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.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

10 Roald Dahl Tattoos - Literary Tattoos Series

I started the literary tattoos series back in February, and am only now putting together the next post. By series I clearly mean, when I can be bothered to post.

I'm following on with the children's book theme of the last post, but this time with a specific author, Roald Dahl. With such an imagination, not to mention brilliant illustrators like Quentin Blake, there are lots of amazing Roald Dahl tattoos out there (and some terrible ones).

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

April 2017 Link Love

Basset's Cove The Cornish Life - Reading, Writing, Booking

I don't know what to write for this introduction so I'm keeping it brief; here are some links to webpages I've liked in April. Enjoy!

Saturday, 29 April 2017

April 2017: Favourite Books

April 2017 Favourite Books - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

It's been a full month of reading this April, with a little more variety than usual, though there's still the usual big dose of murder.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in a Skip by Alexander Masters

Book Review

A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in a Skip by Alexander Masters

"It was an ordinary pocket notebook, ambushed by a person's desperation to record his or her life."

A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in a Skip will be published in hardback on 5th May 2017. It is written by Alexander Masters and published by 4th Estate.

I was really excited to read A Life Discarded because the author, Alexander Masters, wrote Stuart: A Life Backwards, which I loved (the film is also amazing, Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch being brilliant). However, I think, like a lot of other reviewers, this book just didn't live up to the level set by Stuart. A Life Discarded is a unique, intriguing book, and I definitely enjoyed reading it, but I think it unfortunately fails by being compared to its older, prettier, more accomplished sister (does that work as a metaphor?)

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Killer on the Wall by Emma Kavanagh

Book Review

The Killer on the Wall by Emma Kavanagh - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"It wasn't over. It had only just begun."

The Killer On The Wall is published in the UK today (20th April 2017). It is written by Emma Kavanagh and published by Cornerstone.

That quote is a little overly dramatic and cliched, and I'm afraid there is a lot of that in The Killer on the Wall. What starts off as an interestingly original thriller concept soon gets let down by the fairly unrealistic plot. If you suspend belief it's an enjoyable enough read and an interesting look at the science and debate around the makings of serial killers.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Sweetpea by C J Skuse

Book Review

Sweetpea by C J Skuse - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"It's an exciting privilege to watch someone die, knowing you caused it. Almost worth getting dolled up for."

Sweetpea will be released in the UK this Thursday (20th April 2017). It is written by C J Skuse and published by HQ.

If Georgia Nicolson (Angus, Thongs and Ful-Frontal Snogging) grew up and developed some seriously disturbing urges, this would be the diary she'd write.
A slightly more accessible example is Dexter meets Bridget Jones, but with infinitely more grit.

I read Sweetpea a couple of weeks ago when I had a horrible cold and this book was a brilliant distraction; funny, disturbing and unexpected. It's the diary of a serial killer with very relatable kill lists and a twisted sense of humour. This won't be everyone's cup of tea but I loved this refreshing book.

(FYI, bad language coming up. If you don't like swearing then don't read this review and don't read the book.)

Thursday, 13 April 2017

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips

Book Review

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"She carried the Database around inside of her; it floated in her brain like a net for catching and killing any glistening idea that came along."

The Beautiful Bureaucrat is released in the UK today (April 13th 2017). It is written by Helen Phillips and published by Pushkin Press.

This is a strange book, it's not really sure what it wants to be; it's part thriller, part magical realism, part exploration of the mundanity of modern life and part completely surreal hallucination. The Beautiful Bureaucrat attempts too much and doesn't quite hit the right note, but I did enjoy reading it and, having been a data drone in my work life, connect with Josephine a lot.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

How to be Human by Paula Cocozza

Book Review

How to be Human by Paula Cocozza - Reading, Writing, Booking

"His wildness was a gift. She wanted never to forget the immense favour he did them, the kindness of reminding them that no matter how lonely the city became, you could open a window or a door or even just an eye and find a mass of life that listened back."

