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100,000 Page View Giveaway

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Recently, my blog passed 100,000 page views! I can't believe it, that's a big number for me, and I'm really proud of my little space here for book reviews. So to celebrate, I've got a giveaway for you!

When I met Angie Thomas way back in March 2019, she was signing books and I got my copies of The Hate U Give and On the Come Up signed, and also another copy of The Hate U Give that I bought because I liked the yellow sprayed edges. However! I don't really need two copies of the book, much as I love it, so I thought I would give it away. It's UNREAD, and signed. 

All you have to do to be in a chance to win is leave a comment below telling me what your favourite book is that I've also read! Have a click around and see what I like, and find a book we have in common! I'll draw the winner on Valentine's Day

Thanks for playing!




Christmas Books 2020

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

I just wanted to share with you the books that I got for Christmas. I was really lucky, I got a load. My friend Laura always buys me books, plus I asked Lee's sister for the Derry Girls book as she never knows what to buy us, plus I did two Secret Santas that were book related. Oh and Lee's brother bought me a book too! I was absolutely spoilt! Here's what I got:

Erin's Diary - a companion book to the TV show Derry Girls. I can't wait to get to this, I bet it's hilaruous. 

The Offing - Lee's brother bought me this - it's set in Durham where Lee's family is from, so that'll be nice to read

FOXES - this is the third in the trilogy by M A Bennett and my mum bought me this. I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes

The Long Call - my friend Laura bought me this; I have read a few books by Ann Cleeves and enjoyed them, although not for ages. So I'm looking forward to this, too

The Ghost of Gosswater - I haven't heard of this at all but I do now like gothic novels, so Laura bought this for me too. It sounds good!

Melt My Heart - this came from one of my Secret Santas. I enjoyed Bethany's first book, so I'll look forward to this too

Queer Folk Tales - my friends Leanne and Adi bought this for Lee and I. It sounds perfect for me! 

You Should See Me In a Crown - my friend Lucinda bought this for me, she really enjoyed it and thinks I will too. I've heard good things about it

Radio Silence - one of my Secret Santas sent me this too. I hear so many amazing things about Alice Oseman, but haven't ever read much by her, so it'll be good to read this

Boy Parts - I loved this! So my Santa chose well! I read it on eBook, so I'm glad to own it in paper - I always like to own books in paper even if I read them digitally. Plus it makes it easy to lend to people

The Falling in Love Montage - I'm intrigued by this, and am not really sure if it's my kind of thing, but I'm willing to give it a go. 

Last year, I challenged myself to read all the books I'd been given for Christmas and my birthday, instead of letting them languish on the shelves, and I did pretty well with that challenge. So I'm setting myself the same challenge for this year - let's see how I do! 





All Among the Barley by Melissa Harrison - Review

Saturday, January 23, 2021

 


This was my first book of the year and I have to say, it set the standard quite high! If this is what all books in 2021 are going to be like, I'm in for a good year!

This was also the first book club book of the year. My book club is based in Penistone, nearby, and we usually meet monthly in a pub there. Obviously, that hasn't been possible, so we've been meeting online since last March and seem set to do that for the foreseeable future, especially as some of our members are older. It also means an ex member who is living in Germany can join us, so that's been nice too. It's worked well, actually. This book was chosen by Margaret. I've mentioned her before as she always chooses books that I would never have picked up by myself but end up loving. I now want everyone I know to read this, and have bought Harrison's other two books too. 

So this book is set in 1933 in Suffolk, and the main character is Edith, who is fourteen and was born just after the end of the Great War. She lives on a farm with her parents, her brother Frank, and two farmhands, John and Doble. Her blind grandfather, who used to own the farm, lives there too. Edith's elder sister Mary is now married and lives a couple of miles away and has a baby, Terrence. Edith's maternal grandparents also live nearby. 

A woman called Constance turns up one day at the farm. She's in the village researching English rural life, and is keen to speak to all the members of the family. She's interested in the old ways, in the folklore and traditions. Edith and she start a friendship and Edith becomes infatuated with her. However, not everyone likes her, and eventually her true colours show through and things errupt. 

