Posted in Books I have read

Broadchurch: Thirteen Hours – Erin Kelly

Short Story  4*'s
Short Story
4*’s

Well Broadchurch season two is now over although the viewers have been promised another series… I really don’t know where they can take this next but can guarantee that I will be watching.

This the last short book to accompany the series takes the reader right back to Alec Hardy’s entrance to Broadchurch which provides the perfect way of finishing this superb look at the various characters that inhabit Broadchurch.

This book shows us what we didn’t see at the beginning of series one, we see Alec hiding Claire, his ill-health in view, the sleepy town being the perfect place for him to finally uncover the truth of what happened at Sandbrook all in thirteen hours.

I have really enjoyed this series, Erin Kelly has managed to pack lots of detail and depth to each of the characters featured and I for one am going to sorely miss my weekly fix.

Posted in Books I have read

Broadchurch: The Letter – Erin Kelly

Short Story 4*'s
Short Story
4*’s

So how are you enjoying the show now the trial has started and two witnesses have taken to the stand, evidence has been disallowed and there is still the mystery of what happened in Sandybrook… plenty to keep us entertained. Even better there was another short story penned by Erin Kelly to keep me Broadchurch centric the next day!

In Broadchurch: The Letter we are given a little more background to Broadchurch, this time from Maggie’s perspective as the whole town are preparing for Joe Millar’s trial. Maggie runs the newspaper office and is railing against the cutbacks, after all she has been in the industry for over thirty years. This sequence, like the first book, gives us another look at a character, and after all in Broadchurch all the characters have something important to add!

Alongside this there is a little sub-plot about other events going on in the area, which hasn’t featured on the TV series, yet, but serves to show Maggie’s determination to investigate, all tools of a reporter’s trade! What she finds surprises her but she has never been one to back away from an awkward situation.

This series of shorts are great for coffee-break reading and I read mine the day after the TV show aired, in all honesty so far neither short has revealed anything so far so eking them out feels more like a gimmick but one I’m happy to enjoy.

Posted in Books I have read

Reading and Reviewing in 2014

Updated 2014

So I have now completed (minus 2 days) an entire calendar year of reading and reviewing books on my blog – and what a year it has been! Before I choose my top 10 books for the year I thought I’d share some facts and figures with you because that’s how I roll.

In 2014 I have read 140 books and it will be no surprise to regular readers that the composition of genre is crime heavy… but I did manage an impressive 33 books that fell into (my) contemporary fiction category as well as 17 books with a historical theme.

I should warn everyone that I play fast and loose with genres and anything I’m not sure where to put does end up as contemporary fiction, but it is a guideline (of sorts).

Out of my crime reads the split was also unsurprisingly heavily weighted on the psychological fiction slant with 37 books falling into this genre, 33 logged as crime thriller and 11 in the mystery category.

When I started blogging I was curious to see how much of my reading could be supported by review copies of books, this wasn’t a new concept as I’d been part of Amazon Vine since 2011, but I’d not counted for the ease of requesting items from NetGalley, the quantity of kind publishers and authors that offer me books, Lovereading  who send me copies as part of their reviewing panel or Bookbridgr who have physical copies they are happy to post to me. That along with a little bit of stalking of my favourite authors on Twitter has kept me in more than enough books for the whole year!

In 2014 only 25 books, less than 18% of the books I read, I owned (and I’d won copies of 3 of these).  Now I’m not making any promises too stop reviewing ARCs, I love finding new authors, catching up with old ones and sometimes reading something a little bit different to the norm, far too much for that, but I am going to redress the balance a little and aim for 60:40 split.  Well, lets see how that goes shall we? Why? Well out of the books I’ve read this year 63 were by authors whose books I’d previously read. This is a whopping 45%! This means that exponentially, even discarding the minority whose books weren’t for me, or who don’t write a new book in 2015, of the new to me authors should even 40 produce  new books these added to the known to me author output, can only be disastrous for the TBR ??? That doesn’t even take into account any back catalogues!  This is why cutting down on books is never going to happen!! But what a fantastic problem to have!

So which of my reviews have been most popular in 2014?

Click on the book cover to read my reviews

10. The magnificent debut and psychological thriller by Mary Kubica – The Good Girl This book with four narrators has no chapter breaks which meant I was compelled to keep reading to find out why and how Mia Dennett disappeared.
The Good Girl

9. A Crime Fiction novel Daughter by Jane Shemilt is fixed around the disappearance of Jenny’s 15 year old daughter, Naomi but also uncovers a web of secrets and lies.
Daughter

8. Sarah Hilary’s police procedural, Someone Else’s Skin blew me away with it’s range of characters and skilful handling of a storyline about domestic abuse was a fantastic find in February 2014.

