Monthly Round-up: August, 2016

Goodbye August, hello September and – thanks to my holidays – welcome to my shortest monthly round-up post ever.  Whilst I’ve read a lot (see yesterday’s post), I’ve reviewed and written very little.  All, though, were good and I would recommend each and every one…

26046368The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J Walker was read because I spent the day in London and say posters for the book everywhere I went.  I am not sure I would have otherwise as the title, if I’m honest, doesn’t appeal but I am very glad I did.  Set in a just-happened post-apocalyptic world, The End of the World Running club isn’t so much about the end of the world as it is about a man starting to live his without the distractions of Sky, wine and work.  He discovers what is important to him (his family) and goes to the ends of the earth, almost literally, to prove it.

 

imageThe Trap by Melanie Raabe was a clever idea that sounded right up my street and I was lucky to be sent a review copy.  An agoraphobic author, who hasn’t left the house since her sister was murdered, sees the killer on TV.  Thinking no one will believe her (because they didn’t at the time), she sets out to trap him the only way she knows how – by writing about the murder in the guise of a novel.  Melanie Raabe provides plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader turning pages.  The only downside to this novel was the translation, which I felt let it down in places.

 

imageLost Girls by Robert Kolker which is one of my only forays into true crime writing.  It’s a story that sounded fascinating and was, involving the still unsolved death of at least four escorts and possibly as many as 11 victims by a serial killer no one seems to have any idea how to catch.  Kolker presents a sympathetic but honest portrait of the first victims found, sharing their lives stories and showing how they came to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He also shines a light on how the police let them and their families down because of who they were and what they did for a living (and to live).

 

And that was it.  What about you?  Did you read anything you would recommend for September?

Emma

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My holiday reads

So I’m finally back from my holidays…over two weeks of being pretty much disconnected from the world and it’s been lovely. I have been pretty much disconnected from the Internet too bar the odd time I read the paper when I found free wi-fi and, even when I was connected, avoided all social media etc.

It was nice to take the break though I am starting to get itchy and looking forward to reviewing the books I read while I was away and visiting my favourite blogs. I’ll be writing reviews over the next few days for posting starting next week but in the meantime, here’s a taster of the books I read and will be writing about…

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

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This sequel to the first novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Killer on the Fens by Joy Ellis

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DI Nikki Galena faces a personal challenge which will stretch her to the limit. She must fulfil her father’s dying wish and discover who the mysterious Eve is. Meanwhile a dead drug dealer is found on an abandoned airfield that the locals say is haunted. The trail of both mysteries will lead to the most shocking discovery of Nikki’s career and put her whole team in mortal danger.

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne

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A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives. But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity—that she, in fact, is Lydia—their world comes crashing down once again.

The Highway by C. J. Box

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When two sisters set out across a remote stretch of Montana road to visit their friend, little do they know it will be the last time anyone might ever hear from them again. The girls–and their car–simply vanish. As former police investigator Cody Hoyt makes his way to the lonely stretch of Montana highway where they went missing, her discovers that they aren’t the first girls who have disappeared.

Blind Side by Jennie Ensor

imageGeorgie, wary of relationships after previous heartbreak, gives in and agrees to sleep with close friend Julian. She’s shocked when he reveals he’s loved her for a long time.  Despite misgivings, she can’t resist her attraction to Nikolai, a Russian former soldier. While Julian struggles to deal with rejection, Georgie begins to suspect the Russian is hiding something terrible.

All told, there were some good and some great books, plenty of intrigue and a few murders to keep me satisfied. Now down to the review writing. Any you are particularly keen to hear more about?

emma

 

 

 

Book Blogger Hop: Who Am I Reading For?

imageI’m joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop again this week, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

Do you read and review books mainly for publishers or authors?

For me, the answer is no, I mainly review books I buy, am given, or pick up at the library.  I pick books for so many reasons, because I love the author, the genre, have heard good things about it or I feel like a change, like I need to step out of my comfort zone.  A good cover will sway me every time.

I don’t review all of those because sometimes life gets in the way and it’s been a few weeks since I finished the book then I simply don’t get round to reviewing it as a result.  Sometimes, I just don’t finish the book because it isn’t for me.

I feel I have to finish books given to me as review copies so I try to limit how many of these I request/read because having too many of those on my reading list can feel quite overwhelming.  If other things then come up – as they usually do – I feel I have to review these, and often to certain timeframes, and then can’t actually enjoy them because I’m just reading for reading’s sake.

Sometimes I think it would be nice to get more new releases in advance, and it would definitely help my bank balance, but my time management is pretty rubbish at the best of times, never mind with reading, so I think, for me this is the way to go.

What about you, do review mainly your own books or those from publishers/authors?

Emma

Tuesday Intro: Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

imageThis week, 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. I really enjoy these tasters when I read them on other blogs so wanted to join in.

