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.

Monday, 31 July 2017

July 2017 Link Love

Barcelona - Reading, Writing, Booking

Some more monthly web love, with book lists, research tips and fashion that I'm not cool enough to wear.

Friday, 28 July 2017

July 2017: Favourite Books

July 2017 Favourite Books - Reading, Writing, Booking

July was more of a mixed month of reading than last month, though there were still a couple of Midsomer novels too. There's a mix of old and new, fantasy, comedy, classic and, of course, crime. Plus, I've actually read a couple of books which I've been meaning to read for a long time, so I feel good ticking them off my list.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

Book Review

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Book Store by Matthew Sullivan - Reading, Writing, Booking

"To the inexperienced, many BookFrogs appeared as derelict or homeless, but to the seasoned eye it was clear that they'd shed themselves of the world, rejecting its costumes and rules in favour of paper and words."

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore will be released on 24th August. It is published by William Heinemann and written by Matthew Sullivan.

This book really surprised me. I thought it would be a cosy murder mystery with a quaint book shop at the centre. But not at all, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore unravels two mysteries with the perfect balance between a cutesy mystery and a goreish shock-fest.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The House by Simon Lelic

Book Review

The House by Simon Lelic - Reading, Writing, Booking

"This thing I've planned for so carefully; it has all gone drastically, horribly wrong."

The House will be released on 17th August. It is published by Penguin and written by Simon Lelic.

In my last post I reviewed The Upstairs Room which has a very similar premise to The House by Simon Lelic. Both focus on a couple who move into a seemingly too good to be true house with unsettling results. While I enjoyed reading The Upstairs Room more, I did like The House too and found it a well-plotted thriller that kept me turning the pages.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne

Book Review

The Upstairs Room by Kate Murray-Browne - Reading, Writing, Booking

"It was there from the beginning, the day they first saw the house. Eleanor noticed the smell first."

The Upstairs Room will be published on 27th July. It is published by Picador and written by Kate Murray-Browne.

I included The Upstairs Room in my June Favourite Books post and now here's my full review. As I said before, this book is like a subtle version of a classic haunted house story. It unfolds slowly but that's part of its attraction, it's an in depth look at people and the way a building can affect them.

Friday, 14 July 2017

10 Lord of the Rings Tattoos - Literary Tattoos Series

Another in my randomly posted Literary Tattoos series. I chose Lord of the Rings tattoos, not just because I like the books, but because they have such huge potential for tattoos. Elvish language, symbols, quotes, maps, characters, there are so many Lord of the Rings tattoos out there that it was hard narrowing it down to ten of my favourite ones, especially as I'm including The Hobbit tattoos in this post. However, I have whittled it down and here are ten amazing LOTR tattoos.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Soot by Andrew Martin

Book Review

Soot by Andrew Martin - Reading, Writing, Booking

"The murder of Matthew Harvey, painter of shades, had been much discussed in the city."

Soot is released in the UK today (6th July 2017). It is published by Corsair and written by Andrew Martin.

I was really excited to read Soot by Andrew Martin, a Georgian (I think) murder in atmospheric York. It's an original murder mystery, which is refreshing in this genre, which is both atmospheric and funny.

Monday, 3 July 2017

June 2017 Link Love

The Valentine House by Emma Henderson - Reading, Writing, Booking

I know this is such a blogger thing to say but I can't believe June is already over. The first half of 2017 has gone, what happened?!

Friday, 30 June 2017

June 2017: Favourite Books

June 2017 Favourite Books - Reading, Writing, Booking

June was the month I started reading the Chief Inspector Barnaby books, aka the Midsomer Murders books. So nearly all of my favourite books this month are from the series.
I've also been battling through a couple of other long books, namely the complete collection of H.P. Lovecraft and Middlemarch on Audible. I've been reading them for months and it's taking forever, but I don't want to include them as I haven't finished them yet (also I'm not loving Middlemarch).

So a brief and Midsomer full Favourite Books post this month.