Meanwhile, Edith is caught in the place between childhood and adulthood. She's just left school and has been encouraged to become a governess or something, but she doesn't like children, so doesn't want to. Plus, her mother seems to want her to stay at home, something her siblings sort of mock her about. There's a neighbouring farm belonging to the Roses, and sometime the sons, Sid and Alfie, come to help on Edith's farm. Alf Rose sexually assaults Edith quite often, and everyone assumes the two are walking out together. But Edith doesn't like him and tries to avoid him. 

There's also more going on with her father, who drinks a lot. There's a lot of hidden stuff in the book, hidden under the almost genteel veneer of farming. Edith's mental health begins to suffer and she sees things that aren't real. The book sort of runs like a stream for around 3/4 of the way through, and then everything crashes together.

I absolutely loved it. I loved Edith as a main character and wanted her to succeed despite everything piling on top of her. There's a lot of things that I thought, like whether her mother was having an affair with John, that I didn't need to fully understand the outcome of. I loved the writing, I am giving this five out of five and highly recommend it! 

The Darkness Within by Graeme Hampton Blog Tour & Review

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

 



Hi there! I am absolutely thrilled to welcome you today to my blog for my stop in the tour for The Darkness Within by Graeme Hampton. If you haven't been here, please do look around cos I like to read and review crime novels. 

I haven't heard of Hampton before, but when I read the synopsis of the book I was intrigued so jumped at the chance to join this tour. Having read the book, I bought each of the previous ones in the series because I liked the detectives a lot and wanted to see what else they've done. I'll keep a look out for future books too. This book can be read a standalone, though - there's not much looking back over previous cases. 


Matt Denning is our DI, and he's in his thirties and is a graduate who has been fast tracked through the police to his current role. He is married to Sarah, who is an investment banker. He is a DI in the Metropolitan Police. One of his underlings is Molly Fisher, who I think is a DC. The two of them are the main characters, but there are of course other detectives around. Plus there's a lot of friction between Denning and his superiors, which I liked. 

So the story. First of all, a man is found murdered in a grotty flat on a run down estate. It turns out he is an ex copper who was estranged from his family. Then, a man is found badly beaten up outside his house and is identified as mild mannered academic Dr Cairns. It soon becomes clear that the man lying in the bed is not him - so who's posing as Cairns? Are the attack and the murder linked, and how does career criminal made good Alfie Kane factor into this? 

I liked the story a lot, I thought it was compelling and I wanted both Denning and Molly to succeed. I liked the look back into historic cases; it seems like this is something that is often in the news and which some crime writers have started to use in their books. Like I said, I liked this book enough to buy the others; this is a writer I'll be watching!



The Books of 2020 - Round Up

Friday, January 15, 2021

How many books read in 2020?

95. I realised in December that I wasn't going to make 100, which I'd have liked to do, but I'm still pleased with 95, especially given everything that was going on in 2020. I actually had less time to read - if I was in the house, I often used to go downstairs at lunchtime and read for an hour or more then. But Lee is working in our living room now, so I tend to stay upstairs in our attic room all day so that I don't disturb him. That's cute down on my reading time.

I've set my target as 80 books for 2021, we'll see how I go! 

How many were on paper and how many electronic?
I read 50 paperbacks, which is my preferred method of reading books. I read 9 hardbacks - I find them hard to hold in bed, but I do have some beautiful hardbacks so I try to read them. I read 36 eBooks, which were mostly from Netgalley or blog tours. 

Fiction/Non-Fiction ratio?
I don't read a lot of non-fiction, but let's see... 3! I read They Them Their by Eris Young, Gears for Queers by Abi Melton and Lilith Cooper, and Shut Down Strangers (anthology) about Bruce Springsteen. 

Male/Female authors?
I read 17 books by men, which is up on previous years, but I read more crime novels and they tended to be more split 50/50 between men and women. I read a few anthologies which had authors of all genders, and I read two books by people I know to be non binary - They Them Their and Gears for Queers, as mentioned above (Lilith is non binary).  

