Tuesday, 12 December 2017

TEASER TUESDAY: All The Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. Church

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by
It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read and open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! 
• Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here are my “teasers”:
‘It was the Depression,” Mama once said. “It made your Aunt Tate hard. Deprivation made her think that being rigid was the only way to survive. But there’s a soft centre there; she has a heart, I swear.” Still, Lily thought that even Mama had been more than a little cautious when faced with her sister’s perennial judgment.’

All The Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. Church
Expected publication: US March 6, 2018 & UK April 5, 2018
Ballantine Books (Random House Publishing Group) & 4th Estate (Harper Collins Publishers)

Synopsis:
The dazzling, powerful story of a gutsy showgirl who tries to conquer her past amongst the glamour of 1960s Las Vegas - finding unexpected fortune, friendship and love.
Now, as Ruby Wilde, the ultimate Sin City success story, she discovers that the glare of the spotlight cannot banish the shadows that haunt her. As the years pass and Ruby continues to search for freedom, for love and, most importantly, herself, she must learn the difference between what glitters and what is truly gold.

My Thoughts:
I absolutely loved and devoured Elizabeth J. Church’s debut novel, The Atomic Weight of Love’ which through the storyline also introduced me to the wonderful world of birds, in particular crows.  I’ve loved seeing and watching these amazing creatures ever since. This is still a book that I cannot bring myself to part with and on completion of reading desperately wanted to read another of Church’s novels and here it is at last.

All The Beautiful Girls, feels a slightly different novel but it is still reminiscent of Church’s intelligent exquisitely written prose and full of her charming, or misunderstood damaged personalities. These female characters are vividly painted gutsy women striving to achieve their gaols in an extremely competitive glamourised entertainment industry run and controlled by men.

Halfway through and I already know it’s another keeper.

My review will follow in due course. 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

TEASER TUESDAY: The Night Market by Jonathan Moore


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by
It is very easy to play along:
• Grab your current read and open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! 
• Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here are my “teasers”:
‘Carver crouched, holding his light close to the small bird’s broken body. Its left eye had been smashed. A thin steel ring was visible in the back of the socket. Tiny shards of black glass lay on the floor and in the empty socket. Its feathers were threaded with shiny black strands that Carver guessed were photovoltaic filaments. There was no blood.’

(Yeah I know, it’s 6 sentences but they’re very short so I added a few!)

From The Night Market by Jonathan Moore
Expected publication: January 11, 2018 by Orion Publishing Co

Synopsis:
'Do you ever think there's maybe something that's gone wrong with the world?'
A man is found dead in one of the city's luxury homes. Homicide detective Ross Carver arrives at the scene when six FBI agents burst in and forcibly remove him from the premises.
Two days later...
Carver wakes in his bed to find Mia a neighbor he's hardly ever spoken to, reading aloud to him. He has no recollection of the crime scene, no memory of how he got home, and no idea that two days have passed. Carver knows nothing about this woman but as he struggles to piece together what happened to him, he soon realizes he's involved himself in a web of conspiracy that spans the nation. And Mia just might know more than she's letting on...'Moore has a great gift for the macabre and the creepy.' The Times’

My Thoughts:
With such an explosive and heart pounding opening scene, The Night Market had me riveted to the edge of my seat.

It is the final in a loosely connected trilogy with all three set in San Francisco at different time periods and genre category. The Poison Artist is a taut noir psychological thriller; The Dark Room more a police procedural storyline, and The Night Market being the first I’ve read is set in the near future with a dark, tense, creepily claustrophobic sci-Fi setting.

Definitely readable as a stand-alone novel, the writing and world building is incredibly vivid and frightening plausible.  With a likeable cast of complex characters, and strong storyline The Night Market is an absolutely recommended read for 2018.

Full review to come.


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

What's On Your Nightstand? - November 28, 2017

In this month’s posting of ‘What’s on Your Nightstand’ I divulge which books I’ve loved, liked, didn’t or couldn’t give a hoot about and of which books I plan to read for next time.