Monday, 26 June 2017

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Book Review

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - Reading, Writing, Booking

"I liked myths. They weren't adult stories and they weren't  children's stories. They were better than that. They just were."

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is written by Neil Gaiman and published by Headline in the UK and William Morrow in the US and Canada, where I bought my copy.

I can't believe that I hadn't read any Neil Gaiman books until last year. As a big Terry Pratchett fan I started with Good Omens, written by Pratchett and Gaiman. Then I came across this lovely paperback edition of The Ocean at the End of the Lane at Mermaid Tales bookshop when I was in Tofino for my honeymoon and decided to try out my first fully Gaiman novel. I was not disappointed, in fact I was a little surprised; described as a fairytale for adults I thought the book might be a bit cutesy, but it manages to be nostalgic and magical but also terrifying and intensely sad.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Revival by Stephen King

Book Review

Revival by Stephen King - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"This is how we bring about our damnation, you know - by ignoring the voice that begs us to stop. To stop while there's still time."

Revival is written by Stephen King and published by Hodder & Stoughton.

I think my Stephen King books are moving around by themselves. I thought I dropped my copy of The Gunslinger own the back of a chest of drawers, in fact I'm sure it fell down there, but a few weeks later it was sitting on my bookshelves again as though it had never moved.

I also don't actually remember getting this copy of Revival by Stehen King. I was just looking at my Stephen King books one day and realised that this new hardback was sitting among them as though it had always been there. I must have got it in a birthday or Christmas haul and forgotten about it. At least that's what I tell myself, but I think it may have just appeared.

However it got on my shelves I'm glad I read Revival, it felt like a return to classic King but also something a little newer and fresh. It stands uniquely n his back catalogue as an odd mix of not quite horror, not quite science fiction and not quite thriller, yet all of these things. I'm not explaining it very well, it's an unusual book, with the story spread over a long period of time and with one of the most terrifying endings I've ever read.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Writer's life: an update and a ramble

This is a little update on what I'm up to with writing, work and life generally at the moment. If you come here to read book reviews and have absolutely no interest in me then please skip this post, I should have another book review up next week.

If, on the other hand, you read my book Highlanders' Revenge and enjoyed it, or you're a freelance writer too and want to know how a fellow one makes a living then read on, it'll be brief, I promise.

Writer's life: an update and a ramble - Reading, Writing, Booking

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker

Book Review

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"Don't stop reading. I need you to understand what I have done."

The Fourth Monkey will be published in the UK on 27th June. It is written by J.D. Barker and published by HQ.

This book has garnered a lot of attention on blogs and social media, with lots of 5 star reviews on Goodreads. But, as usually happens for me with majorly hyped books, I feel like I'm missing something. I did find The Fourth Monkey interesting and read it pretty quickly; it's got a particularly dark serial killer, a lot of twists and is fast paced. However, it's also completely unbelievable and borders on the silly. But, if you don't mind suspending your belief, and you have a strong stomach, then you'll probably enjoy The Fourth Monkey.

Monday, 12 June 2017

10 Discworld Tattoos - Literary Tattoos Series

I'm continuing my Literary Tattoos series with tattoos inspired by one of my favourite authors, Terry Pratchett. I'm focusing on his Discworld series which provides plenty of potential for interesting and sometimes downright bizarre tattoos.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

What You Don't Know by JoAnn Chaney

Book Review

What You Don't Know by JoAnn Chaney - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"Seever was like the chorus of a terrible song, set on infinite replay. He was the awful taste caught in the back of your mouth, the one that can't be rinsed away. The bloodstain in the carpet that won't ever come out."

What You Don't Know was released in the UK on 9th February 2017. It is written by JoAnn Chaney and published by Pan MacMillan.

This book has a new way of looking at a serial killer thriller; focusing on the aftermath and how the people caught up in the investigation cope years later. Of course, more murders then start that seem to be linked with the previous killings. Points for originality and the story is good in What You Don't Know but the writing lets it down and there's a general trying to hard feel to the whole thing.