Someone Else's Skin

7. In The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P.D. Viner we meet Jim and Patti Lancing who  react in very different ways to the murder of their daughter mixed with an accomplished whodunit.

The Last Winter of Dani Lancing

6. Sees a psychological domestic thriller with Lucie Whitehouse’s Before We Met which tells the tale of how Hannah found out more about the man she married.

Before We Met

5. A Dark Remembered Day by Tom Vowler was put in the psychological suspense category because the author literally reveals the progressive layers of the protagonist’s mind as the tale unfolds. This was an unequivocal 5 star read.

That Dark Remembered Day

4. Wake by Anna Hope has stayed in my mind ever since I read it nearly a year ago. This tale of the run up to the Internment of the Unknown Soldier was beyond poignant. The best book about WWI that I have read although Andrew Cowan’s Worthless Men comes a close second.

Wake

3. Having missed the TV series Broadchurch , I jumped at the chance to read the book of the series especially as it was written by one of my favourite authors, Erin Kelly. I loved the story so much I had to watch the TV series to compare and will now be glued to the second series next Monday.

Broadchurch

2. In February I read a book about a fictional stalker, The Book of You by Claire Kendal brilliantly portrays the mind of a stalker and captures the powerlessness of his victim, not only that but the storyline has a parallel to an ongoing court case.

The Book of You

1. The most popular review of the year goes to an author whose books I’ve been championing for a while but this one surpassed all my expectations. Sleep Tight by Rachel Abbott is a brilliant psychological thriller, even better I believe you can get a copy for a mere 99p at the moment.

Sleep Tight

So those are the reviews you’ve enjoyed – coming soon my favourite books that were published in 2014.
I’d like to thank all those authors and publishers who’ve given me a fantastic selection of books, the readers and commenters on this little blog and those who connect with my reviews via twitter, you have all made my world brighter in 2014.
Happy reading everyone and here’s to Happy a New Year full of new books!

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (August 13)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading The Winter Foundlings by Kate Rhodes the third in the Alice Quentin series, I read the second one A Killing of Angels .

The Winter Foundlings

Blurb

The girl was lying on the steps of the Foundling Museum, dressed all in white.
Four girls have disappeared in North London. Three are already dead.
Britain’s most prolific child killer, Louis Kinsella, has been locked up in Northwood high-security hospital for over a decade. Now more innocents are being slaughtered, and they all have a connection to his earlier crimes.
Psychologist Alice Quentin is doing research at Northwood. She was hoping for a break from her hectic London life, but she’ll do anything to help save a child – even if it means forming a relationship with a charismatic, ruthless murderer.
But Kinsella is slow to give away his secrets, and time is running out for the latest kidnap victim, who is simply trying to survive… Amazon

I have just finished a book written (in part) by my favourite author Erin Kelly. Broachurch was based on a British hit TV series written by Chris Chibnall.
Click on the book cover to read my review

Broadchurch

Next I am going to read Your Beautiful Lies by Louise Douglas which has a beautiful cover and it’s set at the time of the strikes of the 1980’s which I remember well.
Your Beautiful Lies

Blurb

Annie Howarth is living a restless life in a restless town. It’s 1987 and for a mining community in South Yorkshire, the strikes mean tensions are running high. Then a murdered girl is found on the moors and the anxiety levels are pushed to a dangerous breaking point.
Married to the Chief of Police, Annie should feel safe – William can be secretive, though surely whatever he’s hiding is for her own good.
But Annie is keeping her own secrets. Ten years ago the man she loved was ripped from her life in a scandal that still haunts the both of them, and now his return will put her family, her marriage, even her life, at risk. NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Please share as I’m always on the look out for more new reads!

Posted in Books I have read

Broadchurch – Erin Kelly

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

Broadchurch aired as a British Crime drama in the UK in 2013, a labour of love from the creator, Chris Chibnall, who aim was to create a big ensemble drama which concentrated on what happens to a community when a death happens within its midst, particularly when that death is that of a child.

Now, I didn’t watch this drama, I’m often slow on the uptake and before I was even aware of it, the show was halfway through, but I know it was big with those millions of viewers avidly discussing the twists and turns. So why did I chose to read the book? Mainly because it is written by one of my favourite authors Erin Kelly but also because a little bit of me felt like I missed out. So this review is probably one of the few you will read that makes no comparison to the series.