Well I haven’t managed to read much over the last 4 weeks as I’ve been busy at work selling books, or at home redecorating the dining room to make ready for our family Christmas Dinner. The panelling has been put up and everything painted. Electrics sorted and the room now just needs the finishing touches and we’ll be there. That hasn’t left me with much (me time) reading time but I did manage to finish two books which was quite an achievement this month. So, on with it...

What I read
(Science/Lit Fiction)
The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch
Published by Canongate Books Ltd, 18th January 2018
Pages 288 (h/b)

I had a love/hate relationship with this book alternating from a 3 to 4 star review…finally settling on a 3.5…It’s a clever intelligent literary science-fiction read set in 2045 and is an imaginative retelling of an historical Joan of Arc from our future. Sounds complicated but it’s not difficult at all to keep track.  I particularly liked reading Joan’s storyline moving from her childhood to becoming the heroine of a small band of rebels. A hairless, opaque skinned, tattoo grafted species and the last of the human race.  It’s grim, gruesome and violent and a dystopian tale with some amazing world building.  I can see this working really well on screen or tv series. Fans of Jeff VanderMeer will no doubt appreciate this one. (Review in progress)

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Available now in Hardback from Bloomsbury Publishing plc
(Fiction) Pages 304 (h/b)
I loved this one so much that it’s one of my favourite reads of the year. Full of haunting gothic presence atmospherically and spirit wise. If you liked Colson Whitehead’s ‘The Underground Railroad’, I think you’ll love it. I personally think it far more superior. (Review underway)
What I didn’t finish
(Fiction Gothic Horror)
The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers
Published by Pushkin Press (Available now)
This edition is perfect to give any gothic horror fan as a special Christmas gift.
I absolutely love Pushkin Press publications, always stunningly and beautifully presented and this book is no exception. I only read a few pages and found it just a little intense straight after reading ‘The Book of Joan’ but I will definitely try again in time for December’s ‘What’s On Your Nightstand’.


What I’m reading now
(Thriller Fiction)
The Night Market by Jonathan Moore
Published by Orion Publishing Co., 11th January 2018
Pages 304 (h/b)
Whoa…after an exciting adrenaline fuelled start this is looking like another cracking read to start the beginning of next years reads. It’s set in a near future San Francisco and is the final in a trilogy of which I’ve not read, but it’s reading like a stand alone so not feeling as if I’ve missed out.
Unfortunately this is one where if I say anything about the storyline spoilers are unavoidable and would make it less exciting for the reader so my review will probably be very uninformative. However, so far I’ve read 19% and it has a dark noir presence, certainly looks perfect for Lee Child and James Paterson fans. I think I’m definitely going to have to read the others in the series; The Poison Artist and The Dark Room.

What I intend to read for next time
All The Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J Church
The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers
In Search of Lost Books by Giorgio van Straten
Will Send Rain, Rae Meadows
Until next time, happy reading to you all

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

PEACH by Emma Glass

PEACH by Emma Glass
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (23 January 2018)
Source: Publisher (d-ARC)
Pages 112

Rating: 

"I start. Slip the pin through the skin. Start stitching. It doesn’t sting. It does bleed.White thread turns red. Red string. Going in. Going out. I pull.Tug.Tug the pin. In. Out. Out. Out. Blackout."

Something has happened to Peach. Blood runs down her legs and the scent of charred meat lingers on her flesh. It hurts to walk but she staggers home to parents that don’t seem to notice. They can’t keep their hands off each other and besides, they have a new infant, sweet and wobbly as a jelly baby.

Peach must patch herself up alone so she can go to college and see her boyfriend, Green. But sleeping is hard when she is haunted by the gaping memory of a mouth, and working is hard when burning sausage fat fills her nostrils, and eating is impossible when her stomach is swollen tight as a drum.

In this dazzling debut, Emma Glass articulates the unspeakable with breath-taking clarity and verve. Intensely physical, with rhythmic, visceral prose, Peach marks the arrival of a visionary new voice.

