Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (February 19)

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by from I’d Rather Be At The Beach who 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.

I read an awful lot of crime fiction but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy other genres, I do, and Kelly Rimmer is one of the authors whose ‘Women’s Fiction’ appeals when I fancy a change from blood and gore.

Her latest novel, based on her only family history, The Things We Cannot Say is due to be published on 7 March 2019.

Blurb

2019. Life changed beyond recognition for Alice when her son, Eddie, was born with autism spectrum disorder. She must do everything to support him, but at what cost to her family? When her cherished grandmother is hospitalised, a hidden box of mementoes reveals a tattered photo of a young man, a tiny leather shoe and a letter. Her grandmother begs Alice to return to Poland to see what became of those she held dearest.

WWII. Alina and Tomasz are childhood sweethearts. The night before he leaves for college, Tomasz proposes marriage. But when their village falls to the Nazis, Alina doesn’t know if Tomasz is alive or dead.

2019. In Poland, separated from her family, Alice begins to uncover the story her grandmother is so desperate to tell, and discovers a love that bloomed in the winter of 1942. As a painful family history comes to light, will the struggles of the past and present finally reach a heartbreaking resolution?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Prologue Soviet Union – 1942

The priest presiding over my wedding was half-starved, half-frozen and wearing rags, but he was resourceful; he’d blessed a chunk of mouldy bread from breakfast to serve as a communion wafer.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well for one sentence that conjures up an entire backdrop to the book for me – what do you think?

 Would you keep reading?

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Before I Let You Go – Kelly Rimmer

Contemporary Fiction
4*s

Now I do sometimes struggle with what’s known as ‘women’s fiction’ and more so when a book has a message, this falls into both categories but despite some reservations, there was lots to enjoy and think about.

Lexie and Annie are sisters, and in the middle of the night, after two years with no contact Annie rings Lexie asking for help. Annie is an addict and she’s pregnant. Annie is also very ill and needs to go to hospital but if she does she could be charged with child endangerment because of the drugs she’s taken.

Here lies the message with the author urging the reader to see that this isn’t the right approach for the law to take over addiction, which we are reminded frequently, is an illness and therefore if helped the women can turn their lives around and care for their children.  Personally I think this is a far from black and white issue but I will say no more on the subject, if you want to ponder on this further, this is the book to make you do so.

That off my chest the book takes us back to the girl’s childhood which includes loss and moving to a cult. This part is told through Annie’s eyes in a journal she writes to her therapist and it’s not only incredibly moving, expertly creating a whole world of confusion for the young girl which felt realistic. Through Annie’s journal which we read excerpts from throughout the novel we learn more about her descent into drugs, this too with no personal experience of the matter also felt highly authentic. Kelly Rimmer knows how to tell a story convincingly and I defy anyone not to have their heartstrings pulled by Before I Let You Go.

Lexi is a doctor, the older sister who had the same upbringing but her approach as a child was different and of course even siblings do not necessarily have the same reactions to each other. Lexi had always cared for Annie and the bond between the two is again created in full technicolour.

Before I Let You Go is an emotional read and I have to admit even though I despised the choices she made, in many ways I felt far more of a connection with Annie than Lexie. Lexie was just a little too perfect for me and I could see how being her younger sister would cause some ‘issues’ To make matters more complicated Lexie is planning to marry Sam, another doctor and someone else that had good person running thorough his core like a stick of rock. Lexie’s need to be independent causes issues between the couple, and if I were Sam I would probably have stated my case far earlier and more strongly than he did.

So a book about relationships in the main those between siblings and their parents viewed through the interesting angle of life in a cult. As much as I struggled with the message at times, I would have ripped your arm off if you’d tried to remove this book from my hands before I’d finished it. In the world of books it can be good to read a book that arouses strong emotions, even when they aren’t positive ones, and believe me, I was irritated by all the characters more than once!

I am very grateful to the publisher Headline Review who allowed me to read a copy of Before I Let You Go ahead of publication. This unbiased review is my thank you to them.

