Saturday, 30 December 2017

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Book Review

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan - Reading, Writing, Booking

"Sophie has never thought of her husband as a liar."

Anatomy of a Scandal will be published in the UK on 11th January 2018. It is written by Sarah Vaughan and published by Simon and Schuster.

Anatomy of a Scandal was a book that interested me but didn't grip me. I enjoyed it while reading but it wasn't unputdownable. A solid effort, B+.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

My Top 10 Books of 2017

My Top 10 Books of 2017 - Reading, Writing, Booking

I hope you've had a lovely Christmas and are enjoying a lazy Boxing Day morning. Pity me, because I've got to go to work this afternoon. Whatever you're doing today I hope you have time to check out my top ten books released in 2017.
I've included links to my original reviews in the information for each book if you want to know more about each one.

These are in no particular order.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

White Bodies by Jane Robins

Book Review

White Bodies by Jane Robins - Reading, Writing, Booking

"I can't remember such an exciting day in my life as this. I just wish he hadn't forced Tilda under the water and held her there so long."

White Bodies will be released in the UK on 28th December 2017. It is written by Jane Robins and published by HQ.

White Bodies had equal parts good and bad for me, books usually go one way or the other, but this one had elements I thought brilliant and others that just didn't work, so it ends up sitting at an average 3 stars, although I don't think this is a particularly average book.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Dark Pines by Will Dean

Book Review

Dark Pines by Will Dean - Reading, Writing, Booking

"Something just died. I don't know how I know this but I do. The air has changed around me."

Dark Pines will be released in the UK on 4th January 2018. It is written by Will Dean and published by Point Blank.

I really enjoy thrillers that are reliant on their setting. I recently read The Dry (review to come) and the harsh and arid landscape is integral to the plot. Dark Pines is the same, but with a completely different environment. A small Swedish town on the edge of a mighty pine forest, where stepping off the path can be deadly, yet most of the inhabitants' livelihoods depend on the forest.

It's an ideal place to set a murder mystery and Will Dean does this brilliantly in Dark Pines (which is also a perfect name for the book). You really feel the forest setting the whole way through, and it just wouldn't be the same if it was set somewhere else. It's intensely claustrophobic yet there is a power and energy both in the setting and the story.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The One That Got Away by Annabel Kantaria

Book Review

The One That Got Away by Annabel Kantaria - Reading, Writing, Booking

"I'm a damaged woman who has knowledge and power."

The One That Got Away was released in the UK on 21st September 2017. It is written by Annabel Kantaria and published by HQ.

I've been in a bit of a thriller slump recently; reading a lot of mysteries that are only OK. Unfortunately, The One That Got Away falls into this category.  A lot of people have been saying how clever it is, and the concept is I suppose, if a little cliche now, but I don't think it stands out amongst other 'clever' thrillers, like The Girl Before and Gone Girl, though it is clearly trying to follow in those footsteps.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

November 2017 Favourite Books

November 2017 Favourite Books - Reading, Writing, Booking

Sorry for the long delay between posts, I've had a hell of a couple of weeks with everything happening at once but the main thing was that my cat had his pelvis shattered by a car. Long, stressful week but he is finally pinned together and home, but I haven't been able to get much work done.

Now he's recovering normal life can sort of resume again, although he does have to be on crate rest for six weeks and is already desperate to come out!

Anyway, onto books.

I read some real stand out books in November. They're all a bit dark this month, maybe something to do with the time of year, and they're mostly concerned with murder and mystery.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

10 Great Gatsby Tattoos - Literary Ink Series

I haven't done one of these in a while. This was a fun one to research, it turns out that a lot of people have Great Gatsby tattoos and there are some really amazing ones out there, in fact I might have to do a second post at some point because there were so many that I couldn't include.

I noticed that there are a lot of takes on a few main elements of F. Scott Fitzgerald's book; the green light, the cover and various famous quotes, so I've tried to pick one of each and then search for a few more rare tattoos too.

Also, FYI, you may have noticed that my posts have slowed down a bit; I'm pretty busy at the moment with my own writing and working my part time job which is getting busier over Christmas. Posts will probably be one a week now as opposed to twice a week. I'll try and get my act back together again in January.

Anyway, on to the tattoos.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Copycat by Alex Lake

Book Review

Copycat by Alex Lane - Reading, Writing, Booking

"In untangling the web, she had merely become trapped in it."

Copycat was released in the UK on 7th September 2017. It is written by Alex Lane and published by HarperCollins.

While the premise for Copycat wasn't particularly original, I did like the sound of this book. Unfortunately it just doesn't deliver. The writing is over laboured, repetitive and littered with cliches. The pacing throughout the entire story is off, dwelling too much on smaller incidents and skimming over the important bits. There were also leads and characters that were never followed up on, something which always frustrates me.

