Monday, April 28, 2014

I'm A Winner - Lesley Jorgenson's debut novel Cat & Fiddle

Thank you to Newbooks Magazine and SCRIBE Publications Australia for my winning prize of Lesley Jorgenson's debut novel Cat & Fiddle.

I just love the stunning cover and look forward to reading it. I'll leave a review once I've read it and enter Cat & Fiddle as a future Giveaway prize.

Product Description:
Cat & Fiddle centres on two families whose lives become entwined at the country estate of Bourne Abbey. While Dr Choudhury is busy advising Henry Bourne on the restoration of the abbey to its former glory, his wife’s main concern is marrying off their three children, whose chances of good matches are dwindling by the day. Thankfully, the royal family always seems to have a solution to her problems: how to find a wife for a reluctant son; how to manage a difficult father-in-law; and, of course, how not to deal with an inter-faith relationship.

Then there’s the Bourne family. Henry’s wife, Thea, is feeling lost, now that she’s got the lifestyle she’s always longed for. His elder brother, Richard, a successful London barrister, finds himself increasingly drawn to the family home — the inheritance that he’s given up. Meanwhile, Henry just wants to keep the peace, but that’s proving to be tricky …

And, finally, there’s Bourne Abbey itself: the repository of an ancient mystery that links the histories and cultures of the Bournes and the Choudhurys in a way that no one could have anticipated.

About the Author:
Lesley Jrgensen trained as a registered nurse while also completing simultaneous arts and law degrees, and has worked as a medical-negligence lawyer in Australia and England. While in England, she married into a Muslim Anglo & Bangladeshi family. She now lives in Adelaide with her two children. Cat & Fiddle is her first novel.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

GIVEAWAY 5: The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sŏn-mi Hwang

This Giveaway is for a paper back copy of the book and
only open for Residents in the UK

Giveaway of the charming, beautifully told tale of Sprout
The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly
By Sun-Mi Hwang

Waterstones Synopsis:
This is the story of a hen named Sprout. No longer content to lay eggs on command only to have them carted off to the market, she glimpses her future every morning through the barn doors, where the other animals roam free, and comes up with a plan to escape into the wild - and to hatch an egg of her own. An anthem for individuality and motherhood, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly has captivated millions of readers in Korea. Now the novel is making its way around the world, where it has the potential to inspire generations of readers the way Jonathan Livingston Seagull or The Alchemist have. And with Nomoco's evocative illustrations throughout, this first English-language edition beautifully captures the journey of an unforgettable character in world literature

Waterstones Book Club: 10th-16th April 2014

The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is a charming tale about Sprout, a tired, worn down industrial hen who yearns and dares to dream about a better life for herself. Sprout desperately wants to be free from the coop and to hatch her very own chick.

I adored Sprout and Straggler in this touching, often sad, yet uplifting novella which touched on so many themes including friendship, loyalty, love, self sacrifice and loss. So beautifully told with accompanying simple black and white artwork.

A timeless tale that I will definitely re-read again.
I was so pleased to see this title come into the store and I immediately brought it to the attention of the manager. It is also the Waterstones March Book of the Month selection. I will be delighted to
recommend it to customers visiting our store.

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

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

BIBLICAL By Christopher Galt

Title: Biblical
Author: Christopher Galt
ISBN: 9781780874807
Pages: 400 (Hardback)

Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Publisher: Quercus Publishing Plc
Publish Date: 1/5/2014

Rating: 5/5

An apocalyptic thriller that pits cutting-edge science against God and asks the question – who will win?

Something is happening around the world. People are having visions, seeing ghosts, witnessing events that could not have taken place.
At first, the incidents are scattered and infrequent, the visions unremarkable. But as time goes on, the visions become more sustained, more vivid. More frightening. Psychiatrist Dr John Macbeth is in a desperate race to find what is causing the phenomenon. And when someone close to him is murdered in a bomb blast, his quest for the truth becomes much more personal.

An apocalyptic thriller on an epic scale that will make you question your own reality.

All around the world, people start to see things that aren't there, that cannot be. Visions, ghosts, events from the past playing out in the present.
To start with, the visions are unremarkable: things misplaced in time and caught out of the corner of the eye; glimpses of long-dead family or friends. But, as time goes on, the visions become more sustained, more vivid, more widespread. More terrifying.

