

August 2017 Favourite Books

August 2017 Favourite Books - Reading, Writing, Booking

August's favourites are a little late this month. I had a week off to celebrate my birthday (30, how am I so old?), and I meant to be organised and schedule posts but never got round to it. I'm now rushing to hurry up.
This month's favourite books post is a steady balance of classics and new releases, with horror, humor and suspense all included.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Break by Marian Keyes

Book Review

The Break by Marian Keyes - Reading, Writing, Booking

"We were so tightly bonded and our sundering has been shocking and brutal. His departure was too sudden; the wrench was ragged and rough."

The Break is released in the UK today (7th September 2017). It is written by Marian Keyes and published by Penguin Michael Joseph.

Regular readers of Reading, Writing, Booking (all three of you) may be surprised to see me review an author who is so often classified as Chick-Lit (unfairly I think). Marian Keyes doesn't often write about mysterious murders, which are usually my thing, but I'm actually a big fan of Keyes' work and used to read her books a lot when I was younger.
My tastes have changed a bit over the years and I don't reach for them as much as I used to but I still get excited when there is a new Marian Keyes novel out.

The Break is her latest book, out today. After a slow start I found myself hooked to the story of two people and their 'break' from marriage. Keyes really understands the dynamics of couples and she writes in such an honest and often hilarious way.

Also, Marian Keyes herself is bloody amazing, she does these hilarious YouTube videos and has written and spoken really honestly about her struggles with depression.

Monday, 4 September 2017

The History of Bees by Maja Lunde

Book Review

The History of Bees by Maja Lunde - Reading, Writing, Booking

" order to live in nature, with nature, we must detach ourselves from the nature in ourselves."

The History of Bees will be released in the UK on 7th September 2017. It is written by Maja Lunde and published by Scribner.

The History of Bees is a wonderfully written but sometimes slow look at the lives of three different beekeepers. It's also a truly terrifying examination of how important bees are to the world and our existence.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

Book Review

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda - Reading, Writing, Booking

"I wonder if Mia thinks I have a dark side. Most likely, as far as she knows, I am just her dear loving husband."

Best Day Ever will be released on 7th September 2017. It is written by Kaira Rouda and published by HQ.

I blasted through Best Day Ever, enjoying the irritatingly deranged narrator and slow burning mystery created by Kaira Rouda.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The Burning Girl by Claire Messud

Book Review

The Burning Girl by Claire Messud - Reading, Writing, Booking

"Sometimes I felt that growing up and being a girl was about learning to be afraid."

The Burning Girl will be released on 7th September. It is written by Claire Messud and published by Fleet.

This is a strange one. I was expecting The Burning Girl to be a thriller, but it's more of an exploration of a friendship with a slow (forgive me for the pun) burn. It has depth and Messud's writing is beautiful yet realistic.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah

Book Review

Did You See Melody by Sophie Hannah - Reading, Writing, Booking

"If I could turn and run, I would. Run back home, however long it took."

Did You See Melody? will be released on August 24th. It is written by Sophie Hannah and published by Hodder & Stoughton.

Did You See Melody was one of those books that I was really immersed in when I was reading, but once I put it down the story left me quickly and I wasn't particularly inclined to pick the book up again. Some books are like that; intriguing but not memorable.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

Book Review

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz - Reading, Writing, Booking

"Diana Cowper had planned her funeral and she was going to need it. She was murdered about six hours later that same day."

The Word is Murder will be released on August 24th. It is written by Anthony Horowitz and published by Century.

Anthony Horowiz takes a risk with this one, with a unique narrative where he inserts himself into the story. Some reviewers have loved it but I'm not sure it's paid off. However, The Word is Murder is still an intriguing thriller with a lot of twists and a somehow blank yet engaging detective.

Friday, 11 August 2017

1st Anniversary and Philip Pullman Wedding Reading

I got married a year ago today. Apart from having to halt the ceremony briefly because I thought I was going to faint and/or vomit, it was an amazing day.

