Topics I can’t resist when choosing a book

I borrowed the idea for this post from fellow bookbloggers, Annie The Misstery, and Renee It’s Book Talk

Today I want to tell you about certain themes/topics that I simply can’t resist when reading a blurb, and also those which make me stay away from certain books.

I CAN’T RESIST…

Family secrets – They say every family has a skeleton or two. I love finding out about the skeletons, especially when the secret has been concealed for a generation or so… I love this type of novel. Kate Morton’s “The Lake House” and Lisa Jewell’s “I found you” are prime examples.

Remote and isolated settings – Novels set in remote locales, especially islands, have always appealed to me.  It started with my love of “Jane Eyre” as an adolescent. Those bleak Yorkshire moors, miles from anywhere…. Now I seem to really enjoy this remoteness still.  For instance, “The Blackhouse” by Peter May was set on an island and is one of my favorites. “A pocketful of names” by Joe Coomer is also set on an island.

Village/Small Town stories
I love a good novel set in a small village or town. A place where everyone seems to know everyone else.  I love the dynamic of village life, perhaps because I’ve never experienced it myself. And… if it is a village in the United Kingdom it is even more appealing. “Rainy day sisters” by Kate Hewitt is a good example.

 

Police Procedurals with flawed cops that have baggage, but have a strong moral compass
Procedurals have been my weakness for a long time.  Many of my favorite series are police procedurals.  British policemen are my favorite. I have only to read the words “Detective Inspector” to want to investigate the book further.

 

Eccentrics and people who are a little ‘odd’ or are misunderstood
I can’t help it, I’ve always loved people who are just a little bit out of the ordinary.
Fredrik Backman’s “A man called Ove” and Gail Honeyman’s “Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine” are great examples.

 

 

 

Family Sagas – Reading about the multi-generational story of a family holds great appeal for me.  Probably because my own family is very small (I’m an only child).  Some of my favorite family sagas are “Of sea and seed” by Annie Daylon; “Miller’s Valley” by Ann Quindlen; “The shell seekers” by Rosamunde Pilcher; “The forgotten garden” by Kate Morton; “Black Rabbit Hall” by Eve Chase. These are just a few of the many I have enjoyed.

New Beginnings – Books that feature characters who are ‘starting over’ have always held an allure for me.  You know, those where someone has inherited a house in an unfamiliar locale… those who have had a traumatic experience and move house to start over…

 

Old house with a secret – From the time in my younger years when I couldn’t get enough gothic fiction, this theme continues to attract me.  If houses could talk…

 

 

Betrayals – Once trust has been broken, it is so very difficult, if not impossible, to repair.  This is a subject I find endlessly fascinating.

 

 

Time Travel – My love affair with time travel novels started with Marlys Millhiser’s “The mirror” and was reinforced by Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series.

 

 

Immigrant Stories – the trials and tribulations of immigrants have long been a favorite theme of mine. I attribute this to the fact that my mother was a British war bride.

 


I WILL STAY AWAY FROM…

Cults
I’ve read a few novels featuring this subject and I’ve found them distressing and disturbing – not is a good way.

Dystopian futures
Life is bleak enough without reading of an imagined dystopia.  The only exception I can think of that I read and enjoyed was P.D. James’ “The children of men”.

Vampire, Shapeshifters, Dragons, Gargoyles, etc.
I dislike fantasy on the whole. I prefer more realistic storylines that are at least semi-believable…

Spaceships and aliens
Science fiction does not generally appeal to me at all.  I just can’t explain it…

Terrorism
This is not something I want to read about, and that was even before 911, and recent events in Paris, London, Manchester, and most recently Las Vegas & New York. The nightly news is distressing enough without reading about it too.

Zombies
Just not believable, and frankly I think they are ridiculous.

Demons
Again, there is enough evil in the world.

USED TO LOVE, BUT NOT SO MUCH ANYMORE…

Serial killers – I guess I’ve just overindulged on serial killers. There are just SO many of these titles floating about…  some are on my TBR at the moment.  I just don’t actively search them out anymore.

War stories – Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good historical set during the war years, it is just the novels that feature battle scenes that I’ve had too much of.


I would love to hear of your favorite (and perhaps least favorite) book topics. Please share in the comments.

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Choosing what to read next, ramblings & miscellanea | Tagged | 37 Comments

Talking about “A Writer’s Path Writers Club”

Hello everyone! A fellow blogger of A Writer’s Path, Ryan Lanz, has announced the launch of his new initiative: A Writer’s Path Writers Club.

After looking at the writing market for years, he noticed a need for a Writers Club of this kind. Sure, there are Facebook groups, writers groups, etc., but there aren’t many associations that are more than just a gathering of writers.

He wanted to create a club where the sole purpose of it is to solve headaches for writers. Here are some of the headaches he’s looking to solve:

  • It’s hard to find reviewers for my book
  • Writing-related service providers (editors, book cover designers, etc.) are expensive
  • I don’t know if my writing is good enough and I need feedback
  • I need more promotion for my book
  • I don’t know if my blurb or summary is good enough
  • Not enough readers know my book exists
  • I don’t know enough about what other successful authors have done to be successful
  • I don’t know if my book cover encourages readers to purchase it

And of course, there are fun stuff to be had too, such as giveaways and contests. Here’s the full list of benefits for the Writers Club:

      • Discounts from writer-related service providers, such as editors, book cover designers, proofreading services, ghostwriters, social media marketing, book advertising, template design, audio book narration, and more.
      • Contests and giveaways for free services and books.
      • free book promotion posts on A Writer’s Path blog every year(example here). Every post generates a social media shout-out of your book to my Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Tumblr, and Google+ account (total of 12,900 followers). he’ll set reminders for himself to notify you when your next post is ready.
      • Exclusive articles not seen on the A Writer’s Path blog.
      • Access to free blurb coaching.
      • Book of the Month” lottery. Winner gets their book featured for a month on A Writer’s Path blog in a tab along the top of every page/post. Also included is a promotional post featuring their book, summary, cover, and purchase links to all 25,000+ subscribers. One drawing per month.
      • Help to find you reviewers and critique partners (optional).
      • A free copy of his eBook, The Idea Factory: 1,000 Story Ideas & Writing Prompts to Find Your Next Bestseller. ($2.99 value)
      • Free critique of your book summaries and book covers (optional).
      • Insider tips from published authors in short, bite-sized articles.
      • Links to free books normally at full price.
      • Opportunities to show off your book to the other members.
      • Exclusive author interviews.

 

Feel free to check out A Writer’s Path Writers Club here.

Posted in Guest post, Reblogged, Writing | Tagged | 5 Comments

Cover Love: part 41 – Empty shoes

The covers of novels entice the reader to enter a different world. Covers are, after all, the way the publisher hooks the reader into choosing one book over countless others.

In my forty-first installment of ‘Cover Love‘, I’d like to show you books that feature empty shoes on their covers.