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Betrayals by Fiona Neill

Book Review

The Betrayals by Fiona Neill - Reading, Writing, Booking

"The past is a vanished shadow."

The Betrayals was released on 10th August 2017. It is written by Fiona Neill and published by Michael Joseph.

After a very promising start The Betrayals fizzled out in the second half. However, it's an interesting exploration of memory and how different people recall traumatic experiences and the consequences.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd

Book Review

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd - Reading, Writing, Booking

"She felt suddenly very alone, as though the person she married had never existed and she had woken up to a life she didn't recognise, in the middle of a story she didn't understand."

The Innocent Wife is out now in eBook format and will be released in hardback on December 28th 2017. It is written by Amy Lloyd and published by Century.

This is quite a timely book, considering the popularity of Making a Murderer. And the plot involves a similar premise, with a documentary crew making a film about Dennis Danson being convicted of murder at 18 on very little evidence. This really attracted my attention; I'm always a  bit fascinated by these did he/didn't he crimes. I'm also fascinated by the men and women who write to criminals on death row and end up dedicating their life to them. So The Innocent Wife felt like a sure hit with me. But, while I did enjoy it, I thought it lost momentum in the middle and didn't delve as deep as I wanted it to.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

September and October Favourite Books

September and October Favourite Books - Reading, Writing, Booking

I've got a double bill of monthly favourites in this post as I was away when I'd usually post my September Favourites and was too lazy to schedule it. So, this will be quite a long post with a lot of books in it but I'll try and keep the descriptions succinct and not ramble as much as I usually do.

Also, most of the books were either ebooks or library books which have since been returned so there's not much of a photo.

Monday, 30 October 2017

The Secret of Vesalius by Jordi Llobregat

Book Review

The Secret of Vesalius by Jordi Llobregat - Reading, Writing, Booking

"Barcelona was a place of wonder, but it could also be cruel to any person who failed to stay alert."

The Secret of Vesalius will be released in the UK on 16th November 2017. It is written by Jordi Llobregat and published by Riverrun.

A Gothic thriller set in 'fin-de-siecle' Barcelona, The Secret of Vesalius appealed to me right away, especially as I read it while I was in Barcelona and so irritated my husband by constantly pointing out places mentioned in the book.

I enjoyed The Secret of Vesalius, it's what my Dad would call 'a good yarn'. It's a murder mystery adventure with a Gothic setting, but there's not much originality in it; most of the characters are stock and the plot twists were sometimes so obvious they had the subtlety of a sledgehammer. However, I found this book fun, and if you're looking for a thriller with a big dollop of history thrown in then this is for you.

Friday, 27 October 2017

A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M Harris

Book Review

A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne M Harris - Reading, Writing, Booking

"They call us the Devil's children. But we have no allegiance to your Devil, or your God. We are the travelling folk. We live. And we will live for ever."

A Pocketful of Crows was released in the UK on 19th October 2017. It is written by Joanne M Harris and published by Gollancz.

This is a story that transports you out of modern life's mundanities and into a more timeless reality that focuses on nature and lore. If only for a moment, because A Pocketful of Crows is a small book, but it is all the better for it as the story of the 'brown girl' is not dragged out but perfectly encapsulated in this beautiful book.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Devil's Day by Andrew Michael Hurley

Book Review

Devil's Day by Andrew Michael Hurley - Reading, Writing, Booking

"In the wink of an eye, as quick as a flea,
The Devil he jumped from me to thee.
And only when the Devil had gone,
Did I know that he and I'd been one."

Devil's Day was released in the UK on 19th October 2017. It is written by Andrew Michael Hurley and published by John Murray Press.

I haven't read The Loney, Andrew Michael Hurley's critically acclaimed first novel, but all the good reviews I've read means it has been on my tbr list for ages. But when I saw that Hurley had a new book out I decided to read that first, especially as the blurb drew me in, with talk of an isolated country community, family dynamics and the supernatural.

Devil's Day is beautifully written, but it didn't quite hit the mark for me; there's a good story in there but it was a bit lost in strange pacing, disconnected writing and a family dynamic that I didn't find that interesting.

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Seagull by Ann Cleeves (Vera Stanhope #8)

Book Review

The Seagull by Ann Cleeves - Reading, Writing, Booking

"If only you knew, she thought, you sophisticated customers in your dinner jackets and glittering dresses, sitting on the terrace drinking cocktails and champagne. If only you knew what really goes on here."

The Seagull is written by Ann Cleeves and published by Macmillan.

I'm back from holiday with a good'un, a review of the latest book in the Vera Stanhope series, The Seagull. I managed to get through quite a lot of books on my week off but none as quickly as this one, which I read in a day.

