Sunday, 17 November 2013

GRAHAM HURLEY Book Signing at Waterstones



Excellent news!

Waterstones has confirmed a signing with
Graham Hurley and he will be visiting the Portsmouth Branch, Commercial Road on,
28th November at 12:30

His new book is called 'Touching Distance' and is on sale now in store.

I'm pretty fed up that I won't be able to be there on the day due to a hospital appointment but I'm sure it will be a great day.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

OPEN ROAD MEDIA 'A Century of Crime' Giveaway


There’s only one thing better than a free book—eight free books.

Many aspects of the mystery novel have changed drastically over the past century—style, language, technology, and crimes—but the core of the genre has stood the test of time. As long as crooks persist, sleuths will be around to track them down.

– Looking for something from the Roaring Twenties? Try Grey Mask by British author Patricia Wentworth.

– How about the Fabulous Fifties? Maybe Charles Williams’ classic noir, The Hot Spot, is more your style.

– Check out mysteries from every decade, from favorites like Dorothy L. Sayers and Susan Isaacs, in the infographic.

And here’s the best part: Open Road Media are hosting a mystery book giveaway with a grand prize of eight mysteries and thrillers! To enter, simply visit their 'Century of Crime' page and scroll down to the bottom to enter.

This week, ignore the new releases, and dig back into history’s treasury of classic mysteries.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir


Title: The Martian - A Novel
Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Genre: Science Fiction

Source: (digital) Publisher via NetGalley
ISBN: 9780804139021
Pub Date:  Feb 11 2014

Rating: DNF

Synopsis:
"Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. 

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. 

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. 

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?"

My Thoughts:
What do I say about this one apart from I could not finish it !

Loved the idea of Robinson Crusoe on Mars but just couldn't get into it.

What do I say about this one apart from I could not finish it !

Loved the idea of Robinson Crusoe on Mars but just couldn't get into it.

Obviously in the minority with my opinion because of many other reviewers giving a rating of 4 or 5 stars.

Too techie/nerdie, geeky for me. Full on successive problems and solutions with math calculations about how the guy could survive 430 something days before possible rescue.  I felt that I should have a degree in chemistry or physics to get it.  In the end I just didn't care enough to find out if he survived or not.

Would recommend to hard core sci fi fans.

I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this title.

Monday, 4 November 2013

LONGBOURN by JO BAKER


Title: Longbourn
Author: Jo Baker

Publisher: Doubleday / Transworld Publishing / Black Swan
Publish Date: 16 January 2014
Source: (digital) Newbooks Magazine

Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN: 9780857522023 (p/b)
Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:
"If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah thought, she would be more careful not to trudge through muddy fields.

It is wash-day for the housemaids at Longbourn House, and Sarah's hands are chapped and bleeding. Domestic life below stairs, ruled tenderly and forcefully by Mrs Hill the housekeeper, is about to be disturbed by the arrival of a new footman smelling of the sea, and bearing secrets.

For in Georgian England, there is a world the young ladies in the drawing room will never know, a world of poverty, love, and brutal war."

My Thoughts:
...“If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats", Sarah often thought, "she’d most likely be a sight more careful with them."...

This was a section from the opening chapter and I was immediately ensnared. I have not yet read Pride & Prejudice, and did wonder if I would be able to follow the meshing of story lines, but with writing this good I decided to give Longbourn the benefit of the doubt.  I'm so glad I did. I do not believe it detracted from my enjoyment nor understanding of the characters or plot. I am very keen to read Jane Austin's classic and it has certainly been plucked from the 'books to read' pile and is now at the top destined for an earlier read.

Longbourn is an alternative retelling from 'downstairs', the servants points of view on the affairs of the privaliged lifestyle of the Bennets, and gives extensive insight into the servants gruelling exhaustible daily chores of cleaning and the never ending work involved in the running of the household.

The story is told in three volumes taking place over the same time period of the original story. The first two are mainly based at Longbourn concentrating on the feisty Sarah, the 17 year old orphan housemaid. The final volume focuses a little more on the history of James Smith the Footman, the newest addition to the servants quarters, and whose history is somewhat clouded in mystery. Other characters include, Polly another orphan housemaid, and Mrs Hill, the Head Housekeeper and Cook who is married to Mr Hill.

I absolutely loved Baker's style of writing. She has written an excellent historical tale with such depth of character development it evoked strong visual images in my head as I read. I found the characters to be believable and credible and was totally drawn into the world, if sometimes bleak and grim, that Baker so wonderfully portrayed.

Such a beautifully written book, I would have no reservations in recommending it to anyone interested in romantic classics and/or lovers of period dramas such as the current tv serialisation 'Downtown Abbey', or the classic 'Upstairs, Downstairs' tv series from the 70's. There is something for everyone, romance, intrigue, mystery, scandalous behaviour, dastardly deeds, doubt, distrust and expectations for a better future.

Book reading groups would have an enormous amount of enjoyment discussing the privaliged characters from the classic and this retelling about the poverty stricken, hardworking servants.

Disclosure: I received an e-review copy of Longbourn for an honest, unbiased review. It was a pleasure and I thank Newbooks Magazine for this opportunity.