Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Books I have read

Relativity – Antonia Hayes #BlogTour

relativity-blog-tour-19-january-2017
Ethan is an exceptionally gifted young boy, obsessed with physics and astronomy.
His single mother Claire is fiercely protective of her brilliant, vulnerable son. But she can’t shield him forever from learning the truth about what happened to him when he was a baby; why Mark had to leave them all those years ago.
Now age twelve, Ethan is increasingly curious about his past, especially his father’s absence in his life. When he intercepts a letter to Claire from Mark, he opens a lifetime of feelings that, like gravity, will pull the three together again.
Relativity is a tender and triumphant story about unbreakable bonds, irreversible acts, and testing the limits of love and forgiveness.

Antonia Hayes, who grew up in Sydney and spent her twenties in Paris, currently lives in London with her husband and son. Relativity is her first novel.

For further information please contact Clara Diaz on
020 3122 6565 | clara.diaz@littlebrown.co.uk

review-flourish

My Review

This book starts with a heart-stopping opening of four-month old Ethan having stopped breathing this is a book that really defies pigeon-holing as a distinct type of book. There is the discovery ten years later of what happened on that day, but there is also a lot about physics, a boy living with a brain injury and the relationship between a mother and her son to name but a few of the topics covered in this immensely readable novel.
Twelve year old Ethan lives in Australia with his mother Claire and he can ‘see’ physics. He is the nerdy child in the class, his friends now scoring any gift that is academic and is finding it hard to find his place in the world. He is also a boy who knows practically nothing about his father, least of all the fact that Mark was convicted of harming him as a baby.

Antonia Hayes walks an incredibly delicate line when reaching back into the past to discover what happened to Ethan one day when he was in the care of his father and she does so without resorting to clichés which in turn makes this a book that has all the shades between black and white. For that alone she deserves the plaudits that she has received across the world for Relativity. Into that mix she uses a lot of physics metaphors to explain both physics and life. Don’t worry if you’re not sure what worm-holes (except for those made by worms) are though because the explanations never get so complex that this relatively simple soul could follow the theory.

At its heart though, once the physics and the searching for the truth are taken out of the equation, this is a story about relationships of which we are treated to many. There is the most important one to Ethan, that between him and his mother. The woman who has protected and cared for him for his whole life, and so once the revelation comes that she hasn’t been honest with him, he has to renegotiate his view. When admitted to hospital Ethan strikes up a relationship with a girl who suffers with severe epilepsy and discovers true friendship, not like that he shared with his boyhood friend Will but one where the two don’t have to share each other’s interests but can use them to discover truths in their own lives. There is also the relationship that Ethan wants with his father, and all the difficulties that brings with it especially as Mark himself has a fractured relationship with his dying father and his brother.

Ethan’s narrative was believable given his gift for physics and although I guess his age was chosen to make some of the decisions he made and the lack of supervision realistic, he did come across at times as someone younger, except of course when discussing his phenomenal knowledge of theoretical physics! Children’s voices are always hard to do well and

Relativity is a touching story which thankfully falls well-short of every becoming mawkish thanks in part to the physics which, while at times lends a whimsical feel, actually keeps the book taut in its execution by removing the need for endless navel-gazing. I really do prefer books to allow the actions and dialogue do the talking, thereby allowing the reader to reach their own conclusions and this is one such book.

First Published UK: 7 April 2016
Publisher: Corsair
No of Pages: 368
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

hayes-antonia-credit-angelo-sgambati

Antonia Hayes credit Angelo Sgambati

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (January 18)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lipsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

My current read is one for my Mount TBR challenge The Cipher Garden by Martin Edwards the second in the Lake District Mystery series. I purchased this one in  December 2015 and having really enjoyed the first in this series, The Coffin Trail, last month I think I’m in for a treat.

The Cipher Garden

Blurb

I thought you were dead…’
In the peaceful village of Old Sawrey, in the idyllic Lake District, Warren Howe is brutally slaughtered with his own scythe by a mysterious hooded figure. The police have several suspects, but there is insufficient evidence to make an arrest.
Years later an anonymous tip-off sparks the interest of DCI Hannah Scarlett, who heads the local Cold Case Review Team. With the help of historian Daniel Kind, Hannah digs deeper in the quest for truth and discovers that, in Old Sawrey, old sins cast long shadows. Following the killer’s trail, Hannah arrives at a shocking conclusion, one that will change lives forever. Amazon

I have just finished the excellent, gripping, page-turning extravaganza which was Her Husband’s Lover by Julia Crouch – my proper review will follow shortly!

her-husbands-lover

Please see yesterday’s post for an excerpt and the synopsis.