Anyone who's concerned that Ann Cleeves might be losing momentum in the Vera series need not worry, The Seagull has the same intricate story, realistic characters and atmospheric Northumberland setting, and of course, the brilliant creation of Vera Stanhope.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Mini Blog Break

I'm taking a break for blogging while I'm on holiday for two weeks.
I was going to schedule blog posts but I've been far to busy/lazy.
I've got lots of books to read while I'm off so I'll be back with lots of book reviews.
See you soon.

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Monday, 2 October 2017

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Book Review

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan - Reading, Writing, Booking

"He would die to stay alive, to savor the sensuous gallop of his thoughts toward some truth he hadn't yet perceived."

Manhattan Beach will be released in the UK on 3rd October 2017. It is written by Jennifer Egan and published by Corsair.

I'm still not sure how I feel about Manhattan Beach. It has a strange way of encroaching on you and, even though it's not a thrill a minute, you can't put it down. And yet, I felt that the story was a bit too meandering and had too many different directions, many of which came to nothing in the end.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

10 Stephen King Tattoos - Literary Ink Series

Welcome back to another literary tattoos post.

I've featured tattoos inspired by children's stories and Jane Austen's classic works, but this time it's a little bit different, these are tattoos from horror expert Stephen King.

I'm a big fan of Stephen King's books, but I'm not sure I'd want some of his more horrific characters and scenes inked permanently on my skin. Still, it was fun looking for these tattoos and there are some amazing ones out there; not just characters and images but Stephen King quotes too.

I've tried to just include tattoos inspired by King's books, so, though there are some amazing tattoos of Tim Curry and Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, I've not included them as they're influenced more by the films than the book. Though I'm sure there are some with a bit of crossover.

There are still some great Stephen King tattoos though, check them out.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben

Book Review

Don't Let Go by Harlan Coben - Reading, Writing, Booking

"After all these years, they found me."

Don't Let Go will be released in the UK tomorrow (26th September 2017). It is written by Harlan Coben and published by Century.

If I was a teacher marking this book it would be a B- with the note; good effort but must try harder.

Harlan Coben is an established author but to me Don't Let Go read like a newbie author's offering, there's a good story in there, but it needs work. To be fair, I've never actually read any of his books before, and he's a bestselling author so he's obviously doing something right, but Don't Let Go just felt a bit...sloppy to me.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrère

Book Review

The Adversary by Emmanuel Carrère - Reading, Writing, Booking

"I was thinking of the big white void that had slowly taken over inside him until all that was left was that semblance of a man dressed in black."

The Adversary: A True Story of Monstrous Deception is written by Emmanuel Carrère and published by Vintage.

I'd never heard of The Adversary before, or Jean-Claude Romand, but when I saw this latest edition on NetGalley I had to request it as the true story sounded so incredible. In fact, I think if the story of a man conning his family for almost 20 years and then killing them all before his secret could come out was written in a fiction, I would have said it wasn't believable.

And yet, real life is often stranger than fiction, Luckily, Carrère tells this story in a way that is quite understated, letting the brutality of the crime do the talking rather than courting controversy by inserting thrills. The Adversary is a well written and fascinating exploration of a crime and the criminal.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Audiobook vs Reading - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - Reading, Writing, Booking

This is a general ramble on my part, a little bit about the pros and cons of listening to audiobooks over reading, it's not specifically about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy but as that's the audiobook I've just finished I'll mention it here.

First off, let me say, I loved The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Even though I'd never fully read it before I grew up knowing large parts of it because my Dad quoted it all the time

"The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't."

I quite often thought he was mad, going on about depressed robots and whales falling through the air, but all becomes clear once you read it, or listen to it.

That's what this is, it's not a review, I'll tell you right now that I gave it four and a half stars, I'd give it five but I only give it to my very favourite books and this didn't quite make it.
But part of me wonders if this is because I listened to it on Audible instead of reading it. Did I miss out on something? Or did I gain more by having it read to me by the wonderful Stephen Fry?

This is quite a rambling post about my own experience with audiobooks, if you want you can skip to the bottom where there's a simple pros and cons summary of audiobooks vs 'real' books.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

August 2017 Link Love

Hush Colourblock Jumper - Reading, Writing, Booking

Like my monthly favourites post I'm afraid August's link love post is late too, so late that it is now cold and raining and August feels like a distant memory. I  hope you like this month'slinks, there are a lot of book reccomendations, some great writing tips and quite a lot of autumn-themed randomness.

Monday, 11 September 2017

August 2017 Favourite Books

August 2017 Favourite Books - Reading, Writing, Booking

August's favourites are a little late this month. I had a week off to celebrate my birthday (30, how am I so old?), and I meant to be organised and schedule posts but never got round to it. I'm now rushing to hurry up.
This month's favourite books post is a steady balance of classics and new releases, with horror, humor and suspense all included.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Break by Marian Keyes

Book Review

The Break by Marian Keyes - Reading, Writing, Booking

"We were so tightly bonded and our sundering has been shocking and brutal. His departure was too sudden; the wrench was ragged and rough."

