Wednesday, 28 February 2018

WHAT’S ON YOUR NIGHTSTAND - February 2018

Is it already the end of February đŸ˜Č Where has the time gone ?

Due to my reading addiction and need to pick up the next book immediately after setting down the one I’ve just finished, I’m getting into a real situation of reviews for books received from publishers being long overdue and it’s stressing me out!  Well, I decided to read a couple I’d purchased in the belief that I wouldn’t feel review obligated and use the time to catch up. However, the last two, both in the noir’ish genre were so amazing that I just have to tell you about them. Hence, I’m still in a pickle with these late…very…now very very late reviews.

So here are my updates for this month's, Read, DNF'd (did not finish), Reading Now, and those seductive vixens tempting me to read them next.

Read:
The Feed by Nick Clark Windo (Teaser link)
Thoroughly enjoyed this one and once past the 20% mark it was extremely difficult for me to leave it for any length of time. I continually ‘itched’ to get back to it. The world building is spectacular and once into the second half, the characters absolutely came to life. It’s a clever, stunning debut and I absolutely recommend it for fans of, Station Eleven and sci Fi novels of that ilk.
I really am looking forward to this author’s next offering.
My review…yup…is in progress...my fingers are crossed here.


In Wolves’ Clothing by Greg Levin (Teaser link)
Available from Amazon for £2.97 (kindle)
Shockingly  good…not for everyone as it touches on the horror of the child sex industry. An extremely difficult read in parts but the dark humour, contained throughout the writing style, and the protagonist’s character (clearly a coping mechanism) and his selfless sense of duty, carried this difficult storyline making it a tad more palatable.

A modern twist on the 1950’s noir private detective novel, using undercover agents infiltrating the sex trafficking scene to help rescue terrified young children abducted or sold into prostitution.
Highly recommended. A slightly fuller review will follow.

My Brothers Destroyer by Clayton Lindemuth (Teaser link)
Available from Amazon for £3.99 (kindle)

Oh this one had me all over the place mentally, and babbling so much at one point in the book, but I’ll not go into that as I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone. Suffice to say that this is going to be a difficult, all too true to life read for anyone sensitive to the issues raised including animal cruelty and violence. Not sure what it says about me reading and enjoying such books, but I’m really a little pussycat and quite a nice person considering.

Anyways, back to it…I found it an highly emotive, visceral read about the wickedness and meanest attributes of human nature with men hellbent on retaliative action either for personal slights or power gains, escalating in action to the ultimate in violence to wipe out the competition or those who refuse to fall into line. This southern gothic, noir style story with brutality (extreme), juxtaposed with tenderness (incredibly tender in parts), comes wholeheartedly recommended by me.  I’ve got three other books lined up by this author, he’s totally awesome.

DNF'd:
Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan (translated fiction)
Gorgeous cover image, but characters and writing style lacks depth for me.
Reading this for a book tour but just unable to get into it. Bad timing ? Maybe !

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Morena-Garcia (horror fiction)
Going to give another try, but had 2 others toying with me, and I’m easily led.

Girlish by Lara Lillibridge (Memoir)
Predicted publish date:
Still mulling why I didn’t feel compelled to continue with it. May try again.

Reading Now:
12 Rules for Life by Jordon B Peterson (non fiction) (reading on and off)
Trying to decide what to read, but those unwritten reviews are haunting me.

Tempted by(in order of temptation)


Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage (fiction)
Moon Brow by Shahriar Mandanipour (translated fiction)
The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon (translated fiction)
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi
Trumpocracy by David Frum (non fiction)

Until next time, happy reading !


Monday, 19 February 2018

TEASER TUESDAY: My Brother’s Destroyer: Literary Noir by Clayton Lindemuth

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 this month:
“So I was the dumbass fessed every crush to every girl. I was the one told Deputy White we all knew he was gay as a jaybird. I was the one told my first boss his son was robbing him blind. It never settled in my head that no one else in the whole world sees red and feels electric like me, and most folks is happy with untruth, both telling and hearing.”

My Brother’s Destroyer: Literary Noir by Clayton Lindemuth
Published by Hardgrave Enterprises (16th December 2013)

Synopsis:
Baer Creighton is a gifted distiller of fruited moonshine, cursed with the ability to detect even the subtlest deception. He lives in the woods next to his house and talks to his dog Fred... until Fred goes missing. A week later, harvesting apples in moonlight, Baer watches a string of headlights emerge from a distant wood. A single truck turns toward Baer, backs in, tosses Fred to the ditch.