My Thoughts:
Dark, intense and captivating...With the opening scene of a college student staggering home after having just been violently assaulted this was a viscerally emotive storyline in its depiction of this young woman's horrific ordeal and from her initial denial to finally making some sense of it.

Written in a gorgeous stylistic prose, narrated in a consciousness of streamed thoughts it is reminiscent of Eimear McBride’s, ‘A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing’, and certainly felt as deeply affecting. An extremely powerful and at times distressing read but, if I’m honest not sure I fully understood everything that was going on in Peach's confused traumatised mind. I couldn't quite figure out what was real or imagined which left me feeling a little lost. That said I was unable to leave 'peach' until the final page. Peach's story has left an indelible impression on me and I haven't stopped thinking about this book since.

With the recent success of similar prose style works, i.e., Max Porter's, 'Grief Is A Thing With Feathers', 'Brooklyn' by Jaqueline Woodson, and the aforementioned, Eimear McBride's 'A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing’, 'peach' in my opinion, is certainly one to watch out for next year.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced readers copy (digital) from the publisher for my unbiased review.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Unbelievable “My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History” by Katy Tur

Unbelievable by Katy Tur
Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher (October, 2017)
Pages: 291 (Hardback)
Source: Publisher

Rating: 

My Thoughts:
Absolutely...unbelievably fascinating…utterly unmissable.

Jeez this was a humdinger of a read about the coverage of the presidential campaign and its lead-up to Trump becoming one of the most controversial, most divisive US Presidents of our time.

In this excellent 'campaign memoir' NBC News correspondent Katy Tur tells us what it was like reporting on an exhaustive daily basis, at rallies and interviewing Trump or dealing with his chief aids during the campaign election, and of how she felt on a professional basis and personal level.  For me, Tur's record of events confirmed my original feelings about Trump which unfortunately intensified my concern and fear for a better and united America under his presidency.

I believe Trump despises women he doesn't find attractive.  He does call them 'disgusting'. People who disagree with him or get in his way may find themselves victims to his vengefulness.  Trump 'hates' journalists with an obsessive passion. Tur as a female journalist became a target for his bullying and outright 'weird' behaviour at times.  She shares with us how she felt being singled out at rallies for ridicule and hateful remarks by the then presidential candidate, and of how vulnerable she and her colleagues felt at one particular venue when the behaviour of a baying mob of loyal supporters had been supported and even encouraged by Trump.
I am truly fearful of a future without an independent investigative journalistic presence to keep track and hold those in power accountable and genuinely dumbfounded that a presidential candidate could be so badly behaved, divisive and instigative of manipulating his frenzied supporters into such emotive states of hatred and violence towards anyone opposed to his views.  Tur gives an extremely compelling, personally candid account of her coverage as one of the women political journalists during one of the craziest and emotionally volatile campaigns ever seen.

Packed amidst the vengeful, rhetoric of Trump's speeches or condemnation of pretty much anyone distasteful to his sensibilities Tur manages to inject a fair amount of humour in the form of her inner dialogue which lightens what could have been an overbearing political tirade and I spent time googling campaign video footage to accompany my reading experience.

Tur doesn't shed any new light on Trump's character but what it may do is confirm what the majority of us suspected all along and that is that Trump, a bullying, vengeful, narcissistic beast is now terrifyingly the most powerful man on the planet.

Intelligently written, fast paced, and intensely compelling, I was engrossed, fascinated and repulsed in equal measure by the book.  I highly recommend the aptly entitled book to anyone interested in the making of political history's most 'unbelievable' President.

Memorable quotes:
"Trump is crude, and in his halo of crudeness other people get to be crude as well.”

"Trump managed to tap into a deep well of resentment and anger among disaffected voters who were content to trade in old notions of truth and decency for Trump’s wild ride."

Disclaimer: I received a reading copy for an unbiased review from HarperCollins Publishers Inc.,

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

What's On Your Nightstand? - October 31, 2017

This month I divulge from my nightstand which books I’ve loved, liked, didn’t or couldn’t give a hoot about and of which books I plan to read for next time.