Most books by a single author?
I read two books by Elly Griffiths and two books by Nell Pattison and I do believe they are the only authors I repeated in the year. 

Favourite book(s) read?
Ones that have stuck with me are With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen, Unicorn by Amrou Al-Kadhi, The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, Dark Matter by Michelle Paver, and Boy Parts by Eliza Clark.  

Least favourite?
I didn't enjoy a couple of the anthologies I read and skipped stuff. 

Oldest book read?
Almost everything I read was written after 2010, except for one book in 2007 and the oldest, which was Queenie by Alice Munro, published in 1998. Wow, that surprises me. 

Newest?
The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths I reckon, which isn't out yet. 

Longest book title?
It must be Gracie Fanshaw & the Mysterious Guest 

Shortest title?
Toffee by Sarah Crossan

How many re-reads?
I reread Mistletoe & Murder by Robin Stevens, which is my favourite of the Detective Society novels. 

Any in translation?
Not to my knowledge. 

How many of this year's books were from the library?
Five. It's usually more, but well, it's not like I was in the library weekly like I would be normally!

The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg

Monday, January 11, 2021


Where did I get it? I bought it off eBay and I now can't remember why. I'm sure I'd seen someone recommend it, and eBay had it cheapest. I have heard of the author before but hadn't read anything by him. 


What's it about? Max and Jordan meet one summer and fall in love. 

Max is on the baseball team, and is only out as gay to his bro friends, Zay-Rod and Betts (plus his parents). The three of them are total bros, always ragging on each other and taking nothing seriously. Max stays out too late one night just before the beginning of the book, so his mum threatens that he has to go and work with her for the summer. But then he happens upon Jordan and his mum on Jordan's dad's food truck, Coq au Vinny, and witnesses Lydia having a total meltdown. But Max can cook, and Lydia ends up giving him a job on the truck. 

Jordan's dad died a few years ago, and since then Lydia has struggled with her gambling addiction and with keeping the family afloat. They owe five thousand dollars in back mortgage, and Jordan hopes that through the food truck he can earn enough to pay it. But, he can't cook. And the first few times he and Max go out, they completely mess up the food. But then he and Max start working together to serve decent food and drinks, and money starts coming in. 

Max fancies Jordan the first time they meet - he thinks Jordan is cute, and delicate looking. They're pretty opposite people but Jordan starts coming out of his shell a bit. Jordan has two friends, whose names I've totally forgotten, whoops, but he's getting a bit sick of being the campy, bitchy friend. The girls are often completely horrible to him, but they do come through in the end.

Most of this book is a sweet, fun, summer romance type, where they do things like stay up all night and make out, but there's also a couple of serious storylines too, both of which I loved. Max's first sexual experience - the night he got in trouble for - was not a positive one, and I loved the way the book dealt with this, with Max's feelings, and the aftermath. Likewise, Jordan's mum is really struggling, and I liked how this was dealt with too.

This was a perfect book for my last book of 2020 as I absolutely loved it. I would definitely read something else by the author. I liked both Max and Jordan and I liked how they grew as people throughout the book, both separately and together. 


What age range is it for? 15+ I think due to mature themes 


Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Yep, of course! I like how Max and Jordan both knew they were gay, and were proud of that, before they got together. 


Are any main characters people of colour? Yes, Max is half Mexican, his mum is from Mexico. 


Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? I'm going to give a trigger warning for stuff around Lydia's gambling addiction 


Is there any sex stuff? Yes, and again a trigger warning for sexual assault. 


Are drugs mentioned or used? No I don't think so 


Is there any talk of death? A little bit around Jordan's dad, but it's not too explicit 


Are there swear words? Not many, if at all 

 

What criticisms do I have? Almost none! I loved it! 


Would I recommend the book? Yep, for sure 


Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I knew I wanted to get to it quickly and I wanted something I could finish before the new year! 

 

What do I think of the cover? It's cute, although it doesn't give much away. 

