WWW Wednesday (June 8th)

Hello fellow WWWers, I have book club this evening after work so I’ll do my best to catch up with your posts and comments later tonight or tomorrow. Have a lovely day 🙂

WWW WednesdayThis weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what’s on your reading list this week…

To join in, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

 

I’m reading…

The Safe Word by Karen Long

I met Karen at an author/blogger meet up in March and I’m finally starting her book that she offered me for review.

The Safe Word Karen LongThe blurb

There are rules that every player of every game must abide by, no matter how dangerous the sport.

Toronto has become the backdrop to a macabre set of artistic installations: women kidnapped, tortured and horrifically displayed by a killer with a vision.

Only someone capable of understanding the killer’s creative desire will be able to stop the murders and D I Eleanor Raven is uniquely qualified. Driven by a complex personality she pursues only the facts, only the things she can see, but never casts a judgement.

But she also has a dark and dangerous secret – one that will threaten her very survival.


I recently finished

My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal

I think this is one the saddest books I’ve ever read. Shoved from pillar to post Leon hasn’t had the greatest start in his nine years of life, I hoped and prayed for a happy ending because I just wanted to adopt him! Maureen, his foster carer is a lovely woman who reminds me of Sheila from The A-Z of You and Me (another must read!).

My Name is LeonThe blurb

A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you’d least expect to find one.

Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers. Since Jake is white and Leon is not.

As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile – like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum.

Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a heart-breaking story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how – just when we least expect it – we manage to find our way home.

I also finished Bite by Nick Louth

Despite not wanting to like this book because of its arrogant strapline I did rather like it.  Fast-paced, gritty, shocking and absurd in places kind of do make for a gripping thriller (God I hate myself for saying that!!) 😉

Bite Nick LouthThe blurb

Tomorrow should be the greatest day of Erica Stroud-Jones’s life. In just 24 hours this brilliant young scientist will present her secret work to a conference in Amsterdam – research that promises to revolutionise the battle against a deadly tropical disease. Millions of lives could be saved; a Nobel Prize beckons.

Arriving to watch her are sceptics and rivals, admirers and enemies. Erica’s own eyes will be on sculptor Max Carver, her American new love to whom she will dedicate her achievement.

Tomorrow never comes.

Erica vanishes during the night. Max, desperate, terrified, sets out to find her, descending into an underworld full of malice and cunning. But even he is shocked by the dark terror he finds in the heart of the woman he loves.


 What’s up next?

A Stitch in Time by Amanda James

I worked out a few weeks ago that this book has been on my TBR the longest so I was aiming to read it in the following 2 months.  I was after a lighter read following a murder thriller so this should tick the box.

A Stitch in Time

The blurb

Sarah Yates is a thirty-something history teacher, divorced, disillusioned and desperate to have more excitement in her life. Making all her dreams come true seems about as likely as climbing Everest in stilettos.

Then one evening the doorbell rings and the handsome and mysterious John Needler brings more excitement than Sarah could ever have imagined. John wants Sarah to go back in time …

Sarah is whisked from the Sheffield Blitz to the suffragette movement in London to the Old American West, trying to make sure people find their happy endings. The only question is, will she ever be able to find hers?


Have you read any of this week’s choices?

Do share what you’re reading and recommendations in the comments…

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Blogging from A-Z April Challenge – F

FF is for Fangirl

I’ve heard this phrase quite a lot recently via Twitter in relation to books and characters. However, Wiktionary gives its defintion as “A female fan who is obsessive about a particular subject (especially, someone or something in popular entertainment media)…To behave like a fangirl; to be obsequious, star-struck…etc”– and I would say that this description fits pretty much every book blogger that I follow or connect with; including myself.

FangirlIt may have originated with the publication of Rainbow Rowell’s novel Fangirl I really don’t know but it seems to fit any girl (or woman) with some sort of obsession. I’ve not actually read this book, I’m just aware of it.

 

 

So, the reason for me choosing F for Fangirl…

I recently went to an author event where I had received an ARC of the novel so reviewed prior to the event. The author very kindly thanked me for the review and I continued to promote the event by means of Twitter etc. I attended the event at my local library with a friend.

I even asked a question…I don’t like – I’d even go so far as to say I detest public speaking so this was a big thing for me…my heart was pounding ten to the dozen, what if he thought it was a crap question, what if there is no answer = awkward! but no it was all fine

After the q & a the author was signing copies of the book, so up I went with my ARC feeling a little awkward about not actually having bought the book, as I presented it he looked at me expectantly and it took me a few seconds to realise he needed to know who to dedicate it too, so I said to Lindsay please and he said “Lindsay Hill?” Well I almost died on the spot! That he’d actually remembered enough of our interaction via social media and that he’d remembered that I’d positively reviewed his book enough to remember it and mention it and thank me for it! I was extremely touched but was also trying to sting together a coherent sentence whilst blushing bright red! I know…I know authors are just people, but if you’re anything like me, you hold these people in such high esteem and then when you meet them in real life it’s such a strange experience. Star struck was an understatement 🙂

James Hannah

The Cheshire Cat has nothing one me!

Then…as if this wasn’t enough, his wife sought me out as my friend and I were having tea and cake to ask if I was Lindsay, and to give me a cute little promo badge to accompany the book. We then had a really lovely chat about her experience of living with a debut author.

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The same thing also happened when I went to the SJ Watson event at Booka Bookshop in Oswestry and I bought a copy of Before I Go To Sleep  and went to have it signed. I was again, a shy, blushing, mumbling mess!

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How do you react when meeting authors you’ve read and liked?

atoz [2015] - BANNER - 910

My month in books – March

What’s happened in March?