As the visions become truly apocalyptic, some turn to religion, others to science.
Only one man, driven by personal as well as professional reasons, is capable of finding the real truth. But the truth that psychiatrist John Macbeth uncovers is much, much bigger than either religion or science.
A truth so big it could cost him his sanity. And his life.

My Thoughts:
The opening scene had me hooked immediately with the depiction of a French teenager finding herself in amongst a crowd of people witnessing the execution of Joan d'Arc.  She manages to take a picture of the horrific scene on her phone.

Around the world people are experiencing hallucinations, having feelings of déjà vu, and accidents and mass suicides are occurring on an alarming scale.

It is a time where science is destroying religion as it answers the mysteries and miracles of old.

Macbeth, a psychiatrist involved in a neuroscience project, finds himself hurled into a race against time to uncover the mystery of the phenomena. Is it caused by a virus, or are these visions sent from God as believed by religious leaders and fanatics worldwide? Is the world readying itself for 'The Rapture'?

Christopher Galt's 'Biblical' is a fantastic piece of fiction blending elements of scientific fact and human genetic anomalies. Galt's characters come to life with his empathetic writing style, and the numerous memorable characters are totally plausible and mesmerising. I felt as though I were watching a film, they were so well drawn out. I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen to each of them as their fate unfolded. Mary Vermont's heart felt tale of her frustration and anguish of suffering from Alzheimer's and the happiness albeit brief of the visions she has was particularly poignant.  It was easy to imagine what it must be like to have this awful disease looking through Mary's eyes. Each and every one of Galt's characters has an equally compelling tale to tell and I loved finding out about them all.

Biblical kept me guessing all the way to its mind blowing climax.  It is an intelligent, imaginative, addictive, apocalyptic thriller that kept me reading well into the early hours.

Definitely my favourite this year.

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

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Brief Synopsis of Rupert Thomson's The Insult

From the Portsmouth Branch of Waterstones.

Just some of the favourites from the staff at Waterstones.
Mine was Rupert Thomson's, The Insult.


I will publish a fuller review along with very late reviews of my previous reads soon. 

I apologise for my tardiness but due to various situations including Christmas, work, and another house move my reviews have taken a back seat.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

MORE THAN THIS by Patrick Ness

Title: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Walker
Genre: Science Fiction

Source: Library
Pub Date:  5 September 2013

Seth dies a brutal death, crushed on the ocean floor.  When he wakes up he is  in a strange, desolate, but somewhat familiar place and he can remember every detail of his death.

This is the opening chapter...WOW this is going go be another brilliant addition to Patrick Ness' accomplishments but unfortunately it just didn't deliver.

I've really mulled this one over before attempting my review, and I still don't know how to convey my thoughts without giving anything away.

I loved the Chaos Walking trilogy and A Monster Calls and I so wanted this to be another firm favourite but alas, and I know I'm in a minority here, I really didn't like it at all on several levels; plot, characters, world building plausibility, and who is the intended reader: Teen? YA? I had put some questions to Patrick Ness but as yet I've received no reply so I'll go ahead with my thoughts.

As a parent, career or teacher would you want your 12/13 year old reading a book with, albeit  only a minimal part of the storyline, explicit scenes between 2 guys? The scenes are beautifully portrayed and sensually written and it's not a complete surprise as Patrick Ness has touched on the subject in the Chaos Walking trilogy.  Although these elements of the story were in my opinion fine for the young adult audience, much of the book seemed to be targeted at a younger reader and seemed inappropriate. I was confused and the two styles didn't gel for me.

My son raised the issue with me and the conversation went something like this;

Son: 'they're a gay couple!' with a questioning look
Me: 'yes I know' and 'there's nothing wrong in that is there?'
Son: No
Me: 'you know some gay people'
Son: 'do I?'
Me: 'Yes so and so'
Son: 'Is he/she?'

Much easier to explain than;
Son: 'he's a cock fiddler!'
Me: 'umm well yes that's what ... umm what book are you reading?'

I don't sensor what my kids read but I would like some warning as to the level of sexual content contained within a book aimed at teens / YA.  

As for the plot, I thought it was lacking in depth with flat characters which I didn't believe in.  'Much More Than This' raised far too many unanswerable questions for me, the world created was far too implausible.

A real 'Meh 2.5' from me on this one.

Unable to recommend this one as I just didn't care for it at all although some pretty good discussions could be had in reading groups.

Sunday, November 17, 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.

Wednesday, November 13, 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.