Next up is a book which has caused great interest amongst the early readers on twitter; Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough and comes complete with the hashtag #WTFthatending

behind-her-eyes

Blurb

Only two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

David and Adele seem like the ideal pair. He’s a successful psychiatrist, she is his picture-perfect wife who adores him. But why is he so controlling? And why is she keeping things hidden?

As Louise, David’s new secretary, is drawn into their orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong–and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets. NetGalley

So that’s what I’m reading this week – what have you chosen? Do let me know in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (January 17)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My opening paragraph this week comes from Her Husband’s Lover by Julia Crouch, another book I’ve been looking forward to reading with a huge amount of anticipation.

her-husbands-lover

Blurb

She stole her husband. Now she wants to take her life.

After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start. Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died.

Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though.

But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie. And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her – the life she would have had if Sam had lived.

Her husband’s lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her? Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

‘Get back. Get back!’
In the roar of the night, her blood-red eyes flick to the rear-view mirror. Behind, the scarlet Porsche bears down on her, the headlights dazzle blinding her, even through thick sheets of rain. She takes a sudden turn onto the unmade track that leads to the clay pits. But, he follows, stuck to her like the devil. Stones ricochet against the side of her little white Fiesta, whose worn wheels lurch in and out of potholes, which, brim-full of water, are deeper than they appear in the darkness.
The children, blanket-wrapped and strapped snug in the back, do not stir.
Thank God.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well that definitely got my adrenaline rushing and there was no way I wanted to stop after this opening paragraph although I dreaded to read what would come next.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Sixth Window – Rachel Abbott

Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction
5*s

I have followed this series since first discovering it soon after becoming a kindle owner back in 2010 and have eagerly awaited each new book ever since. Rachel Abbott creates believable scenarios which touch on the important, and gritty subjects, that we might like to close our eyes to but never forgets that what the reader wants is a cracking good story. Better still her lead detective, the handsome and caring DCI Tom Douglas, creates an attractive backdrop, well, in my mind anyway.

In The Sixth Window Natalie Grey finds something disturbing on her partner’s laptop which throws her into a panic. So much so that she wants to scoop up her daughter Scarlett and take her to a place of safety. But part of her can’t believe that what she’s seen is true. After all she’s known Ed Cooper since she was a teenager, all through her marriage to his best friend Bernie and he was the person she turned to when he was killed in a hit and run accident.

As a temporary measure Natalie finds Scarlett and herself a furnished flat to rent in an old building in Manchester. Scarlett is bored, it is the summer holidays and she is far from her friends but hey she’s got plenty of school-work to be getting on with and the library is close by. Yes, that isn’t what happens at all. As I said Rachel Abbott writes believable stories, not fairy tales! Instead Scarlett mooches around her new home bored and angry with her mother until she hears voices… having discovered that the apartment is built on the site of an old workhouse, Scarlett wonders if she is hearing echoes from the past, needless to say she decides to investigate.

Meanwhile the disturbing suicide of a young girl is keeping our favourite DCI busy and there is a link to Natalie and Scarlett which he can’t ignore and as Bernie’s name keeps coming up in his investigations Tom Douglas has to face the fact that the former policeman may have been hiding a secret that his wife isn’t ready to confront. By this point in the plot I was well and truly hooked and found myself turning the pages ever faster as my brain whirred around trying to cling onto the facts while the suspicions swirled all around. This really is a fast-moving plot with plenty of the intrigue which I love. The characters are well-drawn and even if Natalie is prone to putting her head in the sand over some of the discoveries made, I liked the fact that she was determined to protect her teenage daughter no matter what. This combined with the recent loss of her husband meant that I was able to sympathise with her, which was in direct contrast to some of the other characters I met during The Sixth Window, who were downright creepy, none more so than the janitor of the building, the description Rachel provides of this dear soul is far from flattering, I do hope it wasn’t based on anyone she knows!

As with all my favourite crime fiction novels, The Sixth Window has a number of strands which are deftly pulled together to provide a scary picture which sadly isn’t quite as far from the truth as we may like to believe. I don’t normally mention the endings of books, for obvious reasons, but this one had me literally gasping with disbelief as my jaw dropped. In conclusion this book is the best in the series yet, brilliant plot, contemporary storyline, great characterisation which culminates in what on reflection seemed to be the only ending possible.

I’d like to thank the author Rachel Abbott who kindly gave me a copy of The Sixth Window, not for review purposes, although how could I not review this! For any of you who use NetGalley it is available for request and you will be able to pre-order the kindle copy from Amazon soon. The publication date for this being 21 February 2017.

