Stacking the Shelves: 7th October, 2017

STSsmallOnce again, I’m joining in with Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality for Stacking Shelves, where you share the real and virtual books you have added to your shelves in the last week.

So, after a few weeks where I requested a lot of books on Netgalley and now have to try and read them all (a few are already past due – argh!), I have stayed away from review copies and kept myself to picking up a couple of books from either the library or kindle unlimited (that way, if I don’t get round to reading them, no – well not much – guilt!).  Here’s what I picked up…Read More »

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They All Fall Down by Tammy Cohen

They all fall down

They All Fall Down starts with one of those openings that lets you know it’s going to be a good book…

“Charlie cut her wrists last week with a shard of caramelized sugar.

We’d made the sugar sheets together in the clinic’s kitchen earlier in the day, under Joni’s beady-eyed supervision.

‘Yours are thick enough to do yourself an injury.’ I’d said to Charlie, as a joke.

‘I wonder if that’s what gave her the idea,’ Odelle commented afterwards, pointedly.”

And from here, for me, it just got better.  Read More »

Tuesday intro: Moranthology by Caitlin Moran

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon.

tuesdayI’m also joining in with Teaser Tuesday, hosted by The Purple Booker, where you share teasers from your current read. I read a lot of these posts over the course of an average Tuesday so thought it would be fun to join in here too.

This week, I am looking to read Moranthology by Caitlin Moran, one of my favourite writers and whose previous book, How to Be a Woman had me laughing out loud.  Here’s what Moranthology is about (well sort of)…Read More »

The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain

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I think I may have to change the layout of my posts, or stop using goodreads to get the “blurbs” as reading the one for The Stolen Marriage, you might as well not read the book because it gives so much away.  So, like with Cold Blood a few weeks ago, I am putting the summary at the bottom of the post – read it if you would like but, for me there, was too much included and too much given away for a plot that had be hanging to the edge of the page all the way through the book.

It’s why I love Diane Chamberlain books so much – she tells tales that are complex and complicated and that I can’t put down.  And, yet again, she hasn’t disappointed me.  In fact, this – for me – was one of the best books of hers I feel like I’ve read in a while and, as I’ve liked everything of hers I’ve ever read, that is saying something.

Why did I enjoy it so much?  First off, the characters.  Central to the story are Tess – a young woman of Italian heritage who has grown up sheltered and certain of the path her life would take – and Henry, the man Tess marries – who is an enigma through most of the book.  He has secrets he can’t share that could mean he’s very good at pretending to be good or is just plain bad.  I decided early on that he wasn’t bad and prayed for the rest of the book I was proved right (you’ll have to read The Stolen Marriage to find out if I was!).

Both Tess and Henry as so well written and so detailed and complex, I believed in them totally, and in all the characters that surrounded them, including Tess’ former fiancé and Henry’s family.  Set in 1944, their behaviours weren’t always one I understood but they felt right for the time and showed just how difficult it is to be yourself in a world and in a society where social mores ruled how everyone (or nearly everyone) behaved.

Then there is the setting – Hickory, a small town in the south, where Baltimore born Tess struggles to fit in, not only for her Italian roots which make her stand out but also because she is one of “those” women, one who wants to be independent – to have her own opinions and (dare I say it) work.  I found out after reading the book Hickory was a real place which Chamberlain had visited and it shows in the way she describes the town, it’s people and it’s places.

The polio outbreak, which is central to the story, is also a real event – one that took place in Hickory – and this is the third reason I loved this book.  It was something I knew nothing about and not only was it interesting for the history buff in me, it also made for an interesting story, one that allowed Tess and Henry’s relationship to change as the book progressed and created a catalyst for what happened to them.

For me, it made for a compelling read, one – as I said at the beginning – I couldn’t put down.  I really can’t find a thing bad to say about it.  I loved it from the first page to the last and can’t recommend it enough.

Now here’s the promised blurb:

In 1944, twenty-three-year-old Tess DeMello abruptly ends her engagement to the love of her life when she marries a mysterious stranger and moves to Hickory, North Carolina, a small town struggling with racial tension and the hardships imposed by World War II. Tess’s new husband, Henry Kraft, is a secretive man who often stays out all night, hides money from his new wife, and shows no interest in making love. Tess quickly realizes she’s trapped in a strange and loveless marriage with no way out.

The people of Hickory love and respect Henry and see Tess as an outsider, treating her with suspicion and disdain, especially after one of the town’s prominent citizens dies in a terrible accident and Tess is blamed. Tess suspects people are talking about her, plotting behind her back, and following her as she walks around town. What does everyone know about Henry that she does not? Feeling alone and adrift, Tess turns to the one person who seems to understand her, a local medium who gives her hope but seems to know more than he’s letting on.