A good idea for a cover that suits many different genres of fiction.  A discarded empty shoe can be ominous – with something tragic having befell the owner, or it can be comfortable, when the owner just came home from a long day’s work etc.I was surprised by just how many of the following were red pumps!


Some of the following books I’ve already read, some are on my ‘to read’ list,
and some I chose only for their covers.

Some, perhaps, will now be on your TBR!

Just click on the cover to read the book’s synopsis from  Goodreads.

You might just find your next favorite book!

 Are you tempted by any of these covers?

If you have a few minutes visit any of the previous installments of

Cover Love – some of which I’ve updated recently

Posted in Cover Love series, Dustjackets | Tagged | 15 Comments

“Christmas in Killarney” by S. Furlong-Bolliger

A short, short story that will leave you gob-smacked!

It is almost Christmas in Hackensack, New Jersey. Maureen’s life is on a downward spiral…  Her husband, Bob has lost his job due to ‘downsizing’ and he now sits around their flat in his underwear, watching daytime television.  He blames his boss, Arnie Schlottenstein for his present circumstances. To make ends meet, she works as a chambermaid for a local hotel.

When she arrives at the hotel for her daily shift, the loudspeaker is playing Bing Crosby’s “Christmas in Killarney”. It is a catchy tune, and she finds that it repeats over and over in her mind – an ‘earworm’.  Only instead of Killarney, she thinks ‘Kill Arnie’, cursing her husband’s ex-boss with every repetition. As far as she is concerned Arnie has ruined her marriage and her life. Maureen’s menial job has literally driven her to drink. She carries a water-bottle around with her all day at work – constantly sipping at the vodka it contains.

Well…. you thought Maureen’s life was on a downward spiral before.  Wait until you read this short story and find out what happens after Maureen receives a phone call from Bob!

A short, short Christmas themed crime thriller. Just a few pages, but it packed a big punch!  Great!

This Kindle short is priced at only .44¢ in the United States and .55¢ in Canada, it is great value for money! (Here is the link for Amazon.uk – sorry the price doesn’t display for me in Canada)

Susan Furlong-Bolliger the author of the Georgia Peach Mystery series and the forthcoming dark suspense novel, SPLINTERED SILENCE, the first book of Bone Gap Travellers Mysteries. She also contributes to the New York Times bestselling Novel Idea Mysteries under the pen name Lucy Arlington. Susan has worked as a freelance writer, academic writer, ghost writer, translator, high-school language arts teacher, and martial arts instructor. Raised in North Dakota, she graduated from Montana State University with a double major in French and Spanish. She and her family live in central Illinois.

Posted in Book Reviews, Christmas, Short stories | Tagged | 2 Comments

“Six stories” by Matt Wesolowski

After reading myriad glowing reviews of this novel throughout the year, I had high expectations. I was not disappointed. An outstanding debut thriller that incorporates a cold case murder and folk legends in the rather unique format of a modern day podcast.

Back in 1996, Tom Jeffries, just fifteen years of age, went missing on Northumberland’s atmospheric Scarclaw Fell.  He was one of five teenagers who were attending an outdoor adventure trip to Scarclaw Fell Woodlands Centre.

Scott King runs a series of podcasts which investigate cold cases. His latest investigation examines the Scarclaw Fell tragedy of 1996. He intends to interview six different people who were a part of the tragedy back then, hoping to glean some insight into the tragedy by seeing the events that took place via six different perspectives – or Six Stories.

Harry Saint Clement-Ramsay, the son of the man who owns the land that encompasses Scarclaw Fell, and who found Tom Jeffries body a year after he went missing. After an inquest, the death of Tom Jeffries was deemed misadventure, with no signs of foul-play.

Derek Bickers, outdoorsman and leader of the Rangers group of children and adolescents who frequently visited the Scarclaw Fell Woodlands Centre. He was the adult in charge of the youth the weekend that Tom Jeffries went missing. For a while he was a suspect in the case.

“Even in daylight, there’s darkness on Scarclaw”.

Northumberland woodland

The teenagers at Scarclaw that night had all been drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis. In addition to this rebellious conduct, they told each other sinister stories of mythic entities that were said to inhabit Scarclaw Fell. Stories that perhaps were instigated by the locals to frighten their children so they would stay away from the Fell and the many dangerous, disused mines it contained. The most popular story they told to frighten each other was the story of Nanna Wrack. A marsh hag that was thought to feed off bodies in the marshy land of Scarclaw Fell. Then there is the story of the Belkeld Beast. (Belkeld being the name of the village closest to Scarclaw).

“Mother, is that father’s form at the door?
It’s taller and longer than ever before,
His face is all white, coat black like a loon,
His teeth glow like blades in the light of the moon.”

They all maintained that they were asleep when Tom Jeffries disappeared.

“Kids are like packs of wild animals. And the pack has certain characters. There are leaders, voices of reason, the brains, the brawn, the wild card, the outsider…the victim.”

Charlie Armstrong, the alpha of the small band of teenage friends. Also fifteen years of age, but a rebel who smoked and drank, dressed differently, and, like most teenagers his age, was full of confusion and anger.

Eva Bickers, (the fifteen year-old daughter of Derek Bickers) was sort of second-in-command to Charlie, who was a life-long friend of hers.

Anyu Kekkonen, the strategist, the brains. A quiet enigma. Brian Mings is devoted to her. Eva is her best-friend.

“Like water-torture, or death by a thousand cuts. ‘Professional bullies crush your soul a sliver at a time.”

Brian Mings, a follower, a victim of bullying, a boy desperate for approval and acceptance by his peers. His parents had separated due to his father’s alcoholism and PTSD. Brian was an only child, lonely at home and shunned by his peers.

Tom Jeffries, the murder victim, a rough and tumble youth who joined the Rangers later than the others. He had a reputation for delinquency, and was seen as controlling and manipulative. When Tom joined the group, he quickly became Charlie’s ‘right-hand man’. The two boys ‘wound each other up‘.

And then there is Haris Novak. What we would now term a ‘vulnerable adult’, Haris was autistic, a reclusive loner and nature enthusiast. He showed the teens his ‘secret place’, an old disused mine entrance, where he liked to go to watch the bats. He was deemed the prime suspect in the case of the death of Tom Jeffries – though many thought he was just an easy scapegoat. Haris was manipulated and preyed upon by the teenagers.

As you read, you learn the dynamic of the group. What they thought of each other, who was sleeping with who. How the power shifted over time… My only quibble with the novel is that I felt no real sympathy for Tom, the murder victim.

As the story is told from six different viewpoints, I was reminded how memory is selective. How different people’s perceptions can be of the same event. This novel cleverly used this premise, and with a delicious twist at the end, the reader comes to understand what did happen that tragic night in 1996. This is a dark and creepy murder mystery. Highly recommended!

I was given a complimentary copy of this novel from Orenda Books via NetGalley in exchange for my review consideration.


Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor and leads Cuckoo Young Writers creative writing workshops for young people in association with New Writing North. Matt started his writing career in horror and his short horror fiction has been published in Ethereal Tales magazine, Midnight Movie Creature Feature anthology, 22 More Quick Shivers anthology and many more. His debut novella The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013 and a new novella set in the forests of Sweden will be available shortly. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. He is currently working on his second crime novel Ashes, which involves black metal and Icelandic sorcery.

Posted in Book Reviews, Mystery fiction, NetGalley, Page turners | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Miserly Monday #4 (Fictionophile’s #Kindle book bargains)

 

Another three bargain Kindle purchases this week.

These books might vary in price from Amazon.ca to Amazon.com to Amazon.co.uk but they are all still BARGAINS!  Probably about what you would pay for a cup of coffee.

NOTE: The price tags reflect the price I paid on Amazon.ca – the links are to Amazon.com as most of my blog followers seem to be from the United States.

Click on the price tag

to go to the Amazon.com link for the book.

Clicking on the book’s cover will take you to Goodreads.

Note: I do NOT receive any remuneration from Amazon.  These are just Kindle deals that I have found and want to share with my fellow book lovers. I am quoting the price I paid – the price might have changed by the time you read this post.

So, here goes my fourth Miserly Monday…


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb:    Ten years ago, four people were brutally murdered. One girl lived.

No one believes her story.
The police think she’s crazy.
Her therapist thinks she’s suicidal.
Everyone else thinks she’s a dangerous drunk.
They’re all right—but did she see the killer?

As the anniversary of the murders approaches, Faith Winters is released from the psychiatric hospital and yanked back to the last spot on earth she wants to be—her hometown where the slayings took place. Wracked by the lingering echoes of survivor’s guilt, Faith spirals into a black hole of alcoholism and wanton self-destruction. Finding no solace at the bottom of a bottle, Faith decides to track down her sister’s killer—and then discovers that she’s the one being hunted.

How can one woman uncover the truth when everyone’s a suspect—including herself?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb:

Former homicide detective Nicole Foster has hit rock bottom. Driven off the force by her treacherous partner and lover, she’s flat broke and struggling with a gambling addiction. All Nicole has left is the dream of a warm bed at a homeless shelter and the haunting memories of three-year-old Kelsey Chase—whose murder case ended her career.

As Nicole obsesses over the old facts, she realizes everything about that case felt off: a disinterested mom, a suicidal pedophile, and too many questions left unanswered. When the little girl’s grieving father begs Nicole for help, she’s drawn back into the investigation…and given one shot at redemption.

But the deeper Nicole digs, the more evil she uncovers, including betrayals that hit painfully close to home. Will a shocking discovery be the key to finally getting justice for Kelsey and resurrecting her own life?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: 

Six years ago, a dreadful tragedy overturned Hannah Walker’s life. Now her fragile existence is threatened by a macabre discovery. The truth will come out – but is it one that Hannah can bear to confront?
Three people are drawn together by a crime, three lives are torn apart by the chilling consequences. Secrets cannot stay buried for ever… 


Have YOU found a great Kindle bargain this week? If so, please share in the comments.

Posted in Miserly Monday | Tagged | 4 Comments

Blogger vs. Reader – Books I REALLY want to read!


The above 10 novels are the books that I want to read right now!

They are calling my name and their voices are very LOUD!

The problem you ask?

Well… NONE of these are on my ‘for review’ TBR – which means that I have about 145 books to read BEFORE these lovely titles.

Also, although I own seven of them, two of these titles are not even available in Canada on Kindle! The one that is available, and that I don’t own, is on my Amazon wishlist as it was a bit pricey.

  1. The burning” by Jane Casey
  2.  “Anything you do say” by Gillian McAllister
  3. The house of birds” by Morgan McCarthy
  4. The house of spines” by Michael J. Malone
  5. Rubbernecker” by Belinda Bauer
  6. The trouble with goats and sheep” by Joanna Cannon
  7. The dry” by Jane Harper
  8. The mountain in my shoe” by Louise Beech
  9. The child finder” by Rene Denfeld
  10. Her dark retreat” by J.A. Baker

Only a bookworm/bookblogger could possibly understand my quandary. I know of one friend of mine that would say just leave the ‘for review’ books and read what is calling your heart. (but then, she is not a bookblogger)


A fellow book blogger summed it up nicely in this post:

Have YOU read any of the ten titles on my list?

How do YOU balance the tightrope that spans the divide between BLOGGER and READER?

Posted in Book bloggers, Choosing what to read next, ramblings & miscellanea, Reading | Tagged , , | 41 Comments

Throwback Thursday (an old favorite recommended)

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favorites.

This week I’ve chosen “The boy who shoots crows” by Randall Silvis for my Throwback Thursday post. It was first published in January of 2011 and was, for me, a 5* read.


First reviewed on Fictionophile May 16, 2012

 

The protagonist in “The boy who shoots crows” is an artist who has moved from the city to rural Pennsylvania to recover from a failed marriage. She has the idea that the idyllic peaceful setting will cure her soul and prove as an inspiration to her art. The description in the novel is told as seen through the eye of an artist using a lot of imagery which enables the reader to vividly imagine the action and setting.

The renovated farmhouse where Charlotte Dunleavy has taken up residence adjoins a wooded area. The novel opens with a police officer knocking on Charlotte’s door early one early spring morning to ask her if she had seen a young boy from the area who has been reported missing. The boy has been seen many times by Charlotte as he goes to the wood to shoot crows on a regular basis. However, this time she tells the officer that she has not seen him. She does say that she saw an older boy, Dylan, spreading lime on the fields and that he left his tractor to enter the woods that day… The police officer, Marcus Gatesman, is a widower who is immediately attracted to the lovely Charlotte. He sees her vulnerability and her fragility and feels the need to protect her from life’s dark side. And he has seen the dark side. Many years of police work coupled with the loss of his beloved wife and infant daughter in a car accident, ensure that he is well versed in the fact that bad things sometimes do happen to good people. He is a likable chap who occasionally waxes philosophical on life, fate, and chance. The author, Randall Silvisdescribes Gatesman as being “softened by life’s hardness” which describes him perfectly. Charlotte on the other hand is so wounded by her ex-husband that she is unable to let herself feel anything for Marcus. Although this sounds like your stereotypical romance novel, nothing could be further from the truth.

Jesse, the missing boy, is the only child of a poor family who live in a small mobile home just down the road from Charlotte’s farmhouse. His long-suffering mother, Livvie Rankin works hard to give Jesse the basic necessities. His father drinks to excess, gambles and shows neither his wife nor his son any love or affection.
Dylan, the teenager who Charlotte inadvertently puts in a difficult position maintains his innocence. Suspicion has been established however, and the local community make Dylan’s life a misery. He is severely beaten and hospitalized. This even after Charlotte recants her earlier tale, pleading that she was suffering from a debilitating migraine that day and couldn’t really rely on her senses. In fact Charlotte is so emotionally fragile that she seems to doubt her own perceptions causing the reader to question what is true? What is not?

As the story progresses and the search for the missing Jesse remains unfruitful, Charlotte seems to deteriorate into melancholia. She doesn’t take care of herself, she has lost all interest in her art, and her despair is almost palpable. She blames herself for casting Dylan in a guilty light.