First Published UK: 21 February 2017
Publisher: Black Dot Publishing
No of Pages: approx 350
Genre: Crime Fiction Series

Discover Rachel Abbott here
Web : http://www.rachel-abbott.com

Blog: rachelabbottwriter.com

Twitter: @RachelAbbott

Facebook: RachelAbbott1Writer

The Rachel Abbott DCI Tom Douglas Books in order:

Only The Innocent
The Back Road
Sleep Tight
Stranger Child
Nowhere Child (Novella)
Kill Me Again

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (January 15)

Weekly Wrap Up

Considering this is a book review blog there has been a reduction in these here this week but I have now belatedly put up my page for my 2017 reviews which will keep me motivated, I hope.

This Week on the Blog

On Monday I launched a new project Put A Book On The Map which aims to bring authors, bloggers and blogs together based around the location of a UK crime fiction novel. This took off far better than I expected and I am working through everyone who contacted me to join in, in one capacity or another. Thank you so much for all your offers of help, I will be in touch very soon, if I haven’t been already. I’m pleased to announce that we have the first blogger author pairings for the first four posts so watch this space!

My excerpt post this week came from Tattletale by Sarah J Naughton with a description of a pool of blood, sorry for anyone who was trying to eat while reading that one.

My This Week in Books post was very special as it announced the first author to feature in Put A Book On The Map as Mary-Jane Riley with her Alex Devlin series, I’m reading After She Fell – if any bloggers want there review to feature on the day and you haven’t already done so, please drop me an email or comment below.

Finally I posted a review of A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys which I’m pleased to announce got the full five stars.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading The Widow by Fiona Barton, a tale of the widow of ‘A Monster’ as the media proclaimed him to be. With a three-way narrative between The Widow, The Reporter and The Detective that made me forget that this was actually fiction as events over four years were revealed. You can read my full review here

The Widow

Blurb

We’ve all seen him: the man – the monster – staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime.

But what about her: the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs – the wife who stands by him?

Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming.

Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil.

But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.

Jean Taylor is going to tell us what she knows. Amazon

Stacking The Shelves

Well I was being good but there were always going to be some exceptions to me gaining more books and one of those is when it is an author whose book I simply must have… as in Elly Griffiths and her latest in the Ruth Galloway series, The Chalk Pit which I was lucky enough to receive a copy via NetGalley. The Chalk Pit will be published on 23 February 2017.

the-chalk-pit

Blurb

Something evil is waiting in the dark tunnels under Norwich – forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway had better watch her step

Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich’s web of underground tunnels. When Dr Ruth Galloway discovers they were recently buried, DCI Nelson has a murder enquiry on his hands. The boiling might have been just a medieval curiosity – now it suggests a much more sinister purpose.

Meanwhile, DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper. The only trace of her is the rumour that she’s gone ‘underground’. This might be a figure of speech, but with the discovery of the bones and the rumours both Ruth and the police have heard that the network of old chalk-mining tunnels under Norwich is home to a vast community of rough sleepers, the clues point in only one direction. Local academic Martin Kellerman knows all about the tunnels and their history – but can his assertions of cannibalism and ritual killing possibly be true?

As the weather gets hotter, tensions rise. A local woman goes missing and the police are under attack. Ruth and Nelson must unravel the dark secrets of The Underground and discover just what gruesome secrets lurk at its heart – before it claims another victim. NetGalley

I also have a copy of The House by Simon Lelic which isn’t going to be published until August but sounds fascinating and I loved The Child Who by this author.

the-house

Blurb

What if your perfect home turned out to be the scene of the perfect crime?

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it. So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake. Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door. And now the police are watching them… NetGalley

And then I was extremely lucky to win four, yes four, books from Chrissi Reads who was celebrating, you’ve guessed it, four years of blogging. I have followed Chrissi’s brilliant blog which takes in her career change to primary school teacher, since I began blogging and urge you to check her out too.

You can imagine my delight to look through my rather large wishlist to select my four choices, I eventually came to a decision…

Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

presumed-innocent

Blurb

Prosecutor Rusty Sabich enters a nightmare world when Carolyn, a beautiful attorney with whom he has been having an affair, is found raped and strangled. He stands accused.
‘One thing is certain: if you start Presumed Innocent you will finish it – it grips like an octopus, and Scott Turow unwinds the plot with brilliant cat-and-mouse meanness’ Sunday Times Amazon

Then I moved to something a little lighter; That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson – this book will be passed to my dear booklover friend as her books were how our friendship was forged many years ago.

the-girl-from-nowhere

Blurb

Where are you coming from with that accent of yours?’ he asks.
‘Nowhere,’ I reply. ‘I’m from nowhere.’
‘Everyone’s from somewhere,’ he says.
‘Not me,’ I reply silently.

