#FF: Books that made me cry

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Once again, I’m joining in again with Feature & Follow hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week they post a prompt, which you respond to, and then spend some time visiting and following other blogs (the following is an important part). Feel free to join in – it’s fun and a great way to meet other bloggers.

This weeks prompt is…

What was the first book that moved you? Scared you, made you cry, disturbed your view of the world?

Normally, I would answer this with the first book that really scared me.  Unfortunately, I talked about this last week in the Feature and Follow as it is also one of the only books I re-read regularly – Dracula (I am if nothing else consistent in my picks I guess).

This leaves a problem as most of the books I read are crime fiction, mysteries, or thrillers – which means there aren’t many book I’ve read that have made me cry or left with a disturbed view of the world (though there are some that have really made me think and view the world differently as a result).  So, I have really had to wrack my brain to think of an answer of this.  What I’ve come up with is the only book I can think of that really made me cry – and it was a long time ago.

I feel like there should be a drum roll now but here it is…Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurty which came out in 1975 and I probably read in the early 80’s when I was a teenager and so prone to bouts of emotion.  I haven’t read it since and I’ve never seen the movie and, if I’m honest, I don’t really remember much about it other than it choked me up from pretty much the beginning.  Reading the description on Goodreads I’m not surprised…

317843In this acclaimed novel that inspired the Academy Award-winning motion picture, Larry McMurtry created two unforgettable characters who won the hearts of readers and moviegoers everywhere: Aurora Greenway and her daughter Emma.  Aurora is the kind of woman who makes the whole world orbit around her, including a string of devoted suitors. Widowed and overprotective of her daughter, Aurora adapts at her own pace until life sends two enormous challenges her way: Emma’s hasty marriage and subsequent battle with cancer. Terms of Endearment is the Oscar-winning story of a memorable mother and her feisty daughter and their struggle to find the courage and humour to live through life’s hazards — and to love each other as never before.

Just reading this I’m not surprised I started crying – and it may be one of the reasons I now stick with less emotional, more murderous, fare.  What about you – what book has scared you, made you cry or changed your view of the world.

Emma

#FF: Favourite Re-reads

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Once again, I’m joining in again with Feature & Follow hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week they post a prompt, which you respond to, and then spend some time visiting and following other blogs (the following is an important part). Feel free to join in – it’s fun and a great way to meet other bloggers.

This weeks prompt is…

What book do you reread the most? (For people who don’t reread, what books have you considered rereading?)

This is a pretty easy one to answer because I rarely re-read books, and when I do it’s only once. Which means I don’t have to sit here trying to coust re-reads on my fingers because there is only one book up for consideration, Dracula by Bram Stoker.

image I actually don’t know how many times I have read Dracula, at least 10 times and probably more since I first read it as a teenager. Every few years I have an overwhelming desire to read it.

Why this book? Because it scares me, every time, and I love being scared. I always read it at night and always at winter. And then I always sleep with the hall light on.  It’s just so creepy and tension just build s all the way through.

Plus, it’s set in part in my favourite part of the world (yes world), Whitby. With it’s cliffs, harbour, gothic church and ruined abbey it is the perfect setting for Dracula to land and when I read it I could picture it clear as day. And it sent a chill down my spine.

As far as books go, I know many now are gorier and hold more twists and turns but this still can’t be beaten for me for setting a scene, building tension, and presenting the ultimate villan, one you kind of want to meet.

What about you, what do you re-read or what do you think you should?

Emma

#FF: Groundhog Day

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Once again, I’m joining in again with Feature & Follow hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week they post a prompt, which you respond to, and then spend some time visiting and following other blogs (the following is an important part). Feel free to join in – it’s fun and a great way to meet other bloggers.

This week, the prompt is…

Groundhog Day! What book or scene from a book could you live in and have it on “repeat?”

This is a difficult one as I don’t re-read many books so I’m going to have to go back to my childhood, when I read books again and again, and used to go to bed dreaming of the worlds I could live in and the characters I could be friends with.  For me, then, there are two choices…

…first up I would join the Famous Five (making us the Famous Six!), which is where I think my love of crime fiction started.  As a child I was a real tomboy and really, really, wanted to be George – my favourite character – and have the freedom to disappear in caravans and boats and live on islands without my parents.

…next would be Swallows and Amazons, another world of adventure I wished I could live.  I could just picture myself sailing boats around the lakes, pretending to be pirates and fighting my enemies.

The funny thing is that, as an adult, I don’t like camping, fishing or the great outdoors and would probably be much better picking a world with Egyptian cotton sheets and five star hotels but I don’t read many books like those!

What about you – what world could you live in on repeat?