Today’s book is Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica which I’m excited about having loved her other books. Here’s what it’s about…

imageIn downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

And here’s how it starts…

SUNDAY

QUINN

In hindsight, I should have known right away that something wasn’t quite right. The jarring noise in the middle of the night, the open window, the empty bed. Later, I blamed a whole slew of things for my nonchalance, everything from a headache to fatigue, down to arrant stupidity.

But still.

I should have known right away that something wasn’t right.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

emma

Note: this is for a review/proof copy

 

 

This Week, Next Week: 24th April, 2016

Morning everyone – happy Sunday. Hope you are having a good day and have had a good week. Mine has been the usual mix of work and work. Actually that isn’t true this week because my crazy travel schedule ended Tuesday and I felt back to normal by Friday. It was lovely to not be waking up before the birds or in a hotel room rather than my own bed.

Friday was also my daughters annual class assembly, which she’s been practising for for weeks and was uber excited about. She did really well, remembered her lines, sang and danced…and then promptly burst into tears when it was all over (as did half the class!). I don’t think she’ll be asking to go on the stage again for a while.

Blog wise, I have been participating in the Spring into Horror read-a-thon this week and have come across some new blogs as a result, one of the best things about read-a-thons. I also started using Facebook much more as a way to take part, not something I normally do (I think I have a Facebook phobia and rarely use it); it was fun.

I only read one horror book during the week – Carrie by Stephen King, which I really enjoyed – but I also posted my review of the gothic horror Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt, which I didn’t enjoy much at all.  The last book I reviewed was Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner which was a really good piece of crime writing with great character development…not quite what I expected but in a good way. I also wrote about how many books I read each month as part of the book blogger hop.

Book wise, I didn’t pick up any – not even a trip to the library – which feels odd but also quit nice…I mentioned the other week I felt the number of books I have to read is feel a bit overwhelming and that hasn’t changed. It was a conscious decision to not pick up any books for a few weeks at least till I feel less swamped. How about you, have you picked up any good books this week? What have you read?

Emma

This week, I’m linking in with Kimba at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and her Sunday Post and with (a little early) Katherine at Book Date for It’s Monday, What Are you Reading? Head over to see what other bloggers have read, written about or just added to their shelves.

The Sunday Post

Tuesday Intro: The Never-Open Desert Diner

imageThis week, 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. I really enjoy these tasters when I read them on other blogs so wanted to join in.

Today, I am going for a bit of a change of pace (I think), with The Never-Open Desert Diner, a review copy on Blogging for Books that caught my eye. Here’s what it’s about…

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Ben Jones lives a quiet, hardscrabble life, working as a trucker on Route 117, a little-traveled road in a remote region of the Utah desert which serves as a haven for fugitives and others looking to hide from the world. For many of the desert’s inhabitants, Ben’s visits are their only contact with the outside world, and the only landmark worth noting is a once-famous roadside diner that hasn’t opened in years.

Ben’s routine is turned upside down when he stumbles across a beautiful woman named Claire playing a cello in an abandoned housing development. He can tell that she’s fleeing something in her past — a dark secret that pushed her to the end of the earth — but despite his better judgment he is inexorably drawn to her.

As Ben and Claire fall in love, specters from her past begin to resurface, with serious and life-threatening consequences not only for them both, but for others who have made this desert their sanctuary. Dangerous men come looking for her, and as they turn Route 117 upside down in their search, the long-buried secrets of those who’ve laid claim to this desert come to light, bringing Ben and the other locals into deadly conflict with Claire’s pursuers. Ultimately, the answers they all seek are connected to the desert’s greatest mystery — what really happened all those years ago at the never-open desert diner?

And here’s how it starts…

A red sun was balanced on the horizon when I arrived at The Well-Known Desert Diner. Sunrise shadows were draped around its corners. A full white moon was still visible in the dawn sky. I parked my tractor-trailer rig along the outer perimeter of the gravel parking lot. The “Closed” sign hung on the front door. To the left of the door, as if in mourning for Superman, stood a black metal and glass phone booth. Inside was a real phone with a rotary dial that clicked out the ten white numbers. Unlike the phones in the movies, this one worked—if you had enough nickels.

What do you think, would you keep reading?

Emma

Tuesday Intro: The Heart Goes Last

imageThis week, 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. I really enjoy these tasters when I read them on other blogs so wanted to join in.

Next up for me is The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood, an author I love though I heard conflicting things about this book. Here’s what it’s about…

imageLiving in their car, surviving on tips, Charmaine and Stan are in a desperate state. So, when they see an advertisement for Consilience, a ‘social experiment’ offering stable jobs and a home of their own, they sign up immediately. All they have to do in return for suburban paradise is give up their freedom every second month – swapping their home for a prison cell. At first, all is well. But then, unknown to each other, Stan and Charmaine develop passionate obsessions with their ‘Alternates,’ the couple that occupy their house when they are in prison. Soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire begin to take over.