Clemency Smittson was adopted as a baby and the only connection she has to her birth mother is a cardboard box hand-decorated with butterflies. Now an adult, Clem decides to make a drastic life change and move to Brighton, where she was born. Clem has no idea that while there she’ll meet someone who knows all about her butterfly box and what happened to her birth parents.

As the tangled truths about her adoption and childhood start to unravel, a series of shocking events cause Clem to reassess whether the price of having contact with her birth family could be too high to pay… Amazon

I also chose Broken Heart by Tim Weaver as I hadn’t got this, the latest in the David Raker series.

broken-heart

Blurb

Where did she go?
What did she know?
A woman drives to a secluded beauty spot on the Somerset coast.
CCTV watches her enter but doesn’t see her leaving.
In fact, Lynda Korin is never seen again.
How can someone just disappear?
Her sister calls missing persons investigator David Raker.
For him, the mystery of where she went is only the start. The real question is why a woman with no reason to run would choose to leave her entire life behind?
Was it her decision? Or did someone make it for her?
Raker is an expert at following the echoes of decades-old lies. But only Lynda Korin knows the most shocking secret of all – and she’s missing, presumed dead…Amazon

And lastly I chose Bonjour Tritesse by Françoise Sagan which I came across a brilliant review for on Jaqui Wine’s Journal and she enjoyed it so much she featured it in her best reads of 2016.
Blurb

Bonjour Tristesse tells the story of Cécile, who leads a carefree life with her widowed father and his young mistresses until, one hot summer on the Riviera, he decides to remarry – with devastating consequences. Amazon

What have you found to read this week – do share!

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 3 books but gained a grand total of 6 new ones giving the grand total of 187

Physical Books – 106
Kindle Books – 70
NetGalley Books – 12

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

A Dangerous Crossing – Rachel Rhys

Historical Fiction 5*s
Historical Fiction
5*s

A Dangerous Crossing was my First Book of the Year 2017, a book that I was especially looking forward to due to the fact I’d won a charity auction run on behalf of CLIC Sargent to win my name in a book, and this was the one! Rachel Rhys has penned her first historical fiction novel, although you may have met her penmanship under the name Tammy Cohen where she’s written a mixture of contemporary and psychological fiction.

The book opens with a scene from the end of the journey from Tilbury docks to Australia with a dockside arrest, a scene that stuck in my head as the trip took us on a magnificent journey across high seas with the occasional stop in some far flung land. For Lilian Shepard has left her family following a disappointment in love to be a domestic servant in Australia, she is going to see the world and has grabbed the chance of an assisted passage to do so. Despite the confined nature, albeit on a fairly large liner, the Orontes, Lily learns more about life during the journey than she could ever have expected.

The year is 1939, the month is August and the rumours that the Germans are going to precipitate a war are getting harder to ignore. Lily’s father, who has been mute since the First World War is worried and now her adored brother may be in danger. Lily has decided to write a diary of her passage across the world, so that she doesn’t forget anything, but given the characters she is about to spend five weeks of her life with, that seems unlikely.

orontes

Rachel Rhys paints a brilliant picture of life on this ocean liner so that I felt that I was completely transported. Ask me;  I can describe the hot laundry where the guests wash and dry their clothes, the small cabin that Lily shares with Ida and Audrey, two fellow assisted travel passengers, the deck where they walk to work of the huge amount of food they are served to break up the boredom and the first class cocktail bar where Lily joins Max and Eliza Campbell for games of cards and gossip. Life on the ocean liner is nothing like anything Lily has experienced before. Max and Eliza are huge characters but despite muttered warnings Lily is drawn to them like a moth to a flame, the question is, will she get burnt? At the other end of the scale there are the Jews fleeing the life they have known, wearing the only clothes they own on board and unsurprisingly, given the point in history; a minority of passengers who have sympathy with the Nazi’s views on them. On a closed environment, a somewhat combustible mix of characters, all bought brilliantly to life by the clothes they wear, their chatter over dinner along with how they chose to spend all their time while their new home, and life, inches closer.

I loved every minute of the journey especially the observations Lily makes as she chats with her dining companions, the snippets of information that are revealed along the way of the main cast of characters means that it is apparent that no-one is quite what they first appeared to be. Everyone has secrets that they would prefer had been firmly left behind with their family and friends when they stepped up the gangplank to begin their journey for a new life.