When a sudden polio epidemic strikes the town, the townspeople band together to build a polio hospital. Tess, who has a nursing degree, bucks Henry’s wishes and begins to work at the hospital, finding meaning in nursing the young victims. Yet at home, Henry’s actions grow more alarming by the day. As Tess works to save the lives of her patients, can she untangle her husband’s mysterious behaviour and save her own life?

Enjoy!

Emma x

loved-it

Source: Netgalley
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Format: ebook
Published: 3rd October, 2017
Pages: 384
Find on: Amazon UK / Amazon US / Goodreads

 

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own

Weekly update: 1st October, 2017

Weekly update

Morning all and welcome to another Sunday and another weekly update.  It’s been a bit of an odd week for me I have to say.  Last week, my aunt died, with the funeral this Monday just gone.  It’s been sad and also shocking as she got ill and passed very quickly and I’m not sure anyone in my family has really gotten their heads around it yet.

Add to that this was my last week of work and I spent three days in London handing over to my replacement and I have felt completely out of sync with life.  The good news on that front though is, after months and months (I worked a five month notice period!) I am finally done and able to start my new life come tomorrow – I can’t wait for this but with my aunt it feels like I haven’t been able to get as excited as I might…hopefully that will come.  Read More »

Stacking the shelves: 30th September, 2017

STSsmallOnce again, I’m joining in with Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality for Stacking Shelves, where you share the real and virtual books you have added to your shelves in the last week.

Last week, as a bit of an odd one where I kept starting books then finding it difficult to finish them.  I now have three books half-finished, which is so not like me, but no real desire to get to the fully-finished stage. I ended up in the library, my favourite place, looking for anything that might get me out of the reading rut.  I’m not sure if I’ve succeeded, but here’s what I picked up….Read More »

The Travelling Bag by Susan Hill

cover117511-mediumWalter Craig was a clever scientist. As a young man he took away all the honours and prizes and some of his work was ground-breaking. But after he became seriously ill, his genius faded, and he needed the help of an assistant. When Silas Webb was appointed to the job he seemed the perfect choice, but he always preferred to work alone, even in secret. Then, quite suddenly, Webb disappeared.

Why ?

Later, Craig opens a prestigious scientific journal and finds a paper, containing his own work, in detail, together with the significant results he had worked out. The research is his and his alone. But the author of the paper is Dr Silas Webb.

Craig determines that he will hunt Webb down and exact revenge.

Were it not for a terrifying twist of circumstance, he might have succeeded.

So begins the first of four short ghost stories by Susan Hill, something I have been looking forward to reading as the nights have drawn in and with Halloween not far away. I love a good spooky story and a good old fashioned scare and Hill has always been able to manage both where I am concerned with stories like The Small Hand and The Woman in Black.

Here, all the ingredients that make those stories so successful are there. The “old school” style of story telling, the simple language that lulls you into a false sense of security, the slowly building tension as you realise not all is what it seems – leaving you wanting to read on but worried that if you do, you’ll end up lying awake listening for things that go bump in the night.Read More »

The Pocket Wife by Susan H. Crawford

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Dana Catrell is horrified to learn she was the last person to see her neighbor Celia alive. Suffering from a devastating mania, a result of her bipolar disorder, Dana finds that there are troubling holes in her memory, including what happened on the afternoon of Celia’s death. As evidence starts to point in her direction, Dana struggles to clear her name before her own demons win out.

Is murder on her mind—or is it all in her head?

The closer she comes to piecing together shards of her broken memory, the more Dana falls apart. Is there a murderer lurking inside her… or is there one out there in the shadows of reality, waiting to strike again?

I remember seeing The Pocket Wife everywhere for a while a year or so ago and thinking it was a book I wouldn’t mind reading.  But, somehow, it never went further than that until I saw it at the library a few weeks ago – at which point I picked it up, without much thought or, if I’m honest much in the way of expectations.

In fact, if people hadn’t started saying how much they enjoyed it when I posted a picture of my library haul I may well have ended up taking it back unread as other books I had picked up that day were definitely higher up my to read list.  If I had, then I would have been missing out on something because people were right – this was a really good book and I really enjoyed it.Read More »

Weekly update: 24th September, 2017

Weekly update

Morning all and welcome to another Sunday and another weekly update.  I hope you had a good one.  Mine wasn’t bad at all if I do say so myself.  I was back in the blogging swing after a week off to catch up on reading (which was much needed and gave me a bit of my oomph back as I had been feeling a bit flat about the blog if I’m honest).

I also did my final proper week of work, which felt strange but also pretty good.  I’m still employed for another week but the rest of my time will be taken up training up and handing over to the “new me”, so there won’t be much real work involved – I won’t have a laptop or phone after Wednesday for a start, which will make it kinda difficult to do anything! Read More »