The boy who shoots crows” is unlike previous thrillers I have read where you turn pages wondering if what you deduct might be true. It is an astounding literary psychological thriller where I found myself turning pages feverishly hoping that what I was afraid of wasn’t true… The ending of the novel is one that will remain with me for years to come. Highly recommended!

I borrowed “The boy who shoots crows” from my local public library.

Randall Silvis was born in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. He is a novelist, a playwright, a screenwriter, and a teacher. He has been published and produced in virtually every field and genre of creative writing. His numerous essays, articles, poems and short stories have appeared in several magazines, both in print and online. His work has been translated into ten languages.

Silvis’s many literary awards include two writing fellowships from the National
Endowment for the Arts, the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award, six fellowships for his fiction, drama, and screenwriting from the Pennsylvania Council On the Arts, and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree awarded for “distinguished literary achievement.”

Posted in Favorite books, Psychological thrillers, Throwback Thursday | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

“The doll funeral” by Kate Hamer

A well-written, though at times bleak novel, about a thirteen year-old girl who can ‘see‘ the dead. She sees many dead people, but the most constant presence is that of ‘Shadow’, a young boy who has made himself known to her throughout her life.

Ruby lives in The Forest of Dean with her parents Barbara and Mick. Her life is traumatic. Mick is a vicious and violent abuser who thinks nothing of slamming Ruby up against a wall, or making a meal of her face with his fists. Barbara seems to love her, but will not stand up to Mick’s violence.  Ruby misses a lot of school due to her injuries. Mick is the school caretaker and doesn’t want her to show up bruised at his place of work.

On her thirteenth birthday, Barbara and Mick tell Ruby that she is adopted.  Rather than being upset by this revelation, she is ecstatic.  It explains so much.  What a relief! She now devotes herself to finding her ‘real‘ parents.

Ruby has a large red birthmark on one side of her face. She is ostracized at school, partly because she is ‘different’ and partly because of her home situation.  One day, when fear of Mick’s violence overcomes her, Ruby bashes him in the head with a plank.  Thinking that she has killed him, she runs away to her beloved forest. She spends the night in a hollowed out tree. Upon her return to the house, she is packed off to live with Mick’s sister in Coventry – away from the forest.  With some guidance from ‘Shadow’, Ruby runs away again – this time to the home of Tom, a fifteen year-old boy she met near her school.

“We are what our families have made us. But sometimes you can escape that.”

As Ruby passes under the arch with the ‘Green Man‘, she enters Hilltops, a large house where the squalor makes the living conditions much worse than the place she left.  Tom, his older sister Elizabeth, and his younger brother, Crispin live alone in a large house, which was once a commune. Their neglectful, ‘hippie’ parents have absconded for pastures new. Now the adolescent children run wild, in increasingly desperate conditions. Malnourished and cold, they resort to killing wildlife for sustenance.

“We’re just sad stinking children, I thought. Lost and alone”.

The story shifts point of view from Ruby in 1983 back to Ruby’s birthmother Anna in 1970. Anna got pregnant at eighteen. She was unmarried, a difficult position for a young girl in 1970. She eventually marries Ruby’s criminal father Lewis, but soon after the marriage she suffers from a psychotic episode that the psychiatrists label as postpartum psychosis.

“Family has been one long disappointment”.

I love the way that Kate Hamer writes. Her sentences flow easily and she has a way of capturing emotions and scenes that resonate with the reader.  That being said, there were times while reading this novel that I thought I was having a psychotic break.  Fanciful by turns, I wasn’t sure at times what was real and what was purely in Anna’s or Ruby’s imagination. The classic novel “Alice in Wonderland” was mentioned several times in the book, and there were times that I felt as though I had fallen down a magical rabbit hole while reading it.

I purchased the prequel novella “The world of Shadow” and read it prior to reading “The doll funeral“. The novella introduces the reader to ‘Shadow’, the little dead boy that accompanies Ruby through her life.  I was thinking it would help me get a better grip on the book, but now I wish I had read it after the book…

I’m on the fence about recommending this novel.  It does contain beautiful prose and has an atmospheric setting. The story is at once heart-breaking and fantastical. I read the author’s “Girl in the red coat” previous to this and I enjoyed that book more than this one. Although I went with it at first, I think the supernatural aspect of the story just got to be too much for me.  Themes of parental neglect, betrayal, and of course – the spirits of dead family abound. Recommended with some reservations…

The publisher Faber & Faber granted my wish to read this novel via NetGalley. I was only to happy to provide my unbiased review.

Kate Hamer grew up in the West Country and Wales. She studied art and worked for a number of years in television and radio. In 2011 she won the Rhys Davies Short Story Prize and her short stories have appeared in many collections. Her novel THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT was published in the UK by Faber & Faber, in the US by Melville House and has been translated into 17 different languages. It was shortlisted for The Costa First Novel Prize, the British Book Industry Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year, The John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger and the Wales Book of the Year. It was a Sunday Times bestseller. Her new novel THE DOLL FUNERAL has been a Radio4 Open Book editor’s pick and a Bookseller Book of the Month.

Posted in Book Reviews, ghost stories, NetGalley | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Miserly Monday #3 (Fictionophile’s #Kindle book bargains)

Only four bargain Kindle purchases this week.

These books might vary in price from Amazon.ca to Amazon.com to Amazon.co.uk but they are all still BARGAINS!  Probably about what you would pay for a cup of coffee.

NOTE: The price tags reflect the price I paid on Amazon.ca – the links are to Amazon.com as most of my blog followers seem to be from the United States.

Click on the price tag

to go to the Amazon.com link for the book.

Clicking on the book’s cover will take you to Goodreads.

Note: I do NOT receive any remuneration from Amazon.  These are just Kindle deals that I have found and want to share with my fellow book lovers. I am quoting the price I paid – the price might have changed by the time you read this post.

So, here goes my third Miserly Monday…


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb:    One phone call. Two lives. Their darkest secrets.

Lana needs to sell a holiday, fast. Stuck in Tenerife, in a dead end job, she never expected a response quite like Liam’s. Thousands of miles away a phone rings. Liam never intended to pick up, he’s too busy choosing the quickest way to die. But at least someone should know the truth before he goes, even if that someone is a stranger. As time runs out both are drawn to the other, expressing thoughts they never imagined they would share. When you’re about to die will your secrets even matter?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: For Clarissa, being called to do jury duty is a relief. It means she can leave work for a couple of weeks and avoid the unwanted attentions of her university colleague, Rafe. An intense man who is an expert on grisly folk tales, Rafe has always unnerved her, and Clarissa still cannot understand how she could have let herself have a drunken one-night stand with him.

As the trial unfolds, Clarissa begins to see the parallels between the violent tale related by the young woman whose attackers she is judging and her own situation. But with no crime to report and only her gut feeling to guide her, she is powerless. What can you do when the lines between fantasy and reality, love and fixation become dangerously blurred? How do you protect yourself from an enemy that no one else can see?