Emma

#FF: Tips for helping me blog

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Once again, I’m joining in again with Feature & Follow hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week they post a prompt, which you respond to, and then spend some time visiting and following other blogs (the following is an important part). Feel free to join in – it’s fun and a great way to meet other bloggers.

This week, the prompt is…

What are some tips that help you with blogging?

I am a little like Alison in her post today on this one, sitting in the do as I say, not as I do, category because I know what would help make my blogging life easier but I often don’t do it.  It isn’t a long list because I want blogging to be fun and not a chore and too many rules can make it just that. So maybe I’ll call them my “guidelines to better blogging”:

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1. Keep a blogging schedule, with dates for all the books you need to review and when for. This wasn’t such a big deal for me when I only reviewed the occasional ARC but now I read more, I really need to keep on top of it.

2. Write posts in advance, schedule them in and keep a few in reserve for emergencies- those days when you have nothing to say. In theory, it should be easy to do this – I know in advance when books are released and most linky’s I take part in have a list of future topics – but it never seems to go to plan and I’m often writing on the fly and slightly panicky.

3. Write reviews as soon as you read the book. It makes life easier (see points 1. And 2.) and means the book is fresh in my mind and my review more honest and detailed. The only downside is sometimes, say when I’m doing a monthly update, I do wonder if I’ve rated correctly and – a couple of times – have gone back and moved a book up or down on my loved / loathed scale.

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And that’s it for helping me with my blogging and I am rubbish at all of them. I keep telling myself to take a week or so off so that I can get sorted and then it would be a case of being ahead of the game and staying there but I fear if I did I would end up finding other things to do with my time, like read more books, and get nowhere. What about you – what are your top tips for an easier blogging life?

Emma

 

#FF: Books into movies

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Once again, I’m joining in again with Feature & Follow hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week they post a prompt, which you respond to, and then spend some time visiting and following other blogs (the following is an important part). Feel free to join in – it’s fun and a great way to meet other bloggers.

This week, the prompt is…

What movies from books coming out in 2017 are you most excited about?

My answer is none, not because I’m a misery but because I tend to avoid movies of books I really enjoyed reading.  I am always worried I will be disappointed, especially because history has shown me I usually am.  A recent example of where I wasn’t was The Martian, which I thought was really cleverly done, but it seems like the exception that proves the rule as others that I really didn’t enjoy more easily spring to mind – most recently it was The Girl on the Train and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children but there are many more I can name.

However, looking to write this post, a bit of a google led me to realise there are some good books out there that I haven’t read and probably should including…

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For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

15797938A summer’s evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. Between mouthfuls of food and over the delicate scraping of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of politeness – the banality of work, the triviality of holidays. But the empty words hide a terrible conflict and, with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened… Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. Together, the boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on camera, and their grainy images have been beamed into living rooms across the nation; despite a police manhunt, the boys remain unidentified – by everyone except their parents. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children and, as civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

13083008Boston, 1926. The ’20s are roaring. Liquor is flowing, bullets are flying, and one man sets out to make his mark on the world.

Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city’s most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw.

But life on the dark side carries a heavy price. In a time when ruthless men of ambition, armed with cash, illegal booze, and guns, battle for control, no one–neither family nor friend, enemy nor lover–can be trusted. Beyond money and power, even the threat of prison, one fate seems most likely for men like Joe: an early death. But until that day, he and his friends are determined to live life to the hilt.

Joe embarks on a dizzying journey up the ladder of organized crime that takes him from the flash of Jazz Age Boston to the sensual shimmer of Tampa’s Latin Quarter to the sizzling streets of Cuba. Live by Night is a riveting epic layered with a diverse cast of loyal friends and callous enemies, tough rumrunners and sultry femmes fatales, Bible-quoting evangelists and cruel Klansmen, all battling for survival and their piece of the American dream. At once a sweeping love story and a compelling saga of revenge, it is a spellbinding tour de force of betrayal and redemption, music and murder, that brings fully to life a bygone era when sin was cause for celebration and vice was a national virtue.

There is also a TV show versus a film due out that I am looking forward to watching but also anxious about as it’s based on one of my most favourite books ever, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood.  I’ll be watching at least the first episode and hoping for the best but who knows…I just know I won’t be able to resist.

What about you, what are you looking forward to watching (or not?).

Emma

p.s. I hope this post has wet your appetite enough to follow me – if you do, feel free to follow me in whatever way works best for you and thank you!

#FF: Best and Worst Reads of 2016

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Once again, I’m joining in again with Feature & Follow hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week they post a prompt, which you respond to, and then spend some time visiting and following other blogs (the following is an important part). This week, I’m lucky enough to be the featured post so there is a way to sign up to the linky at the bottom of this post as well. Feel free to join in – it’s fun and a great way to meet other bloggers.