First Published UK: 27 February 2018
Publisher: Headline Review
No of Pages: 352
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (February 14)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy 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

So onto the good stuff! At the moment I am reading A Clubbable Woman by Reginald Hill the very first of the Dalziel and Pascoe stories first published way back in September 1970!



Blur
b

Detective Superintendent Andy Dalziel investigates murder close to home in this first crime novel featuring the much-loved detective team of Dalziel and Pascoe.

Home from the Rugby club after taking a nasty knock in a match, Sam Connon finds his wife more uncommunicative than usual. After passing out on his bed for a few hours, he comes downstairs to discover communication has been cut off forever – by a hole in the middle of her forehead.

Andy Dalziel, a long-standing member of the club, wants to run the murder investigation along his own lines. But DS Peter Pascoe’s loyalties lie elsewhere and he has quite different ideas about how the case should proceed. Amazon

The last book I finished was Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan which will be published on 1 March 2018.

Blurb

When Lucy Mangan was little, stories were everything. They opened up new worlds and cast light on all the complexities she encountered in this one.

She was whisked away to Narnia – and Kirrin Island – and Wonderland. She ventured down rabbit holes and womble burrows into midnight gardens and chocolate factories. She wandered the countryside with Milly-Molly-Mandy, and played by the tracks with the Railway Children. With Charlotte’s Web she discovered Death and with Judy Blume it was Boys. No wonder she only left the house for her weekly trip to the library or to spend her pocket money on amassing her own at home.

In Bookworm, Lucy revisits her childhood reading with with, love and gratitude. She relives our best-beloved books, their extraordinary creators, and looks at the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. She also disinters a few forgotten treasures to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way.

Lucy brings the favourite characters of our collective childhoods back to life – prompting endless re-readings, rediscoveries, and, inevitably, fierce debate – and brilliantly uses them to tell her own story, that of a born, and unrepentant, bookworm. Amazon

Next I plan to read Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer which will published on 22 February 2018.

Blurb

Your sister needs you. But her child needs you more…

The 2:00 a.m. call is the first time Lexie Vidler has heard her sister’s voice in years. Annie is a drug addict, a thief, a liar-and in trouble, again. Lexie has always bailed Annie out, given her money, a place to sleep, sent her to every kind of rehab. But this time, she’s not just strung out-she’s pregnant and in premature labor. If she goes to the hospital, she’ll lose custody of her baby-maybe even go to prison. But the alternative is unthinkable.

As weeks unfold, Lexie finds herself caring for her fragile newborn niece while her carefully ordered life is collapsing around her. She’s in danger of losing her job, and her fiancé only has so much patience for Annie’s drama. In court-ordered rehab, Annie attempts to halt her downward spiral by confronting long-buried secrets from the sisters’ childhood, ghosts that Lexie doesn’t want to face. But will the journey heal Annie, or lead her down a darker path? NetGalley

So what do you think? Do any of these titles take your fancy this Valentine’s Day?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (February 4)

This Week on the Blog

The week started with my review of a book set in the early Victorian times with plenty of wickedness to entertain its readers: The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin.

My excerpt post came from The Girl in the Woods by Camilla Läckberg, the tenth in the Patrik Hedström and Erica Falck series.

This Week in Books featured the authors Martin Edwards, Stuart Turton and Ellen Horan or in other words some non-fiction, an original crime novel quite unlike anything else I’ve read and a historical mystery set in New York.

On Thursday I resurrected my Five of the Best monthly post which features my favourite five star reads reviewed in January for the years 2014 to 2018. I do enjoy reminding myself of the wonderful books I’ve read over the years and it seems as though many of you enjoy this too.

Next up was my review of A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward a crime fiction novel set in the fictional town of Bampton in Derbyshire. I awarded this book the full five stars.