Monday, 5 June 2017

May 2017 Link Love


The first half of May was mainly cold and grey, so I spent more time inside on the web than usual and discovered lots of book reviews, writing tips and random fashion and travel posts.
The sun did eventually come out and, like a true Brit I spent the rest of the time desperately roasting myself to the point of pinkness.

Friday, 2 June 2017

May 2017: Favourite Books

May 2017 Favourite Books - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

It's been a bit of a disappointing month for reading, I've worked my way through a lot of mediocre thrillers (follow me on Goodreads to see what I've been reading). There are only three books that really stood out in May, and none of them are new releases. I actually haven't done much reading on my Kindle this month and it's been nice to get back to real books. You just can't beat 'em.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter

Book Review

The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"Ambletern was a different sort of place, a house brimming with history and secrets and promise. A house where things happened."

The Weight of Lies will be published on 6th June 2017. It is written by Emily Carpenter and published by Lake Union Publishing.

This book has some excellent elements mixed with some really terrible ones, it adds up to a mystery that is only OK, but is worth a read if you want something fairly frivolous and not too in-depth.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Classic Children's Books: The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson

Book Review

"Plop was fat and fluffy.
He had a beautiful heart-shaped ruff.
He had enormous, round eyes.
He had very knackety knees.
In fact, he was exactly the same as every baby barn owl that has ever been - except for one thing.
Plop was afraid of the dark."

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark is written by Jill Tomlinson and illustrated by Paul Howard. It is published by Egmont.

My last review was on a book about kidnapping and rape and now here's a review about an owl called Plop who's scared of the dark, I like to mix it up.

I thought I'd do another review of books from my childhood. I loved The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark when I was younger, I think I had the audio book on cassette too (yes, I'm old) and used to listen to it before I went to sleep. It's funny, it's sweet and it teaches children not to be afraid of the dark without being preachy.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Room by Emma Donoghue

Book Review

Room by Emma Donoghue - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

“Scared is what you're feeling. Brave is what you're doing.”

Room is written by Emma Donoghue and published by Picador.

Room has divided a lot of readers, with some loving the 5-year-old protagonist and others not able to read much further than the first few pages. I for one read Room in one sitting and found it an odd mixture; naïve and horrific at the same time.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Book Review

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

“The rest of us become narrow and mean when we live falsely. I'm sick to death of living falsely. I've been doing it for years.”

The Paying Guests is written by Sarah Waters and published by Virago.

I’ve never read any Sarah Waters before but I’ve heard good things. Unfortunately, though there is some excellent writing and interesting characters, I felt The Paying Guests dragged on much too long and ran out of steam.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

10 Roald Dahl Tattoos - Literary Tattoos Series

I started the literary tattoos series back in February, and am only now putting together the next post. By series I clearly mean, when I can be bothered to post.

I'm following on with the children's book theme of the last post, but this time with a specific author, Roald Dahl. With such an imagination, not to mention brilliant illustrators like Quentin Blake, there are lots of amazing Roald Dahl tattoos out there (and some terrible ones).

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

April 2017 Link Love

Basset's Cove The Cornish Life - Reading, Writing, Booking

I don't know what to write for this introduction so I'm keeping it brief; here are some links to webpages I've liked in April. Enjoy!

Saturday, 29 April 2017

April 2017: Favourite Books

April 2017 Favourite Books - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

It's been a full month of reading this April, with a little more variety than usual, though there's still the usual big dose of murder.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in a Skip by Alexander Masters

Book Review

A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in a Skip by Alexander Masters

"It was an ordinary pocket notebook, ambushed by a person's desperation to record his or her life."

A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in a Skip will be published in hardback on 5th May 2017. It is written by Alexander Masters and published by 4th Estate.