I won't waffle on about the wedding as I know that can bore people to death, but I wanted to share with you my wedding reading. We're not religious and, me being me, I wanted readings from books. But, in the end, we only had one reading because only one really stood out for me.

Monday, 7 August 2017

10 Jane Austen Tattoos - Literary Tattoos Series

Most of my Literary Tattoos posts so far have either been based on children's books or fantasy novels, which all have a range of illustrations and symbols that make great tattoos. For this tattoo post I thought I'd opt for a classic author.

Jane Austen's books are chock full of quotes that prove to be popular as tattoos and, while there aren't that many obvious illustrations, people are really creative at coming up with Austen-esque designs.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Classic Literature: Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Book Review

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons - Reading, Writing, Booking

"I saw something nasty in the woodshed."

Cold Comfort Farm is written by Stella Gibbons and published by Penguin Essentials.

I know I've only just included this book in my July Favourites but I wanted to write a proper review of Cold Comfort Farm. Plus, I haven't reviewed a classic in a while. I always wonder if there's any point reviewing classic books, as pretty much everything that can be said about the book has already been said, but I enjoyed this book and wanted to share it, hopefully some people will take something new from it.

Monday, 31 July 2017

July 2017 Link Love

Barcelona - Reading, Writing, Booking

Some more monthly web love, with book lists, research tips and fashion that I'm not cool enough to wear.

Friday, 28 July 2017

July 2017: Favourite Books

July 2017 Favourite Books - Reading, Writing, Booking

July was more of a mixed month of reading than last month, though there were still a couple of Midsomer novels too. There's a mix of old and new, fantasy, comedy, classic and, of course, crime. Plus, I've actually read a couple of books which I've been meaning to read for a long time, so I feel good ticking them off my list.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

Book Review

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Book Store by Matthew Sullivan - Reading, Writing, Booking

"To the inexperienced, many BookFrogs appeared as derelict or homeless, but to the seasoned eye it was clear that they'd shed themselves of the world, rejecting its costumes and rules in favour of paper and words."

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore will be released on 24th August. It is published by William Heinemann and written by Matthew Sullivan.

This book really surprised me. I thought it would be a cosy murder mystery with a quaint book shop at the centre. But not at all, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore unravels two mysteries with the perfect balance between a cutesy mystery and a goreish shock-fest.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The House by Simon Lelic

Book Review

The House by Simon Lelic - Reading, Writing, Booking

"This thing I've planned for so carefully; it has all gone drastically, horribly wrong."

The House will be released on 17th August. It is published by Penguin and written by Simon Lelic.

In my last post I reviewed The Upstairs Room which has a very similar premise to The House by Simon Lelic. Both focus on a couple who move into a seemingly too good to be true house with unsettling results. While I enjoyed reading The Upstairs Room more, I did like The House too and found it a well-plotted thriller that kept me turning the pages.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne

Book Review

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne - Reading, Writing, Booking

"It was there from the beginning, the day they first saw the house. Eleanor noticed the smell first."

The Upstairs Room will be published on 27th July. It is published by Picador and written by Kate Murray-Browne.

I included The Upstairs Room in my June Favourite Books post and now here's my full review. As I said before, this book is like a subtle version of a classic haunted house story. It unfolds slowly but that's part of its attraction, it's an in depth look at people and the way a building can affect them.

Friday, 14 July 2017

10 Lord of the Rings Tattoos - Literary Tattoos Series

Another in my randomly posted Literary Tattoos series. I chose Lord of the Rings tattoos, not just because I like the books, but because they have such huge potential for tattoos. Elvish language, symbols, quotes, maps, characters, there are so many Lord of the Rings tattoos out there that it was hard narrowing it down to ten of my favourite ones, especially as I'm including The Hobbit tattoos in this post. However, I have whittled it down and here are ten amazing LOTR tattoos.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Soot by Andrew Martin

Book Review

Soot by Andrew Martin - Reading, Writing, Booking

"The murder of Matthew Harvey, painter of shades, had been much discussed in the city."