Finally I posted my review of The Story of Our Lives by Helen Warner, a contemporary novel which follows the lives of friendship between four women over twenty years.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly a book that has the eclipse of 1999 as a backdrop to a rape trial. The actions of the four main characters involved at the time have consequences years down the line when the eclipse hunters are in the Faroe Islands. I love Erin Kelly’s writing and He Said/She Said is an involved and thoughtful tale, one that really did make me think but I’m delighted to report that Erin Kelly never forgets that she is writing to entertain her readers.

You can read my full review here or click on the book cover

Blurb


Don’t be left in the dark.

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden . . . something she never could have guessed. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

Well I made it all the way through January without purchasing a single book but I have been exceptionally lucky in being approved by NetGalley for three books I’ve had my eye on for some time.

Having impressed me with her first two books I Let You Go and I See You, I was delighted to see that Let Me Lie by Claire Mackintosh will be published on 8 March 2018.

Blurb

The police say it was suicide.
Anna says it was murder.
They’re both wrong.

One year ago, Caroline Johnson chose to end her life brutally: a shocking suicide planned to match that of her husband just months before. Their daughter, Anna, has struggled to come to terms with their loss ever since.
Now with a young baby of her own, Anna misses her mother more than ever and starts to ask questions about her parents’ deaths. But by digging up the past, is she putting her future in danger? Sometimes it’s safer to let things lie . . .NetGalley

The author Kelly Rimmer contacted me to tell me her latest book, Before I Let You Go was on NetGalley and did I want it? Of course I want to read it, A Mother’s Confession was one of my surprise finds of 2016 and I’ve lost count of the friends I’ve bullied into reading it since then! Before I Let You Go will be published on 27 February 2018.

Blurb

The 2:00 a.m. call is the first time Lexie Vidler has heard her sister’s voice in years. Annie is a drug addict, a thief, a liar—and in trouble, again. Lexie has always bailed Annie out, given her money, a place to sleep, sent her to every kind of rehab. But this time, she’s not just strung out—she’s pregnant and in premature labor. If she goes to the hospital, she’ll lose custody of her baby—maybe even go to prison. But the alternative is unthinkable.

As the weeks unfold, Lexie finds herself caring for her fragile newborn niece while her carefully ordered life is collapsing around her. She’s in danger of losing her job, and her fiancé only has so much patience for Annie’s drama. In court-ordered rehab, Annie attempts to halt her downward spiral by confronting long-buried secrets from the sisters’ childhoods, ghosts that Lexie doesn’t want to face. But will the journey heal Annie, or lead her down a darker path?

Both candid and compassionate, Before I Let You Go explores a hotly divisive topic and asks how far the ties of family love can be stretched before they finally break. NetGalley

I ‘found’ Sharon Bolton soon after I got my first kindle back in 2010 and she’s not let me down since and last year’s Dead Woman Walking was exceptional. So I was super excited to hear that The Craftsman will be published on 5 April 2018.

Blurb

Devoted father or merciless killer?
His secrets are buried with him.

Florence Lovelady’s career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Glassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago. Like something from our worst nightmares the victims were buried…ALIVE.

Larry confessed to the crimes; it was an open and shut case. But now he’s dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves.

Did she get it wrong all those years ago?
Or is there something much darker at play? NetGalley

So what do you think? Any of those beauties take your fancy?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I have read 5 books which is way above average for a normal working week, and I have gained 3 but because 2 of my reads were library books my TBR remains static at 186

Physical Books – 107
Kindle Books – 55
NetGalley Books –24

 

I have banked another third of book token this week and as I haven’t bought any books I’m still in credit!

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

A Mother’s Confession – Kelly Rimmer

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller
5*s

I picked this book up purely on the recommendation of a couple of other book bloggers who (strongly) hinted at a heart-breaking book; it is but not in the sense that phrase is usually referring to, this is no romantic light fluffy story, it is something far darker. This was a book that in turn chilled me to the bone, whilst the brilliant device of a mother telling the tale of her little boy’s birth onwards whilst his wife looks back on the life she shared with him as a man, had me absolutely hooked.