I was really excited to read A Life Discarded because the author, Alexander Masters, wrote Stuart: A Life Backwards, which I loved (the film is also amazing, Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch being brilliant). However, I think, like a lot of other reviewers, this book just didn't live up to the level set by Stuart. A Life Discarded is a unique, intriguing book, and I definitely enjoyed reading it, but I think it unfortunately fails by being compared to its older, prettier, more accomplished sister (does that work as a metaphor?)

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The Killer on the Wall by Emma Kavanagh

Book Review

The Killer on the Wall by Emma Kavanagh - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"It wasn't over. It had only just begun."

The Killer On The Wall is published in the UK today (20th April 2017). It is written by Emma Kavanagh and published by Cornerstone.

That quote is a little overly dramatic and cliched, and I'm afraid there is a lot of that in The Killer on the Wall. What starts off as an interestingly original thriller concept soon gets let down by the fairly unrealistic plot. If you suspend belief it's an enjoyable enough read and an interesting look at the science and debate around the makings of serial killers.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Sweetpea by C J Skuse

Book Review

Sweetpea by C J Skuse - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"It's an exciting privilege to watch someone die, knowing you caused it. Almost worth getting dolled up for."

Sweetpea will be released in the UK this Thursday (20th April 2017). It is written by C J Skuse and published by HQ.

If Georgia Nicolson (Angus, Thongs and Ful-Frontal Snogging) grew up and developed some seriously disturbing urges, this would be the diary she'd write.
A slightly more accessible example is Dexter meets Bridget Jones, but with infinitely more grit.

I read Sweetpea a couple of weeks ago when I had a horrible cold and this book was a brilliant distraction; funny, disturbing and unexpected. It's the diary of a serial killer with very relatable kill lists and a twisted sense of humour. This won't be everyone's cup of tea but I loved this refreshing book.

(FYI, bad language coming up. If you don't like swearing then don't read this review and don't read the book.)

Thursday, 13 April 2017

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips

Book Review

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

"She carried the Database around inside of her; it floated in her brain like a net for catching and killing any glistening idea that came along."

The Beautiful Bureaucrat is released in the UK today (April 13th 2017). It is written by Helen Phillips and published by Pushkin Press.

This is a strange book, it's not really sure what it wants to be; it's part thriller, part magical realism, part exploration of the mundanity of modern life and part completely surreal hallucination. The Beautiful Bureaucrat attempts too much and doesn't quite hit the right note, but I did enjoy reading it and, having been a data drone in my work life, connect with Josephine a lot.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

How to be Human by Paula Cocozza

Book Review

How to be Human by Paula Cocozza - Reading, Writing, Booking

"His wildness was a gift. She wanted never to forget the immense favour he did them, the kindness of reminding them that no matter how lonely the city became, you could open a window or a door or even just an eye and find a mass of life that listened back."

How to Be Human is released in the UK today (April 6th). It is written by Paula Cocozza and published by Hutchinson.

I don't think I'm the only book blogger finding it difficult to review How to be Human; I've had a scout around Goodreads and a lot  of reviewers mention struggling to write up their feelings about the book. It may be because How to be Human is not like anything I've ever read before. It has similar themes to several books I've read; isolation, obsession and depression, but Paula Cocozza handles it in a totally unique way.
Honestly, I'm still not sure if I enjoyed the book or not, it's been a few weeks and I still don't know how I feel.
None of this is very helpful to you, is it? I'll crack on with the blurb.

Monday, 3 April 2017

March 2017 Link Love

Knights Templar Caves Discovers in Rabbit Hole - Reading, Writing, Booking Blog

Another month, another round-up of links I've been loving on the web. As usual, there are lots of book reviews from fellow book bloggers, including a couple of classics. I've also found some useful writing tips, especially if you're a budding children's book author.
Finally, I've got some random links, with everything from underground caves to inspiring women standing up against sexual violence.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

March 2017: Favourite Books

Reading, Writing, Booking - March Favourite Books

As usual, I've ploughed through a lot of books this month. Most of them are from the same Ann Cleeve crime series, which I am loving. I've also been reading a lot of new releases from NetGalley and, while some have only been OK, there are a couple that have really gripped me.