28 March 2017

Blog Tour: Reviews: Bamboo Trilogy by Ann Bennett


Source: Review Consideration | Blog Tour

I'm doing something a little differently here - I am reviewing the trilogy as a whole. Although all three books stand up fantastically in their own right, this delightful (and heartbreaking) trilogy comes together to paint an astounding portrait of Thailand during World War Two.

Click on the book covers above to be taken to my individual reviews.

5 Words on Bamboo Heart: Family, revenge, war, friendship, loyalty.
5 Words on Bamboo Island: Memories, family, love, passion, war.
5 Words on Bamboo Road: Family, loyalty, war, resistance, memories.

As a whole this trilogy is a fantastic glimpse into a war-torn Asia. I loved how family bonds and friendship and loyalty ties the series together as a whole, set against the harsh background of war in an occupied country.

There are threads of mystery throughout each of the stories, and this kept me reading. I wanted so badly to uncover the secrets of the past.

The characters are fantastic. I think my favourite is probably Laura, from Bamboo Heart, the descendant of a POW. I just loved how she was strong enough to pretty much put her life on hold, how she had this sparkling curiosity and large heart.

Top Ten Tuesday #84

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Authors I Can't Wait To Meet.

Yes, I have met/seen a fair few of these authors before in the past at various events. But still. Authors are amazing, magical people. They tend to be hilarious and I love listening to them talk about their books and take part in panels. And as usual my list is all UKYA! I hope you're paying attention, YALC!

  • Kevin Brooks
  • Melinda Salisbury
  • Zoe Marriott
  • Alwyn Hamilton
  • Terry Teri
  • Sarah Baker
  • Perdita & Honor Cargill
  • Katherine & Elizabeth Corr
  • Helen Maslin
  • Sophia Bennett

26 March 2017

Blog Tour: Review: The Witch Finder's Sister by Beth Underdown

The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six... 

1645. When Alice Hopkins' husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives.

But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women's names.

To what lengths will Matthew's obsession drive him?
And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?

Source: Review Consideration | Blog Tour

5 Words: Family, resentment, superstition, death, blame.

I'm not sure what I was expecting when I picked this up, but whatever my expectations were they were not only met but exceeded.

It took me some getting used to the writing style. This is very much written as Alice's story, her voice is very clear, and the style is slightly old-fashioned. Alice is not afraid to tell it as it is inside her head, but perhaps not so much to other people, especially her brother. I think what I loved most about the writing was how superstition and fear was very much evident. It almost had the feel of a horror, but it was very subtle in its presentations.

24 March 2017

Book Beginnings #35

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence. This is my first time

I am currently reading The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.
We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. The floor was of varnished wood, with stripes and circles painted on it, for the games that were formerly played there; the hoops for the basketball nets were still in place, though the nets were gone.
I suck at reading classics. As soon as something is labelled as a classic, I'm instantly put off. This is a throw back to high school and being forced to repeatedly read Great Expectations and memorise the first few chapter. I know this is unfair and that one of my favourite books of all time is considered a classic, but I still find it hard to look past my own feelings.

I am excited (and scared) to be starting this. It is talked about so much, it seems like everyone has an opinion already.
Moira, breezing into my room, dropping her denim jacket on the floor. Got any cigs, she said.
In my purse, I said. No matches though.
I think it will take some getting used to the style. Interesting concept for there to be a character smoking in a dystopian novel, usually it's outlawed. Kinda makes me want a cigarette, even though I quit years ago. 

Have you read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood?

21 March 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #83

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Books I Read in One Sitting.

This is something I don't really do so often anymore, because ADULTING SUCKS, but when it happens it's magic. I love it when I can't put a book down.

Which books kept you turning the pages?

18 March 2017

Blog Tour: Guest Post: Quieter than Killing by Sarah Hilary

Todaay I am delighted to invite Sarah Hilary to my blog to talk about her Marnie Rome series. I am a huge lover of crime fiction, so I was very excited to find out what the author's secrets were!

It's winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto streets of London. When Marnie's family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it.

Suddenly, events seem connected, and it's personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing. 

Dial M for Murder: the secrets inside my Marnie Rome crime series
As soon as I started writing crime, I knew I wanted to write a series. I love standalones (many of my favourite books are one-off psychological thrillers), but there’s something addictive about a series. I can’t imagine ever tiring of Highsmith’s Ripley books, for instance. Each one peels another layer from Tom’s character, or adds a layer. You can get hooked on a se-ries; maybe it’s the obsessive in me that loves them so much.