Set in Dorset the book starts with a brief introduction to the Latimer household along with the introduction to Detective Inspector Alec Hardy who has been relocated for mysterious reasons to Broadchurch where he now holds the position which Ellie Miller had hoped would be hers. With the death of Danny Latimer the whole town suspect each other of the murder while the police battle to find the truth and the media battle to tell the best story.

West Bay Dorset
West Bay Dorset

I think this is the first time that I have read a book based on a TV series, it usually works the other way around, and in the early chapters it did feel like a different type of reading experience and I could clearly imagine a silent shoot of a darkened town in the following description.

The church on the hill is unlit, the rich jewel colours of its stained-glass windows dulled to a uniform satin black. A weathered poster reading LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF flaps uselessly from the parish noticeboard.

Obviously this tale has an incredibly strong plot and what Erin Kelly has done is translate this into a great read, handling the sheer number of characters alone must have been quite a task and she does it magnificently. This is a clear-sighted read, with the language used to conjure up the fear in the town flawless, the grief of the Latimer’s acute and the actions of those with secrets to keep gently exposed. I’m fairly sure that the roots to the dry humour were present in the show but the author has managed to translate all those looks into inspired words which say so much

Grief is like a splinter deep into every fingertip; to touch anything is torture.

although at times the feeling that you are watching the action from afar is more acute

With trade so slow, you’d think she’d be falling over herself to look after the few customers she has. What’s Becca looking at that’s more important than her business?

There are so many themes of grief, secrets, love and trust that at times this was an emotional read, I have to confess shedding a few tears at one point which rarely happens when reading and it is even rarer while reading crime fiction. There really is something for everyone in this book as well as a being a big fat juicy whodunit.

This has my wholehearted recommendation, I will definitely make sure I watch the next series and for those of you who are Broadchurch aficionados apparently there is a clue to the second series early on it this book, I missed it but apparently if you know the show well there is a line that doesn’t fit.

I’d like to say an enormous thank you to The Little Brown Book Group UK for my copy of this book in return for my honest opinion; it’s a brilliant read! Broadchurch is due to be published on 14 August 2014

Posted in Weekly Posts

Teaser Tuesday (August 12)

Tuesday Teaser

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

• Open to a random page

• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to

My Teaser this week is from Broadchurch by Erin Kelly

Broadchurch

Blurb

It’s a hot July morning in the Dorset town of Broadchurch when Beth Latimer realises that her eleven-year-old son, Danny, is missing. As Beth searches desperately for her boy, her best friend, local police officer DS Ellie Miller, arrives at work to find that the promotion she was promised has been given to disreputable Scottish outsider DI Alec Hardy.
When Danny’s body is found on the beach Ellie must put her feelings aside as she works with DI Hardy to solve the mystery of Danny’s death. As the case becomes a murder investigation the news hits the national press, jolting sleepy Broadchurch into the national spotlight.
As the town’s secrets begin to unravel, members of this tight-knit community begin to consider those in their midst. Right now it’s impossible to know who to trust… NetGalley

My Teasers
It’s Hardy’s idea of hell – fresh air, isolation, grass, never-ending sky – but he knows that the world’s full of idiots who love this sort of thing.

The angry mob of villagers wield camera phones, the twenty-first century equivalent of pitchforks and flaming torches.

 

What do you think of those teasers?
If you have a Tuesday Teaser please leave your link in the comments below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (July 25)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

Happy Friday! So this week I have a few more finds that have made their way into my house. NetGalley have provided me with some wonderful books starting for The Girl Next Door by Ruth Rendell which I really wanted to read as this contains crimes from the past and the present.

The Girl Next Door
Blurb

When the bones of two severed hands are discovered in a box, an investigation into a long buried crime of passion begins. And a group of friends, who played together as children, begin to question their past.
‘For Woody, anger was cold. Cold and slow. But once it had started it mounted gradually and he could think of nothing else. He knew he couldn’t stay alive while those two were alive. Instead of sleeping, he lay awake in the dark and saw those hands. Anita’s narrow white hand with the long nails painted pastel pink, the man’s brown hand equally shapely, the fingers slightly splayed.’
Before the advent of the Second World War, beneath the green meadows of Loughton, Essex, a dark network of tunnels has been dug. A group of children discover them. They play there. It becomes their secret place.
Seventy years on, the world has changed. Developers have altered the rural landscape. Friends from a half-remembered world have married, died, grown sick, moved on or disappeared.
Work on a new house called Warlock uncovers a grisly secret, buried a lifetime ago, and a weary detective, more preoccupied with current crimes, must investigate a possible case of murder.
In all her novels, Ruth Rendell digs deep beneath the surface to investigate the secrets of the human psyche. The interconnecting tunnels of Loughton in THE GIRL NEXT DOOR lead to no single destination. But the relationships formed there, the incidents that occurred, exert a profound influence – not only on the survivors but in unearthing the true nature of the mysterious past. NetGalley

Next I got a copy of Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach, I have loved so many of this author’s previous books and this sounds like a real winner.