This is truly one of those books to get immersed in, the glamour of the first class passengers, the uncertainty of the time, the snapshots of the countries they visit from Gibraltar to Egypt along the way provide a backdrop to the pitch-perfect atmospheric story, so expertly told.

This review may seem biased, I make no apology, it is, but I am sure that even if you haven’t been lucky enough to have a cameo role (look out for Cleopatra Bannister who appears in the last section) there is so very much to enjoy, as this story rolls along with the waves it rides on.

I am very grateful to have received a signed copy of A Dangerous Crossing from the author, ahead of publication on 23 March 2017 by Doubleday, a story not to be missed.

First Published UK: 23 March 2017
Publisher: Doubleday
No of Pages: 368
Genre: Historical Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

 

Posted in Put A Book On The Map, Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (January 11)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lipsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading, Tattletale by Sarah J Naughton which contrary to what I said yesterday, is actually due to be published on 23 March 2016.

tattletale

Please see yesterday’s post  for the synopsis and the opening lines from this book

I have just finished my fellow Channel Island dweller, Rachel Abbott’s latest book The Sixth Window, the latest in the brilliant Tom Douglas series, set in Manchester. The Sixth Window is going to be published on 21 February 2017. Rachel was kind enough to send me a copy but a little bird told me this is on NetGalley as of yesterday!

the-sixth-window

Blurb

Eighteen months after Natalie Gray loses her husband Bernie in a horrific hit and run accident, she finds love with his best friend, Ed Cooper, and moves into his home with her teenage daughter Scarlett. But she begins to suspect Ed has a dark side — and even darker intentions. Natalie must get her troubled child to a safer place, but when Scarlett starts to hear voices coming from the empty apartment next door it seems she has unwittingly moved them into the heart of danger.

DCI Tom Douglas is also chasing the truth. As his investigation into the suicide of a teenage girl draws him ever closer to Natalie and Scarlett, will he be too late to protect them from the threat they face, or from the truths that will tear their lives apart? NetGalley

Next up I have one of my own books After She Fell by Mary-Jane Riley which I bought because I loved The Bad Things so much.

after-she-fell

Blurb

There are so many ways to fall…
Catriona needs help. Her seventeen-year-old daughter Elena was found dead at the bottom of a cliff near her boarding school. The death has been ruled a suicide, but Catriona isn’t convinced.
When her old friend, journalist Alex Devlin, arrives in Hallow’s Edge to investigate, she quickly finds that life at private boarding school The Drift isn’t as idyllic as the bucolic setting might suggest.
Amidst a culture of drug-taking, bullying and tension between school and village, no one is quite who they seem to be, and there are several people who might have wanted Elena to fall… Amazon

 

So that’s what I’m reading this week – what have you chosen? Do let me know in the comments box below.

Announcement

british-isles-mapThere’s another reason for me choosing After She Fell – Mary-Jane has kindly agreed to kick-start the Put A Book On The Map project which will also be linking to The Book Trail the-booktrail-logoSusan at The Book Trail is going to use the key locations for both The Bad Things and After She Fell to prepare a book trail in readiness for the launch on 4 February 2017 – If anyone wants to help out with this part, please let me know and I will pass your details onto Susan.

It is with enormous pleasure that I can confirm that the blogger post is going to be written by the lovely Katherine from BibliomaniacUK  on the locations visited in the  Alex Devlin series.  I can’t wait to see this collaboration in action!

If you’ve read and reviewed either of Mary-Jane’s books as I would love to link and feature some reviews to make this a real community event. Of course full credit will be given to anyone submitting material and you can email me at cleopatralovesbooks70@gmail.com

We’d love to hear from you to make the first book on the map a magnificent event!

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (January 10)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

My opening paragraph this week comes from Tattletale by Sarah J Naughton which is going to be published on 26 January 2017.

tattletale

Blurb

One day changes Jody’s life forever.
She has shut herself down, haunted by her memories and unable to trust anyone. But then she meets Abe, the perfect stranger next door and suddenly life seems full of possibility and hope.
One day changes Mags’s life forever.
After years of estrangement from her family, Mags receives a shocking phone call. Her brother Abe is in hospital and no-one knows what happened to him. She meets his fiancé Jody, and gradually pieces together the ruins of the life she left behind. But the pieces don’t quite seem to fit… Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro


BEFORE

On a clear morning the sun shines so strongly through the stained glass it looks as if the concrete floor is awash with blood.
But it’s past eight in the evening now and the only light comes from the wall lamps on each floor. Their dim illumination reveals a slowly spreading pool of pitch or tar.
Blood doesn’t look like blood in the dark.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So what do you think? A lot of mention of blood in those few lines but no real clues yet…

Would you keep reading? Have you read this book – Please add your thoughts in the comments box below?

