Posted in 2019, Agnes Ravatn, Contemporary Fiction, First Read, library book, Novel, thriller

The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ravatn

Two people in exile. Two secrets. As the past tightens its grip, there may be no escape… TV presenter Allis Hagtorn leaves her partner and her job to take voluntary exile in a remote house on an isolated fjord. But her new job as housekeeper and gardener is not all that it seems, and her silent, surly employer, 44-year-old Sigurd Bagge, is not the old man she expected. As they await the return of his wife from her travels, their silent, uneasy encounters develop into a chilling, obsessive relationship, and it becomes clear that atonement for past sins may not be enough… Haunting, consuming and powerful, The Bird Tribunal is a taut, exquisitely written psychological thriller that builds to a shocking, dramatic crescendo that will leave you breathless.

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[My pulse raced as I traipsed through the silent forest]  

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(@OrendaBooks, 1 September 2016, first published 1 September 2013, 276 pages, ebook, borrowed from @GlasgowLib via @OverDriveLibs)

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I’d never heard of the author before and chose this book solely because I liked the image on the cover. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy the book at first because of the style it’s written in, quite short chapters, dense yet quite tight prose. It took a while for me to settle into the flow of the prose. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the book is what’s not made clear in the book and how everything is slowly, painfully revealed. This is a very complex book and I wasn’t expecting that. Allis and Bagge are intense characters when they become obsessed with each other this heightens the intense feeling. Their motivations are never clear. Why the hell did Allis give up her relationship and job for a job she had no experience in? Where is Bagge’s wife? The ending shocked me as I didn’t expect it.

Posted in 2019, ARC, First Read, NetGalley, Poetry, renaada williams

#becoming by @renaadawilliams

Everyone understands that life is hard, but self-love and dedication will always be the key.

Becoming is a beautiful debut collection of poetry centering around themes of feminism, sexuality, race, and mental health. Renaada Williams’s 100+ poems are short, personal, emotional tributes to the things that make us different and a celebration of all the things that make us the same. A journey through life, love, and loss, becoming reminds the reader that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

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[you / were the definition of / what a man / father / and a friend/ should be]

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(@AndrewsMcMeel, 19 May 2020, 152 pages, e-book, copy from the publisher via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)  

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I’d never heard of the poet before. I like discovering new poets. Overall, I enjoyed the poems in this collection. My personal bug bear is that the poems don’t have titles. I like my poems to have titles but this is becoming a common style in modern poetry. The poems are very simple, deceptively so because they deal with far deeper ideas and subjects than you expect at first glance. They were easy to read and resonated on some level with me. Like a lot of modern poetry, the poems are personal as well as universal. I really like the cover as well.

Posted in 2019, ARC, Blog Tour, Contemporary Fiction, Mel Sherratt, NetGalley, Novel, thriller

Liar Liar by @writermels

The truth can be a dangerous thing…

When a young boy falls from a balcony in a block of flats, DS Grace Allendale witnesses the shocking aftermath of the tragic event. But strangely, no one will admit to seeing anything – and the parents will only tell the police that it was an accident.

 
Determined to sort the truth from the lies, Grace is thrown into a case that takes her to the darkest corners of the criminal world – and strikes closer to home than she could have ever imagined…

A gripping and pacey thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat from the moment you turn the first page. The perfect read for fans of Martina Cole.

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[Caleb Campbell freewheeled down Ford Green Road, taking the bend a little too sharply for the icy road conditions as he weaved his way past the evening traffic]

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(@AvonBooksUK, 10 February 2020, 400 pages, ebook, #ARC from @AvonBooksUK via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed, #BlogTour 24 February)

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I’d never heard of the author before so didn’t really know what to expect with Liar Liar. I enjoyed this book so much I will definitely read more of her work. I read a lot of thrillers and they can get samey after a while. There are only so many original storylines. Liar Liar offers something very different. The premise seems simple, DS Grace Allendale witnesses what seems to be an accident at first when a toddler falls from a balcony. The boy’s distraught parents say it was an accident. Grace is suspicious when all of the neighbours conveniently didn’t see anything and it’s revealed the boy landed on his feet so couldn’t have fallen the way everyone says he did. What’s going on? Was it an accident or is something more sinister going on? Why are the neighbours so reluctant to speak out? Each time I sat down to read, I was hooked and didn’t want to stop until I knew what the hell was going on. Liar Liar offers a new take on ever-popular police procedurals with a realistic setting and great characters.

Posted in 2019, Candice Samuelson, First Read, Poetry, Review Copy

This Soul Estranged by @CSamuelson_

This Soul Estranged is a collection of poetry featuring two sections, one for love lost and the other for love found. Each section delves into the world of human emotion, and tries to answer what love means to us as individuals. Read through the collection for a cathartic journey through your feelings, and come out the other side with a different perspective and new insight into the delicate balance of what makes us human.