Heartbreak Hotel

Blurb

When retired actor Buffy decides to up sticks from London and move to rural Wales, he has no idea what he is letting himself in for.
In possession of a run-down B&B that leans more towards the shabby than the chic and is miles from nowhere, he realises he needs to fill the beds – and fast.
Enter a motley collection of guests: Harold, whose wife has run off with a younger woman; Amy, who’s been unexpectedly dumped by her (not-so) weedy boyfriend and Andy, the hypochondriac postman whose girlfriend is much too much for him to handle.
But under Buffy’s watchful eye, this disparate group of strangers find they have more in common than perhaps they first thought…NetGalley

… and another book that was on my wishlist, A Week in Paris by Rachel Hore, another of my must read authors.

A Week in Paris

Blurb

1961: Born on the day that WW2 broke out, 21-year-old Fay Knox cannot remember her early childhood in London, before she moved to a Norfolk village with her mother, Kitty. Though she has seen a photograph of her father, she does not recall him either. He died, she was told, in an air raid, and their house destroyed along with all their possessions. Why then, on a visit to Paris on tour with her orchestra, does a strange series of events suggest that she spent the war there instead? There is only one clue to follow, an address on the luggage label of an old canvas satchel. But will the truth hurt or heal?
1937: Eugene Knox, a young American doctor, catches sight of 19-year-old Kitty Travers on the day she arrives in Paris, and cannot get her out of his mind. She has come to study the piano at the famed Conservatoire, and lodges at a convent near Notre Dame. Eugene and Kitty will fall in love, marry and have a daughter, but France’s humiliating defeat by Germany is not far behind, and the little family must suffer life under Nazi occupation. Some Parisians keep their heads down and survive, others collaborate with the enemy while others resist. The different actions of Eugene, Kitty and their friends will have devastating consequences that echo down the generations. NetGalley

Lastly, yes only 4 from NetGalley this week, is Broadchurch by Erin Kelly. Now I didn’t watch the TV series and so I wasn’t planning on reading this book until I realised that it is written by one of my favourite authors, which you’ll know all about if you have read my rave reviews of The Burning Air and The Ties That Bind. Fortunately I’m sure I’ll enjoy the book having listened to others discussing the show.

Broadchurch

Blurb

It’s a hot July morning in the Dorset town of Broadchurch when Beth Latimer realises that her eleven-year-old son, Danny, is missing. As Beth searches desperately for her boy, her best friend, local police officer DS Ellie Miller, arrives at work to find that the promotion she was promised has been given to disreputable Scottish outsider DI Alec Hardy.
When Danny’s body is found on the beach Ellie must put her feelings aside as she works with DI Hardy to solve the mystery of Danny’s death. As the case becomes a murder investigation the news hits the national press, jolting sleepy Broadchurch into the national spotlight.
As the town’s secrets begin to unravel, members of this tight-knit community begin to consider those in their midst. Right now it’s impossible to know who to trust…NetGalley

Lastly after reading about Drawn from Memory by E.H. Shepard on Heavenali’s blog I simply had to own a copy – so I do! This autobiography of the man who illustrated my favourite childhood book, Winnie The Pooh is full of illustrations of his childhood in London towards the end of the nineteenth century. Heavenali’s description of this magical book, and later its sequel Drawn from Life is well worth a read, in fact I can confidently predict it won’t be long before you see the sequel featured here!

Drawn From Memory

Blurb

An evocative childhood memoir by the much-loved illustrator of Winnie the Pooh and The Wind in the Willows. In this autobiography, E.H. Shepard describes a classic Victorian childhood. Shepard grew up in the 1880s in Saint John’s Wood with his brother and sister. He was surrounded by domestic servants and maiden aunts, in a an age when horse-drawn buses and hansom cabs crowded the streets. Recalling this time with charm and humour, Shepard illustrates these scenes in his own distinctive style. Goodreads

So go on tempt me; what have you found this week?