Posted in Put A Book On The Map

Put A Book On The Map #BookOnTheMap

british-isles-map

Like many of you I started this blog in part to talk about the books I love and don’t get me wrong I’ve loved every minute of it, but there is little in the way of discussion because of the absolute need not to spoil the books for others. So while we talk in broad terms about the plot and characters etc. it can all get a bit coded.

Then I had an idea!

What we can discuss is the settings of books, in particular I’m thinking of crime fiction novels set in the UK.

So what led me here, well a couple of things. If you read my wrap up post from yesterday you will know that the big attraction for me with Kate Hamer’s latest book, The Doll Funeral, is that it is set in the Forest of Dean which is where I lived from the age of nine until I left home. Better still the book is set in 1983 seen through thirteen year old Ruby’s eyes, and yes – I was thirteen in 1983. I want to see how the author depicts the area and how it adds to the story. After all a rural area like this one is very different to a bustling city. I read a piece written by Kate Hamer on how she came to choose the setting.

forest-of-dean

Around the same time Rebecca Bradley, fellow blogger and author of Shallow Waters and Made to be Broken both set in her home town of Nottingham, mentioned on social media that she was scouting out a new location for a standalone novel. I began to think I may be able to make this work, especially as in the way these things go, I began to see pieces about settings everywhere.

But I can’t do it without your help.

help-gif

 

The idea is that you pick a book that you’ve read in a setting you know well – you don’t have to live there, and tell me about it and perhaps provide some pictures. Hopefully for some of these choices I’ll be able to persuade the author to post a little about why they chose that setting, what is it about the area that worked well, how true to life they have made it etc.

Or if you are an author you can tell me about the setting of your book, why you chose it, what the location adds to your book and perhaps whether or not you like the place. I will then source a reviewer and/or someone who knows the area to link up with you.

the-booktrail-logoI’m also grateful to Susan from the wonderful The Book Trail whose whole blog revolves around worldwide locations in books  in her wonderful blog who has agreed to provide a book trail map to link with the post and will feature a piece about the book on her blog too.  Obviously we will both give full credit to anyone who provides material with links to your blog or author page. I’m hoping that each post will link to a variety of reviews already written. I will be sharing widely on social media and hope all contributors will too.

There will be a master page listing the various locations along with the crime fiction novel set there – I’m thinking that series may work best, but I may be proved wrong. As the list grows crime fiction lovers will be able to access the list and find a recommendation based on location.

To give an example I’ve done a mock up for my favourite series, one that I started at the beginning and eagerly anticipate each new book, it is of course Peter James‘ Roy Grace series. Now I’m not for a minute imagining that Peter James will have time to write a post for me, but in theory if I can find a blogger who knows Brighton well, and has read at least one of these books, we can do a post. We can then link to reviews of as many of the twelve books in the series so far from around the blogosphere to make for a really collaborative post. Because that is one of the aims, to get us all talking and put different views, reviews and pictures onto one page celebrating a book all linked to the location.

map-v1

One of the best things is this doesn’t have to feature the newest, latest book – we can use information from our archives. I don’t know about you but I can’t think of Oxford without thinking of Morse…

The only downside I can see is this might be a bit of a logistical nightmare as I source reviews, pictures, and blogger opinions with each location/book chosen. So in preparation I have set up a new email address: cleopatralovesbooks70@gmail.com .

I would really appreciate it if you could write Put A Book On The Map in the subject field, or tweet me @cleo_bannister using hashtag #BookOnTheMap ideally with a location you know and the book/series  you’d choose to place there. The downside of my new email address which I’ve been meaning to do for a while is that many of my blog comments need moderation the first time I comment as I’ve changed the link on WordPress too – sorry!

So I’m really hoping you will join me, especially those of you who have been busily recommending books matching UK counties to bloggers Abbie from Bloomin Brilliant Books, Jen from Jen Med’s Book Reviews and Rachel from Rachel’s Random Reads who are currently doing an ambitious challenge to read a book from each county in the United Kingdom! #AroundTheUKIn144Books

Now as this project has been brewing a while, I had hoped to contact more of you personally to ask for help but a combination of a nasty virus and too much (paid) work meant I didn’t follow through with that part of the plan and as I didn’t want to delay any longer that’s another apology I owe you!

Please do get in touch – I’m aiming for a post every couple of weeks starting the first week of February and would really love it if you join me, be it to spread the word, make suggestions or use your contacts! I do want this to be a real collaboration and an opportunity for discussion for all of us. So keep your eyes peeled for locations you know, as I will be doing a call out for specific requests as we go along.