With an original structure and a heroine whose voice is equal parts unsettling and unforgettable, The Book of You is tinged with the darkness of a macabre fairy tale, yet is terrifyingly close to reality, a story that will haunt readers long after the last page is turned.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: Can a house keep secrets?

1840’s – When Lord Edward Armstrong builds the house for his bride, Anna, the family is at the climax of its power. But its world is threatened when no heir is born. Anna could restore their fortunes, but it would mean the ultimate betrayal. Then the Great Famine grips the country.
1910s – Clara finds life as lady of the manor is not what she expected when she married Pierce Armstrong. As the First World War rages, she finds solace in artist Johnny Seymour’s decadent circle. Then the War of Independence erupts and Clara is caught between two men, deceit and revenge.
Present Day – When Kate Fallon sees the house it is love at first sight. She and her tycoon husband Tony buy it and hire the last Armstrong owner, architect Nico, to oversee its restoration.
As Kate’s fascination with the house grows, she and Nico begin to uncover its history and the fates of its occupants in centuries past. But then, as her husband’s business empire faces ruin, Kate realises that they are in danger of losing everything.
Betrayal, deceit, revenge, obsession – one house, one family, three generations.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb: Maxwell’s fiancée, Imogen, is obsessed with her idyllic childhood in Cambridge, England, which was cut short by her parents’ deaths at a young age, causing her and her siblings to be adopted by different families. With plans to move back there, the young couple travel to the city together, where Imogen’s excitement is offset by Max’s deeply unsettling déjà vu: despite having no history there, something about Cambridge is all too familiar. As the wedding planning begins and Imogen’s preoccupation with her lost younger brother intensifies, Maxwell is forced to consider that he may actually be Imogen’s missing brother. Worse, he fears that she may already know that he is, and be marrying him anyway.

Meanwhile, Detective Chief Inspector Morris Keene languishes at home, struggling with a debilitating injury and post-traumatic stress, and his former partner, Detective Inspector Chloe Frohmann, investigates a suicide case in which Morris’ daughter is suspected of having a hand. When buried skeletons are discovered next to an old barn, the suicide is linked back to Imogen’s childhood, revealing horrors of the past and triggering new dangers in the present.


For those readers who don’t care how much a book costs, here is a little graphic by Sarah Andersen that I thought you might enjoy.

Sarah Andersen’s second book is out now! It is a follow-up to her successful book “Adulthood is a myth“.


Have YOU found a great Kindle bargain this week? If so, please share in the comments.

Posted in Miserly Monday | Tagged , | 10 Comments

20 Questions with Rebecca Stonehill

interview graphic for Rebecca Stonehill
Today I’m delighted to welcome Rebecca Stonehill to Fictionophile.

Rebecca has had numerous short stories published over the years, for example in Vintage Script, What the Dickens magazine, Ariadne’s Thread and Prole Books. Rebecca is the author of The Poet’s Wife, The Girl and the Sunbird and The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale (to be published on 11 November 2017)

Rebecca is from London but currently lives in Nairobi in an old wooden cottage with her husband and three children. She dreamed of being an author from a very young age when she used to spy on people Harriet-the-Spy-style from under beds and up trees, scribbling down notes about them for use in future stories.
Rebecca set up Magic Pencil, an initiative to give Nairobi children greater access to creative writing and poetry.

Rebecca loves reading, travelling, yoga, photography and spending time with her family and she has so many stories jumbling around in her head that sometimes she feels overwhelmed by not being able to get them all out in time!

Congratulations Rebecca, your debut novel “The Poet’s wife” is currently enjoying a high Goodreads rating of 3.9! I haven’t had the pleasure of reading “The Poet’s wife”, but it is on my TBR. Tomorrow your third novel will be published! Such an exciting time for you!

1. Historical fiction requires immense amounts of research. Can you share with us some of your research process with us?

RS: The research process for my three novels have all been quite different. With The Poet’s Wife, this involved talking to many people in Granada and Spain as a whole to hear their experiences of the Spanish Civil War or the ensuing dictatorship. I was lucky enough to chat to 96 year old Bob Doyle, International Brigades veteran, at his home in East London, shortly before he died. In the UK, where I’m from, resources for undertaking research such as public libraries, museums and archives are fantastic so I literally spent hours upon end making the most of this, particularly in the extensive British Library.

By the time I came to writing my second novel, The Girl and the Sunbird, I was living in Nairobi (where the book is set) and this time round I found the research process a far greater challenge. Kenya does not have the same tradition of archiving and historical posterity (in many ways, not a huge surprise given its colonial heritage), so I had to employ more creative channels of research. For example, I found two elderly men willing to talk to me about their vastly different experiences of the Mau Mau period of unrest, one an officer with the British colonial government and the other, a Kikuyu who was interned in a Mau Mau concentration camp for two years by the British as a young man.

As for The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale, I used some wonderful old photographs, diary entries and letters from my mother and her friends during their travels to Crete in the 1960’s as my starting-off point. I also read a number of books that I shipped out to Nairobi from the UK and trawled the internet for first hand accounts of the Battle of Crete in 1941. Thank goodness for the internet!

2. Has the writing process taken vastly different amounts of time for your three novels?

RS: It certainly has! My first novel took an incredibly long time, longer than I ever imagined possible to be honest. The reason for this, however, is clear: during my writing process, not only did we move country twice with my husband’s job (UK – India – Kenya), but I also had three children, each of them two years apart. I started writing the novel in 2004 and it was not published until 2014. I had a fairly tight deadline with my publisher for Sunbird, which came out just over a year later – but at least my children were a little older by then and at school and we were settled in Nairobi! Alfred Nightingale has also been far quicker, about one and a half years to write and edit, and a reason for this is because in many ways this is my ‘first’ novel; I have had elements of this story in my head since I was about eight years old!

3. Are re-writes a big part of your writing process?

RS: Yes, re-writes are integral and this, I believe, is where the true work begins. As writers, we are so close to our work and so invested in our characters that it’s often very difficult to look at the plotlines or character motivations dispassionately. This is where a trusted reader and/or editor comes in and the process begins of fine-tuning the balance between listening to their advice and taking those tough decisions of what needs to be tweaked or drastically changed, and what needs to stay the same.

4. Your first book is set in 1920s-1970s Granada, your second at turn of the century and 1950’s Nairobi, and your third, as yet unpublished novel is set in Crete during WWII and the 1960s. How do you pick a time period for your novels? What things influence your decisions?

