So here we are again. Monday. I’m working another short week (yippee) and catching up on some reading and reviewing (as you do). I’ve sacrificed one of my short weeks (I’ll have to work a full five days) but it’s all in a good cause and I’m going to be doing something which will make it so worth it, so I don’t really mind.
Busy old fortnight really. I’ve just finished my Bookouture feature fortnight which was brilliant but crazy when you realise just how many books I have read and the simple fact that they are only the tip of a very large and very fast moving iceberg. I’m already thinking ahead my next Bookouture blog tour and have two new books by their authors on pre-order for 2017, knowing that several other of my favourite authors are working hard and fast on their next releases. Crazy…
I’ve also just come back from a fab weekend in London. On Saturday I managed to catch up with one or two Bookconnectors members at Canal 125. It was really nice to meet some new faces including fellow blogger, Steven Smith and writer Lisbeth Foye. Now Lisbeth suffers the same quirk that I think all of us introverts do – feeling completely out of our depth when it comes to self promotion. I know how she feels. I still wonder why (if) people read my blog amongst all the others more polished, more professional and more organised looking blogs out there. But then I guess that if you have a passion for something, and people feel that in what you write, be it a blog or a book, then that makes people want to read on. Or, in the case of my blog, it’s probably an auto-retweet action without much reading involved. Whatever works :).
On Saturday evening, I went to see Dream Girls at the Savoy Theatre. What an incredible show. The absolute power and emotional range of Amber Riley is amazing. I’ve never watched Glee, had no idea about her other than what I saw on Graham Norton the other weekl, but by God, that girl can sing. 4 standing ovations and every single one so deserved. And it’s only the first week of previews right now. It doesn’t officially open until 14th December. If you can get a ticket then go. I’ve already booked my return with my sister. We love, love, loved it.
Mid week last week my blog turned 6 months old. Yes. Believe it or not, I’ve only been around for 6 months. (I’m sure it feels longer and I apologise for that. I can assure you that it only gets worse the longer you know me.) I think I’m finally finding my way.voice (whatever) when it comes to blogging and a little bit of me, unabridged and unfiltered is starting to creep into my posts. (Sorry about that too. Can’t guarantee that won’t get worse…) Towards the end of the week, I hit an unbleievable 1000+ on my blog posts and now have over 1800 followers which, for a relatively young for which I have no regular plan, theme, publishing schedule (or basic clue what I am doing), I will absolutely take. Can’t help thinking I have my membership of the BookConnectors Facebook group and my features on a highly popular publisher to thank for most of it. 🙂
But, in amongst all of that, I did actually manage to get in some reading. Quite a bit actually. Although work has slowed a bit, I’m still pretty busy. I have to find new property in Dublin which is a little harder as it’s not like I can just get up in the mornign and go for a drive about. It’s also staff appraisal time. And aren’t we all excited about that one? :D. Seriously though, I do actually enjoy giving appraisals, even if I hate going to my own. It’s a great time to sit down with my team and thank them for their hard work, see how I can support them in the months ahead and to set out all out plans for next year. Some exciting plans for 2017 and I can’t wait to start working on them with my team. We are going to ace it.
So. Amongst all of that (and the Bookouture posts – they take longer to prep than you realise), I posted blog tour reviews for ‘Love You To Death‘ by Caroline Mitchell and ‘While You Were Sleeping‘ by Kathryn Croft, and a new review for ‘Miss Wrong and Mr Right‘ by Robert Bryndza. But what did I actually read? Well here goes …
Books I have read.
Yes. I finally finished it. Actually, that makes it sound like a chore and it absolutely wasn’t but real life kept getting in the way. My review for ‘Black Widow‘ will be on the blog tomorrow, but I really did enjoy this book. This (and don’t shoot me when I say it) was actually my very first Jack Parlabane book, and perhaps for that reason it took a little longer to get into because I have to get used tot he style of writing and navigate my way around who and what, Jack Parlabane actually was before seeing how and why he fit into the story. It is the story of Diana Jager, a successful surgeon nicknamed Blade Bitch due to an unfortunate incident at a previous hospital. When her husband goes missing, suspected dead, Diana becomes the prime suspect in his disappearance. But is she guilty? This is a far from straightforward case for anyone, Parlabane or the police, and Diana’s reputation certainly confuses matters somewhat. It is certainly a very twisted and somewhat surprising tale and I’ve developed enough of a taste for Parlabane to want to go back and read the preceding stories.