Please leave any thoughts, suggestions, questions or general comments in the box below or email me at cleopatralovesbooks70@gmail.com .

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (January 8)

Weekly Wrap Up

Well it seems like an age since I have done one of these weekly wrap-up posts. I hope you all had a good time over the holiday period and I wish you all the best for 2017.

I do like starting up new pages for each year and I have decided to post the reviews written in 2017 onto their own page, even those I read in 2016. I know this is going to confuse my counting later on in the year when my reads will be lower than the number of reviews, but believe me when I say I’ve deliberated long and hard before coming to a conclusion!!

deliberating

On The Blog

My first post of the year was aptly titled the First Book of the Year 2017 and featured a book very close to my heart, the one I chose to read over the New Year; A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys. I have to say this post was phenomenally popular completely smashing my previous views for a day by nearly double! I am not sure that Owen would have been quite so pleased to have his photo all over social media, especially with his slightly tipsy mother!

On Monday I posted my first review of the year, Painkiller by N.J. Fountain, a psychological thriller about a woman who lives with chronic pain since an accident five years before, which proved to be far more enjoyable than I expected.

My excerpt choice this week came from Relativity by Antonia Hayes which I thought got off to a strong start.

On Wednesday in This Week in Books, I emphasised my plan to read more of my own books with one of the books that has been on my TBR since 2015; Redemption by Jill McGown

Thursday’s review was another psychological thriller, bear with me, I’m reading an awful lot of review copies at the moment to be able to achieve the reduction in the TBR – no laughing at the back! What Remains of Me by Alison Gaylin didn’t work as well as it might have for me, but there are elements that I’m sure others will love

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land has already received a lot of attention in the book world, and it’s not published until 12 January! With it’s intriguing premise of a teenager who shopped her mother for being a serial killer, this proved to be an unsettling and well-executed read.

Yesterday with my fourth review of the week, and another psychological thriller; Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson was written by a writer I admire through his previous work. Complex and yet easy to read this creepy thriller certainly got under my skin.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading The Lake House by Kate Morton. I love dual time line stories when they are done well, and Kate Morton has a reputation for doing them really well. This tale had me entranced over the first few days of January 2016 with a number of different pasts being featured. I especially liked the fact that there were books within the book which added appeal to this incredibly readable novel. You can read my full review here

The Lake House

Blurb

A missing child . . .
June 1933, and the Edevane family’s country house, Loeanneth, is polished and gleaming, ready for the much-anticipated Midsummer Eve party. Alice Edevane, sixteen years old and a budding writer, is especially excited. Not only has she worked out the perfect twist for her novel, she’s also fallen helplessly in love with someone she shouldn’t. But by the time midnight strikes and fireworks light up the night skies, the Edevane family will have suffered a loss so great that they leave Loeanneth forever.
An abandoned house . . .
Seventy years later, after a particularly troubling case, Sadie Sparrow is sent on an enforced break from her job with the Metropolitan Police. She retreats to her beloved grandfather’s cottage in Cornwall but soon finds herself at a loose end. Until one day, Sadie stumbles upon an abandoned house surrounded by overgrown gardens and dense woods, and learns the story of a baby boy who disappeared without a trace.
An unsolved mystery . . .
Meanwhile, in the attic writing room of her elegant Hampstead home, the formidable Alice Edevane, now an old lady, leads a life as neatly plotted as the bestselling detective novels she writes. Until a young police detective starts asking questions about her family’s past, seeking to resurrect the complex tangle of secrets Alice has spent her life trying to escape… Amazon

Stacking The Shelves

I had an unprecedented influx of books (yes even for me!) in the week before Christmas and of course, I received few books for presents. Some have already appeared on the blog so I’ve decided to spotlight a few this week.

I have a copy of Quieter Thank Killing by the wonderful Sarah Hilary, the fourth in the Marcie Rome series which will be published on 9 March 2017.

quieter-than-killing

Blurb

‘You only ever ask that. Why did I do it? You never ask what they did.’
The winter cold is biting, and a series of assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out into the frosty, mean streets of London far more than they’d like. The attacks seem random, but when Marnie’s family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by a child – and someone who knows all about her. It will take a prison visit to her foster brother, Stephen, to help Marnie see the connections – and to force both her and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. For how can a damaged child really leave their past behind them? Amazon

I have a copy of The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer which is set in the Forest of Dean in 1983. I simply had to read this one because that’s where I lived in 1983, and like the protagonist Ruby, I was thirteen that year too, so I was delighted when the kind people at Faber & Faber sent me a copy.