The Break is released in the UK today (7th September 2017). It is written by Marian Keyes and published by Penguin Michael Joseph.

Regular readers of Reading, Writing, Booking (all three of you) may be surprised to see me review an author who is so often classified as Chick-Lit (unfairly I think). Marian Keyes doesn't often write about mysterious murders, which are usually my thing, but I'm actually a big fan of Keyes' work and used to read her books a lot when I was younger.
My tastes have changed a bit over the years and I don't reach for them as much as I used to but I still get excited when there is a new Marian Keyes novel out.

The Break is her latest book, out today. After a slow start I found myself hooked to the story of two people and their 'break' from marriage. Keyes really understands the dynamics of couples and she writes in such an honest and often hilarious way.

Also, Marian Keyes herself is bloody amazing, she does these hilarious YouTube videos and has written and spoken really honestly about her struggles with depression.

Monday, 4 September 2017

The History of Bees by Maja Lunde

Book Review

The History of Bees by Maja Lunde - Reading, Writing, Booking

" order to live in nature, with nature, we must detach ourselves from the nature in ourselves."

The History of Bees will be released in the UK on 7th September 2017. It is written by Maja Lunde and published by Scribner.

The History of Bees is a wonderfully written but sometimes slow look at the lives of three different beekeepers. It's also a truly terrifying examination of how important bees are to the world and our existence.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda

Book Review

Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda - Reading, Writing, Booking

"I wonder if Mia thinks I have a dark side. Most likely, as far as she knows, I am just her dear loving husband."

Best Day Ever will be released on 7th September 2017. It is written by Kaira Rouda and published by HQ.

I blasted through Best Day Ever, enjoying the irritatingly deranged narrator and slow burning mystery created by Kaira Rouda.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The Burning Girl by Claire Messud

Book Review

The Burning Girl by Claire Messud - Reading, Writing, Booking

"Sometimes I felt that growing up and being a girl was about learning to be afraid."

The Burning Girl will be released on 7th September. It is written by Claire Messud and published by Fleet.

This is a strange one. I was expecting The Burning Girl to be a thriller, but it's more of an exploration of a friendship with a slow (forgive me for the pun) burn. It has depth and Messud's writing is beautiful yet realistic.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Did You See Melody? by Sophie Hannah

Book Review

Did You See Melody by Sophie Hannah - Reading, Writing, Booking

"If I could turn and run, I would. Run back home, however long it took."

Did You See Melody? will be released on August 24th. It is written by Sophie Hannah and published by Hodder & Stoughton.

Did You See Melody was one of those books that I was really immersed in when I was reading, but once I put it down the story left me quickly and I wasn't particularly inclined to pick the book up again. Some books are like that; intriguing but not memorable.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

Book Review

The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz - Reading, Writing, Booking

"Diana Cowper had planned her funeral and she was going to need it. She was murdered about six hours later that same day."

The Word is Murder will be released on August 24th. It is written by Anthony Horowitz and published by Century.

Anthony Horowiz takes a risk with this one, with a unique narrative where he inserts himself into the story. Some reviewers have loved it but I'm not sure it's paid off. However, The Word is Murder is still an intriguing thriller with a lot of twists and a somehow blank yet engaging detective.

Friday, 11 August 2017

1st Anniversary and Philip Pullman Wedding Reading

I got married a year ago today. Apart from having to halt the ceremony briefly because I thought I was going to faint and/or vomit, it was an amazing day.

I won't waffle on about the wedding as I know that can bore people to death, but I wanted to share with you my wedding reading. We're not religious and, me being me, I wanted readings from books. But, in the end, we only had one reading because only one really stood out for me.

Monday, 7 August 2017

10 Jane Austen Tattoos - Literary Tattoos Series

Most of my Literary Tattoos posts so far have either been based on children's books or fantasy novels, which all have a range of illustrations and symbols that make great tattoos. For this tattoo post I thought I'd opt for a classic author.

Jane Austen's books are chock full of quotes that prove to be popular as tattoos and, while there aren't that many obvious illustrations, people are really creative at coming up with Austen-esque designs.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Classic Literature: Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Book Review

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons - Reading, Writing, Booking

"I saw something nasty in the woodshed."

Cold Comfort Farm is written by Stella Gibbons and published by Penguin Essentials.

I know I've only just included this book in my July Favourites but I wanted to write a proper review of Cold Comfort Farm. Plus, I haven't reviewed a classic in a while. I always wonder if there's any point reviewing classic books, as pretty much everything that can be said about the book has already been said, but I enjoyed this book and wanted to share it, hopefully some people will take something new from it.