We know straight off that there has been a tragedy. David is dead, his wife Olivia is struggling with her grief, her daughter Zoe the only daily contact she has with the world outside her front door. She is too paralysed to talk to her former colleague who delivers a daily monologue through the front door to her, although she keeps her appointments with her grief-counsellor, the contents of these are delivered to the reader with a force that at times took my breath away.

David and Olivia were one of life’s fortunate couples, they were well-off, professionals living in a beautiful house, close by to his mother which was handy for babysitting, but the tragedy of David’s death has blown apart the careful construction of the perfect couple, the secrets can no longer be contained.

Ivy is mourning the loss of her son by remembering key episodes of his life from his birth through to the present day. Ivy is a mother who pushed her child to the fore, a woman who lived her life through her son’s achievements and as a result is lost, and perhaps unable to face up to what has happened.

Set in Australia the small town setting is an inspired device to allow us to experience the different viewpoints of the locals, particularly as David’s father owns the local grocery store. Olivia, and perhaps Ivy, have their versions of David challenged by those who only know part of their tale. We the readers are the fortunate ones because through both women we get to see the truth.

The depth of characterisation and in particular the development of Olivia’s as she moves from the first numbing days of grief to one where she begins to contemplate returning to work was superb. There was not one single moment when I disbelieved her actions, her words or thoughts. I was willing her along her difficult journey to an ending which simply had me stunned.

Ivy is a different sort of mother, one who holds some outdated and therefore seemingly outlandish views, a difficult woman to like especially when her actions have caused Olivia so much pain, but, controversially she has her reasons and so I still had a smidgen of sympathy for this blinkered woman, not a lot, but I felt that as the author has given us a little of her background, it would almost be rude to dismiss her as a total witch.

This book had me completely riveted, I did not want to part with it as I needed to know what was going to happen. The author pulled me in from the off, and each bit of information added to the rising feeling of dread in this book where it was obvious something terrible was going to be revealed, but quite what wasn’t apparent until it was upon me.

If you like books that let you run the gamut of emotions, a book that is pitched at just the right pace so that you are not fighting against the feeling that the author is withholding information as a ploy to fill the book, don’t dismiss this book. The cover doesn’t do justice to the power of the words inside A Mother’s Confession.

I received my copy of A Mother’s Confession from the publishers Bookouture. This unbiased review is my thanks to them and the talented author Kelly Rimmer, another author whose back catalogue I will now be exploring.

First Published UK: 27 October 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
No of Pages: 352
Genre: Psychological Thriller – domestic
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (December 14)

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

At the moment I am reading The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena a book I nearly read earlier in the year but was worried that I would be too angry with the parents and so chose something else instead. I’m feeling calmer now and have things in perspective, this is after all fiction.

The Couple Next Door

Blurb

You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race upstairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit? NetGalley

I have just finished Belinda Bauer’s The Facts of Life and Death, another amazing book by this talented author.

the-facts-of-life-and-death

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

Next I am planning on reading A Mother’s Confession by Kelly Rimmer, I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book which is great because I’m not too keen on this cover!

a-mothers-confession

Blurb

He’s dead and I’m safe, but I’m still scared. Sometimes I actually miss him, but then in the very next breath I find that I hate him so much that I hope there is a hell, just so that he can be suffering like he left me here to suffer.’

Olivia and David were the perfect couple with their whole lives in front of them. When beautiful baby daughter Zoe came along, their world seemed complete.

But now David is dead and Olivia’s world is in pieces. While she is consumed with grief, her mother-in-law Ivy is also mourning the loss of her son. Both women are hiding secrets about the man they loved. Secrets that have put the family in danger.

Something was very wrong in Olivia and David’s marriage. Can Olivia and Ivy break their silence and speak the truth? A mother should protect her child, whatever the cost…shouldn’t she? NetGalley

Have you read any of these? What do you think of my choices?

What are you reading this week? Feel free to leave your links, answers or any other random comments about books in the box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (November 20)

Weekly Wrap Up

As I write this we are preparing for storm Angus which is getting ever closer to the Channel Islands so hopefully all is well and he’s passed over without causing too many problems – but I’m quite happy with the warning to all Islanders to ‘Avoid outside activity’ which sounds very much like stay inside and read a book!