Soot is released in the UK today (6th July 2017). It is published by Corsair and written by Andrew Martin.

I was really excited to read Soot by Andrew Martin, a Georgian (I think) murder in atmospheric York. It's an original murder mystery, which is refreshing in this genre, which is both atmospheric and funny.

Monday, 3 July 2017

June 2017 Link Love

The Valentine House by Emma Henderson - Reading, Writing, Booking

I know this is such a blogger thing to say but I can't believe June is already over. The first half of 2017 has gone, what happened?!

Friday, 30 June 2017

June 2017: Favourite Books

June 2017 Favourite Books - Reading, Writing, Booking

June was the month I started reading the Chief Inspector Barnaby books, aka the Midsomer Murders books. So nearly all of my favourite books this month are from the series.
I've also been battling through a couple of other long books, namely the complete collection of H.P. Lovecraft and Middlemarch on Audible. I've been reading them for months and it's taking forever, but I don't want to include them as I haven't finished them yet (also I'm not loving Middlemarch).

So a brief and Midsomer full Favourite Books post this month.

Monday, 26 June 2017

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Book Review

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - Reading, Writing, Booking

"I liked myths. They weren't adult stories and they weren't  children's stories. They were better than that. They just were."

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is written by Neil Gaiman and published by Headline in the UK and William Morrow in the US and Canada, where I bought my copy.

I can't believe that I hadn't read any Neil Gaiman books until last year. As a big Terry Pratchett fan I started with Good Omens, written by Pratchett and Gaiman. Then I came across this lovely paperback edition of The Ocean at the End of the Lane at Mermaid Tales bookshop when I was in Tofino for my honeymoon and decided to try out my first fully Gaiman novel. I was not disappointed, in fact I was a little surprised; described as a fairytale for adults I thought the book might be a bit cutesy, but it manages to be nostalgic and magical but also terrifying and intensely sad.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Revival by Stephen King

Book Review

Revival by Stephen King - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"This is how we bring about our damnation, you know - by ignoring the voice that begs us to stop. To stop while there's still time."

Revival is written by Stephen King and published by Hodder & Stoughton.

I think my Stephen King books are moving around by themselves. I thought I dropped my copy of The Gunslinger own the back of a chest of drawers, in fact I'm sure it fell down there, but a few weeks later it was sitting on my bookshelves again as though it had never moved.

I also don't actually remember getting this copy of Revival by Stehen King. I was just looking at my Stephen King books one day and realised that this new hardback was sitting among them as though it had always been there. I must have got it in a birthday or Christmas haul and forgotten about it. At least that's what I tell myself, but I think it may have just appeared.

However it got on my shelves I'm glad I read Revival, it felt like a return to classic King but also something a little newer and fresh. It stands uniquely n his back catalogue as an odd mix of not quite horror, not quite science fiction and not quite thriller, yet all of these things. I'm not explaining it very well, it's an unusual book, with the story spread over a long period of time and with one of the most terrifying endings I've ever read.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Writer's life: an update and a ramble

This is a little update on what I'm up to with writing, work and life generally at the moment. If you come here to read book reviews and have absolutely no interest in me then please skip this post, I should have another book review up next week.

If, on the other hand, you read my book Highlanders' Revenge and enjoyed it, or you're a freelance writer too and want to know how a fellow one makes a living then read on, it'll be brief, I promise.

Writer's life: an update and a ramble - Reading, Writing, Booking

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

Book Review

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"Don't stop reading. I need you to understand what I have done."

The Fourth Monkey will be published in the UK on 27th June. It is written by J.D. Barker and published by HQ.