My Thoughts:
This is good, real good. I’ve had yet another great run on books with ‘My Brother’s Destroyer’ definitely being up there with the best of my grit-lit, mean southern gothic reads. It’s violent, raw and extremely visceral so not for sensitive souls. At 20% I’m already confident I’ll be rating it a 5* favourite.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

TEASER TUESDAY: In Wolve’s Clothing by Greg Levin

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 this month:
“My suicide dream has been recurring with increased frequency of late. At least this time I awoke before the crowd shouted, “Do it!” I take it as a sign it’s going to be a good day.”


In Wolves’ Clothing by Greg Levin
Published by White Rock Press  (11 Oct. 2017)
Synopsis:
On his best days, Zero Slade is the worst man you can imagine. He has to be. It's the only way to save the Lost Girls.

During his seven years on a team fighting sex trafficking, Zero's become quite good at schmoozing with pimps, getting handcuffed by cops and pretending not to care about the young girls he liberates. But the dangerous sting operations are starting to take a toll on his marriage and sanity. His affinity for prescription painkillers isn't exactly helping matters.
When the youngest girl the team has ever rescued gets abducted from a safe house in Cambodia, Zero decides to risk everything to find her. His only shot is to go rogue, and sink deeper into the bowels of the trafficking world than he's ever sunk.

It's the biggest mission of his life. Trouble is, it's almost certain death.

My Thoughts:
Zero Slade works undercover to rescue children who have been trafficked into the sex trade. Yup a real tough, unsavoury topic for a novel and not a read for everyone especially those averse to graphic scenes of violence or child abuse of any nature. What makes this such a compelling and surprisingly palatable read is Levin’s dark noir detective style of writing, and his characterisation of Slade being an extremely flawed individual with a cynical point-of-view, and wickedly comic internal dialogue.

I have already lined up another of Greg Levin’s novels ‘Sick To Death’ to read on the strength of what I’ve read so far.

Monday, 12 February 2018

My Sweet Orange Tree by Jose Mauro de Vasconcelos

Title: My Sweet Orange Tree by Jose Mauro de Vasconcelos
Published by Pushkin Press (with new English translation - Jan 2018)
Genre: Older Children, Autobiographical Fiction, Literature-in-Translation
Source: Publisher provided physical reading copy

Rating:

Disclaimer: A hardback reading copy was supplied by the publisher for an honest review. A special thanks goes to Mollie at Pushkin Press for this gorgeous book.

Description:
Meet Zeze - Brazil’s nautiest and most loveable boy, his talent for mischief matched only by his great kindness. when he grows up he wants to be a ‘poet with a bow-tie’ but for now he entertains himself playing pranks on the resisidents of his family’s poor Rio de Janeiro neighbourhood and inventing friends to play with.  That is, until he meets a real friend, and his life begins to change.

My Thoughts:
Magical, sweet, enchanting and heartbreakingly sad...Zeze will stay with me for some time.

I wanted this reading experience to just go on and on, but alas it sadly did not. However, this endearing tale will stay in my memory for a very long time. Little Zeze narrates with innocence and an endearing childlike perspective about life living in the poorest of conditions in Rio De Jenero during the 1930’s. He is a bright, intelligent, intensely thoughtful, devilishly mischievous five year old who often finds himself in trouble for playing pranks on the villagers. Zeze is beaten as punishment for his ‘naughtiness’ so severely at times that my eyes welled-up, and my heart broke reading about the cruelty and physical abuse this little boy suffered at the hands of his frustrated parents and siblings.

Caring and nurturing come from unexpected sources; firstly in the form of ‘Pinkie’ the titular ‘sweet orange tree’ that Zeze sits under and talks to about his day; and from a friendship struck with one of the villagers.  It is as a result of this relationship that Zeze comes to believe that he isn’t what the the villagers and family say he is, but that he is just a little boy in search of attention and affection.

With distressing scenes as well as tender and funny moments, a book that can move this reader to laugh, cry and laugh again is a very rare thing. So despite the tears this was ultimately, a uniquely uplifting story for me, and one I’ll certainly be reading again.

Originally published in 1968, intended as an older children’s book, I think that possibly due to its autobiographical content it will have poignancy, and appeal to adult readers too. Thanks to one of my favourite Brit-based publishers for translated literature, ‘My Sweet Orange Tree’ is available once again in English with a new translation and is wholeheartedly recommended  as a ‘must read’.  I’m sure it will become a favourite with many readers just as it did for me...I simply adored it.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

TLC BOOK TOURS REVIEW OF The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White

The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (16th January, 2018)
Pages: 384

Source: digital copy provided by Publisher/TLC Book Tours

Metal artist Katie Mack is living a lie. Nine years ago she ran away from her family in Raleigh, North Carolina, consumed by the irrational fear that she would harm Maisie, her newborn daughter. Over time she’s come to grips with the mental illness that nearly destroyed her, and now funnels her pain into her art. Despite longing for Maisie, Katie honors an agreement with the husband she left behind—to change her name and never return.