Cleopatra Loves Books got a quote inside the paperback edition of Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard, a book that has seriously put me off considering a cruise… ever! Even better I am sharing with so many other lovely book bloggers

inside-distress-signals

This Week on the Blog

I started off the week with a five star review for Another Day Gone by Eliza Graham. I don’t understand why this author isn’t more widely celebrated, and this story of a past atrocity and the London bombing was both compelling and thought-provoking.

My extract post on Tuesday featured Belinda Bauer’s latest book, The Beautiful Dead; there are few books that have such an attention grabbing opener!

On Wednesday I was able to brag about a truly wonderful week of reading ahead, featuring Beryl Bainbridge and the fabulous Val McDermid.

On Thursday I posted my review of In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings. Having seen so much praise heaped on this book I bought a copy back in March and sadly it was bumped of the schedule at least twice – it was amazing and I awarded my second five stars for the week.

My review on Friday was for The Stranger In My Home by Adele Parks. I’d always passed this author’s books by without checking out the synopsis; they weren’t what I’d assumed and this is a compelling tale of two babies switched at birth with a dark undertone…

Yesterday saw me reviewing my third book by Beryl Bainbridge of 2016 having only ‘discovered’ her writing earlier this year, I am making up for lost time – Sweet William is a misleading title. William is not sweet but Bainbridge managed to make me judge Ann quite harshly as his willing victim.

This Time Last Year

I discovered a book that is probably one of my favourite reads of all time. This was an accidental find having half-watched a bit of a TV drama and decided (as always) that I’d rather read the book – and I did! The book being The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley which seems to have been a set read for most schools in the UK, except mine. It’s ok, I do think I probably appreciated the nuances far better now than I would have as a teenager but really… why were we not given this one to read?
You can read my review here.

The Go-Betweeen

Blurb

‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there’
When one long, hot summer, young Leo is staying with a school-friend at Brandham Hall, he begins to act as a messenger between Ted, the farmer, and Marian, the beautiful young woman up at the hall. He becomes drawn deeper and deeper into their dangerous game of deceit and desire, until his role brings him to a shocking and premature revelation. The haunting story of a young boy’s awakening into the secrets of the adult world, The Go-Between is also an unforgettable evocation of the boundaries of Edwardian society. Amazon


Stacking the Shelves

Two additions this week… First up a request that was granted by NetGalley which I suspect from the  fantastic review written by Jo of My Chestnut Reading Tree will be incredibly emotional – A Mother’s Confession by Kelly Rimmer.

a-mothers-confession

Blurb

He’s dead and I’m safe, but I’m still scared. Sometimes I actually miss him, but then in the very next breath I find that I hate him so much that I hope there is a hell, just so that he can be suffering like he left me here to suffer.’

Olivia and David were the perfect couple with their whole lives in front of them. When beautiful baby daughter Zoe came along, their world seemed complete.

But now David is dead and Olivia’s world is in pieces. While she is consumed with grief, her mother-in-law Ivy is also mourning the loss of her son. Both women are hiding secrets about the man they loved. Secrets that have put the family in danger.

Something was very wrong in Olivia and David’s marriage. Can Olivia and Ivy break their silence and speak the truth? A mother should protect her child, whatever the cost…shouldn’t she? NetGalley

I also received a copy of The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer who has turned her hand away from Vampires and towards a thriller. I’m intrigued to try this one out although I’m not entirely sure the underlying plot is one that I will enjoy.

the-chemist

Blurb

She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.
Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.
When her former handler offers her a way out, she realises it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires makes her situation even more dangerous.
Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of. Amazon

PicMonkey Collage TBR

TBR WATCH

Since my last post I have read 3 books and managed to gain just 2, but… disaster struck and I miscounted 1 book last week, so my TBR is still standing at 178 books!

94 physical books
68 e-books
16 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?