This book has garnered a lot of attention on blogs and social media, with lots of 5 star reviews on Goodreads. But, as usually happens for me with majorly hyped books, I feel like I'm missing something. I did find The Fourth Monkey interesting and read it pretty quickly; it's got a particularly dark serial killer, a lot of twists and is fast paced. However, it's also completely unbelievable and borders on the silly. But, if you don't mind suspending your belief, and you have a strong stomach, then you'll probably enjoy The Fourth Monkey.

Monday, 12 June 2017

10 Discworld Tattoos - Literary Tattoos Series

I'm continuing my Literary Tattoos series with tattoos inspired by one of my favourite authors, Terry Pratchett. I'm focusing on his Discworld series which provides plenty of potential for interesting and sometimes downright bizarre tattoos.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

What You Don't Know by JoAnn Chaney

Book Review

What You Don't Know by JoAnn Chaney - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"Seever was like the chorus of a terrible song, set on infinite replay. He was the awful taste caught in the back of your mouth, the one that can't be rinsed away. The bloodstain in the carpet that won't ever come out."

What You Don't Know was released in the UK on 9th February 2017. It is written by JoAnn Chaney and published by Pan MacMillan.

This book has a new way of looking at a serial killer thriller; focusing on the aftermath and how the people caught up in the investigation cope years later. Of course, more murders then start that seem to be linked with the previous killings. Points for originality and the story is good in What You Don't Know but the writing lets it down and there's a general trying to hard feel to the whole thing.

Monday, 5 June 2017

May 2017 Link Love


The first half of May was mainly cold and grey, so I spent more time inside on the web than usual and discovered lots of book reviews, writing tips and random fashion and travel posts.
The sun did eventually come out and, like a true Brit I spent the rest of the time desperately roasting myself to the point of pinkness.

Friday, 2 June 2017

May 2017: Favourite Books

May 2017 Favourite Books - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

It's been a bit of a disappointing month for reading, I've worked my way through a lot of mediocre thrillers (follow me on Goodreads to see what I've been reading). There are only three books that really stood out in May, and none of them are new releases. I actually haven't done much reading on my Kindle this month and it's been nice to get back to real books. You just can't beat 'em.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter

Book Review

The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"Ambletern was a different sort of place, a house brimming with history and secrets and promise. A house where things happened."

The Weight of Lies will be published on 6th June 2017. It is written by Emily Carpenter and published by Lake Union Publishing.

This book has some excellent elements mixed with some really terrible ones, it adds up to a mystery that is only OK, but is worth a read if you want something fairly frivolous and not too in-depth.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Classic Children's Books: The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson

Book Review

"Plop was fat and fluffy.
He had a beautiful heart-shaped ruff.
He had enormous, round eyes.
He had very knackety knees.
In fact, he was exactly the same as every baby barn owl that has ever been - except for one thing.
Plop was afraid of the dark."

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark is written by Jill Tomlinson and illustrated by Paul Howard. It is published by Egmont.

My last review was on a book about kidnapping and rape and now here's a review about an owl called Plop who's scared of the dark, I like to mix it up.

I thought I'd do another review of books from my childhood. I loved The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark when I was younger, I think I had the audio book on cassette too (yes, I'm old) and used to listen to it before I went to sleep. It's funny, it's sweet and it teaches children not to be afraid of the dark without being preachy.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Room by Emma Donoghue

Book Review

Room by Emma Donoghue - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

“Scared is what you're feeling. Brave is what you're doing.”

Room is written by Emma Donoghue and published by Picador.

Room has divided a lot of readers, with some loving the 5-year-old protagonist and others not able to read much further than the first few pages. I for one read Room in one sitting and found it an odd mixture; naïve and horrific at the same time.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Book Review

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

“The rest of us become narrow and mean when we live falsely. I'm sick to death of living falsely. I've been doing it for years.”

The Paying Guests is written by Sarah Waters and published by Virago.

I’ve never read any Sarah Waters before but I’ve heard good things. Unfortunately, though there is some excellent writing and interesting characters, I felt The Paying Guests dragged on much too long and ran out of steam.