Saturday, 20 October 2018

Book Review: The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder by Sarah J Harris [audiobook]

The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder


Title: The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder
Author: Sarah J Harris
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 3 May 2018

Twitter: @sarahsky23

Blurb

There are three things you need to know about Jasper.

1. He sees the world completely differently.
2. He can't recognise faces - not even his own.
3. He is the only witness to the murder of  his neighbour, Bee Larkham.

But it's hard to catch a murderer when you can't recognise their face...

Review

The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder is a compelling and poignant story which delves into the life and mind of 13 year old Jasper Wishart. Jasper has synaesthesia, a fascinating phenomenon in which different senses are merged in response to a single stimulus. In Jasper's case, he lives in a world filled with colour - every noise he hears has its own unique shade. Jasper also has prosopagnosia or face-blindness.  He cannot recognise faces, not even of those closest to him. He has learnt instead to distinguish people by the colours their voices produce. These two conditions make Jasper a very unique narrator, as he experiences life in a very different way to most people.

The story itself revolves around Jasper's unlikely friendship with his bold and colourful new neighbour, Bee Larkham.  However, whilst Bee and Jasper bond over a love of wild parakeets and 'alien' music, the other inhabitants of the street start to turn against Bee, who they view as a troublemaker. When she goes missing Jasper is convinced that he killed her, although the reader is unsure precisely why or how he supposedly committed this crime. The book is, essentially, a mystery story with tale gradually unfolding via a combination of current scenes and flash backs. I felt this method of unraveling the mystery to be effective in creating suspense. Jasper's face-blindness provides a fascinating element of unreliability to his narration. Can we trust Jasper's recollection of events...?  

As a protagonist, I found Jasper to be an unusual and memorable character. Jasper has a certain level of awareness of his various conditions. He knows that he is 'different' to his classmates and yet he doesn't fully understand those differences. He uses different mechanisms and thought processes to get over the hurdles he faces. Jasper really is a brave and resilient boy. However, a tendency to compulsion, obsession and repetition is a significant part of Jasper's condition and this did irritate me at times when the story, understandably, shadows those same tendencies. This writing style helped to emphasise Jasper's own worries and frustrations. I think that whilst frustrating, this provides the reader with a brief glimpse of what it must be like for Jasper's father to have to face that same repetition on a daily basis.

I found Jasper's father to be equally as interesting. He appears completely unsupportive of Jasper's synaesthesia and that has had a significant impact on their relationship. Jasper obviously loved his mother very much and yet I got only a feeling of tolerance towards his father, rather than of love. I am curious as to why he seems so reluctant to discuss Jasper's abilities, however I do have sympathy with the daily struggle he must face in looking after Jasper and living with his various obsessions.

The book is very well written, with an eloquent flow and a beautifully descriptive style that immerses the reader into Jasper's unusual, isolated and fragile world.

The book address some dark and disturbing issues, such as bullying, predatory sexual behaviour and abuse of power. It also explores a highly unique world, one that is likely much more frightening and isolated than the majority of us would be used to. However the author does so with sympathy and humour, providing a wealth of insight into Jasper's world.The author has obviously carried out a huge amount of research into synaesthesia and prosopagnosia, making for an authentic and believable story.

The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder really is a completely original and utterly captivating novel. It is unpredictable, intriguing and touching, whilst also being at times funny and very memorable. I loved this book! Well done to Sarah J Harris for such a fantastic debut into adult novels. Highly recommend.

I should also mention that I listened to The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder on audiobook (via Audible). I can sometimes struggle with audiobooks if I don't think that the narrator 'fits' with the book.  On this occasion, I am happy to report that Huw Parmenter did a good job with the narration.

About the Author

 She lives in London with her husband and two young children. The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder is her first adult novel.
Sarah J Harris is an author and freelance education journalist who regularly writes for national British newspapers. She is the author of the young adult series Jessica Cole: Model Spy, written under her pen name, Sarah Sky.








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Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Book Review: The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May



The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay

 


Title: The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay
Author: Nicola May
Publisher: Amazon Media
Publication Date: 9 April 2018

Twitter: @nicolamay1
Facebook: /NicolaMayAuthor

Blurb

Rosa Larkin is down on her luck in London, so when she inherits a near-derelict corner shop in a quaint Devon village, her first thought is to sell it for cash and sort out her life. But nothing is straightforward about this legacy. While the identity of her benefactor remains a mystery, he - or she - has left one important legal proviso: that the shop cannot be sold, only passed on to somebody who really deserves it. 