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[When we died / it was three hundred ways / three hundred times / three hundred days THE FIRST]

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(Independently Published, 14 February 2020, 118 pages, ebook, #ARC from the poet and voluntarily reviewed)

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This was a pleasure to read. I enjoyed every poem in this collection. The poems, or rather the language and imagery used are beautiful at times. The poems are short and easy to read but this doesn’t mean they lack depth. Quite the opposite is true in fact. The poems convey more in a few lines than some author’s convey in a full-length novel. I enjoyed the first half the most and look forward to seeing more of the poet’s work.

Posted in 2019, ARC, Blog Tour, Contemporary Fiction, First Read, J.P. Carter, NetGally, Novel, thriller

Little Boy Lost by @JPCarterAuthor

Innocence is no protection against evil…

One early October afternoon, ten-year-old Jacob Rossi begins the short walk home from school. But he never makes it.

 
Days later, DCI Anna Tate is called to the scene of a burning building, where an awful discovery has been made. A body has been found, and the label in his school blazer reads: J. Rossi.

 
As Anna starts digging, she soon learns that a lot of people had grudges against the boy’s father. But would any of them go so far as to take his son?

And is the boy’s abductor closer than she thinks?

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[The tension was mounting in the back of the armed response van as it sped towards its destination]  

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(Avon Books, 23 January 2020, 400 pages, ebook, ARC from @AvonBooksUK via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed #BlogTour 28 January 2020)

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I’d never heard of the author before but I love crime fiction and the blurb intrigued me. I had a great time reading this so I’ve clearly missed out. I have another must read to author to add to my rather large list. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the book is that the author uses a sort of story-within-a-story structure that I haven’t come across in crime fiction before. I thought this worked really well. The main story focuses on investigating Jacob Rossi’s death. The investigation happens to coincide with riots across the city that spill out into surrounding towns. There is an interesting sub plot around what happens to Anna’s daughter during the riots which is separate from the police investigation. I wondered where this was going to lead and I enjoyed the way the book alternated between this and the police investigation. This was a nice touch. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it as a police procedural that offers something a bit different.  

Posted in 2019, Annual Round-Up, General Book Stuff

2019 Round-Up on the Book Lover’s Boudoir

I read 663 books in 2019.

2019 factoids:

  • 144,052 pages read
  • Burned through 740 hours 2 minutes of audio
  • 575 fiction titles
  • 88 nonfiction titles
  • 244 UK authors
  • 303 US authors
  • 116 authors from around the globe
  • 367 female authors
  • 243 male authors
  • 53 books with multiple authors
  • 100 audiobooks
  • 454 digital books
  • 109 print books
  • 50 books for Popsugar Reading Challenge
  • 52 books for Around The Year In 52 Books
  • 50 books for A Year Of Epic Reads
  • 15 Children’s
  • 8 Classic
  • 13 Comedy
  • 143 Contemporary
  • 8 Crime
  • 1 Essays
  • 28 Fantasy
  • 35 General Nonfiction
  • 2 Gothic Horror
  • 4 Graphic Novel
  • 12 Historical Crime
  • 22 Historical Fiction
  • 6 Historical Nonfiction
  • 34 Horror
  • 2 LGBT
  • 18 Literary Fiction
  • 3 Literature Non-Fiction
  • 18 Memoirs
  • 2 Myth Non-Fiction
  • 8 Plays
  • 102 Poetry Collections
  • 1 Romantic Fiction
  • 15 Science Fiction
  • 1 Self Help Non-Fiction
  • 44 Short Story Collections
  • 2 Suspense
  • 59 Thrillers
  • 9 True Crime
  • 33 YA
  • 92 ARC’s
  • 10 Amazon First Reads
  • 14 Amazon Vine
  • 3 Audible
  • 2 Big Library Read
  • 12 Kindle Lending Library
  • 95 Library Books
  • 22 NetGalley Titles
  • 306 Owned Books
  • 50 Prime Reading
  • 56 Review Copies
  • 1 Together We Read
  • 1-star read’s = 21
  • 2-star read’s = 28
  • 3-star read’s = 61
  • 4-star read’s = 358
  • 5-star read’s = 195

My books of the Month for 2019:


My Book Of The Year:

Posted in 2019, General Book Stuff, Monthly Round-Up

December Round-Up on the Book Lover’s Boudoir

I read 62 books in December.

