Friday, 16 November 2018

Book Review: The Corset by Laura Purcell [via PigeonHole]

The Corset by Laura Purcell


Title: The Corset
Author: Laura Purcell
Publisher: Raven Books
Publication Date 20 September 2018

Twitter: @spookypurcell

Blurb

Dorothea and Ruth.

Prison visitor and prisoner. Powerful and powerless.

Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder.

When Dorothea's charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted to have the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person's skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another theory: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread. For Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.

The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations, of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses, will shake Dorothea's belief in rationality, and the power of redemption.

Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

REVIEW: The Pigeonhole App - an online book club


The Pigeonhole

Book lovers and book bloggers, if you haven't already heard of The Pigeonhole you really should check it out!

I was introduced to The Pigeonhole approximately 2 months ago and since then I've recommended it to a number of friends.

Launched in September 2014, The Pigeonhole is an online book club. You download the app (for Android or iOS) onto your phone and then sign up - simple!  Once signed up, you pick a book (or two) and start to read through the app.  There will be a limited number of spaces for each book, so if you see one that takes your fancy you better sign up quickly!  Once a book goes live, you may or may not be able to join in. I believe it depends how many spaces are left. After the serialisation has concluded, the completed book will remain available for one month. 

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Blog Tour & Book Review: The Green Viper (James Ryker Book 4) by Rob Sinclair

Rob Sinclair


Title: The Green Viper (James Ryker Book 4)
Author: Rob Sinclair
Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Publication Date: 5 November 2018

Other books in series: The Red Cobra,  The Black Hornet  &  The Silver Wolf


I am delighted to be today's stop on the blog tour for The Green Viper by Rob Sinclair. Huge thanks to Emma Welton (aka @damppebbles), Bloodhound Books and the author himself for both inviting me to join the tour and for providing a copy of Rob's fantastic new novel, The Green Viper, for review.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Blog Tour: The Cornish Village School - Second Chances by Kitty Wilson

The Cornish Village School - Second Chances by Kitty Wilson



Title: The Cornish Village School - Second Chances
Author: Kitty Wilson
Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date: 4 October 2018

Today on the blog we're joining the tour for The Cornish Village School - Second Chances by Kitty Wilson. As you will have noticed, autumn has most definitely arrived - the supermarkets are full of pumpkins, the trees are turning beautiful shades of red and orange, the nights are drawing in and there's a definite chill in the air. I'm delighted to have a spotlight piece from Kitty Wilson explaining what she likes best about autumn. 

Five fab things about autumn.

I am a fickle being when it comes to the seasons of the year, but the truth is I do genuinely love each single one of them and could wax lyrical about each of them with ease.

However, autumn is upon us now and as my new book in The Cornish Village School series, Second Chances, has a distinctly autumnal theme then it seems timely to share the things I love most about autumn.

Conkers – There is something special about conkers, finding them on the floor, bursting out of that hedgehog casing and revealing a shiny brown treasure never fails to excite me. Then as a child I would rush my hoard home to douse them in vinegar and bake them overnight to make sure I had the shiniest, toughest conker for the playground next day. You have no idea how many autumn walks were undertaken with my own children and put on the school timetable when I was teaching! Recently I went on holiday, bought presents for my family but for my momento, I slipped the conker with the most beautiful sheen I could find into my pocket.

Scrunchy leaves – surely this is everyone’s favourite? I defy anyone not to enjoy the scrunch of a leaf beneath their foot, and the joy of having squillions of them to jump on during a woodland walk (obviously you’re there looking for conkers!) is immeasurable. And then there are the colours, the vibrant reds, yellow and oranges that litter the floor during this time of year and make my soul sing, beautiful!

Jumpers – this sounds like a silly favourite thing but honestly it makes me so happy when the season changes slightly and I can start pulling great big roll necks out of the wardrobe and cuddling up in them, burying my chin and hooking my fingers into the end of the sleeves to make my hands ultra-toasty.

Fire – autumn is orange and as it approaches I scurry to the fireplace, dragging out the wood I have stockpiled and eagerly light the fire. I love getting lost in the shape of flames as they jump and flicker, lighting up and warming the room and giving permission for me to lose hours just sitting there and staring.

Bonfire night – this practically combines all of the above things and throws in the wow of fireworks and, if you’re lucky, some soup and a jacket potato as well! What is not to love? Add a measure of history in the shape of Guy Fawkes to the magic and I’m in seventh heaven. In the Cornish Village School – Second Chances a lot of the action occurs across Halloween and Bonfire Night, and in a season that is so exciting for small children (and this adult too) it is no surprise that it leads to something really special happening in the Cornish village of Penmenna. 

About the Author

Kitty Wilson
Kitty Wilson lived in Cornwall for twenty-five years having been dragged there, against her will, as a stroppy teen. she is now remarkably grateful to her parents for their foresight and wisdom - and that her own children aren't as hideous. Recently she has moved to Bristol, but only for love and on the understanding that she and her partner will be returning to Cornwall to live very soon. She spends most of her time welded to the Keyboard, dreaming of the beach or bombing back down the motorway for a quick visit! She has a penchant for very loud music, equally loud dresses and romantic heroines who speak their mind.





A huge thanks to Kitty for that wonderful reminder of the joys of autumn!  Personally I love this season, with the beautiful russet colours, the cosy jumpers and knee-high boots and, of course, big mugs of hot chocolate - what could be more perfect than that?!

If you've not yet heard much about The Cornish Village School - Second Chances (book 2 in the Cornish Village School series), then check out the information below:

Blurb

Ex-ballerina and single mum Sylvie is in trouble. Juggling her ballet classes in the nearest town, preparing shy Sam for his first day at Penmenna Village school and trying to finally move out from the farm she shares with her cantankerous Uncle Tom means life is anything but easy.

Television journalist Alex is facing challenges of his own. Seeking a calmer environment for his newly adopted daughter, Ellie, he's swapped reporting in war zones for the school PTA in quiet Penmenna, where his best friend Chase has persuaded him to start laying some roots.

Fireworks ignite when Sylvie and Alex meet but as Ellie and Sam become instant best friends, will they be able to keep things strictly platonic for the sake of the children?

(Brief) Review

The Cornish Village School - Second Chances is a heart-warming tale about the creation of a family. Family doesn't always come in the same format and, for Sylvie and Alex, they find themselves and their children becoming a family despite the fact that they are not in a romantic relationship. Is it possible for them to make that leap without ruining everything? Do they even want to change something that already seems pretty perfect? From an eclectic cast of characters to the charming village setting, the book is feel-good, warm, funny, endearing and thoroughly entertaining! 



BUY LINKS



Finally, don't forget to catch up with the other stops on this blog tour, details listed below:





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.








Buy Links



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.