 

What other books is it like? I felt it was like an m/m version of The Summer of Jordi Perez


How many stars? Five out of five 

 

Where is the book going now? I'll keep it! It's a welcome addition to my LGBTQ+ shelf 

Silent Night by Nell Pattison - Review

Thursday, January 7, 2021

As soon as I'd read The Silent House by Nell Pattison I pre-ordered the next in the series, Silent Night. I had enjoyed the first one so thought I'd give the second a go, too. Having read the second, I've already pre-ordered the third, because I think this one was even better than the first! The writing issues that I found in the first book weren't at all present in the second. It felt like a much better written book which let the story shine. 

The main character in the book is Paige. She grew up as the only hearing person in a Deaf family. Her parents are now dead which only leaves her and her sister, Anna, who is now living with her. Paige works as a sign language interpretor between the police and D/deaf people, and she is now seeing Max, who she met during the course of the last book. 

She gets called by the police to go to Normanby Hall, not too far from her home in Scunthorpe. There, five residential teenagers from a local school for D/deaf pupils have been on a weekend trip. But one of them, Leon, is missing, and the headteacher, Steve, is found murdered on the grounds. It looks very much like Leon did it and then scarpered, but his friends aren't sure that can have happened. They're keeping secrets, as are each of the teachers in the school. 

Then, it turns out that Paige's abusive ex boyfriend, Mike, also works at the school. He's determined to speak to Paige, but Paige definitely wants to avoid him and isn't thrilled about talking to him. The story of what happened with him comes out over the book, which I found compelling and a good look into her character and past. 

I generally felt like this book flowed a lot better and was really good; I'd recommend it! I would have liked a little bit more of DI Singh, because I love the sexual tension between him and Paige, but I'm just being picky! 



The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths - Review

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Happy New Year! I'm writing this review in the middle of December, but I'll do a round up of my 2020 books in the next few posts. I'm so glad to see the back of 2020, as I'm sure many people are. 

Anyway, you know I'm a huge fan of Elly Griffiths, having read all her books and having even met her a couple of years ago! I love it when a new Ruth Galloway book is on its way. I requested this one on Netgalley, so thank you very much to Quercus Books for granting me access. 

So, it's 2019 and Ruth is back in Norfolk with Kate and Flint in the tiny cottage on the coast. She is now head of archaeology at the university, and has hired a man called David Brown to take her place as a lecturer. I feel like Ruth is in a really good place in this book. She's still in love with Nelson - she even thinks of him as the love of her life quite far on in the book - but she's accepted he's still with Michelle and seems pretty happy with herself mostly. Kate is in her last year of junior school; I liked the bits with Kate a lot. 

So, first of all a body washes up on the shore near Sheringham. At first the police think he may be a refugee that has died, but it turns out he's a local. Then a local police officer dies, seemingly at random. And then two people are found dead in their remote farmhouse. They are Dr Douglas Noakes and his wife, Linda. At first, it looks like a murder suicide - it looks like Douglas killed Linda and then himself. But the gun is in his right hand, and Dr Noakes was left handed. 

The Noakes' children, Chloe and Paul, are somewhat undisturbed by their parents' deaths. They speak of abuse in their children and how they both hated the farm. There are rumours of a devil black dog who roams the area, the Black Shuck. There is also possibly a body in the garden of the farmhouse, so Ruth and her colleague Ted are called in to investigate. 

She also ends up excavating the Bronze Age body of a man, possibly a priest. Someone else ends up dead - I really felt the body count in this book was high! - and the police are convinced that all the modern deaths are related. 

There's enough of Ruth living her life, which I love to read. Her relationship with her new colleague David is a little fractious, and I did not trust him one bit. There's not a lot of Nelson's personal life, but enough. I loved the ending in this way. I enjoyed the bits with Cathbad too, he is so weird but lovely. If anything I just wanted more from the book, I wanted to see why things had happened and what had happened in the past. It could have been twice as long and then maybe I'd have declared it perfect!

As it is, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked the local folklore aspects, as usual, and I liked the genuinely scary parts towards the end. I do still wonder how/if/when Elly will finish this series, but I'm excited to see where she goes next... 



 

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