RS: The reason I chose this (quite broad) time period for The Poet’s Wife was because I was shocked to discover what had happened in Spain in the not so distant past and realised that if I knew little about this period, the chances were that so did many others from the UK and beyond. When people think of Spain, they often think of beaches and sangria, but scratch the surface and there are a multitude of stories waiting to be told, the repercussions of which are still keenly felt in this country today.
As I was living in Nairobi, it made perfect sense to me (and my publisher) to set my second novel there. As for this particular period, I was astonished to discover when I set about my research that just over one hundred years previously, the teeming metropolis I now lived in consisted of vast Masaai- herded plains and swamps, wild animals and a few colonial buildings. How fascinating, I thought, to be able to wind back the clock, literally watch the buildings vanish before my eyes and set a story in Nairobi’s early days as a tiny township.
For Alfred Nightingale, my mother’s own experiences in Crete in the 1960’s inspired the time period. For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the Sixties, often wishing I could have been alive then (I was born in 1977). But I didn’t want my book to simply be a 1960’s coming-of-age story, so I started to research what had happened on the island during World War Two and a story began to emerge, as well as how I could link the two time frames.

5. Do you think it is imperative for novelists to be familiar with the settings of their novels, or do you believe that you can write a novel that is set in a place you have never been?

RS: That’s an interesting question. I spent two years living in Granada in my early twenties, teaching English as a foreign language and completely fell in love with it. Although I had no idea at the time what form the novel would take, I knew that one day I had to set a story amongst the narrow, winding streets of the old, Moorish Albaicín and amongst the hidden caves of Sacromonte. With this book, it simply would not have been possible to write had I not walked its streets, breathed in its alegría (a word often associated with Granada, roughly translated as ‘joy’) and listened to the stories from its inhabitants and its troubled past. Similarly with my second novel, the impetus to write that story would not have existed had I not lived there; my interest about Nairobi and its past simply wouldn’t have been sufficiently aroused if I hadn’t spent time living there.

Yet all that being said, I didn’t physically make it to Matala (the setting of my third novel in Crete) until 2016 and yet, I truly believe that the seed of this book was sown as early as 1985. As a child, I loved to heave down heavy old photograph albums from a shelf in my mother’s bedroom of her travels as a young woman. She was not a ‘hippy’ in the way we think of it now, as back then that word was not in common use. But she loved travelling (as I also do!) and in her early twenties, amongst other trips, hitchhiked down to Crete from the UK by car, truck, on the back of motorbikes and by boat! Of all her pictures I was most drawn to her time spent living in some caves in southern Crete with a group of free-spirited travellers from the world over.
I started writing my Matala novel (both in my head and on paper) well before I had visited the place so I think this is really significant; that a writer doesn’t necessarily need to have been to or lived in the setting of their novel, but if this is the case, the passion for this place, for whatever reason, must be there in order for this interest to be palpable to the reader.

6. How much part have you had in choosing the covers for your novels?

RS: For the first two covers, very little, though I could suggest minor changes and tweaks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For my current novel, I employed a cover designer and was given a choice of about five covers after providing my designer with a detailed brief. I was absolutely delighted with the particular cover I chose and know that if I were to see it in a bookshop or online, I would want to dive right in – a great sign! Book covers are an interesting business, not at all what I imagined they’d be before I was published. So much rides on them and yet, at the same time, I’ve learnt over time that it’s less important for them to convey the book’s contents than be representative of the genre’s market.

7. In your novel “The Girl and the sunbird”, the protagonist Iris Johnson moves from England to Nairobi and finds her joy in teaching the local schoolchildren. This sounds very similar to your own experiences. How much of Iris Johnson is based upon your own life?

RS: I don’t think that Iris was ever ‘me’ on a conscious level. However, I certainly felt a keen empathy for her as a character. As a writer, those ‘What if…’ questions often form the vital undercurrent and pulse for a story. So by asking What if I was not allowed to use my brain in the way I wanted; What if I was not permitted to chose my own husband and What if I was sent thousands of miles from everyone known and everything familiar, the personality and character of Iris started to grow.
I have always loved working with children – their energy, honesty, curiosity and unbridled creativity has always served as great inspiration to me and so I knew that I could write convincingly of Iris’s teaching episodes. But on a more practical level, I needed to think of a realistic scenario in which my protagonist could meet local Kikuyu, Kamau. She simply would not have struck up a conversation with him walking down the main thoroughfare of Nairobi, so the schoolroom felt familiar but, more importantly, credible.

8. Have you ever ‘people-watched’ to gain inspiration for any of your characters? And, how did you pick your character’s names?

RS: Oh, yes! I people watch all the time! As mentioned in my introduction, I started this from a very young age. Inspired by children’s book Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, I spent hours upon end as a child and in my early teens watching people surreptitiously and making notes about them. I no linger hide up trees or under beds, but I am fascinated by people in general: by what makes them tick, their passions and motivations and insecurities. The human race is so very complicated and multi layered and I’m intrigued by those words left unspoken and the subtle nuances of relationships and emotion.
Names for characters are so important and a number of them have been changed as the story has progressed. Obviously they need to be true to the period and setting but, as well as that, the name must suit the character. One could easily ask, but how do you know it suits the character and wouldn’t any chosen name serve just as well? All I can reply to that is that it has been evident as I have ‘written myself’ into a novel, that some names just need to go whilst others could not be more perfect.

9. All of your novels so far have been stand-alones. Have you ever considered writing a series? Do you prefer reading series or stand-alones?

RS: One of the comments I receive from readers that heartens me the most is when they say that my characters have lived on for them, far beyond reading the final page. A number of people have even said they would love to know what happens to them in later years. For me, this is part of the beauty of writing, that not all questions are answered and by the end of the book, I am handing the reins over to the reader for them to make their own decisions about the characters’ futures. For this reason, I must confess I’ve never considered writing a series and I’m sure it’s no coincidence that I read very few series myself. I love reading stand-alones, each one is a unique gift to be unwrapped and savoured, unlike anything that has come before or that will come after. But that is not to say I will never write a series. I never say never!

10. Did you have other jobs before becoming a writer? If so what were they and how did they influence your writing?

RS: I believe that we are the sum of our parts, whether we like and embrace what we have come from or not. Everything I have done, everywhere I have been and every person I have become close to has influenced me as a writer. I studied anthropology at university but I really didn’t know what I wanted to be still at that stage in my life, so I went on to do many things. I worked as an English language teacher, with disabled children, as a travel consultant to the Indian sub-continent, did some mind-bogglingly dull temping jobs, worked in a bar, was employed as care worker for elderly people, piano teacher, worked for an NGO that promoted fairly-traded photography, editor and, the most important job of all, being a mother.
All of the above have, in different ways, influenced me as a writer: the people I’ve met through these experiences, the conversations I’ve had and the emotions that have resulted in, for example, understanding the loneliness of isolated elderly people or learning that when I became a mother, my heart felt as though it continued to beat outside my own body.

11. Have you ever been so wrapped up in your characters that you dream about them at night?

RS: I feel like I should be saying yes but, actually, no! And that’s strange, because I do dream very vividly. But that’s not to say I’m not wrapped up in my characters…quite the opposite. They just visit me more in my waking hours! It’s not particularly fair on my family, but there have been times when I’ve been mid-conversation with them and a snippet of conversation or the ‘perfect line’ has come to me and I’ve literally had to dash off to write it down. Or when I’m walking I hear the voices of my characters in my head telling me something they want to do or a direction they want to take. It’s so interesting how these characters live and breathe independently of me.

