Posted in Books I have read

The Exclusives – Rebecca Thornton

Contemporary Fiction 4*s
Contemporary Fiction
4*s

I don’t know about you but ever since reading Enid Blyton’s stories of boarding school I’ve been a teeny weeny bit jealous of anyone who got to go to one, so when Midas PR asked me if I wanted a copy of The Exclusives whose very setting is an exclusive girl’s boarding school, I couldn’t resist. Better still, the summary indicates that are secrets in the past that are impacting on the present for at least one of the pupils.

I was quickly absorbed, we first meet Josephine Grey in 2014, daughter of the Prime Minister’s advisor when she receives an email from Freya Seymor, her former best friend at Wendell’s. Back in 1996 the two girls were studying their A levels, hoping to go to Oxford but it is clear from Josephine’s reaction to Freya’s email that something went badly wrong.

This is an engaging story although sadly devoid of midnight feasts and jolly japes the atmosphere is far more competitive and with rivalries bubbling beneath the surface the japes are anything but and the consequences far-reaching. The whole story is told from Josephine’s point of view, a girl who has a mentally ill mother and a father who is being busy and important. Freya is really her only friend and so when the friendship suddenly breaks down she has scant support to help her through.

In the present Josephine is an archaeologist but she doesn’t want to go digging around in her own past and she doesn’t want Freya raking it all up either. As her personal life, such as it is, begins to fall apart, Freya’s dogged determination to meet up with Josephine to discuss the past causes panic. It is obvious from the beginning that she feels guilty about something but what could possibly have such a long-lasting reaction?

The storytelling is engaging and I had some sympathy for both girls, although there did come a point when I wondered how much longer the author could expect me to wait for the secret to be revealed as my patience reached its limits. It is always nice to read a book where the characters appear to be authentic, funnily enough I was more convinced by the pupil’s behaviour than some, but by no means all, of the adults. As much as I hate to admit it, lots of girls together can be a force to be reckoned with and I could easily imagine that in the enclosed environment of boarding school the element of claiming the prize whatever the cost can soon spiral out of control. Interestingly it appeared that the Head teacher shared this personality trait with her pupils, but for her it was to ensure Wendell’s kept the top slot in the Times list!

I enjoyed this story about friendship, how bonds are made, how they can be broken and what happens afterwards,
enormously. I’m full of admiration for the publisher’s twenty7 choice of debut novels, the two I have read feel fresh and innovative, I can’t recommend this book if you like xxx as t haven’t read a book quite like this one. The setting combined with the secrets, yes there is more than one, cause a powder-keg of tension and I could only wonder what the result would be when the whole thing went up – I wasn’t disappointed.

The Exclusives is published today in eBook format, the paperback will follow in April 2016.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (December 9)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy 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 reading Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans, another book that has been lingering on the TBR for way too long!

Crooked Heart

Blurb

Longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, 2015.
When Noel Bostock – aged ten, no family – is evacuated from London to escape the Blitz, he winds up in St Albans with Vera Sedge – thiry-six, drowning in debts. Always desperate for money, she’s unscrupulous about how she gets it.
The war’s thrown up all manner of new opportunities but what Vee needs is a cool head and the ability to make a plan. On her own, she’s a disaster. With Noel, she’s a team.
Together they cook up an idea. But there are plenty of other people making money out of the war and some of them are dangerous. Noel may have been moved to safety, but he isn’t actually safe at all . . . NetGalley

I have recently finished The Exclusives by Rebecca Thornton which will be published tomorrow.

The Exclusives

You can read the synopsis and a taster from this book in yesterday’s post

Next I am planning on reading Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner as I need to post a review for Lovereading ahead of publication in February 2016

Missing Presumed

Blurb

Edith Hind, the beautiful, earnest Cambridge post-grad living on the outskirts of the city has left nothing behind but a streak of blood and her coat hanging up for her boyfriend, Will, to find. The news spreads fast: to her parents, prestigious doctor Sir Ian and Lady Hind, and straight on to the police. And then the hours start to dissolve and reality sets in.
Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw soothes her insomnia with the din of the police radio she keeps by her bed. After another bad date, it takes the crackling voices to lull her to sleep. But one night she hears something. Something deserving of her attention. A girl is missing. For Manon the hunt for Edith Hind might be the career-defining case she has been waiting for. For the family this is the beginning of their nightmare.
As Manon sinks her teeth into the investigation and lines up those closest to Edith she starts to feel out the kinks in their stories and catch the eyes that won’t meet hers. But when disturbing facts come to light, the stakes jolt up and Manon has to manage the wave of terror that erupts from the family.
A stunning literary thriller that shows the emotional fallout from the anxious search for a young woman and lets you inside the mind of the detective hell-bent on finding her. Goodreads

What are you reading this week? Do share!

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (December 8)

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 this week comes from The Exclusives by Rebecca Thornton which is going to be published on 10 December 2015.

The Exclusives

Blurb

1996. Freya Seymour and Josephine Grey are invincible – beautiful and brilliant, the two best friends are on the cusp of Oxbridge, and the success they always dreamed they’d share.
2014. Josephine hasn’t heard from Freya for eighteen long and tortured years. And then Freya gets in touch, wanting to meet.
Beginning with one ill-fated night, The Exclusives charts the agonising spiral of friendship gone wrong, the heartache and betrayal of letting down those closest to you and the poisonous possibilities of what we wouldn’t do when everything we prize is placed under threat.
And in the end, as she realises she cannot run for ever, Josephine must answer one question: can she face the woman that she used to know?
The Exclusives is Rebecca Thornton’s powerful debut novel about the pressures of life in an exclusive boarding school. Goodreads

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Chapter 1

JORDAN, 2014

Everything changed when I was given the badge. I only had it for four months, but I wore it that whole time, just above my left breast Blood red, with gold lettering: Head Girl.
Four months was all it took. Four months with that stupid badge. And, now, all these years later, I imagine telling my colleagues what happened with Freya, over flasks of coffee, the dirt of an archaeological dig tickling our lungs. You were just young, they might say, laughing. Young, naïve and stupid.
young, yes. Stupid, no.