December factoids:

  • 16,140 pages read
  • Burned through 22 hours 19 minutes of audio
  • 59 fiction titles
  • 3 nonfiction titles
  • 30 UK authors
  • 22 US authors
  • 10 authors from around the globe
  • 36 female authors
  • 23 male authors
  • 3 books with multiple authors
  • 2 audiobooks
  • 39 digital books
  • 21 print books
  • 3 books for A Year of Epic Reads
  • 3 Children’s
  • 2 Classics
  • 17 Contemporary
  • 6 Fantasy
  • 2 General Non-Fiction
  • 1 Graphic Novel
  • 3 Historical Fiction
  • 1 Horror
  • 1 Literary
  • 1 Memoir
  • 10 Poetry
  • 1 Science Fiction
  • 8 Short Story Collections
  • 4 Thrillers
  • 2 YA
  • 1 Amazon First Read
  • 5 Amazon Vine
  • 8 ARC’s
  • 1 Kindle Owner’s Lending Library
  • 22 Library Books
  • 1 NetGalley
  • 13 Owned
  • 6 Prime Reading
  • 5 Review Copies
  • 1-star read’s = 2
  • 2-star read’s = 3
  • 3-star read’s = 8
  • 4-star read’s = 31
  • 5-star read’s = 18

My favourite read in December:

Posted in 2019, cj skuse, Contemporary Fiction, Novel, Prime Reading, thriller

Sweetpea by @CJSkuse

The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcoholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…

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[Well, my New Year has certainly gone off with a bang, I don’t know about yours]  

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(HQ, 20 April 2017, 473 pages, ebook, borrowed from @AmazonKindle #PrimeReading)

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I recently read the author’s novel Monster and was impressed so decided to check out Sweetpea and see how I felt about her other work. I loved the idea behind Sweetpea and it works on some levels but also fails in some areas as well. It doesn’t quite work for me. I loved the idea of the book being narrated by a female sociopath and a serial killer. I thought this would be interesting. This really works in some areas and at times the book is really funny. However, the book is very repetitive at times. There are kill lists at the start of every chapter with people who have pissed Sweetpea off enough to be on her kill radar. These lists quickly cease to have any point and I found myself skipping them. I appreciate the narrator is a serial killer but the violence is a little much even for me. The biggest failing is that Sweetpea ceases to be anything other than a stereotype. She is a monster with no redeeming qualities. It’s hard to get behind someone so empty.

Posted in 2019, ARC, carrie vaughn, First Read, historical fiction, Horror Fiction, Review Copy, Short Fiction

The Immortal Conquistador by Carrie Vaughn

Discover the deadly origins of the noble immortal Rick, ally to bestselling author Carrie Vaughn’s fan-favourite werewolf, Kitty Norville.

Ricardo de Avila would have followed Coronado to the ends of the earth. Instead, Ricardo found the end of his mortal life, and a new one, as a renegade vampire.

For over five hundred years, Ricardo has upset the established order. He has protected his found family from marauding demons, teamed up with a legendary gunslinger, appointed himself the Master of Denver, and called upon a church buried under the Vatican. He has tended bar and fended off evil werewolves.

Life for a vampire is always long, but for Rick, it is never uncomplicated.

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[RICK SLUNG HIS BAG over his shoulder, descended the steel staircase from the plane to the tarmac, and set foot in Europe for the first time in five hundred years]

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(Tachyon Publications, 13 March 2020, 192 pages, ebook, #ARC from @TachyonPub and voluntarily reviewed)

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I’d never heard of the author before or Kitty Norville. Clearly I’ve been missing out. I really enjoyed this book so will probably check out more work by the author. I have a fondness for vampire fiction and the more original and interesting the better. The Immortal Conquistador ticks all the boxes for me. The world building is excellent considering Ricardo lives through different eras in the book. Ricardo is not like typical vampires in fiction as he has a heart of gold and appears more human than monster. The Immortal Conquistador starts with Ricardo’s origins when he’s turned into a vampire. I enjoyed every tale on offer here.

Posted in 2019, Anita Frank, ARC, First Read, ghost story, historical fiction, NetGalley, Novel

#TheLostOnes by @Ajes74

Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917

 
Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…

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[The brass plaque, polished so it shone like burnished gold was mounted pride of place on the chantey wall – a new, if unwelcome addition to the village church]

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(HQ, 31 October 2019, 464 pages, ebook, copy from @HQstories via #NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed)

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I love ghost stories but prefer subtle ones that revolve around hauntings and unseen things making strange noises in the night. I dislike gory, in-your-face horror. The Lost Ones is exactly the kind of ghost story that I love. This is a gripping book and I was caught up in the strange atmosphere of the house and the secrets all of the characters are hiding. This is an impressive debut. I look forward to what Franks has in store next. I found all of the characters, even Stella quite unsympathetic and nasty. However, this didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the book.