Oh. My. God. What to say other than you really must read this book. ‘Deep Down Dead‘ by Steph Broadribb is such a brilliantly written, character and plot driven story, that I can’t believe this is a debut. This is the story of Lori, a Bounty Hunter sent to collect a bail jumper on behalf of her employer. The only problem is that his particular target is someone she knows well – the man how trained her. J.T. But what should be a straight forward pick-up and return goes horribly wrong, putting Lori and her daughter, Dakota, in terrible danger. The ensuing action which takes Lori, J.T. and Dakota from state to state is about more than a bounty. The information J.T. has, that he is being hunted for, has the ability to bring down a very powerful man and stop years of injustice. But at what cost? Fast paced, both humorous and dark at times and with an incredible dynamic between Lori and J.T. this is a superb book. My review will be published later in December as part of a feature week but you could do much worse than to bag yourself a kindle copy right now.
When you read a lot of death and destruction, then sometimes you just need something completely different. ‘The Christmas Cake Cafe‘ was exactly the tonic I needed. Dumped by her boyfriend the previous Christmas, Jen Barker is in need of an escape. Convinced her biological clock is on the verge or a catastrophic breakdown, she agrees to take a career break from working in the Library and go to Switzerland with her younger half sister, JOdy. She has no plans other than to enjoy the snow and to try and reconnect with Christmas in a more traditional feeling space. What she doesn’t expect is to meet Jon. Through a series of comical meetings, a few accidents, and a lot of misunderstandings, Jen finds that Switzerland has far more to offer than she first expected. This book is full of laughs, romance, outrageous characters and enough feel-good moments to warm anyone’s cockles. A great book for sitting with a warm cocoa and a slice of gooey cake next to a warm fire, this really made me smile.
Oh. My second Orenda book of the fortnight and this one really was a beautiful read. ‘The Mountain in My Shoe‘ is the story of Bernadette, a woman trapped in a loveless marriage who is on the verge of leaving her husband. But when her husband, Richard, fails to arrive home from work that night, thwarting her plans, she has no idea where he might be. A stickler for routine and order, he is never, ever late. Any concerns she may have for him are gone the moment she receives a call from a friend telling her that the boy she has met through a foster child support network has also gone missing. Because Conor means more to Bernadette than Richard ever has, and finding him is the most important thing in her life. This story takes place over only one night and yet you feel as though you have spent a lifetime with the two characters, Bernadette and Conor. The story is told from three points of view and between them they tell Conor’s story from birth, and the story or Bernadette, from the day she met ‘the wrong Richard’. This book is very moving and so beautifully written, combining a variety of very different voices to recount the tragically turbulent history of a ten-year old boy. Again, my review will be posted later in December, but I truly loved this book.
Yes. I know. This is a Bookouture book. But only if you’re in America (which I’m not). I didn’t quite finish the three books in time to include in my feature fortnight but I have read books 1 & 2 and am approaching half way through book 3 so hope to have all reviews up soon. ‘The Killer Inside‘ (also publsihed as Locked In) was quite the story. A locked room mystery of sorts with no end of people who could have, but ultimately couldn’t have been the killer. The reasons for the deaths are tragic and slightly harrowing in truth, the perpetrator somewhat surprising. Jessica Daniel is a very interesting heroine and I’ve been intrigued by her character. It’s not a series I have followed before, but I’ll certainly be looking up more of these books.
‘Vigilante‘ is book 2 of the Jessica Daniel series and another surprising story. Someone is murdering ex-cons in a quite brutal manner. There is no clear link between the victims other than they have all served time in one particular prison. They didn’t appear to mix in the same circles when inside and yet there is some more puzzling and intriguing evidence on the bodies which draws the links back to the prison even more surely. Except this evidence is impossible. It can’t be anything other than a planted red herring… can it? Everything has changed for Jessica since book 1 and with her personal life in flux, when a good friend gets caught up in the killer’s latest attempt, she becomes distracted and focused on the one person she believes has the most reason to commit the killings. She is determined and not afraid to work outside the law, no matter what the consequences and it could cost her everything.
‘Cristina‘ is a book I received after an approach through Book Connectors. It’s been sitting on my kindle for a while as I tried to find the right time to read it and all I can say is that I wish I’d started it sooner. This is the story of Cristina, a Latino single mother who moves to a beautiful seaside California town with her daughter, Anise. She is escaping a violent and turbulent past and thinks she has found the perfect place in Pleasure Point. But the house she has bought has an equally violent past, and Cristina is soon haunted by the past and in terror of the present as a very real threat poses a risk to her daughter’s life. This is a very tense and occasionally haunting story. The souls of the previous occupants still linger in the house, trying to warn Cristina of the danger she is in. With a touch of misdirection this book will surprise and possibly unnerve you, but it did make me want to read on. Cristina has suffered a terrible past, making you want to root for her all the more in the present. My review will be up later this week.
Books I am about to read
The Woman In Black by Kerry Wilkinson
The Exiled by Kati Hiekkapelto
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
I am actually part way through The Woman in Black and Small, Great Things but hope to finish both this week.
I have a blog tour and new review coming up next week, so I’ll see how much more I can pack in in the meantime.
Happy reading all