My reading this month has predominantly been dominated by taking part in Sophie & Suze‘s Netgalley Challenge. I’ve only managed to read 4 books from my Netgalley TBR but this has taken my % rating from 64% to 74% which I’m happy with.

On Wednesday March 4th I attended an evening with SJ Watson at Booka Bookshop where he was discussing his new book Second Life. He started the talk with a reading from the first chapter of the book and then was interviewed by his publicist Ben Willis. He covered various questions; probably ones we’ve all wanted to know eg: where did the idea for Second Life come from, why does he write from a female perspective and what was he doing when he learnt Before I Go To Sleep was wanted for a film. It was a really interesting evening and Steve (SJ) came across as a lovely guy which made me want to like the book a little more than I did. Review here.

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Tonight I’m going to James Hannah’s The A – Z of You & Me event at Bridgnorth Library which I’ll tell you about next time.

Books read: 5

HausfrauA Lesson in MurderStolen ChildThe A to Z Of You & MeThe Thirteenth Tale

 

 

 

Books added to the TBR:

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselvesbreakfast_at_tiffanys

Currently reading: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Favourite book for March: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

What’s coming in April?

  • Blogging from A – Z April Challenge
  • Notes from James Hannah event
  • Potentially my first vlog (still undecided if I’m brave enough)

How was your March reading and what are you looking forward to in April?

Book Review: The A-Z of You and Me by James Hannah

The A to Z Of You & MeWhat’s it about?

Ivo fell for her.

He fell for a girl he can’t get back.

Now he’s hoping for something.

While he waits he plays a game:

He chooses a body part and tells us its link to the past he threw away.

He tells us the story of how she found him, and how he lost her.

But he doesn’t have long.

And he still has one thing left to do …

My thoughts

It’s always really exciting to read a book that’s written by a local author especially a good one that’s been well promoted over social media so everyone’s talking about that book!

When our time comes what will we think of; what memories will we hold dear?

This is posed to Ivo by Sheila when she suggests he play the A – Z game to keep his mind busy and what he reminisces about is ultimately his unquestionable and undying love for Mia. Although it’s very late in the book when we find out what has actually happened as the memories don’t seem to fall in any particular chronological order.

Let me explain a little further….you see Ivo is in a hospice and Sheila is his nurse/carer but we don’t know this straight away.  All our discoveries are made through Ivo’s memories and anecdotes about the relationships he has with his friends and family. Sheila is an absolute rock; we could all do with a Sheila in our lives! One of the nicest characters I’ve read in a long time. Whilst he’s in the hospice Ivo befriends a teenage girl,  Amber and he tries to help her deal with a death in her family but its as if he’s trying to still control some elements of his life and his time remaining by being a strength to others.

The majority of the narrative comes in short, snappy and sharp sentences; quite often to the point with some reading like poetry particularly towards the end which I rather liked.

I particularly liked this quote; a lot of sense is in these lines but also a lot of heartbreak:

“It’s like the sequel to a film. I Love You and I Love You Too. You know the second one’s always going to be a predictable reworking of the first.”

I was glad that there was some sense of relief for Mal & Ivo at the end of the book – an ending that I was not expecting at all; kudos to the author here!

The author mentions Hephzibah’s Rock at quite a poignant scene at the end of the book and as I’m local to him I wonder if this was the place he had in mind when he wrote of this. Maybe I’ll ask him at his event at Bridgnorth library on Tuesday evening.

High Rock, Bridgnorth

High Rock, Bridgnorth

Overall, this is lovely, this is sad, this is thoroughly thought-provoking and a debut most defintely worth the read!

Many thanks to the publishers Doubleday for the advanced review copy.

Get the book Hardback | Kindle

Connect with the author James Hannah (who lives in the same town as me)

Website | Twitter

WWW Wednesday (March 25th)

This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open to all to participate. Why not join in and let us know what you’re reading this week…

WWW Wednesday

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?

• What did you recently finish reading?

• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth TaleThis is our book club read for this month and one I’m really enjoying. I’d seen the BBC adaptation so had a vague recollection of the plot but so far the book has given a lot more detail; I guess to be expected as generally the book’s usually better.

The blurb

Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once home to the March family – fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, brutal, dangerous Charlie, and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But Angelfield House hides a chilling secret which strikes at the very heart of each of them, tearing their lives apart…

Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield’s past – and the mystery of the March family starts to unravel. What has Angelfield been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic writer Vida Winter? And what is the secret that strikes at the heart of Margaret’s own, troubled life?

As Margaret digs deeper, two parallel stories unfold, and the tale she uncovers sheds a disturbing light on her own life…

What did you recently finish reading?

The A to Z Of You & MeThe A to Z of You And Me by James Hannah

When our time comes what will we think of; what memories will we hold dear? This is posed to Ivo by Sheila when she suggests he play the A – Z game and what he reminisces about is his unquestionable and undying love for Mia. Although it’s very late in the book when we find out what has actually happened as the memories don’t seem to fall in any particular chronological order. This is lovely, this is sad, this is thoroughly thought-provoking and most defintely worth the read!

The blurb

I’m lying here in a bed, my head full of regret, with only a little bird flitting through a tree to comfort me.

Friends want to visit, but I refuse them. So my carer Sheila has given me a task to keep me occupied.

An A-Z list. Think of a part of my body for each letter. Tell a little tale about it.

When I reach H for Heart, what will I say?

How we loved to string crocheted hearts in trees? How our hearts steadily unravelled?

So I begin with A. Adam’s apple.

Will you be there to catch me when I fall?

What do you think you’ll read next?

The Little Paris BookshopThe Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

I’ve let this one jump the TBR queue as I was looking for something a little more light-hearted than my previous reads. However, reading the blurb this might be a sad tale too.

The blurb

On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.

The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust – until now. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building on Rue Montagnard inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.

  What’s on your reading list this week?