So what do you think? Do you want to know more?

If you have an opening to share, please leave your link in the comments box below

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking the Shelves (December 5)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared.

Mindful of the TBR, and you can see quite how bad this is in this post, I have only added a few books to my pile in the last two weeks but I think they are good ones, what do you think?

First I have a non-fiction book, The Life Project by Helen Pearsons, I’ve had a peek inside and it seems to be an immensely readable study of how our lives have changed, and how they’ve stayed the same.

The Life Project

Blurb

On March 3, 1946, a survey began that is, today, the longest-running study of human development in the world, growing to encompass six generations of children, 150,000 people, and some of the best-studied people on the planed. The simple act of observing human life has changed the way we are born, schooled, parent and die, irrevocably altering our understanding of inequality and health. This is the tale of these studies, the scientists who created them, sustained them, and perhaps most importantly, the remarkable discoveries that have come from them. The envy of scientists around the world, The Life Project is one of Britain’s best-kept secrets. Goodreads

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner for review for Lovereading.  Missing Presumed will be published on 26 February 2016

Missing Presumed

Blurb

Edith Hind, the beautiful, earnest Cambridge post-grad living on the outskirts of the city has left nothing behind but a streak of blood and her coat hanging up for her boyfriend, Will, to find. The news spreads fast: to her parents, prestigious doctor Sir Ian and Lady Hind, and straight on to the police. And then the hours start to dissolve and reality sets in.
Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw soothes her insomnia with the din of the police radio she keeps by her bed. After another bad date, it takes the crackling voices to lull her to sleep. But one night she hears something. Something deserving of her attention. A girl is missing. For Manon the hunt for Edith Hind might be the career-defining case she has been waiting for. For the family this is the beginning of their nightmare.
As Manon sinks her teeth into the investigation and lines up those closest to Edith she starts to feel out the kinks in their stories and catch the eyes that won’t meet hers. But when disturbing facts come to light, the stakes jolt up and Manon has to manage the wave of terror that erupts from the family.
A stunning literary thriller that shows the emotional fallout from the anxious search for a young woman and lets you inside the mind of the detective hell-bent on finding her. Goodreads

From NetGalley I requested a copy of The Jazz Files by Fiona Veitch Smith. I simply couldn’t resist the 1920s setting!

The Jazz Files

Blurb

“It stands for Jazz Files,” said Rollo. “It’s what we call any story that has a whiff of high society scandal but can’t yet be proven… you never know when a skeleton in the closet might prove useful.”
Set in 1920, The Jazz Files introduces aspiring journalist Poppy Denby, who arrives in London to look after her ailing Aunt Dot, an infamous suffragette. Dot encourages Poppy to apply for a job at The Daily Globe, but on her first day a senior reporter is killed and Poppy is tasked with finishing his story. It involves the mysterious death of a suffragette seven years earlier, about which some powerful people would prefer that nothing be said…
Through her friend Delilah Marconi, Poppy is introduced to the giddy world of London in the Roaring Twenties, with its flappers, jazz clubs, and romance. Will she make it as an investigative journalist, in this fast-paced new city? And will she be able to unearth the truth before more people die? NetGalley

I have a copy of The Exclusives by Rebecca Thornton from the publishers twenty7 who concentrate on debut authors. The Exclusives will be published in e-book format on 10 December 2015.

The Exclusives

Blurb

1996. Freya Seymour and Josephine Grey are invincible – beautiful and brilliant, the two best friends are on the cusp of Oxbridge, and the success they always dreamed they’d share.
2014. Josephine hasn’t heard from Freya for eighteen long and tortured years. And then Freya gets in touch, wanting to meet.
Beginning with one ill-fated night, The Exclusives charts the agonising spiral of friendship gone wrong, the heartache and betrayal of letting down those closest to you and the poisonous possibilities of what we wouldn’t do when everything we prize is placed under threat.
And in the end, as she realises she cannot run for ever, Josephine must answer one question: can she face the woman that she used to know?
The Exclusives is Rebecca Thornton’s powerful debut novel about the pressures of life in an exclusive boarding school. Goodreads

Lastly I am exceptionally grateful for a copy of The Ballroom by Anna Hope, whose debut novel Wake was a huge favourite of mine. The Ballroom will be published on 16 February 2016

The Ballroom

Blurb

1911: Inside an asylum at the edge of the Yorkshire moors,
where men and women are kept apart
by high walls and barred windows,
there is a ballroom vast and beautiful.
For one bright evening every week
they come together
and dance.
When John and Ella meet
It is a dance that will change
two lives forever.
Set over the heatwave summer of 1911, the end of the Edwardian era, THE BALLROOM is a tale of unlikely love and dangerous obsession, of madness and sanity, and of who gets to decide which is which. NetGalley

~   ~   ~   ~   ~

 

 

PicMonkey Collage TBR

So since the 6 November when I counted up the TBR disappointedly I found 2 books I’d missed from the originally cataloguing so my total then should have been 175.
Since my last count I have read 7 books, and gained 5, leading to a grand total of 170 books, so the figures are inching slowly in the right direction – aren’t they?

85 physical books
70 e-books
15 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?