But when she and Maisie accidentally reunite, Katie can’t ignore the familiarity of her child’s compulsive behaviour. Worse, Maisie worries obsessively about bad things happening to her pregnant stepmom. Katie has the power to help, but can she reconnect with the family she abandoned?

To protect Maisie, Katie must face the fears that drove her from home, accept the possibility of love, and risk exposing her heart-wrenching secret.

My Thoughts:
Unfortunately, I was unable to finish reading this one due to work and personal commitments. Therefore, I  feel unable to comment apart from to say that the short amount I managed to read was an extremely well written and thoroughly engaging story.

For more qualified and informative reviews please check out what other readers on the TLC Book Tour had to say about The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White.


I would like to thank the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a  digital copy to enable me to take part in this tour and to apologise for not being able to fully participate on this occasion.

About Barbara Claypole White

Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White creates hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Originally from England, she writes and gardens in the forests of North Carolina where she lives with her beloved OCD family. Her novels include The Unfinished Garden, The In-Between Hour, The Perfect Son, and Echoes of Family. The Promise Between Us, a story of redemption, sacrifice, and OCD, has a publication date of January 16th, 2018. She is also an OCD Advocate for the A2A Alliance, a nonprofit group that promotes advocacy over adversity. To connect with Barbara, please visit www.barbaraclaypolewhite.com, or follow her on Facebook. She’s always on Facebook.

Tour Stops

Tuesday, January 16th: Doing Dewey
Thursday, January 18th: Books and Bindings
Friday, January 19th: Readaholic Zone
Monday, January 22nd: Kritters Ramblings
Thursday, January 25th: Leah DeCesare
Friday, January 26th: What Is That Book About
Monday, January 29th: Just One More Chapter
Tuesday, January 30th: Book by Book
Wednesday, February 7th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, February 8th: Novel Gossip
Friday, February 9th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Monday, February 12th: SJ2B House Of Books
Monday, February 19th: Instagram: @writersdream
Thursday, February 22nd: The Geeky Bibliophile
Friday, February 23rd: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Wednesday, February 28th: Comfy Reading


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao by Martha Batalha

The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao by Martha Batalha
Translator: Eric M. B. Becker
Publisher: Oneworld
Source: Publisher (physical reading copy & digital ARC)
Pages: 230

Rating
Description
Euridice is young, beautiful and ambitious. She sacrifices her own aspirations to marry Antenor, spending her days ironing his shirts and removing the lumps of onion from his food. But as his professional success grows, so does Euridice’s feeling of restlessness. Casting duty aside, she embarks on various secret projects, only to have each dream crushed in turn by her tradition-loving husband. Antenor eventually restores order in his household – until the day Euridice’s long-lost sister Guida appears at the door with a young child and a terrible story.

The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao is a darkly comic portrait of two sisters who assert their independence and courageously carve a path of their own. A truly unforgettable novel from one of the most exciting new voices in world literature.

Martha Batalha studied journalism and literature in Brazil, working first as a reporter before starting her own publishing company. The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao is her first novel. Martha lives in Santa Monica, California, with her husband and two children.

My Thoughts
Stunning bright, zesty and energetic...If ever a cover promises a lively bunch of characters within its pages then this one does its job.

Martha Batalha as her debut novel has written a heartwarming tale, drawing heavily from her family background, about the lives of two sisters living in Brazil over three decades from the 1940’s through to the revolution in the 1960’s.  Bringing this story to life is a sparkling cast of diverse, complex characters, both men and women who often flawed are shadowed by difficult, and at times awfully grim circumstances. Making this story of substance anything but a heavy read is the easy and engaging writing style full of warmth, humanity, humour and wit that flows effortlessly throughout.  Batalha skilfully presents the reader with an intelligent, culturally informative and thoroughly enjoyable reading experience.

Euridice a dutiful wife, caring mother, and inspirational woman of her time oozes with charm, compassion and a ceaseless creative drive. All of which is quite an achievement when you meet her husband, Antenor who provides such negative support.

‘It was a simple ceremony, followed by a simple reception, followed by a complicated honeymoon. There was no blood on the sheets, and Antenor grew suspicious.’
‘...Antenor decided there was no need to take his wife back to her family. She knew how to make the bits of onion disappear, she washed and ironed well, seldom spoke, and had a terrific rear.”

You will also encounter the spinster ZĂ©lia a spiteful vengeful woman damaged by life’s injustices who delights in gossip and thrives on the misfortune of others.

‘Since she couldn't be the Holy Spirit, ZĂ©lia contented herself with a lower post, proclaiming herself prophet...That one there is going to drag her husband into bankruptcy, she decreed with her pointy chin.’