This week, the prompt is…

What are your best and worst reads for 2016.

Which would you recommend and which would you not?

This has come at quite a good time for me as I’m currently working on a page that lists books by loved, liked and loathed (because, yes there are books I wish I hadn’t picked up) so I have some that are easy to bring to mind for both the best and worse categories.  It’s not often I feel that prepared to respond to prompts so “yay!” on that.

However, I was a bit worried I would overshare because there were a lot of good books read last year so I decided to stick to my top three for each.  Without further ado, they are (drum roll)….

Best

The Vegetarian by Han Kang, which I reviewed a year ago today and still haven’t gotten out of  my mind.  This book isn’t for everyone with it’s focus on mental illness within the confines of Korean society but I found it an amazing read – well written, well translated, and a story that drew me in and wouldn’t let me go.

The Girls by Emma Cline, which was possibly the most beautifully written book I read last year and a fantastic debut.  Based on the Manson family murders it takes you into the minds of the disillusioned and vulnerable young women who followed their leader right through to prison.

Find Her by Lisa Gardner, which left me breathless – able to say little more than “wow” in this clever story about a kidnapped girl and what she will do to survive.

Close contenders were…

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh, with one of the best twists I think I’ve ever come across in a book

The Children Act by Ian McEwan, which brought me to tears (and not many books do that) as a young man is given the choice over whether he chooses to live or die

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson, which I’ve mentioned more than once as a favourite of the year because I really didn’t know what was coming next (in a good way)

Worst

All The Little Pieces by Jilliane Hoffman, which was my most frustrating read of the year as I spent the whole of it wanting to yell and shake the central character as she basically made one bad choice after the other.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, the book was just too, too, long.

Girl Number One by Jane Holland, which was a suspense / thriller by the numbers.  It sounded like it would be great but, if I’m honest, just felt like a lot of clichés thrown together by an author who didn’t love her characters or her subject.

A Different Class of Murder by Laura Thompson, which promised to reveal the truth about the Lord Lucan murder but instead left me more confused about what happened than I already was – mainly because the book was confusing too with a lack of structure and a tendency to go off on tangents that weren’t needed and led nowhere.

25718437I felt I had to pick “real” books for the worse but if I could add one more it would have to be Eat, Nourish, Glow by Amelia Freer which said it would help me be happier and healthier in ten steps.  It didn’t tell me, though, that I would also be in the poor house as I bought pink Himalayan salt and chick peas in jars not cans.  Not for anyone who isn’t rich and doesn’t have a lot of time on their hands.

And that’s it for me.  What about you – what were your best and worse reads of 2016?

Emma

 

#FF: Most Anticipated Read of 2017 (well, January 2017)

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After a month off I’m joining in again with  Feature & Follow hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. Each week they post a prompt, which you respond to, and then spend some time visiting and following other blogs (the following is an important part).  This week, the prompt is…

Most anticipated read of 2017?

At first I thought this was going to be too hard because there are lots of books I am already looking forward to reading this year, with some of my favourite authors brining out new books. Plus, as I’m not very good at looking ahead, there are probably lots of books coming out I am completely unaware of but will no doubt buy as soon as I do become aware of them.

So, to make my life easier, I decided to highlight a book I will definitely be buying and reading when it comes out next…

imageGrowing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full-blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life.

Soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery: his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police question her about Corbin, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own—curiosity that intensifies when she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. Alan saw Corbin surreptitiously come and go from Audrey’s place, yet he’s denied knowing her. Then, Kate runs into a tearful man claiming to be the dead woman’s old boyfriend, who insists Corbin did the deed the night that he left for London.

When she reaches out to her cousin, he proclaims his innocence and calms her nerves–until she comes across disturbing objects hidden in the apartment and accidentally learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? What about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jet-lagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination full of dark images caused by the terror of her past, Kate can barely trust herself, so how could she take the chance on a stranger she’s just met?

Swanson’s The Kind Worth Killing was one of my favourite reads last year so I’m excited by this, which sounds really good.  Fingers crossed I’m not disappointed.

What about you – what ae you looking forward to reading this year?

Emma

 

 

#FF: Holiday Reads

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After finding some really great blogs last week through Feature & Follow hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read I decided to join in again.  Each week they post a prompt, which you respond to, and then spend some time visiting and following other blogs (the following is an important part).  This week, the prompt is…

My Holiday Reads…these are the books I plan on reading this holiday during my time off (what’s that??)…

I liked this question because, unlike last year when I worked all through the holidays, this year I’m off from the Wednesday before Christmas right through to the New Year – heaven!