Much of the thrill in writing my debut, Someone Else’s Skin, came from knowing it would be the first in a series; I’d be spending a lot of time with these characters. I wanted readers hooked enough to keep reading, wanting to go on this long journey with Marnie, Noah and the team. To do this, I needed layered characters and plenty of mystery. As a story-teller, I have to perform a balancing act between intrigue and empathy. But I love a chal-lenge.

Can we get close to a character who is keeping secrets? Doesn’t closeness require trust, full disclosure? This is where the balancing act comes in. Marnie Rome is keeping secrets from everyone, including herself. She’s even keeping secrets from me; it’s one of the reasons I find her fascinating to write. In fact, the whole series is predicated on secrets. As it says on the front of Someone Else’s Skin: “Some secrets keep us safe, others will destroy us.” I must admit I’ve become a bit obsessed with the secrets Marnie was keeping. In each book, we learn a little more about her, but she does a mean line in double-bluffing. At heart, she is be-coming softer (and stronger) as the series progresses. This, for Marnie, is growth. She started out so prickly and unapproachable. She’s had to learn how to make herself vulnerable.

This, for me, is the secret of a good crime series: the gradual discovery of the central character(s) through an ever-varied set of challenges. Of course, plenty of long-running crime series do splendidly without a notable character arc for their heroes. Sherlock Holmes, whom

I’ve loved since I was ten, changed very little over the course of his adventures, but each time there was a flash of something new in his character—those were the moments I cherished. When Watson takes a bullet, for instance, in The Adventure of the Three Garridebs and we suddenly see how very much Holmes loves him). The depth and breadth of the character arc in the Dexter series is another great example.

For my Marnie Rome series, I aim to pick my crimes with care, so that the solving of them will bring out the best (and sometimes the worst) in Marnie. The second book, No Other Darkness, is about lost children. We learn about the kind of person Marnie was when she was sixteen, and the ways in which she’s changed. In book three, Tastes Like Fear, Marnie becomes close to an angry thirteen year old girl. And in my latest book, Quieter Than Killing, she must fight to save a brave but terrified ten year old boy.

We’re told as writers to put our heroes up trees and throw stones at them. Well, in the next book, Marnie might wish she was up a tree being pelted with stones, in preference to the fixes I’ve landed her in. Maybe in time she’ll give up all her secrets, but I can’t help wishing she won’t. I’m having far too much fun hunting them down.

14 March 2017

CORA AND THE REREADS: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

CORA AND THE REREADS is where I reread and review a book.

Sometimes a book is so awesome you have to pick it up again. Sometimes you feel like a different person than you were when you first read it. Sometimes you just need to read that book again.

Sixteen-year-old American girl Rory has just arrived at boarding school in London when a Jack the Ripper copycat-killer begins terrorising the city. All the hallmarks of his infamous murders are frighteningly present, but there are few clues to the killer’s identity.

“Rippermania” grabs hold of modern-day London, and the police are stumped with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. In an unknown city with few friends to turn to, Rory makes a chilling discovery…

Could the copycat murderer really be Jack the Ripper back from the grave?

Source: Purchase

5 Words: Ghosts, crime, fame, friendship, boarding-school.

I think I've actually lost count of the amount of times I have read this book and recommended it to people.

Times I've Recommended This Book:
❤ Twitter Chats
❤ Whenever anyone asks for a recommendation
❤ Any time there's a Ripper documentary on TV
❤ It's near Halloween
❤ Whenever someone mentions Urban Fantasy
❤ Any time there's a Ripper drama on TV
❤ Whenever someone mentions London
❤ If someone is remotely near Sci-Fi/Fantasy/YA in the bookshop
❤ If I see someone with pale skin and wildly curly dark hair
❤ It's near Valentines Day
❤ Whenever someone mentions Ghosts
❤ There's a readathon
❤ Someone is buying books
❤ If someone is remotely near Sci-Fi/Fantasy/YA in the library

I don't know quite what it is about the Shades of London series that has me addicted, but I bloody love it. It's one of my go-to series when I'm in a slump or I want to FEEL.

And boy, does this book make you feel.

As much as this is definitely a dark and gritty urban fantasy with GHOSTS IN LONDON WHICH ARE MY CATNIP, it is also lightened by humour and wit and friendship. And I love it. And I will never get bored of it.