TILoEG’s pages are crowded with such huge personalities, so believable and full of presence and life that the pages must have struggled to contain them within. Batalha’s characters, especially the women will remain in my thoughts for some time.

The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao would make an ideal choice for a book group read, funny, heartbreaking with plenty to discuss from a cultural, historical, and women’s struggle for independence (from within and outside of the family) perspectives.

A delightfully engaging and satisfying read beautifully translated by Eric M. B. Becker.  I loved every moment of TILoEG and so eager to share the delight of this sparkling debut with whomever I can.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

The Nothing by Hanif Kureishi

The Nothing by Hanif Kureishi
Faber & Faber Ltd (2017)
Source: Publisher (Hardback) & (d-ARC)
Pages 167

Rating 

Description
The Nothing is Hanif Kureishi’s powerful new work: a tense and captivating exploration of lust, helplessness, and deception.
One night, when I am old, sick, right out of semen, and don't need things to get any worse, I hear the noises growing louder. I am sure they are making love in Zenab's bedroom which is next to mine.

Waldo, a fĂȘted filmmaker, is confined by old age and ill health to his London apartment. Frail and frustrated, he is cared for by his lovely younger wife, Zee. But when he suspects that Zee is beginning an affair with Eddie, ‘more than an acquaintance and less than a friend for over thirty years,’ Waldo is pressed to action: determined to expose the couple, he sets himself first to prove his suspicions correct — and then to enact his revenge.

Written with characteristic black humour and with an acute eye for detail, Kureishi’s eagerly awaited novella will have his readers dazzled once again by a brilliant mind at work

My Thoughts
What an experience...a thoroughly unpleasant one...being witness to the inner thoughts and perversions of such a vile geriatric misogynist. During his last days on earth film-maker Waldo schemes, manipulates and coerces those around him in order to direct his final acting scene.

Far from being utterly devastated at his imminent death or showing any sign that she would rather kill herself than be left alone upon his demise, his wife ‘unbelievably’ appears to be having a pretty enjoyable time with his friend.

He’d taken her suicide as a given, regularly fantasises about it; “I did say, ‘When I am dead I hope you find a wealthy man with an attractive penis to look after you’, while taking it for granted that when I died she would slash her wrists with a broken bottle, having first gone mad and ripped out her hair”. To enjoy the rest of her years without him, well that's unthinkable and just not going to happen.

Waldo is an intensely unlikable individual. I felt tainted, sullied and abused in being an voyeuristic accomplice to his scheming revengeful deeds. I willed him on to a speedy death in order that his wife be shot of him. Surely she deserved a happier life after suffering his vileness for so many years.

I came to detest all of the characters equally with progression of the book and with the denouement of the story felt pure cleansing relief that I could remove myself from their disgusting little cesspool world and move on.

Kureishi held me captive, voluntarily, reading about such repulsive people and their diabolical behaviour. A sick twisted little ‘mĂ©nage Ă  trois’ and an undeniable feat of sheer brilliance that I highly recommend especially for Kureishi fans. For anyone needing to like or see any redeeming features in their characters I’d probably say this one might not be for you, but at 167 pages it’s definitely worth trying something different. I read it in one uncomfortable sitting. You may just appreciate Kureishi’s perverse and playful sense of black humour and skilful storytelling.

Most liked character: NONE
Most disliked character: ALL OF THEM

TEASER TUESDAY: The Feed by Nick Clark Windo

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 this month:
“When he calls for them, they take a while to emerge. They see their own fear reflected in one another’s eyes. They see the dirt on one another’s faces and where the tears have run rivulets through it..”
The Feed by Nick Clark Windo
Published by Headline Publishing Group (25th, January 2018)
‘A chilling, dystopian page-turner with a twist
that will make your head explode’
Synopsis:
THE FEED by Nick Clark Windo is a startling and timely debut which presents a world as unique and vividly imagined as STATION ELEVEN and THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS.
Tom and Kate's daughter turns six tomorrow, and they have to tell her about sleep.
If you sleep unwatched, you could be Taken. If you are Taken, then watching won't save you.
Nothing saves you.
Your knowledge. Your memories. Your dreams.
If all you are is on the Feed, what will you become when the Feed goes down?
For Tom and Kate, in the six years since the world collapsed, every day has been a fight for survival. And when their daughter, Bea, goes missing, they will question whether they can even trust each other anymore.
The threat is closer than they realise...

My Thoughts:
With blurb likening it to ‘Station Eleven’, rave reviews, and huge publicity drive, this one grabbed my full attention.
I must admit that it hasn’t had the immediate impact that ‘Station Eleven’ had on me regarding the emotional involvement with its characters thus far, but at 20% anything can happen.