I didn’t like this question because I’m not that good at planning, which means I have no idea what I’m going to read over the holidays…leaving me scrambling for the shelves and the kindle to try and get a clue.  This is what I came up with (though I reserve the right to change my mind at any time…

I suppose first off I’ll be reading a couple of review copies due in January, both of which sound great.

The first, Good Me, Bad Me has a lot of hype around it so there is potential to be disappointed but I hope I won’t be based on reviews I’ve read.

25365530NEW N A M E .
NEW F A M I L Y.
S H I N Y.
NEW.
ME .

Annie’s mother is a serial killer.

The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police.

But out of sight is not out of mind.

As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly.

A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be.

But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water.

Good me, bad me.

She is, after all, her mother’s daughter…

The second, The Trapped Girl is the fourth in the Tracy Crosswhite series, a character I am coming to love and from an author who is fast becoming one of my favourites.

30226698When a woman’s body is discovered submerged in a crab pot in the chilly waters of Puget Sound, Detective Tracy Crosswhite finds herself with a tough case to untangle. Before they can identify the killer, Tracy and her colleagues on the Seattle PD’s Violent Crimes Section must figure out who the victim is. Her autopsy, however, reveals she may have gone to great lengths to conceal her identity. So who was she running from?

After evidence surfaces that their Jane Doe may be a woman who suspiciously disappeared months earlier, Tracy is once again haunted by the memory of her sister’s unsolved murder. Dredging up details from the woman’s past leads to conflicting clues that only seem to muddy the investigation. As Tracy begins to uncover a twisted tale of brutal betrayal and desperate greed, she’ll find herself risking everything to confront a killer who won’t go down without a deadly fight.

Finally, I want to read my Kindle First book for this month, The Missing by Caroline Eriksson which I couldn’t resist because of a) the cover and b) the fact that it’s Scandinavian thriller (which I also can’t resist).

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An ordinary outing takes Greta, Alex, and four-year-old Smilla across Sweden’s mythical Lake Malice to a tiny, isolated island. While father and daughter tramp into the trees, Greta stays behind in the boat, lulled into a reverie by the misty, moody lake…only later to discover that the two haven’t returned. Her frantic search proves futile. They’ve disappeared without a trace.

Greta struggles to understand their eerie vanishing. She desperately needs to call Alex, to be reassured that Smilla is safe, or contact the police. But now her cell phone is missing too. Back at her cottage, she finds it hidden away under the bedsheets. Had she done that? Or had someone else been in the cottage? But who, and why? As Greta struggles to put the pieces together, she fears that her past has come back to torment her, or she’s finally lost her grip on reality…

There will be more but what I just don’t know…there might be some books under the tree that need reading too (fingers crossed)…but I think this is a good start.  What about you? What are you planning on reading over the holidays?

Emma

p.s. if you’d like to follow me please do in whatever way suits you – email, wordpress or bloglovin – and I look forward to getting to know you

p.p.s if you want to read reviews of other Robert Dugoni books they are here:

Her Final Breath (book 2)

My Sister’s Grave (book 1)

 

#FF : Favourite Winter Setting

feature-and-followAfter coming across Feature & Follow Friday on Closet Geek Book Group earlier today, I couldn’t resit heading over to check out the link and what others had to say.  Then, as I wasn’t sure what to post today, I decided I had to in; it looks fun and ’tis the season after all…

The question that caught my eye was…

What is your favourite book set in a winter world?

The first thing that popped into my mind?

317500The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, one of my favourite books from childhood (in fact the whole series but given the theme, this had to be the one I chose) and one I’ve read way more than once.

I remember reading it and loving the idea of being able to escape the real world and enter one where I could be someone else, someone brave and clever and world-saving.  The escapism sums up why I still love reading books.

I also remember really liking the white witch, which I know I shouldn’t but she was pretty compelling and oh so evil.  Of all the characters, she’s the one I have an image of that I can never shake and that no TV show or film has ever managed to match.

The only downside – all that winter but no Christmas!

As an adult, I don’t read fantasy books or books set in other worlds very often but every now and again one catches my eye and imagination.

T15932273he Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey is one of those and has the perfect winter setting, remote Alaska in the 1920s and the perfect character in Faina, a girl who seems to have been made from ice and snow and who changes the life of a lonely, childless couple.

The setting was beautiful, the language gorgeous, and the story one I hadn’t read before, drawing me in and not letting me go until the end – when I may have shed a tear or two (but don’t tell anyone).

For a woman who mainly reads about murder, it is one of those books that was a welcome change but it is also one that has never left me and I often find myself recommending to others.

And there they are my favourite winter settings in book form.  What are your?

Emma