And here’s how it starts…

Sleeping in the car is cramped. Being a third-hand Honda, it’s no palace to begin with. If it was a van they’d have more room, but fat chance of affording one of those, even back when they thought they had money. Stan says they’re lucky to have any kind of a car at all, which is true, but their luckiness doesn’t make the car any bigger.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Emma

Tuesday Intro:Dead Lost

imageThis week, 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. I really enjoy these tasters when I read them on other blogs so wanted to join in.

Whilst I’m not one for picking up review copies that often, I have been on a bit of a roll of late, mainly because of I keep reading reviews of books I then feel I need to read and, now I’ve discovered how NetGalley works (or think I have), I have managed to pick a few of these books up.  One is Dead Lost by Helen H. Durrant, which was released in January.  Here’s what it’s about…

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An abandoned cotton mill holds horrific secrets
Police partners, D.I. Calladine and D.S. Ruth Bayliss face one of their toughest challenges yet. A group of homeless people have set up camp in the grounds of a disused cotton mill belonging to local businessman Damien Chase.

But one of the men is not what he seems. He has a secret he will do anything to cover up. And once Calladine and Bayliss investigate, they find the crimes go much further than they could have ever imagined.

Will Ruth be able to juggle her personal and professional lives, and can Calladine deal with their new boss, a woman he neither trusts nor likes? Willing to do anything to bring terrible suffering to an end, Calladine make an astonishing move . . .

And here’s how it starts…

Prologue

His cigarette was just a  stub.  He took one last drag and tossed it into the gutter.  It had been worth waiting until the shops closed.  He’d been given a pile of left-over sandwiches from the café and a passing woman had thrust a carton of hot coffee into his hands.  He peered into the hat on the pavement in front of him – about two pounds eighty, he guess.  not great but better than nowt.  There was hardly anyone around on Leesdon High Street now so he might as well head back.

“Hard times?” someone asked.

“The worst, mate.  Wife left me, lost my job,” he replied without looking up.  “But you don’t to listen to my problems.”

“Perhaps I can help.”

“I don’t see how.  no one wants to help; don’t you read the local newspaper?”

Now he looked up.  There was something about the voice…but all he could see was a shape standing in the shadows.  The man wore a top with the hood pulled low over his face and the zipper done up over his chin.

“I know you,” the homeless man said warily.

A bit of a long intro this week I know but it felt like a good place to stop.  What do you think – would you keep reading?

Emma

 

 

Tuesday Intro: Her Mother’s Shadow

imageThis week, 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. I really enjoy these tasters when I read them on other blogs so wanted to join in.

This week, I’ve picked up the third book in the Keeper of the Light Trilogy by Diane Chamberlain, having read the first two in the trilogy over the course of the last year or so.  I’m keen to find out how it all ends for the family at the centre of these stories and looking forward to visiting the outer banks once last time.

Here’s what it’s about…

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Her killer is about to be released on parole. Only Lacey’s statement can keep him in jail. Lacey is facing the biggest decision of her life. Then her best friend dies in a car crash, leaving behind a grieving eleven-year-old daughter in need of a mother – a role Lacey’s not sure she’s ready for.

Two lives rest on Lacey’s choices. Two lives only she can save.

 

And here’s how it starts…

Christmas 1990

There was a cheer in the house in the heart of Manteo.  From the outside, the large two-story frame building that served as the battered women’s shelter was nondescript. There were no Christmas lights hanging from the eaves, not even a wreath on the door, as if the people who ran the house were afraid to draw attention to it, and Lacey supposed they were.  Cruel men had put the women and children here, the sort of men she had no experience with and found hard to imagine. But she could see the fear in the women’s faces and knew those men existed.  More than that, she did not really want to know.

What do you think? Would you keep on reading?

Emma

Tuesday Intro: Here We Lie

imageThis week, 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. I really enjoy these tasters when I read them on other blogs so wanted to join in.

So after thinking I was going to read one of the books I bought last week, I realised last night that I had a library book due back at the weekend so I’d better get to reading it. It’s Here We Lie by Sophie McKenzie.

Before picking this up, I would have sworn I had read other books by McKenzie but, looking at her back catalogue, I realise I haven’t.  Seeing the reviews and reading the blurb, I wonder now if I’ve been missing out.

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On holiday with family and her adoring fiance, Jed, Emily couldn’t be happier. But overnight, the idyllic trip turns into a waking nightmare when one of the group is found dead in what appears to be a terrible accident.

The devastated party returns to London to cope with their loss while trying to resume their normal lives. But new revelations shed a shocking light on the holiday tragedy and set Emily on a perilous journey to discover the truth about what happened.

Soon a terrifying series of threats and lies bring her face to face with the dark truths at the heart of her family – and into life-threatening danger…

Here’s how it starts….

November 1992

Rose Campbell took a step closer to the door. The floor on the other side creaked again: the loose board right beside Mum’s dressing table.  Was someone inside, rifling through Mum’s jewellery? It was probably just Mum herself, home early from work like Rose.  Expect if it was Mum, why hadn’t she answered when Rose called? In fact, why had she shut the door in the first place? Mum never shut any doors.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Emma