As this is the spookiest night of the year I’ll start with one from my intended reading list: ‘The King in Yellow’ by Robert W. Chambers.  I received a reading copy from one of my favourite publishers, Pushkin Press, but alas I haven’t had time to read it before this posting. This beautiful hard back edition, a cult classic in supernatural fiction, is just perfect for an Halloween evening read and an ideal Christmas gift.

What I read

If The Creek Don’t Rise, Leah Weiss
(Available now)
Pages 305
Oh how I loved this book. Fabulous world building with an authentic atmospheric southern gothic storyline set in a North Carolina Mountain town.
Intense in its narrative and vividness ‘If The Creek Don’t Rise’ is a dark, gorgeously written tale about gritty, rural community life, and in particular the struggles women face in such misogynistic and male orientated relationships. (Review in progress)


(Fiction) PEACH by Emma Glass
Published: 23 January 2018
Pages 112
Not sure how I feel about this one yet. I feel rather ambiguously about ‘Peach’ and not quite sure what to say about it.
It was definitely viscerally emotive in its depiction of a young girl having just been violently raped, and of her decline into a mental breakdown. Written in a beautiful stylistic prose and narrated in a consciousness of streamed thoughts it is reminiscent of Eimear McBride’s ‘A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing’, and certainly felt as deeply affecting. An extremely powerful and at times distressing read and if I’m honest not sure I fully understood it and what was real or imagined. I just felt a little lost.
That said this is definitely one to watch for next year.  I read Peach in two sittings, but it could have easily been completed in one if time constraints had allowed. (Review in progress…I might read it again before reviewing.)


(Fiction) The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao by Martha Batalha
Stunning bright, zesty and energetic…I loved the cover image.
A beautifully heartbreaking but equally warm uplifting story, with its origins based on the author’s family lives, about two sisters living in Brazil during the 1940’s.
A pure delight to read and one to watch out for next year…you simply must read it! (Review in progress.)

(Non Fiction) Unbelievable by Katy Tur
Jeez this was a humdinger of a read about the coverage of the presidential campaign and lead-up to Trump’s victory in becoming one of the most controversial, most divisive president of our time.

Tur’s campaign memoir doesn’t divulge anything new, or shatter any pre conceived allusions about Trump’s ideology or personality. She simply tells us what is was like reporting on a regular basis, at rallies and interviewing Trump or dealing his chief aids during the campaign election, and of how she felt on a professional basis and personal level.  For me, it strengthened my suspicions of what kind of man Trump is, which unfortunately intensified my concern and fear for a better and united America under Trump’s presidency.

Absolutely...unbelievably…unmissable. Highly recommended! (Review in progress.)



What I didn’t finish
Nothing this month…I wanted to finish them all.

What I’m reading now
(Fiction) Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Another superb Halloween evening read.  I’m quite sure this is going to be one of my favourite reads of the year. So far it’s full of haunting gothic presence and complex characters,  I’m thoroughly engrossed and lost within their world.



What I intend to read for next time
All The Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J Church
The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers
In Search of Lost Books by Giorgio van Straten
& From last months intended list:
Will Send Rain, Rae Meadows
The Book Of Joan, Lidia Yuknavitch

As I’ve said before (In November) I’m stopping there as I always change my mind…too many sweets in the jar so to speak…especially at this time of year.


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

EVENTS: Waterstones Halloween Book Group


Stephen King Halloween Book Group
Hosted by Waterstones Portsmouth
Monday 30th October at 18:00

Details
Join us over tea and cakes for a Book Group with a twist! To celebrate the release of the master of horror's latest book Sleeping Beauties, we will be discussing the work of Stephen King.

There is no set book to read, just bring along your favourite Stephen King novel and be prepared to talk about why, for you, it's the best of his extensive collection...
There are no right or wrong answers just an evening of discussion – find some recommendations for your next read, meet other fans and get suitably spooked!

Please book in advance to ensure your place by clicking attending on the Facebook page or by speaking to a Bookseller in store or by telephone on 02392 821255