the-doll-funeral

Blurb

My name is Ruby. I live with Barbara and Mick. They’re not my real parents, but they tell me what to do, and what to say. I’m supposed to say that the bruises on my arms and the black eye came from falling down the stairs.
But there are things I won’t say. I won’t tell them I’m going to hunt for my real parents. I don’t say a word about Shadow, who sits on the stairs, or the Wasp Lady I saw on the way to bed.
I did tell Mick that I saw the woman in the buttercup dress, hanging upside down from her seat belt deep in the forest at the back of our house. I told him I saw death crawl out of her. He said he’d give me a medal for lying.
I wasn’t lying. I’m a hunter for lost souls and I’m going to be with my real family. And I’m not going to let Mick stop me. Amazon

I got given a copy of Herman Koch’s Dear Mr M by my brother for Christmas – I think he likes that I have a large selection to chose from on my wishlist! This one added because I admired both The Dinner and Summer House with Swimming Pool

dear-mr-m

Blurb

Dear Mr. M,
I’d like to start by telling you that I’m doing better now. I do so because you probably have no idea that I was ever doing worse. Much worse, in fact, but I’ll get to that later on.

Mr. M is being watched. As a famous writer, he is no stranger to the limelight, although interest in his work has been dwindling of late. His print runs are smaller than they used to be, as are the crowds at his bookshop signings . . . Our narrator clearly takes a keen interest in M.’s work, and indeed in every aspect of his life. But what exactly are his intentions? And to what does Mr. M owe the honour of his undivided attention?
Our narrator seems to be no stranger to murder, while his own story appears to bear more than a passing resemblance to the plot of Mr. M’s most famous novel: a teacher has an affair with a student, only to be brutally murdered by the girl and her teenage boyfriend. The body is never found.
That’s the problem with fiction: in real life, bodies have an awkward habit of turning up. Mr. M has used some artistic licence, and our narrator is not pleased, not pleased at all. And just before he fades into obscurity, he’s prepared to give Mr. M one last review. And it’s unlikely to be a rave.  Amazon

My daughter went with a far less subtle choice of Talking With Serial Killers by Christopher Berry-Dee as my Christmas book.

talking-with-serial-killers

Blurb

An investigative criminologist, Christopher Berry-Dee is a man who talks to serial killers. Their pursuit of horror and violence is described in their own words, transcribed from audio and videotape interviews conducted deep inside some of the toughest prisons in the world. Berry-Dee describes the circumstances of his meetings with some of the world’s most evil men and reproduces, verbatim, their very words as they describe their crimes and discuss their remorse – or lack of it. This work offers a penetrating insight into the workings of the criminal mind. Amazon

And lastly from NetGalley I have a late entry of a book I’ve been longing to read; The Good People by Hannah Kent. Burial Rites was one of those books that I’d had on my kindle for a long time and I didn’t get around to reading it until early last year – I loved it, definitely one of my favourite reads of the year so I have high hopes for The Good People

the-good-people

Blurb

County Kerry, Ireland, 1825.
NÓRA, bereft after the sudden death of her beloved husband, finds herself alone and caring for her young grandson Micheál. Micheál cannot speak and cannot walk and Nóra is desperate to know what is wrong with him. What happened to the healthy, happy grandson she met when her daughter was still alive?

MARY arrives in the valley to help Nóra just as the whispers are spreading: the stories of unexplained misfortunes, of illnesses, and the rumours that Micheál is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley.

NANCE’s knowledge keeps her apart. To the new priest, she is a threat, but to the valley people she is a wanderer, a healer. Nance knows how to use the plants and berries of the woodland; she understands the magic in the old ways. And she might be able to help Micheál.

As these three women are drawn together in the hope of restoring Micheál, their world of folklore and belief, of ritual and stories, tightens around them. It will lead them down a dangerous path, and force them to question everything they have ever known.

Based on true events and set in a lost world bound by its own laws, The Good People is Hannah Kent’s startling new novel about absolute belief and devoted love. Terrifying, thrilling and moving in equal measure, this long-awaited follow-up to Burial Rites shows an author at the height of her powers. NetGalley

TBR Watch

I’m going to say it really quickly the first count in 2016 came to 171 books, so lets see how this has worked shall we?
tbr-watch

As the books have been flooding in I’m just going to stand up and say – since my last post I’ve read lots of books but gained even more!
Physical Books – 103
Kindle Books – 70
NetGalley Books – 11

Giving a grand total for the first week of 2017 of 184 books.

If you didn’t manage to catch my post of my Top Ten Books Published in 2016 you can see it here, or check out the page on the tabs – Now I have my favourite reads for four years, I feel like a proper blogger!

What have you found to read this week?