How to Be Human is released in the UK today (April 6th). It is written by Paula Cocozza and published by Hutchinson.

I don't think I'm the only book blogger finding it difficult to review How to be Human; I've had a scout around Goodreads and a lot  of reviewers mention struggling to write up their feelings about the book. It may be because How to be Human is not like anything I've ever read before. It has similar themes to several books I've read; isolation, obsession and depression, but Paula Cocozza handles it in a totally unique way.
Honestly, I'm still not sure if I enjoyed the book or not, it's been a few weeks and I still don't know how I feel.
None of this is very helpful to you, is it? I'll crack on with the blurb.

Monday, 3 April 2017

March 2017 Link Love

Knights Templar Caves Discovers in Rabbit Hole - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

Another month, another round-up of links I've been loving on the web. As usual, there are lots of book reviews from fellow book bloggers, including a couple of classics. I've also found some useful writing tips, especially if you're a budding children's book author.
Finally, I've got some random links, with everything from underground caves to inspiring women standing up against sexual violence.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

March 2017: Favourite Books

Reading, Writing, Booking - March Favourite Books

As usual, I've ploughed through a lot of books this month. Most of them are from the same Ann Cleeve crime series, which I am loving. I've also been reading a lot of new releases from NetGalley and, while some have only been OK, there are a couple that have really gripped me.

Monday, 27 March 2017

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

Book Review

The 12 Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"Like those craters, Hawley's scars were signs of previous damage, that had impacted his life long before she was born. And like the moon, Hawley was always circling between Loo and the rest of the universe."

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley will be released on 6th April. It is written by Hannah Tinti and published by Tinder Press.

Wow, I loved this book. It's a little bit Tarantino and a little bit coming of age story. I know I'm not the first person to reference Tarantino when talking about The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley but the violence, beauty and characters really reminded me of his films. Yet, dare I say it, a little better written?

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

Book Review

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"The missing girl's name was Rebecca Shaw. When last seen she'd been wearing a white hooded top."

Reservoir 13 will be released on 6th April. It is written by Jon McGregor and published by 4th Estate.

This was such an unexpected but interesting little book. That sounds really patronising but I don't mean it to. With a missing girl story line I thought the plot line of Reservoir 13 would focus on the police investigation, but instead author Jon McGregor looks at how this event effects the community of the village she went missing in. It's not really like anything I've read before. It's about ordinary people and everyday life, yet it celebrates the beauty of the mundane.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Larchfield by Polly Clark

Book Review

Larchfield by Polly Clark - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"He can write about a hero, but he cannot be one."

Larchfield will be released on 23rd March. It is written by Polly Clark and published by Quercus.

Larchfield is one of those books that is well written, has fleshed-out characters and covers interesting themes, but it's also one I just could not get into. I should like it, I know, it ticks all the boxes but I really struggled to finish it. Maybe I'm just not intellectual enough. I only know a couple of W. H. Auden's poems and not much else about him. Whatever it was I just didn't connect with this book.

Friday, 17 March 2017

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

Book Review

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey - Reading, Writing, Booking

"There is the feeling here that civilization is still just a speck, and it makes me feel small in a good way."

To the Bright Edge of the World is written by Eowyn Ivey and published by Tinder Press.

This book is bloody amazing. I don't normally give out 5 star reviews, or reveal my star rating at the beginning of the review, but To the Bright Edge of The World is definitely a 5 star worthy book. I already mentioned it in my February Favourite Books post, and now I've finally got round to giving it a proper review.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Book Review

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

"People think that good and bad are opposites but they're wrong, they're just a mirror image of one another in broken glass."

Sometimes I Lie will be released on 23rd March. It is written by Alice Feeney and published by Harper Collins.

I wanted to read Sometimes I Lie both because of the blurb, which has drawn everyone in, and because it has had rave reviews. Sometimes these majorly hyped thrillers fall flat, but I did enjoy this one and it felt fresh and a bit different to the usual Gone Girl wannabes.