12. I feel all writers must also be avid readers. What type of books do you read for pleasure?

RS: I absolutely love reading and am a complete bookworm, even when I’m in the middle of writing my own books. I really enjoy reading widely, so I wouldn’t say there’s a particular ‘type’ of book I read as I love so many genres, including poetry and autobiography and non-fiction. But as far as fiction goes, anything with a fantastic story, compelling characters and evocative writing and I’m in.

13. If you could sit and enjoy a chat and a drink with another historical novelist – who would it be?

RS: I would probably say Tracy Chevalier. The Girl with the Pearl Earring was one of my first foray’s into historical fiction and I have since read several of her books and think she is a master of the genre: impeccable research, compelling stories and multi-layered characters. I would love to know how she decides what to write next and what her writing process is and how this has changed during her career.

14. What novelist writing today do you most admire? Why?

RS: I would have to say Isabel Allende, who has been writing for decades and continues to write prolifically. The reason I say Allende is not because I read a lot of her books these days (though I have done in the past) but because she has built her career over many years, from her days as a young political journalist. Her writing style has grown with her and she has been so versatile as a writer over the years, creating adult fiction, political commentary, memoir, children’s books and even a cookbook. I love the idea of this, because I too would like to try my hand at different genres. In fact, I am currently collaborating with an artist friend on a children’s environmental book and my husband and I often talk about creating an illustrated culinary travelogue of the British Isles one day.

As a side note, it was after reading Isabel Allende’s House of the Spirits that I was first inspired to write The Poet’s Wife. This book influenced me hugely.

15. What current novelist do you feel is underrated or deserves to be more well known? (I like to ask this question because it gives me and my readers fodder for our TBRs!)

RS: I recently read Eve Green by Susan Fletcher. It was written in 2005 as her debut novel and I have not yet read any of others, but I most definitely will – all of them in fact. I adored this book. In a sense it is a ‘crime’ novel, but the most beautiful crime novel I have ever read, with beautifully rendered prose and particularly masterful observations of the natural world. I can’t wait to read more of her and urge everyone to try one of her books.

16. What is the title of the book that you most often recommend to your friends and acquaintances? What is it about this book that you love?

RS: My favourite book of all time, which I recommend a great deal and re-read myself every year or so, is The Golden Gate by Vikram Seth. It moves me to tears every time I read it, though I must be on my 20th time by now! It is a novel written in verse but it flows beautifully and after the first few stanzas, you completely forget that you are not reading prose. For me, this book encapsulates perfectly the human experience: pain, belonging, love, regret and understanding.

As for non-fiction, I recently read The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane and am finding it comes up in conversation increasingly often. This is a beautifully written elegy to what remains of real wilderness in my native Britain and what we stand to lose. Lyrical, passionate and informative, it is definitely a book to be re-read, savoured and recommended widely, not only to people who hail from Britain, but anybody who has a deep love of the natural world.

17. What part of your career as a novelist do you dislike the most?

RS: Social media! I must confess I’m quite envious of those novelists of the past who only needed focus on the actual writing. The author’s world of today is very different and I am trying to embrace the positive elements that I am well aware social media can bring, whilst at the same time striking that precarious balance of time spent on and offline. People are amazed to hear that I don’t have a smart phone. I make gentle fun of myself that I’m a smartphoneasauraus, but actually it’s a decision I have made, to be online only when I choose to be without the distraction of various social media apps pinging the entire time. I know I could turn all of these off, but I think the temptation would be too great for me not to and I value silence and my own space too much.

18. What interview question have you not been asked yet that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer?

RS: What a great question! Perhaps it would be, What is your greatest inspiration as a writer? As intimated above from a book I now find myself recommending to others (The Wild Places), I feel a deep affinity with the natural world, from mountains to oceans to birdlife to the vast plains of the African savannah. I have had the great fortune of living in Kenya for five years and, without question, my most cherished memories of my time here when I leave will be those occasions when I’ve escaped Nairobi for the wilderness. I feel as though I can breathe more deeply and more freely in rural areas and I need this kind of air and space, often, to feel truly connected to myself which, in turn, adds fuel to the fire of my creative life.

19. How do you wish to be contacted by ‘fans’? Do you prefer Facebook? Twitter? Your own blog?

RS: Any of the above! Having said in an earlier question that I am not a social media ‘natural’, I absolutely love hearing from readers. I reply to every single person who takes the time to get in touch with me, so please do contact me through my

Rebecca Stonehill Books facebook page

 

Twitter @bexstonehill

 

or through my contact page on my website rebeccastonehill.com

If you would like to keep updated with my writing projects, please do join my mailing list here: http://rebeccastonehill.com/email

Thank-you SO much Rebecca for taking the time to answer my questions. On behalf of myself and my blog’s readers, I wish you every success!

Posted in author interviews, Authors, Historical fiction | Tagged | 16 Comments

“The music shop” by Rachel Joyce

A heartwarming novel that makes you smile while reading it.

“He was perfectly fine with emotions,
so long as they belonged to other people.”

We meet Frank, a gentle bear of a man. Forty and single, his unorthodox upbringing has made him LOVE music, fear intimacy, and know how to listen. He is very patient, and he has boundless empathy. His late mother, Peg, left her house and all her estate to strangers. To Frank, she bequeathed her extensive record collection and her Dansette Major record player.

“Frank knew what people needed even when they didn’t know it themselves”

Frank has the uncanny ability to just know what you need to hear. He diagnoses emotions and finds the perfect music just for you. Always on vinyl – Frank doesn’t believe in CDs. He employs a clumsy yet endearing young assistant named Kit. “Frank found that if you treated him like a young terrier, sending him out for regular walks and occupying him with easy tasks, he was less liable to cause serious damage”.

The story is set in the late 1980s and is located in a decaying side street populated by eccentrics and loners. There is Father Anthony, an ex-priest who sells religious trinkets, Maud, a female tattoo artist (who has Frank’s name tattooed underneath her bra strap), a Polish baker, two brothers who run a funeral parlour, an elderly lady and her dog, and a pub called “England’s Glory”.

“He couldn’t put away the loneliness that swallowed him.”

One ordinary day turned extraordinary when a young woman in a green coat faints outside Frank’s music shop. “There was something about her that was both fragile and incredibly strong”.  The day that Ilse Brauchmann came to Unity Street, the dynamic of the street was forever changed. Ilse is thirty. She wears a pea-green coat, she has a delightful German accent, vast dark eyes, and ‘always‘ wears gloves.

Unity Street is being targeted by property developers. The misfits who live there maintain that if they rally together they can be strong enough to see the street through this time of adversity.


I’m not going to tell you any more about the story. Suffice it to say that decrepit as it was, the author made Unity Street a place where you want to live – if only to get to know the wonderful assortment of people who inhabit it.

It is a love story, but not in the traditional sense. It is a book that makes you laugh and then, minutes later, weep. Events near the end of the book will make you verklempt. I loved this book and anticipate recommending it to everyone I know.  