Rosa makes up her mind to give it a go: to put everything she has into getting the shop up and running again in the small seaside community of Cockleberry Bay. But can she do it all on her own? And if not, who will help her succeed - and who among the following will work secretly to see her fail?

There is a handsome rugby player, a sexy plumber, a charlatan reporter and a selection of meddling locals. Add in a hit and run incident and the disappearance of a valuable engraved necklace - and what you get is a journey of self-discovery and unpredictable events.

With surprising and heartfelt results, Rosa, accompanied at all times by her little sausage dog Hot, will slowly unravel the shadowy secrets of the inheritance, and also bring her own, long-hidden heritage into the light.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Blog Tour & Book Review: Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter



Title: Pieces of Her
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 9 August 2018 (ebook and hardback); 18 April 2019 (paperback)


I am delighted to be today's stop on the blog tour for Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. I have long been a fan of Slaughter's writing and I was thrilled to be asked to take part in the blog tour. So a huge thanks to HarperCollins and their fantastic publicity team at Bland PR for including me in the tour and for the advanced review copy of the book.

Blurb

You've know her your whole life...
Andrea Oliver knows everything about her mother Laura. She knows she's always lived in the small town of Belle Isle; she knows she's a pillar of the community; she knows she's never kept a secret in her life.

but she's hiding something...
Then one day, a trip to the mall explodes into a shocking act of violence and Andy suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura.

and it could destroy you both...
Hours later, Laura is in hospital, her face splashed over the newspapers. But the danger has only just behind. Now, Andy must go on a desperate race to uncover the secrets of her mother's past. Unless she can, there may be no future for either of them.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Book Review: Into The Water by Paula Hawkins



Title:
 Into the Water
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Transworld Digital  /  Black Swan
Publication Date: 2 May 2017 (ePub and hardcover) & 17 May 2018 (paperback)

Twitter: @PaulaHWrites

Blurb

Just days before her sister plunged to her death, Jules ignored her call.

Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules must return to her sister's house to care for her daughter, and to face the mystery of Nel's death.

But Jules is afraid. Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of this small town that is drowning in secrecy . . . 

And of knowing that Nel would never have jumped.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Book Review: Sharp Shooter (Tara Sharp Book 1) by Marianne Delacourt



Title: Sharp Shooter (Tara Sharp Book 1)
Author: Marianne Delacourt
Publisher: Twelth Planet Press
Publication Date: 23 May 2016

Website: www.tarasharp.com.au and www.mariannedepierres.com
Twitter: @mdepierres
Facebook:

Blurb


Tara Sharp can see auras, and it's ruining her life.

When she tries to turn her inconvenient secret into a paying gig, her first job lands her in the middle of a tug of war between the biggest, baddest crime lord in town and the hottest business man Tara has ever met.

With only a narcoleptic ex-roadie, her pet galah and a vanilla slice for back up, Tara is ready to take on trouble with a capital 'T'.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Book Review: The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter



Title: The Good Daughter
Author: Karin Slaughter
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 13 July 2017 (epub) or 3 May 2018 (paperback)

Twitter: @SlaughterKarin

Blurb

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind...

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father - Pikeville's notorious defence attorney - devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself - the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again - and a shocking tragedy leave the whole town traumatised - Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it's a case that unleashes the terrible memories she's spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won't stay buried forever...

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Book Review: Our House by Louise Candlish [audiobook] #bookclub



Title: Our House
Author: Louise Candlish
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (UK) and Berkley Publishing (US)
Publication Date: 5 April 2018 (UK) or 7 August 2018 (US)


Blurb

On a bright morning in the London suburbs, a family moves into the house they've just bought on Trinity Avenue. Nothing strange about that. Except it's your house. And you didn't sell it.

FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE.

When Fi Lawson arrived home to find strangers moving into her house, she is plunged into terror and confusion. She and her husband Bram have owned their home on Trinity Avenue for years and have no intention of selling. how can this other family possibly think the house is theirs? And why has Bram disappeared when she needs him most?

FOR RICHER, FOR POORER.

Bram has made a catastrophic mistake and now he is paying. Unable to see his wife, his children o his home, he has nothing left but to settle scores As the nightmare takes grip, both Bram and Fi try to make sense of events that led to a devastating crime. What has he hidden from her - and what has she hidden from him? And will either survive the chilling truth - that there are far worse things you can lose than your house?

TILL DEATH US DO PART.