The message, or moral, to this story was summed up nicely in this sentence “The human adventure is worth it, after all.” Rachel Joyce has never failed me yet. 

Music playlist for the novel.

Click on this link ONLY if you have already read this great novel.

I received a digital copy of this novel from Random House via NetGalley in expectation of my honest review.


Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect, and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.

She is also the author of a short story collection, A Snow Garden & Other Stories. She is the award-winning writer of over 30 original afternoon plays and classic adaptations for BBC Radio 4.

Rachel Joyce lives with her family in Gloucestershire.

Posted in Book Reviews, Favorite books, Literary fiction, Love stories, NetGalley | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Cover Love: part 40 – Broken wine glasses

The covers of novels entice the reader to enter a different world. Covers are, after all, the way the publisher hooks the reader into choosing one book over countless others.

In my fortieth installment of ‘Cover Love‘, I’d like to show you books that feature broken wine glasses on their covers.

Folks who know me, know that I’m partial to a lovely glass of wine on occasion (but who really needs an occasion?)

A glass of red pairs nicely with a novel of any genre.


Some of the following books I’ve already read, some are on my ‘to read’ list,
and some I chose only for their covers.

Some, perhaps, will now be on your TBR!

Just click on the cover to read the book’s synopsis from  Goodreads.

You might just find your next favorite book!

 Are you tempted by any of these covers?

If you have a few minutes visit any of the previous installments of

Cover Love – some of which I’ve updated recently

 

Posted in Cover Love series, Dustjackets | Tagged | 17 Comments

Miserly Monday #3 (Fictionophile’s #Kindle book bargains)

A list of the bargain Kindle purchases that grabbed me this week.

These books might vary in price from Amazon.ca to Amazon.com to Amazon.co.uk but they are all still BARGAINS!  Probably about what you would pay for a cup of coffee.

Click on the price tag

to go to the Amazon.com link for the book.

Clicking on the book’s cover will take you to Goodreads.

Note: I do NOT receive any remuneration from Amazon.  These are just Kindle deals that I have found and want to share with my fellow book lovers. I am quoting the price I paid – the price might have changed by the time you read this post.

So, here goes my third Miserly Monday…


First novel in the Gibson Vaughn series.

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb:
A decade ago, fourteen-year-old Suzanne Lombard, the daughter of Benjamin Lombard—then a senator, now a powerful vice president running for the presidency—disappeared in the most sensational missing-person case in the nation’s history. Still unsolved, the mystery remains a national obsession.
For legendary hacker and marine Gibson Vaughn, the case is personal—Suzanne Lombard had been like a sister to him. On the tenth anniversary of her disappearance, the former head of Benjamin Lombard’s security asks for Gibson’s help in a covert investigation of the case, with new evidence in hand.
Haunted by tragic memories, he jumps at the chance to uncover what happened all those years ago. Using his military and technical prowess, he soon discovers multiple conspiracies surrounding the Lombard family—and he encounters powerful, ruthless political players who will do anything to silence him and his team. With new information surfacing that could threaten Lombard’s bid for the presidency, Gibson must stay one step ahead as he navigates a dangerous web to get to the truth.


 

 

 

 

Blurb:

MEET DI HILLARY GREENE, A POLICE WOMAN FIGHTING TO SAVE HER CAREER.
Not only has she lost her husband, but his actions have put her under investigation for corruption.
Then a bashed and broken body is found floating in the Oxford Canal. It looks like the victim fell off a boat, but Hillary is not so sure. Her investigation exposes a dark background to the death.
Can Hillary clear her name and get to the bottom of a fiendish conspiracy on the water?
This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from beginning to end.
MURDER ON THE OXFORD CANAL is the first in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire.


Blurb:

A tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.
Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.
But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.
The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.


Blurb:

Then
When flames rip through their family home, only teenager Stephanie and her younger brother escape unhurt. Brett always liked to play with fire, but now their dad is dead and someone has to pay the price.
Now
Psychologist Connie Summers wants to help Stephanie rebuild her life. She has a new name, a young son and everything to live for. But when Stephanie receives a letter from someone she’d hoped would never find her, Connie is forced to question what really happened that night. But some truths are better left alone . . .


 

Blurb:
When Hector Lewis told his daughter that she had a nothing face, it was just another bit of tossed-off cruelty from a man who specialized in harsh words and harsher deeds. But twenty years later, Heloise considers it a blessing to be a person who knows how to avoid attention. In the comfortable suburb where she lives, she’s just a mom, the youngish widow with a forgettable job who somehow never misses a soccer game or a school play. In the state capitol, she’s the redheaded lobbyist with a good cause and a mediocre track record.
But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the area, she’s the woman of your dreams—if you can afford her hourly fee.
For more than a decade, Heloise has believed she is safe. She has created a rigidly compartmentalized life, maintaining no real friendships, trusting few confidantes. Only now her secret life, a life she was forced to build after the legitimate world turned its back on her, is under siege. Her once oblivious accountant is asking loaded questions. Her longtime protector is hinting at new, mysterious dangers. Her employees can’t be trusted. One county over, another so-called suburban madam has been found dead in her car, a suicide. Or is it?
Nothing is as it seems as Heloise faces a midlife crisis with much higher stakes than most will ever know.
And then she learns that her son’s father might be released from prison, which is problematic because he doesn’t know he has a son. The killer and former pimp also doesn’t realize that he’s serving a life sentence because Heloise betrayed him. But he’s clearly beginning to suspect that Heloise has been holding something back all these years.
With no formal education, no real family, and no friends, Heloise has to remake her life—again. Disappearing will be the easy part. She’s done it before and she can do it again. A new name and a new place aren’t hard to come by if you know the right people. The trick will be living long enough to start a new life.


Have YOU found a great Kindle bargain this week? If so, please share in the comments.

Posted in Miserly Monday | Tagged | 3 Comments

A bookworm’s lament (#bookwormproblems)

Book bloggers read a LOT of books. That stands to reason.  There is one question that is asked of book bloggers that is very difficult to answer.

“What is your favorite book?”

Some people say it is like trying to pick a favorite child, they just can’t do it. Others list many titles, unable to settle on just one.

When asked that question myself, I find it easier if I rephrase it in my mind: “What book have I read, that I would like to read again for the first time?”  The reading pleasure was such that I would like to experience it all over again.

While perusing Pinterest this morning I came across a graphic that perfectly addresses this issue.  The artwork is by Toronto based illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi.  I loved it so much, I just had to share it…

Debbie Ridpath Ohi is the author and illustrator of Where Are My Books? and Sam & Eva (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers). Her illustrations also appear in books by Michael Ian Black, Judy Blume, Rob Sanders, Lauren McLaughlin and Aaron Reynolds. For more info about Debbie and upcoming projects, see DebbieOhi.com. You can find Debbie on Twitter at @inkyelbows and on Instagram at @inkygirl.

Posted in Art with book themes, Book bloggers, Favorite books, Reading | Tagged | 19 Comments